Twitter’s amazing. Everything comes in at little informative snippets. Perfect for blogging while exiled from one’s precious iMac. But I haven’t installed the new update for cut and paste, and even if I did I feel like it wouldn’t be an ideal blogging solution. So I have this huge file of stuff I send to myself to link to later when I have Peter’s laptop, but then I’m so tired… Anyway, in no particular order:

Times Online – Riot police clash with demonstrators in Iran Protesters challenging elections despite warnings from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with tear gas, batons, water cannons

Iran was rocked by violent clashes today as demonstrators defied their Supreme Leader’s warnings of ‘bloodshed’ to take to the streets.

Police in Tehran used teargas, metal batons and water cannons on protesters who continue to challenge the recent presidential elections.

In the south of the city supporters of defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi torched a building used by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s backers.

There were also fierce clashes between the rival supporters and a suicide bomb attack at a shrine to the country’s revolutionary founder.

It’s funny that the Protest Babe (and, incidentally, what ever happened to that? There are the most incredible Protest Babes in Iran and everyone seems to have forgotten the phenomenon) is actually from the first protests last week, but is still being used to illustrate these new ones. I wonder if she’s actually still out there. I mean, can’t be a good idea to get made into the Face of the Rebellion against a bunch of tyrannical old men who hate women.

Telegraph Blogs – Gerald Warner: President Pantywaist latest: Iran unclenches its fist – to slap Barack Obama’s face

Today Iran unclenched its fist – to slap President Pantywaist on the face. It seems, despite the chiding from Barack Obama, that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad feel quite comfortable on the wrong side of history. At Friday prayers – accompanied by encouragingly reformist shouts of “Death to America!” – the Supreme Leader (Khamenei, not Obama) delivered the most intransigently authoritarian speech heard in Iran since the reign of Cyrus the Great.

For more on that theme, see below…

It could be, of course, that the threat of the Basij militia will turn out to be no more potent than the parading of the Shah’s ‘Immortals’ of the Imperial Guard, shortly before they were annihilated and that a revolution will sweep aside the mullahs. But it does not seem likely. The auguries are not of revolution, but of either civil war or acquiescence by the reformers. Regime change will not be uncontested. …

This is a lose/lose situation for Obama. He is as flaky on Iran as on everything else. In 2004 he favoured “surgical” missile strikes against Iran. In 2007 he did not rule out force, but preferred “aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions” – but that was for the ears of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Since he moved address from Chicago to Washington, his stance has become more nuanced (ie he hasn’t a clue what to do).

He is trying to steer a course between appeasement and rhetoric about the Iranian “threat”, while knowing he may eventually have to knuckle down and accept a nuclear Islamic republic, since Barack doesn’t do war. If the Israelis do the job for him, that will be ten times more provocative in Middle Eastern terms. Look forward to change you’d better believe in.

The Times – Iran’s dictator gives up pretence of democracy, by Amir Taheri

Since its inception in 1979, the Islamic republic has organised 31 elections at different levels. All have been carefully scripted, with candidates pre-approved by the regime and no independent mechanism for oversight.

Nevertheless, the results were never contested because most Iranians believed the regime would not cheat within the limits set by itself. Elections in the Islamic republic resembled primaries in American political parties in which all candidates are from the same political family but the contest is free and fair. The June 12 election was exceptional because three of the four candidates challenged the results.

Once the initial shock had passed, everyone looked to the supreme leader to find a way out of the impasse. Instead, Khamenei came out with a long lyrical monologue, hailing the election as a “miracle” and a “triumph for Islam”. Never before had Khamenei commented on the results of elections beyond accepting them as an expression of the popular will. The Khomeinist system was supposed to be 80% theocracy and 20% democracy, regardless of how bizarre the combination looked.

On Friday, the 20% democratic part disappeared, as Iran was transformed from an Islamic republic into an Islamic emirate headed by the Emir al-Momeneen (Commander of the Faithful) Ali Khamenei. As Iranians marched in the street in support of more freedom and democracy, Khamenei served notice that he was determined to lead the country in the opposite direction.

I have a feeling Basij might become one of those words that ends up in American usage quite like jihad and burkha have.

NYT – A Supreme Leader Loses His Aura as Iranians Flock to the Streets. By ROGER COHEN

Khamenei has taken a radical risk. He has factionalized himself, so losing the arbiter’s lofty garb, by aligning himself with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against both Mir Hussein Moussavi, the opposition leader, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founding father of the revolution.

He has taunted millions of Iranians by praising their unprecedented participation in an election many now view as a ballot-box putsch. He has ridiculed the notion that an official inquiry into the vote might yield a different result. He has tried pathos and he has tried pounding his lectern. In short, he has lost his aura.

The taboo-breaking response was unequivocal.

And (woo):

I also know that Iran’s women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I’ve seen them urging less courageous men on. I’ve seen them get beaten and return to the fray. “Why are you sitting there?” one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. “Get up! Get up!”

And of course:

“Can’t the United Nations help us?” one woman asked me. I said I doubted that very much. “So,” she said, “we are on our own.”

Well, on the bright side regarding that, at least they’re waiting for the UN to save them, instead of us (remember all that talk about what the Iranian youths want is for us to come and rescue them and then disappear again, as if by magic), and that they’re figuring it out that they’re gonna have to do it themselves.

WaPo – Hope and Change — but Not for Iran, by Charles Krauthammer

More on Obama’s response (and I see what he’s trying to do, but when even Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are saying fairly publicly that they think you’re being an ass about it, I think we’re all save to be slightly critical), about his looking forward to “dialogue” with the clerical baton-wielders:

Then, after treating this popular revolution as an inconvenience to the real business of Obama-Khamenei negotiations, the president speaks favorably of “some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election.”

Where to begin? “Supreme Leader”? Note the abject solicitousness with which the American president confers this honorific on a clerical dictator who, even as his minions attack demonstrators, offers to examine some returns in some electoral districts — a farcical fix that will do nothing to alter the fraudulence of the election.

Moreover, this incipient revolution is no longer about the election. Obama totally misses the point. The election allowed the political space and provided the spark for the eruption of anti-regime fervor that has been simmering for years and awaiting its moment. But people aren’t dying in the street because they want a recount of hanging chads in suburban Isfahan. They want to bring down the tyrannical, misogynist, corrupt theocracy that has imposed itself with the very baton-wielding goons that today attack the demonstrators.

LGF – Video: Iranian Student Shot to Death by Islamic Police

I ain’t watching, but if you want to feel free. I read somewhere that between 7 and 150 got killed yesterday.