Morning Report 6/1/05
Goooooaaaaallll!: World Domination!
The Bush regime has already liberated Iraq and Afghanistan, and it's just about to win back Social Security from the Americans, and now there's more good news: Two axis-of-evil powers are fighting each other.
North Korea is scheduled to invade Tehran on Friday in the two evil powers' continuing quest for World Cup domination.
The last time they met, on March 31, Iran invaded Pyongyang and won, 2-0, but a serious riot broke out, as the International Herald Tribune reported:
- More than 60,000 spectators filled Kim Il Sung Stadium, and after the game, thousands gathered outside and stopped the Iranian players from leaving. Hundreds of police officers were deployed in an effort to restore order.
- After the final whistle, police officers and soldiers lined the track as thousands of spectators remained in the stands and booed and threw objects at [Syrian referee Mohammed] Kousa and the two assistant referees, who tried to stay out of range in the center of the field for more than 20 minutes. The standoff ended when the referees and his assistants braved the flying bottles and ran off.
The Iranian team remained on the field for about 10 minutes before sprinting off under a similar hail of objects.
Wow, the ref was from Syria, yet another evil power—they're all fighting among themselves! Friday should be even more tense: North Korea is trying to stave off elimination. Iran looks likely to make it to the 2006 World Cup finals tourney in Germany, but not North Korea, which also has a distinct disadvantage in the June 3 match, as iafrica.com notes:
- The timing of the North Korea match is significant because it falls on the anniversary of the death in 1989 of Iran's revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"Undoubtedly your winning in the next games will send joy into the hearts of millions of Iranians, which in turn will make the Imam's soul," Khomeini's grandson, Hassan, has told the national squad.
Luckily for North Korea, World Cup officials are limiting the number of fans likely to chant "Marg bar North Korea!" According to iafrica.com:
- Iran will not be able to count on the usual advantage of playing in front of 100,000 fans as FIFA have halved capacity at the Azadi stadium to 50,000 after seven people died in a crush following their match with Japan.
Iranians may care more about their terrific Team Melli than they do their upcoming national elections. The June 17 vote has provoked protests by many and ennui by many more, according to Safa Haeri of Iran Press Service, who wrote on May 17:
- More than 500 politicians and intellectuals, some former lawmakers, and intellectuals, have announced that since the 17 June election cannot be free and fair, they will abstain from voting, as "the people only have the freedom to choose from among those candidates chosen by the state."
The presence of a relatively important number of senior officers from the Revolutionary Guards has prompted some politicians and commentators to warn against the dangers of "bonapartism" in Iran.
"People are being called to participate while many of the most important circles of power and the appointed people have complete control on all the avenues of executive power," the statement said, adding that "under present circumstances where the rulers are determined to keep the power despite the people's will and in the absence of real political parties and a free press, there is no point going to the ballot boxes."
Haeri's fascinating roundup continued:
- "A collection of 300 men, grabbing and monopolizing all powers, have taken 70 millions Iranians as their hostages," observed Mr. Akbar A'lami, a former lawmaker from Tabriz, the capital city of Eastern Azarbaijan [an Iranian province].
[Of] the leading candidates, four of them former militaries, only Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani seems to be able to respond to the demands of some categories of the voters, above all the private entrepreneurs, most of them connected to the ruling conservatives.
"The former president is seen as a pragmatic conservative, open to better ties with the West but more socially conservative than the reformists," the BBC's Tehran correspondent, Frances Harrison, says.
- A confidential survey produced by the Intelligence Ministry shows that less than half of the interviewees have said they would go to the polls.
"People are expecting something to happen, something like in Ukraine, and are encouraged in this feeling by the silence of leading opponents and dissidents of the regime, thinking that they know things" that most Iranians don't know, one Iranian activist told IPS on condition of not being named.
That activist had better hope that reporter Safa Haeri keeps her pledge of confidentiality as well as Woodward and Bernstein kept theirs regarding Mark Felt.