Assad Learns from Iran
Posted on June 15, 2009
TO: President Bashar al-Assad
FR: Committee on Election Strategy
RE: Lessons Learned from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Election
Dear Mr. President,
While most analysts and fellow dictators look at the election of our comrade Mahmoud and think “amateur”, we actually believe that it shows the future for elections in our region of the world.
Here are five points that should be thought in the context of holding on to power, identifying traitors, confounding the stupid Americans, and making the evil Israelis very nervous.
1) Big elections victories are passé. Gone are the days that you can have 99.8% of electorate, like your father used to have. As comrade Mahmoud has shown, it is far better to have an election result that gives you a percentage in the mid-sixties. That way, you can plausibly say that is was a fair election and the people have spoken. While the Americans and the Israelis will never believe the result anyway, it will serve a useful talking point for the Egyptians and Saudis, when they talk to the west, especially the Europeans.
2) Pick the right opponent: Make sure whoever you select as your opponent agrees with your one key goal. For the Iranians, they all agreed that Iran should have nuclear power. That way neither the Americans nor the Israelis will really push for you to lose. It does no good for the Americans to have a more moderate leader of Iran who still supports a nuclear program. They lose leverage. So in a sense, the Yankees have a vested interest in keeping Mahmoud in power. That played right into his hands, and now the Americans don’t know what to do about that crazy cat.
3) Debate your opponents: To give the appearance of democracy, Mahmoud had several tough debates with his opponent, and they were nasty. Mahmoud allowed him to say some pretty rough things, and it gave the appearance of being a true democracy. Of course, that played right into his hands. Now he can say he won and won fair and square, with debates and everything.
4) Don’t kill the opposition leader: The Iranians have learned this from the Burmese. Instead of killing Aung San Su Kyi, they keep her under house arrest and every once in a while, she gets some visitors that turn out to be interesting to the generals. It much the same way, by keeping Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest, they can threaten him in order to force him to help the Iranians keep order and they can keep an eye on all of his “visitors”, usually traitors who can be eliminated later.
5) Promise an investigation: This is where the Iranians have really taken dictatorship to a new level. They promised to investigate voter fraud. I love it! Such an investigation will give them a chance to ask a lot of questions of the opposition, find out who the real traitors are, and then give the regime more tools to consolidate power. All under the pretense of “investigation”. Pure brilliance.
To sum up, the election of our good friend Mahmoud has give us a glimpse of our future election strategy. They have given the pretense of real democracy without endangering their grip on power. They have confounded the Americans, especially that feckless new President, the one with the Muslim name. How dare he think he can outfox us? By having an election, they even forced the evil new Prime Minister of Israel to agree to giving the Palestinians a real state, from which we can cause all kinds of mischief.
Our friend Mahmoud might seem crazy (and he might be crazy) but he is crazy like a fox. And we should learn from him and as we plot our own future.