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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 7-May-2011
7-May-11 News -- Resignation of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be imminent

Web Log - May, 2011

7-May-11 News -- Resignation of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be imminent

A major theological dispute is splitting the government

Resignation of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be imminent

A bitter power struggle pitting Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may lead to the president's resignation as early as Sunday.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei

It's been fairly clear for a long time that there was a growing coldness between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. When Ahmadinejad was first elected in 2005, he and Khamenei kissed and embraced in a victory celebration. But there was no such affection when Ahmadinejad was reelected in 2009.

Rumors of a split have been growing, but they burst out into the open early in April, when Ahmadinejad dismissed Heydar Moslehi, the head of the Intelligence Ministry, and faithful to Khamenei. Khamenei refused to accept Moslehi's forced resignation, and Moslehi was kept in his job, according to Haaretz.

Ahmadinejad responded with his own power play -- he failed to show up at cabinet meetings and missed several scheduled public engagements, including a trip to Qom, home to Iran's religious establishment, where he is increasingly mistrusted, according to RFERL.

Then it was Khamenei's turn again. Khamenei's security forces arrested several presidential aides, including two close to Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, whom Khamenei despises.

The arrests were based on charges that seem completely bizarre. The aides were accused of sorcery, of using "supernatural powers," and of being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits), according to the Guardian. One of the men, Abbas Ghaffari, was charged as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds."

The '12'th Imam' or 'Hidden Imam'

These charges of sorcery are related to Ahmadinejad's claimed devout belief in the Mahdaviat -- the Shia Muslim belief that the Mahdi (or "the 12'th Imam" or "the Hidden Imam") is coming to save mankind. This belief is roughly equivalent to the Christian belief in the second coming of Christ, or the Buddhist belief in the Maitreya -- that a new Buddha is to appear on earth, and will achieve complete enlightenment. This belief, which is shared by Rahim-Mashaei, has been the center of an increasingly widening theological dispute within the government. (See my 2009 report, "Theological split in Iran widens as opposition protests continue" for details.)

Ahmadinejad has disobeyed Supreme Leader Khamenei, which is considered to be equivalent to disobeying God. But Ahmadinejad has been paving the way for the return of the Hidden Imam, and as I understand it, he's using his claim that the Hidden Imam's return is imminent as a justification for disobeying Khamenei.

Thus, the sorcery charges are related in some way to the beliefs about the Hidden Imam, and are complicated by the fact that, as I understand it, Khamenei himself has claimed in the past to be the Hidden Imam.

Iran's Generational Awakening Era

The best way to understand all this craziness is to understand that Iran is in a generational Awakening era, 23 years after the end of climax of Iran's last generational crisis war, the Great Islamic Revolution followed by the Iran/Iraq war.

Any Awakening era is characterized by a "generation gap," where the young people, born after the last crisis war, demonstrate against the austere rules laid down by the war survivors, who are committing their lives to do everything possible to preventing any similar war from occurring again.

Thus, the huge demonstrations that followed Ahmadinejad's 2009 reelection, widely assumed to be fraudulent, are very similar to the huge demonstrations that occurred in America's last Awakening era. (See my 2007 report, "Boomers commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love.")

Every Awakening has a climax which establishes a "winner" between the older and younger generations. The climax of America's Awakening era would be President Nixon's resignation in 1974.

However, the resignation of Ahmadinejad, if it occurs, would not be equivalent, and would not be a climax, since Khamenei would still be in power. There's no reason why there would have to be a one to one correspondence between all events in Awakening eras, but if one were to match this up to some event, the best choice would be President Lyndon Johnson's 1968 decision not to run again.

At any rate, the generational conflict in Iran is far from over, and is still years away from reaching a climax. A climax where the older generation wins would be Khamenei's completely crushing any further opposition, as in the Tiananmen Square massacre. I personally do not expect this outcome, because most young people in Iran, even young people in the Revolutionary Guards, are generally pro-Western and generally have nothing against Israel. My expectation is that, at some point, Khamenei and his followers will be removed, probably via a "velvet revolution," and that, when forced to choose, Iran will be on the side of the West in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-May-11 News -- Resignation of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be imminent thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-May-2011) Permanent Link
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