The Qnion

55% is the new 98%: Arab Despots Take Vote Rigging Lessons From Iran Debacle

CAIRO, Egypt – The massive street protests triggered by President Ahmadinejad’s improbable 63% victory over opposition challenger Mir Hussein Moussavi have prompted Middle Eastern despots to re-think vote rigging strategies for their own upcoming elections.

Abdul-Majid Nadwi, a former political advisor to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, says that real change has come to the Middle East. “It’s not really feasible anymore to rig an election and produce a 98% or 99% victory. People aren’t going to accept it. You have to be a bit more subtle about it,” said Mr. Nadwi, speaking from the offices of his Cairo-based political consultancy, FortyMoreYears©.

A senior adviser to Syrian president Bashar al-Asad echoed Mr. Nadwi’s sentiments. “As we’re seeing from Iran, even 63% is too high a winning percentage. The best margin of victory is probably around 55%, so that’s what we’re going to be aiming for when President al-Asad comes up for reelection in a few years.”

Analysts and observers are attributing the sea change in public attitudes throughout the Middle East to a growing disenchantment with ruthless dictatorships, but also to the patronizing attitude that they show towards their citizens.

“People have simply had enough,” says Hassan Khalil, deputy editor of a Qatari state-owned newspaper. “I mean, it’s just insulting. We can endure the oppression and the human rights abuses, but what we simply will not stand for anymore is having our intelligence insulted,” said Mr. Khalil.

“Ok, so it’s a sham election, I accept that. But why throw it in my face with a landslide victory, know what I’m saying? I mean, 55% is just as good as 99%, isn’t it?”

President Ahmadinejad’s office did not return a call for comment on this matter.


By Qifa Nabki
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36 thoughts on “55% is the new 98%: Arab Despots Take Vote Rigging Lessons From Iran Debacle

  1. Mr. Nadwi who is currently working for Gamal Mubarak added that another one of Husni Mubarak’s sons will also have to enter the race: “In this way the Mubarak family can stay in power while the results will be a respectable 55% to 45%”. Mr. Nadwi predicts problems for Bashar Asad as none of his sons has come of age yet and cannot run against his father. The unnamed Syrian advisor to Asad dismissed this observation out of hand: “If the Syrian constitution says so, even a camel can fly.”

    Posted by AIG | June 18, 2009, 3:44 pm
  2. The irony is that (a) this vote may not have been rigged & (b) Ahmedinajad probably would have won anyway.

    Posted by netsp | June 18, 2009, 8:27 pm
  3. Correction:

    CAIRO, Egypt – The massive street protests triggered by President Ahmadinejad’s improbable 63% victory over opposition challenger Mir Hussein Moussavi Zionist intervention…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 18, 2009, 10:11 pm
  4. Glad that Baroud was there for the Lebanese election, especially given all of its complexities.

    I Think Iran could have used a guy like Baroud to run a fair show.

    Hats off to Baroud. He involved all of who wanted to look on as fair observers, like Carter and the EU monitors, etc., and he performed.

    Baroud deserves lots of credit for all of the hard work and planning he and his team had to do in the planning and coordination of a successfull election under great pressure.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | June 18, 2009, 11:03 pm
  5. HA! Somehow i doubt any Arab despot would allow his pride to diminish to the point where he’d allow his percentage to dip below 90%.

    Posted by nk | June 19, 2009, 2:09 am
  6. here’s a taste of what AIG comerades do to the palestinians, and of course, they put it up on youtube for entertainment under the ‘comedy’ tag

    Posted by offended | June 19, 2009, 2:38 am
  7. Mousavi should ask for the obstructing ‘third’ like HA…

    Posted by danny | June 19, 2009, 5:54 am
  8. Offended,
    Are you trying to derail this thread?
    When I respond to such posts that are completely unrelated people accuse me unfairly of “hijacking” every thread. Why don’t you ask QN for a thread about how the Israeli Border Police acts instead of posting this completely unrelated material?

    This is another effort of yours to attack me instead of what I write. Apparently your argument is something like this: Some Israelis act badly, AIG is an Israeli therefore he acts badly. I hope you see the fallacy in this argument. Attack the message, not the messenger.

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2009, 6:59 am
  9. i think it’s high time for, if not a Qnion section in the header, at least a Qnion tag!

    Posted by c | June 19, 2009, 9:01 am
  10. //When I respond to such posts….//

    Aha AIG, so you do have a reponse to that? ya3ni you view this as a contentious argument?

    there might be some way to rationalize these actions?

    what can I say, this is what expected from you!

    Posted by offended | June 19, 2009, 9:23 am
  11. Offended,
    For the record, you are derailing this post.
    My response is that how these soldiers acted is despicable and they should stand trial for what they did. This has always been my response to such actions.

    What you are doing is also despicable. You are trying to generalize about all Israelis based on the actions of the few. You are also intellectually dishonest. At least in SC you posted the source for this video which was an article by an Israeli newspaper CONDEMNING these actions. Israeli society is far from perfect, but we try to improve and apply self criticism.

    This thread is about Arab dictatorships. Do you have anything to say on that subject?

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2009, 9:56 am
  12. AIG,

    This post is about Arab dictatorships? LOL.. you’re dumb. You don’t understand what satire means; and that was obvious through your first comment. Even your attempt at humor came across as boring and obnoxious. No surprise there.

    I’m glad you think the actions are depiscable. Because it’s obvious from the comments made in Hebrow on the video that there is a widespread approval and amusement amongst Israelis. Which made me think that you might be amongst those. And oh yeah, I do have the right to generalize about the terrorist IDF. Esepcially given its long history of abuse and “two arabs for one bullet” T shirts and what have you.

    Posted by offended | June 19, 2009, 10:13 am
  13. Offended,
    Of course this thread is about Arab dictatorships and how they brazenly rig the vote to be 98% in their favor. QN is using satire to CRITICIZE Arab dictatorships. It is you who isn’t getting it.

    Ok, you have the right to be racist and generalize. No one can take that right from you. I still find it despicable.

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2009, 10:19 am
  14. I’m not getting it? hahaha… I’m really having a good time with you today AIG, please stay around. Okay, here’s my comment on the Arab dictatorships rigging elections in the arab world:

    Arab dictatorships are great, they allow IDF to vent their rightful anger at the world by humiliating Palestinians. And, God bless their hearts those Arab dictators, they keep quiet about it. They reckon harsh words might hurt the feelings of the Israelis. In exchange, Israelis seem to be very happy with Arab dictatorships. They are all in bed together. But in one of the rare occasions where an arab government was democratically elected (i.e. terrorist khamas. i.e. elections was not rigged), Israel cried and got butthurt about it, they asked their Arab dictators friends to boycott khamas, and the dictators dutifully fell behind …

    Want more?

    Posted by offended | June 19, 2009, 10:41 am
  15. Arab dictatorships are great…


    Thanks for the feedback. No surprise I guess.

    Conversely, I think Arab dictatorships are the reason the Arab people are suffering and why there has yet to be a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    So I suppose NOTHING will change since most Arabs (LIKE YOU) are getting what they want.

    And, God bless their hearts those Arab dictators, they keep quiet about it. They reckon harsh words might hurt the feelings of the Israelis.

    Please provide this forum with your long list of Arab dictators who “keep quiet” because they don’t want to “hurt the feelings of the Israelis”.

    But in one of the rare occasions where an arab government was democratically elected (i.e. terrorist khamas. i.e. elections was not rigged), Israel cried and got butthurt about it, they asked their Arab dictators friends to boycott khamas, and the dictators dutifully fell behind …

    Just because a people democratically elect a government dedicated to the destruction of a neighboring country, doesn’t mean said neighboring country has to permit itself to absorb rocket attacks from said “democratic” government.

    However, I’m not sure Hamas is a democracy. When is the next election? What political parties are allowed to operate? How is the opposition treated? Is there law and order? Etc.

    Want more?

    Sure. A dialogue would be great.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 19, 2009, 11:20 am
  16. LMAO!

    Yet another zionist dipstick who doesn’t understand what satire is.

    Posted by offended | June 19, 2009, 1:08 pm
  17. Offended, what i will say has nothing to do with the issues at hand but since we are discussing irrelevant issues i’ll go ahead and say it: you are really a stupid person an idiot and a shallow, annoying jack ass.

    how about that QN i dont see you stand up to people like offended and Majid when they start insulting and calling others names is it because they are Arabs ?

    Posted by V | June 19, 2009, 2:19 pm
  18. Offended,
    To me you epitomize the confusion in some parts of the Arab world. You seem to see everything through the prism of Israel. So for you, Asad who does not fall in line with the other dictators is great because he speaks “resistance” (though does very little via Syria, but is happy to endanger Lebanon).

    You don’t really seem to care about the fact that Asad is running Syria into the ground, as long as he is against Israel (even though the Syrians are begging for a peace agreement). Political rights in Syria? Not important as long as you attack Israel. Censorship of Internet? No problem as long as you attack Israel. And the list goes on? Why are you so much more interested in Israel than in your own country Syria? Do you really think you will improve your country by criticizing Israel? You will only improve Syria by criticizing Syria.

    Your one liners are very shallow. If you want to convince people you need to provide argumentation for your points. Claiming something without substantiation does not work.

    And I see you are resorting to name calling again. When will you understand? Attack the message, not the messenger. If you still do not understand the difference, I will be happy to explain this to you in more detail.

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2009, 2:28 pm
  19. V,
    I greatly appreciate what you wrote, but please don’t put QN in a bind here. He wants his blog to be read as widely as possible and Offended and Majid represent views that are held by many Arabs. AP and I can manage with the name calling. We are used to it from Syria Comment.

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2009, 2:33 pm
  20. Pfffff those Syrians i should have known better!!

    Posted by V | June 19, 2009, 2:47 pm
  21. V, as much as i would like to do nothing but read the fascinating discussions between AIG and offended on my blog all day and all night long, I do have to occasionally leave my house and do normal things like getting my car serviced which is what i am doing now.

    Guys let’s stop with the silly catfights. This is a serious publication for serious people.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 19, 2009, 3:07 pm
  22. In deference to QN’s request, I will refrain from continuing this discussion beyond this comment.

    V, thank you very much, and you’re welcome! (do you have a problem with Syrians?)

    AIG, you obviously didn’t like my satirical comment so you went into an overdrive of lies and putting words into my mouth. How typical!

    Posted by offended | June 19, 2009, 4:09 pm
  23. Just a quick note:

    I am on the road for the next few days, and have only intermittent access to email. This means that I cannot be here to moderate discussions all the time, and if you are a new commenter, it may take a few hours to get your first comment released from moderation.

    As you were…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 19, 2009, 6:06 pm
  24. To all of you ,
    The only difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi is that Ahmadinejad is more respecting of the Mullahs , so please stop thinking that Mousavi is the Thomas Jefferson of Iran , He is not .

    Posted by norman | June 19, 2009, 9:46 pm
  25. …so please stop thinking that Mousavi is the Thomas Jefferson of Iran , He is not


    True. But at least Mousavi had the audacity to stand up to the Mullahs and question the “Supreme Leader’s” authority.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 19, 2009, 11:23 pm
  26. Wow. It didn’t take long for the comments section here to degenerate.

    Guys, why don’t you give a man a break and just exchange emails, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who isn’t interested in reading your tits or tats.


    Posted by sean | June 20, 2009, 3:16 am
  27. This is such brilliant satire on so many levels I feel thankful I encountered it — and what people seem to miss is that the joke works whether or not you think Ahmadinejad won the election, since the targets of the joke are other sham elections.

    Posted by El Cid | June 20, 2009, 4:57 am
  28. I’ve read a million arguments about Azeri voting patterns and various polls and the prevalence of Karroubi vote totals that strart with “seven” and I am not qualified to comment on all that. What I will say is this: if Ahmadinejad just won two thirds of the vote (including winning Tehran), why doesn’t he lead massive counter-rallies? He should be able to assemble one twice as large at Moussavi’s and that would help legitimize him, don’t you think? Instead he hides from public view and sends thugs to beat and kill people.

    On a lighter note, since someone brought up YouTube comments:

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | June 20, 2009, 9:27 am
  29. Something else I’ve thought about. There are increasing numbers of rumors about Basiji who don’t speak Farsi and are presumably Lebanese and Syrians. It would make sense for Ahmadinejad to use them, it’s probably easier to beat up people who aren’t your countrymen and can’t beg in a language you understand. Is it at all plausible that there could be thousands of Lebanese serving in this capacity in Iran right now?

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | June 20, 2009, 9:32 am
  30. A new development in the Iranian crisis:

    @Mousavi1388 I am prepared For martyrdom, go on strike if I am arrested #IranElection

    (through twitter)

    Posted by offended | June 20, 2009, 1:08 pm
  31. I thought this was a cool satire video:

    Posted by offended | June 20, 2009, 1:30 pm
  32. Q. “Is it at all plausible that there could be thousands of Lebanese serving in this capacity in Iran right now?”

    A. Not at all. Considering the nature of the occupier South of our borders, any Lebanese “Basiji” would be indispensable at home and therefore not to be borrowed.

    Posted by PN | June 21, 2009, 3:50 am
  33. I went to a solidarity rally in Boston yesterday. It was mostly Iranian immigrants, with some Iranian Americans and a few sympathizers. Talking to people, it sounds like the NYT/Huffington Post narrative is accurate. Either Rafsanjani makes a successful power play or everyone is screwed.

    Yeah I know, this isn’t quite the thread’s topic. But it seems to have gone adrift a while ago and lacking my own blog I have to put my thoughts here.

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | June 21, 2009, 10:21 am
  34. I got it. I found the answer.

    Let’s make a trade for the betterment of our 2 countries: the USA and Iran.

    We’ll give you the Senate and the House of Representatives, and you give us the Assembly of Experts.

    We need more experts here in the US.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 21, 2009, 5:22 pm
  35. Never realized this place could get so *itchy! But I guess it is the season of high tensions, summer is upon us in the Middle East; never a dull moment in the searing heat.

    In response to Abraham Rotsapsky’s comment about the presence of Lebanese/Syrians amongst the Basij, perhaps unsurprisingly the Jerusalem post reports that these Arab voices on the streets of Tehran are those of Palestinians (i.e. Hamas). Unsurprisingly Hamas deny the claims noting (with some reason) that the Basij are quite capable of taking care of themselves.

    Der Spiegel agrees with Abraham however that 5,000 Lebanese Hizbollah members are participating in the clamp down. Either way it seems that there might be some involvement of Arab speaking peoples in the mix, though Hizbollah militants seems a more likely candidate given that the Basij are expressly defending the revolutionary ideals of the Shiite Islamic state, not something that Hamas aligned families have been particularly keen on since those pre-Kerbala heydays. But take your pick on the culprits, no doubt the Israeli/pro-Zionist media take every chance to spring upon such an opportunity (incidentally the Spectator’s trenchant pro-Zionist Melanie Philips has of course already picked up on it).

    Whatever its veracity the piece from the Jerusalem Post does again reveal the deeply anti-Arab sentiments of most Iranians however, I always thought this was a particular irony of the Iranian-Israeli sangfroid.

    An excerpt of the Jerusalem Post article reads as follows:

    “The most important thing that I believe people outside of Iran should be aware of,” the young man went on, “is the participation of Palestinian forces in these riots.”

    Another protester, who spoke as he carried a kitchen knife in one hand and a stone in the other, also cited the presence of Hamas in Teheran.

    On Monday, he said, “my brother had his ribs beaten in by those Palestinian animals. Taking our people’s money is not enough, they are thirsty for our blood too.”

    It was ironic, this man said, that the victorious Ahmadinejad “tells us to pray for the young Palestinians, suffering at the hands of Israel.” His hope, he added, was that Israel would “come to its senses” and ruthlessly deal with the Palestinians.

    When asked if these militia fighters could have been mistaken for Lebanese Shi’ites, sent by Hizbullah, he rejected the idea. “Ask anyone, they will tell you the same thing. They [Palestinian extremists] are out beating Iranians in the streets… The more we gave this arrogant race, the more they want… [But] we will not let them push us around in our own country.”

    (Full article can be found

    Posted by The Medlar | June 23, 2009, 12:25 pm

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