Sure, it’s possible this photo — from a NYT slideshow on Saturday — momentarily betrays the badass nature of these Iranian riot police. On the other hand, though, is it possible the eye contact (free of anger) with the Moussavi supporter, and the more relaxed look of the soldier in the foreground (is that shirt underneath military issue?) reflective of something else?
Andrew Sullivan has been talking about the Iranian heirarchy’s deployment of special militias and even Hezbollah. And then, there is the question of the role of the Revolutionary Guard and other specialized tactical units.
Clearly, an important facet of this situation has to do with what kind of muscle is being deployed by the government … and with what degree of loyalty/ruthlessness.
(image: Caren Firouz/Reuters. caption: A backer of Mr. Moussavi confronted riot police officers in Tehran. In recent days, Mr. Moussavi’s supporters were predicting a wide victory, citing voter surveys. And Mr. Ahmadinejad, the hard-line incumbent, had appeared on the defensive.)