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The popular uprising unfolding in Iran right now really is remarkable. It is the rarest of rare things — more rare than snow in Saudi Arabia, more unlikely than finding a ham sandwich at the Wailing Wall, more unusual than water-skiing in the Sahara. It is a popular uprising in a Middle Eastern oil state.
Why is this so unusual? Because in most Middle East states, power grows out of the barrel of a gun and out of a barrel of oil — and that combination is very hard to overthrow.
Oil is a key reason that democracy has had such a hard time emerging in the Middle East, except in one of the few states with no oil: Lebanon. Because once kings and dictators seize power, they can entrench themselves, not only by imprisoning their foes and killing their enemies, but by buying off their people and using oil wealth to build huge internal security apparatuses.
There is only one precedent for an oil-funded autocrat in the Middle East being toppled by a people’s revolution, not by a military coup, and that was in ... Iran.
I am rooting for them and fearing for them. Any real moderation of Iran’s leadership would have a hugely positive effect on the Middle East. But we and the reformers must have no illusions about the bullets and barrels they are up against.
mos6507 wrote:It would be nice to see an Orange Revolution in Iran, but I really think this is gonna blow over in a couple weeks and that will be that.
The only thing I can say is that I think there probably wouldn't have been as much support for moderate candidates if McCain were president. Iran has backed itself into a corner with the international community and Obama provides iran with a face-saving way out that never would have been possible with Bush or McCain. That's got to start looking appealing to the average Iranian who is seeing their quality of life steadily degrade.
rangerone314 wrote:Assuming the protestors don't give up soon, this is going to end one way: Tiennenman square...
mos6507 wrote:rangerone314 wrote:Assuming the protestors don't give up soon, this is going to end one way: Tiennenman square...
If that's the way it ends, then we'll be rewarding Iran with most favored nation trading status.
Plantagenet wrote:Mousavi could abandon the nutty Holocaust denial and anti-semitism of the current regime....
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