#1 Strength in numbers: In countries like Iran, there is strength in numbers, even if most citizens are unarmed. Like most totalitarian kleptocracies in the Middle East, the Iranian government keeps tabs on citizens through the use of citizen-spies. Neighbors are encouraged to inform on neighbors. This security infrastructure tends to fall apart when entire neighborhoods are so outraged by government crimes, they all march together in protest.
#2 Where is Ahmadinejad? The Russians aren’t as gullible as we are – when they bribe their flunkies they actually expect to see results. When they don’t see results, unproductive flunkies tend to disappear.
When the “most powerful man in Iraq”, Russian/Iranian flunky Moqtaqua al Sadr, failed to perform as expected, he wound up comatose in an Iranian hospital, being treated by “Iranian specialists, as well as by Russian doctors” for a food poisoning attack. Afterwards, he withdrew from public life and devoted his time to studying the Koran. Disorganized and leaderless, his formerly formidable army soon fell.
Ahmadinejad may be following the same path. From the Russia Blog:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who won an election last week that various opposition groups both inside and outside the country believe was rigged, was scheduled to appear at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit on Monday in the Urals city of Yekaterinberg. Ahmadenijad first delayed his appearance to deal with the unrest back home, then showed up to issue a defiant anti-U.S. statement, then promptly returned to Iran. Anyone Googling media accounts of the summit could come away quite confused about the whereabouts of the Iranian leader.
#3 The historic and profound bravery of the Iranian people – most “realist” power brokers and politicians react to this kind of popular uprising with a mixture of confusion and fear. Even some leaders who are supposed to support democracy are tongue tied. It’s a sign that their hold on power is never certain – who knows what will happen if this idea spreads? Ahmadinejad may be frightened, but Master of the Universe wannabes like the members of our State Department, Vlad Putin and Saudi King Abdullah must be shaking in their boots. If protests continue, most ‘realists’ will probably push for reconciliation in an effort to make the whole nightmare go away.