Commentary I left, posted as-is at Hot Air:
Why won’t Iran go the way of HAMAS or Hezbollah?
Because they are being brought in to fight the Iranian people. Reports of non-Iranian Arabs taking part to assist the Baseej will leave a very, very bad taste in the mouths of those standing up to be counted. They are getting first hand experience of what going that route means: they are already at its end-point and will suffer horribly if they don’t reject them. Do remember that Hezbollah is a foreign legion of Iran, funded by Iran, led by Iranian trained leaders, and willing to fight and die for the regime. Hezbollah has grown out of control since its establishment, taking part in the narcotics trade and other black market venues, it is very possible that a turnover in the regime in Iran will cripple Hezbollah in Lebanon, but leave its other units able to get by on local resources. That was Mugniyah’s method of operation for decades before he was finally taken out. The regime now has safe havens to go to if Iran falls from the inside.
Secondly, Iran is one of the great, old civilizations in the ME and that matters to them: just as it matters in Iraq, Syria and Egypt. It is a deeply civil people who have demonstrated far more control of themselves than your typical Leftists at any WTO meeting. As Paine said it was civility which held the colonies together when things went bad, and Iran demonstrates that point, yet again. A deeply civil people will put up with abusive government until their government gets as bad or worse than having no government. Remember your basics on the self-evident truths: they apply to Iranians, too, as they are humans no matter how inhuman their leaders are.
Third is the unasked Ayatollah: Ali al-Sistani in Iraq. For decades he was the center of resistance to Saddam, and yet he walked in not to create a Mullahocracy, much to the disappointment of the Council in Iran, but to support a multi-party, multi-ethnic, multi-religion State. al Sadr lost when he lost the support of Sistani back in 2005-06, and Sistani tried to correct al Sadr and warned him not to do what he did *then*. Sistani has not commented on Iran, that I’ve seen though I still have to check, and his silence is demonstration that he means what he says… it is possible to get a representative democracy going in a majority Islamic State and *still* have other religions and ethnicities present and have a say in how to run things. That is one ancient civilization speaking to another on common ground. When Sistani walked from Iran, he turned his back on the regime and they dared not kill him for that. Sistani speaks by being alive and carrying through his outlook and beliefs, he has no need to talk about it as he has done the deeds he said he would do.
Last and not least there are reports of splintering in the IRGC and splinter groups calling on the Army to help. The Army said it would not intervene, save if external States threatened Iran. Ahmedinajad is in Russia… and gets support from Putin… Russia went through two Revolutions in 1917 and know that a conscript Army will back the people. Returning troops from the front did just that. So Putin backs the dinnerjacket. Foreign support… and if a Russian ‘advisor’ or two shows up, or Russia does some minor token of ‘help’… well I can add that up. Russia looks to repay the dinnerjacket for reneging on the contracts Russia had with Iran and not paying Russia for the work it did. Putin no more trusts the regime in Iran than the West does, but for different reasons. Wouldn’t that be a nice gift to the regime? A revolution because you didn’t stick to your contracts…
The only worrying thought on the last are reports the PKK has been attacked in Iran, not out of the ordinary for ordinary times… but these are not ordinary times in Iran. Provocation, perhaps, by the Baseej and others? Possibly. If the banner of Revolution is raised, then things will get very, very interesting in the ethnic enclaves as the Army will not leave a people in Revolution to go after the non-Persian minorities, since they are to defend their OWN people.
We live in interesting times.
Indeed we do... very interesting times.
Most commentators miss the larger movement of the ancient cultures: they speak to each other in a language not carried by their voices, but by their actions, and have done so since the first mud brick cities were created in the region.
I throw Russia in because Putin does have a mean streak in him: no need to look for his soul through his eyes, his actions speak for him, too. The people of the ME know that, just like they know each other.
And what will the Kurds, Azeris and Baluchs do? Inquiring minds want to know.
No matter where a Revolution starts it gains its own dynamic, its own timing and figures often become figureheads. I don't trust Mousavi for his past track record, but then he has never had to live with this sort of mass uprising against a regime he helped to put in place... and where it ends spells his own fate if he doesn't do something different. And when you have run out of authoritarianism and totalitarianism, more liberty is left as a default unless you really do like the return of warlords and the vaporization of society. The Mullahs might like that last, Mousavi, no matter how brutal, does not appear to be that kind of man this late in life.
The word Revolution now hangs in the air in Tehran and all Iran.
If you thought the past few days were a lot, then you ain't seen nothing yet.