Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bitter End of a Dream

February 11th is the anniversary of the Iranian revolution. It also happens to be the date when the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned, just some weeks after his Tunisian counterpart Bin Ali. And he does not seem to be the last one, the observers are already feverishly arguing about who will be next. On Saturday, February 12th people were protested in Algeria, February 14th in Iran. People begun to move also in Yemen, Jordan, Lybia and other places all over the Middle East.

The events of recent weeks not only signed the end of a part of the dictatorships in the region, but also the end of a great, utopian dream: the dream of the Islamic Republic of Iran to export their revolution to the region.

The new Islamic government in Iran after the Revolution of 1979 took over the country in very good condition. The infrastructure and industry was already built and on high technological level and the conuntry was an important economic and military power. The continued inflow of petrodollars from the often artificially skyrocketing prices gave Iran a unique opportunity: despite the eight-year war with Iraq, the Iranian government has managed to build a network of "branches" in most Muslim countries in the region, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, in Iraq, or SCIRI (Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq). The task of these organizations were ideological and armed attacks against U.S. and Western values and ideas such as secularism and, of course, against Israel. These organizations sought to discredit the country's rulers as incompetent puppets and servants of the West (which often may not be far from the truth), trying to offer people an alternative in the establishment of an Islamic government.

Iran with its aggressive rhetoric against the U.S. and Israel, trying to build nuclear capabilities and the constant boasting of "independent" technical progress, tried to attract the Muslim lands under its wing. It was not important, that apart from Lebanon and Iraq, these were mostly Sunni countries. The fight against the Great Satan and Israel should be enough to unite all Muslims against the common enemy. At the beginning they succeeded. Ahmadinejad was extremely popular in Muslim countries because of its confrontational rhetoric against the U.S. and Israel.

When the Tunisian president was toppled, and the Egyptians refused to build a pyramid to the last pharaoh - Mubarak, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad rushed to shout their thesis that these revolutions were inspired by the Iranian revolution of 1979, it was Tunisians and Egyptians fight for "freedom" against Western oppression.

But maybe they hardly believe themselves. Or they desperately want to believe.

During the most tumultuous days in Egypt, the major foreign news sites that mediated the news and footage of riots in Tunisia and Egypt were blocked or obstructed in Iran..

If the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are so much inspired by the 1979 "Islamic revolution" of Iran, why the regime is so afraid of showing them?

Already at first glance it is clear that the role of Islamists in these revolutions was rather marginal. They were popular uprisings. It is evident that they resemble the Iranian revolution in its early days, when against the Shah different factions fought side by side, workers, intellectuals, communists and Islamists, who eventually usurped the revolution for themselves.

Several days ago representatives of the "Green" reform movement, asked for permission to demonstrate on Monday 25th of Bahman (February 14th ) to express solidarity with the Tunisians and Egyptians. Of course, they never got an official permission. The call did not spread just via Facebook, people wrote on walls, buses and banknotes, which are a very popular way to spread information in Iran. They handed out leaflets and stickers and stuck posters on walls in all major cities.

The people found the courage to come out into the streets, and the demonstration was again severely suppressed.

The main thing is that Khamenei proclaimed "the right of Egyptians and Tunisians to freedom. "

Khamenei and the official propaganda say that the Middle Eastern and North African countries yearn for Islamist rule. People who overestimate the support for extremist movements in those countries are of the same opinion.

None of this happened so far. Even the Muslim Brotherhood itself rebuked his statement.

In the summer of 2009 all the Tunisians and Egyptians could see clearly what kind of "freedom" an Islamic regime can offer. It discredited itself without any need of help: shooting people on the streets, torturing and raping detainees. If we admit that Tunisians and Egyptians were inspired by Iran, it was rather the Green movement of 2009, rather than the Islamic of 1979. It remains to hope that people will not lose common sense to leave the control to the Islamists, and the current U.S. government will be sufficiently weak and confused to quickly installed their puppet out there, a new dictator of Mubarak's kind: "no matter what doing, important, that he is our friend. "

The time when Islamist factions could win by violence are apparently gone. In the last thirty years, even in the Middle East has changed a lot. Progress can not be stopped, we no longer live at the time of the pyramids, or in times of bloodthirsty invaders waving their swords around. Egyptians and Tunisians know that they need to maintain friendship with the world. To whom could they otherwise show their pyramids and beaches?

And what about Iran? Probably it will have to wake up to the cold reality. It seems that all that its work and investment in the export of Islamic revolution was quite... a waste of time.

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