The complications of Iran

The complications of Iran
: Via Glenn Reynolds, here’s a good roadmap of Iran’s factions, written by an Iranian, echoing the cautions I have been reading in other Iranian weblogs for a few months now. This post warns: Do no support or get anywhere near the MKO (see more posts on this yesterday). Do not support the monarchists (haven’t we been there already?). And take with a grain of salt NITV’s credit-taking for the popular movement now rising up in Iran:

Iran doesn’t need external opposition groups. There are good and brave people aplenty in Iran. There are the ones you can see, in the streets. And there are the ones you can’t see, who have been fighting the mullahs while the rest of us were going about our business. They are in the jails and this is their revolution.

That is the theme of every Iranian weblog I have read and it can all be summarized in three little words: Do not invade.

Which got me to wondering this morning whether we meant it when we said we wanted a popular uprising to topple Saddam. I’ll bet we did, but a cynic would say that we didn’t want that because (1) we would not have had control of next steps in Iraq, (2) Iraq would have been out of control and could have quickly come under the sway of religious fanatics and even civil war, (3) we pushed Iraqis to revolt before, didn’t support them, and didn’t want to find ourselves making that mistake again, and (4) the people were not capable of toppling Saddam without help.

That was Iraq. This is Iran. The situation is different. Our history is different. In Iran, we are clearly better off if democracy is a domestic product and if we are able to provide appropriate support.