Top 10 Reasons Egyptian Revolution Has Been More Successful Than Iran's

Will Iran embark on the road to liberty soon now that Egypt has seemingly done so? I think--or at least I hope--that it is only a matter of time. But I also think if  Iran had led the way, we'd still be waiting--for a long time. Here are ten reasons why Egypt was a better trailblazer than Iran would have been for freedom and political reform in the Middle East.

The following list is compiled based on an interview given to the Council on Foreign Relations by Vali Nasr of Tufts University (see interview below).

1. The Iranian revolution in the late 1970's took 18 months, while Egypt's took only 18 days. Had the Shah left as quickly as Mubarak, Iran might today look a lot more like Egypt.

2. During the late '70s, Iran's military dissolved, whereas Egypt's military filled the governance void, helping to maintain stability.

3. Iran coalesced around a very popular religious leader, Khomeini, who had been a popular dissident for quite some time, where Egypt has no comparable figure.

4. Iran has Marxist/Leninists, which split the fervor of the protests, whereas the Egyptian body politic has a much more common goal.

5. Egypt had sudden burst of protests with large numbers of people, catching the regime off guard. Iran's protests took longer to gather steam and were never as emphatic.



6. 97% of Egyptians live on 3% of land--a far higher population density than in Iran--giving the Egyptian military far less ability to infiltrate and disburse large crowds.

7. The Iranian regime was able to mobilize its supporters much more effectively than the Egyptian government.

8. While Egypt was surprised by such a large spontaneous demonstration, Iran has experience with such things. The Iranian government has developed strong counter tactics based on lessons learned from mistakes of losing control during student protests of 1999 and during celebrations after the Iranian soccer team qualified for World Cup.

9. The Iranian government was much more successful at appealing to segments of the protesters in order to divide the opposition, whereas Egyptian protesters maintained a high degree of solidarity.

10. In Iran, those seen as leaders of the protest movement were not interested in regime change, as has clearly been the case in Egypt; instead Iran's protest leaders only wanted regime reform.

Comments

  1. It seems a bit early to judge the Egyptian revolution a success. They are currently being ruled by the military, a corrupt remnant of the Mubarak regime. Last reports I've seen are that the military is beginning to crack down on the protestors and reject their demands to rid the government of Mubarak cronies.

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