The LA Times has an article about the emerging showdown between the next round of the confrontation between the Iranian regime and the opposition on the 22nd of Bahman (February 11), the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution.  See link.  In recent days the regime has tried to decapitate the opposition with executions, arrests and attempts to suggest that opposition Presidential candidates Mousavi and Karroubi had conceded defeat.  But as previously noted the strength (and weakness) of the Iranian protests is the absence of a leader whose removal will demoralize the protesters.  While the regime has not hesitated to use batons and occasionally bullets to disperse the crowds, it has not yet brought (or has been unable to bring) tanks on the streets to decisively crush the opposition like the Syrians did at Hama and the Chinese did at Tiananmen.  Till then the world can draw inspiration from the dogged protesters in the street and hope that the men with the guns will have a change of heart.

Meanwhile neocons are still equally dogged in their determination to bomb Iran, however pointless and self-defeating the attack will be.  See link to the latest by Daniel Pipes. Also see link.  One of the lines of attack seems to be to keep referring to the Iranian regime as “apocalyptic” even though since its inception the Iranian regime has been ruthlessly pragmatic in its primary goal – survival.  A regime allegedly rooted in Islam has even given itself the right to suspend Sharia law in the interests of the state (a marked difference from the Saudis and the Taliban).  Even North Korea, whose actions are significantly more irrational and unpredictable, has demonstrated that nuclear weapons are primarily being used as a deterrent.  There seems little evidence (other than verbal broadsides) that the Iranian regime with its lust for power and keen eye for survival would not do the same.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the latest Juan Cole column about the scaremongering and hyperbole that American policy makers (Hillary Clinton) and neo-con pundits keep coming up with to inflate the military threat from militarily weak third world countries.  When Barack Obama pointed out this fact in the 2008 eight presidential campaign, that Iran is hardly the existential threat that the Soviet Union was he was pilloried for it.  Here is one blogger who is glad that the occupant of the White House has the ability to keep things in perspective.

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