Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Point To Keep in Mind When Watching Rebellions/Revolts/Instability in Third World Dictatorships

By Barry Rubin

When there is massive instability or a rebellion, the dictator calls out the army

But if the army lose confidence in him and think he is going to drag him down, too, they call out the dictator.

This is what happened in Tunisia.

That's what didn't happen in Iran (1978-1979) and Iraq (1988-2003), hence a revolution in the former case and an external overthrow of the regime in the other. In both cases, most of the armed forces' officer class lost everything. Perhaps, the Tunisian event (starts as mass protests, ends as military coup) is a reflection of that experience. Keep that in mind regarding Egypt when Gamal Mubarak becomes president there.

By the way, remember that, as Wikileaks showed, the State Department diplomats on the scene correctly predicted the Tunisian upheaval. They deserve credit for that.

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