READING THE RITING ON THE WALL
I would like to thank Riting on the Wall
for adding Zenpundit to their blogroll. It's a thoughtful site; here's a sample:
"why have more hope for iran than your average middle eastern country?
simple. they've figured out schizophrenic politics.
ok, not simple.
by no stretch of the imagination are all iranians duly and accurately represented in any sort of power-proportionate manner in the government. that is, some people's views are way, way better represented than others', while a few are left out entirely. this is not an ideal situation. i could note that truly power-proportionate representation doesn't exist anywhere for any number of reasons, but at least grant me that iran is further off than western democracies.
however, it's also considerably more representative than most countries in the middle east, especially the former iraqi regime and the existing pseudo-totalitarian states (like saudi arabia). while that's not a huge accomplishment, it does point to the fact that there's something fundamentally different in a state that allows internal and public opposition within the regime and even a limited seperation of powers from, say, an absolute monarchy or a totalitarian ba'athist dictatorship where opinion is set by decree and expected to be propogated as absolute.
following iranian politics casually can be frustrating for this reason, too. not only is there a fairly (relatively) wide variety of of opinions coming from both official and unofficial sources (unlike jordan or syria), but the opinions don't really fit neatly on an axis (unlike egypt). it's totally possible to get reactions from khamenei, khatami and rafsanjani that are completely unrelated (that is, not two "poles" and a middle ground); they are coming at reality from such radically different angles that they can't be idealized and slotted in to fixed categories. factor in more radical elements and you'll have no clue what "iran thinks".
which is good. if you can look at a country and automatically see where, as a whole, it's headed, then it lacks a vibrant political life (ie: kazakhstan).
iran, on the other hand, is confusing, speaking from all sorts of angles that cannot be simultaneously held: schizophrenia.
at least there's a reason to hope."
And he's right.