From Enduring America:
One year ago the protests started, and in the last week alone new towns and cities have joined the uprising. Protests today were large, defiant, and were in every area of the country. Even Aleppo and Damascus are now host to regular protests, and the areas around these citties are opposition strongholds. Even forcing government workers to attend pro-government rallies cannot net Assad the large crowds of support that he once enjoyed. More people are joining the protests, and more people who are not in the opposition are refusing to speak up in support of the government.
The violence is not working. The opposition is not going anywhere. The debate about how to end this crisis rages, but the crowds are undeterred. Without intervention, next Friday there will be huge protests in nearly every area of Syria. A month from now, with our without intervention, that will not change. Will it change in 6 months? In 12? In 18? The protests have only a single trend – with every passing month, more people die, and more people join the Syrian uprising.
This is the fact that most analysis overlooks. No matter what the international community does, until Bashar al Assad is out of power there will be protests. And unless foreign nations stop him, Assad will continue to shoot and arrest the protesters. This is the cycle that will not end anytime soon.
REGARDING MY OPENING QUESTION:
Khamenei will never allow the IRI to evolve into a more democratic, humane and prosperous society through reform. The regime is more extreme than ever and its discredited, rigged elections offer no way out. Unless someone of the stature of Khoumeini’s grandson can save the day by winning the presidency next year, Iranians would seem to have only two choices.
#1: Resign themselves to living with tyranny, isolation and further Saudi-ization.
Indiviudals who find that impossible to endure may seek escape via emigration, suicide or drugs. Emigration is preferable, but the world will hardly accept tens of millions of fleeing Iranians, no matter how talented.
#2: Follow the Syrian example and hope the outside world will intervene in limit slaughter.
Iranians are an intelligent, talented and brave people who deserve better. It seems to me they are worse off at present that the Syrian people were when the first demonstrations began there. Why have they tolerated it?
Do you see any third alternative?