Can Sunnis avoid “The Huge Blunder of 1979?”

Partly.  Many Sunnis, especially the least educated, still labor under the illusion that “Islam is the Answer” when it comes to government.  After 33 years in hell,  most Iranians would advise otherwise.  The Bad News is that Sunnis too will have to learn the hard way.  The Good News is that Sunnis are unlikely to have to suffer a horror as prolonged or brutal because of critical variables not available to the Iranians in 1979:  

1. The horrific example of Islamist rule in practice (The Taliban, Ansar Al Islam, and the tainted  Islamic Republic of Iran).

Find a better example of “how not to live.”  Together Khamenei and Al Queda did for political Islam what Pol Pot did for communism. 

2. The Turkish counter-model.

Erdogan and Tunisia’s president have not discarded all of political Islam’s authoritarian tendencies but do represent an improvement.  So long as elections remain open and honest, people pressure and economic consequences will in time force such leaders to back off or pay a whopping, highly disruptive, persistent price.  Of course, they could alwas cheat on Election Day but Khamenei showed where that gets you nowadays.

3. The rise of highly effective, stubborn People Power

Until recently it was possible to believe dictators could get away with anything so long as they had a strong conventional armies, savage paramilitary forces and spies everywhere.   Now we all know better.  Demands for human rights and real democracy are never going to disappear.

4. Direct experience with popularity-killing Islamist suicide bombers.

5. Softened Islamist positions in response to the above changes. 

6. The high probability that centrists and reformists will soon dominate the Brotherhood

Reforms and moderation have cause extremists to defect from the Brotherhood and form their own Salafist parties.  Long-time conservatives can still put a guy like Morsi in power for now but for how much longer?.  Meanwhile, to remain politically viable and keep the base from shrinking further such men cannot afford to alienate the growing reformist faction, or damage vulerable economies, or scare off secularists or tolerate Salafi violence.   


Potential Salafist political appeal and their ability to find allies is limited.  On election days Salafist benefit from Gulf-financed charities that allow them to pose as “good guys.”   One problem is that it is hard for such parties to control rogue elements, especially when politically frustrated.   Militias are as natural to Salafis as water is to fish.  Extremists cannot restrain themselves from social policing. thuggery toward minorities, violence, threats and property damage.  All of which hurts the economy and frightens voters off.  

On the face of it Salafis and the Brotherhood look like natural allies. However for the Brotherhood, the drawback of allying with Salifi extremists even for short run gains are self-evident.  Going against history tides, the Brotherhood would return to where it started.  Political longetivity requires evolution and reform even if the party eventually becomes as Islamist as Germany’s Christian Democratic Party is Christian.  To cite a non-political example, what would severe Puritains who founded Harvard make of the school today?


Meet Iranian Singles

Iranian Singles

Recipient Of The Serena Shim Award

Serena Shim Award
Meet your Persian Love Today!
Meet your Persian Love Today!