The parallel between the fall of the Colonel Gaddafi to a possible future confrontation between the Iranian regime and large parts of its own disenfranchised population.
Shortly after the Egyptian people stood together in their thousands in solidarity in Tahrir Square in Cairo, where they showed their unity and opposition to the Mubarak regime instigating its downfall something quite different happened in neighbouring Libya. The aged, senile dictator Muammar Gaddafi had ordered his air force to strafe Benghazi, the main hub of opposition to his rule. Two Libyan pilots clearly showing a lot of guts and initiative diverted their French made Mirage F-1 jets and flew to Malta in a dramatic defection, which they undertook to avoid slaughtering their fellow countrymen. Gaddafi had made it clear that he would go to any lengths to preserve his rule, even if it meant going to war against a large proportion of his countries population.
That was by all means a civil war, and given Libya's longstanding regional and tribal divisions when Gaddafi's tinpot rule finally capitulates we may not see a fully united Libya, (or even a stable one). This is another thing that distinguishes this situation from the one in Iran (I can't see even the Revolutionary Guards Air Corps strafing protesters with their 'Frogfoot' attack planes as a means of crushing democratic insurrection anytime soon). Furthermore unlike Tripoli (which remained relatively calm until the rebels arrival earlier this week) Tehran is the centre of not only the present regime, but also a hefty amount of the countries many youthful democrats.
Also Iran unlike the regions tinpot dictatorships didn't immediately dispatch tanks and other forms of lethal force to crush the people when they amassed in opposition to the regimes authoritarian rule, but instead employed brute baton wielding Basij thugs as a forms of crushing said insurrection, these tactics were eerily reminiscent to Israel's earlier attempts to subvert the Palestinian masses during the onset of what is now known historically as the First Intifada.
The regime clearly has no intention of signing its death warrant in the same manner that the last Shah did, the manner in question being the use of live ammunition as a means of suppressing the masses democratic aspirations.
The Iranian system and society is gradually metamorphosing into a secular democracy, demographically this is the countries destiny, and the present powers that be know their time is limited and are acting accordingly. But they're still treating citizens in a condescendingly childlike manner which reeks of utter contempt for principals such as individual freedom and freedom of expression. They treat their people with such contempt while adopting a zero tolerance policy towards criticism or public scrutiny towards their authoritarian rule. And furthermore subjecting those who don't conform to rape and torture is a very violent and paranoid way of conducting internal affairs. And now this rapidly declining and deteriorating regime is doing its utmost to assemble a nuclear weapon in which to use to intimidate its neighbours and elbow its way into broader regional affairs in its characteristically thuggish self-pitiful and self-indulgent righteous manner.
Even in an educated country like Iran steeped as it is in thousands of years of civilization will be further held back development wise by a regime whose domestic policies include the suppression of many the talents of its females. A regime that sneers at the educated and intellectuals of the country who are neither forced into exile or imprisoned for having the audacity to speak out against their policies; which have made one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations of the past a backward social pariah in the 21st century. One which is slowly declining to a state of beggary. It can be safely bet that the clerical rulers will utilize such conditions to lay the blame on western imperialism, Zionism and the Crusaders (or as I like to refer to them all as; the usual suspects).
And as with all totalitarian systems, when the states industry and economy grinds to a halt the loyal thugs that make up the paramilitary forces, the ones that have been indoctrinated ideologically wise will fight until the bitter end, even if it means shattering their own state and its people in the process.
The regime at present is gradually building itself up to reach the point where Gaddafi is now, where most of the people it presides over are liabilities, as their willingness to pursue democratic change is a direct threat to the regimes firm grip on the status quo. Therefore conflict between the fascistic elements of the regime and the aspiring and maturing Iranian democrats is only inevitable. And civilization and the idea of international human rights and justice will themselves be only abstract and wishful ideas in an international community that should rightfully be ashamed of itself if it lets such a grotesque outcome transpire in Persia.
P.S. In the 2010 Democracy Index carried out by The Economist both Iran and Libya were listed as authoritarian regimes. Both of which scored exactly 1.94 out of 10.00 (Norway got the highest with 9.80 and North Korea scored the lowest with 1.08).
Editor’s Note: Paul Iddon is one of the authors of Uskowi on Iran. His weekly columns appear here on Wednesdays.