If people unite

Libya's lesson for Syrians and Iranians


If people unite
by Ramin Jahanbegloo

When future generations look back, they will remember 2011 as the year of the end of dictators in the Middle East and the Maghreb. Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi appears to have now joined the Middle East parade of despots rejected by an uprising. Practically nine months after Tunisia’s President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted after 23 years of authoritarian rule and the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power by a few weeks of protests in Tahrir Square, Qaddafi is at the end of his reign after 42 years of dictatorship.

The year, 2011, could indeed be considered the starting point of a paradigm shift in the Middle East that will bring the downfall of the remaining despots in the region while restructuring the way energy resources are priced and supplied around the globe.

However positive regime change may be in the longer term, the short-term social and political consequences are likely to be quite challenging. It goes without saying that the overthrow of dictatorial regimes in the Maghreb and the Middle East will have proven easy compared to the difficult and uncertain establishment of secular and democratic governments.

So far, the remaining authoritarian regimes in the region such as Iran and Syria have sought to insulate themselves from an Egypt-like scenario. They continue to practice a high degree of violence against their opposition, believing they can hold onto power as long as they succeed in terrorizing their citizens.

As we’ve seen in recent months, that tried-and-true strategy that has worked for decades no longer does. Yet, since they have no other option, these regimes nonetheless brutally pursue it.

Mr. Qaddafi, Mr. Mubarak, Mr. Ben Ali, Syria's Bashar al-Assad, and those like them have long professed to be the beloved leaders of their people while holding their people by their throats. They have all shared two characteristics: the use of extreme violence against dissidents and protesters and unfulfilled promises. However, if there is one thing history teaches us, especially of late, it is that there is a limit to sheer brutality practiced by a despot against his people. In the end, a dictator cannot jail, execute, or exile such an enormous number of his people while also inspiring loyalty.

Now that the challenge to Qaddafi’s regime is coming to an end with a violent uprising that forced a long-ruling autocrat out of power, all other dictators in the region will certainly undertake their own risk assessments and try to adopt strategies to reduce their vulnerability to a similar scenario.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Assad and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards can manage to continue terrorizing their fellow citizens extensively enough to win a chance of dying in their own bed. Leaving aside wishful thinking, what is certain is that the Syrian and Iranian regimes, even though they have lost their moral and political legitimacy, are doubling their efforts to crush and fragment civic actors precisely in order not to end up like Egypt or, now, Libya.In doing so, they have created enormous obstacles to the nonviolent transition in these countries.

Nonetheless, ending the reign of terror in Syria and Iran is not totally blocked if the formerly cowed citizenry takes up their own collective responsibility, as they did in Libya, to end human rights abuses. However painful it might be to admit, the time is long past for “dictator containment” by an international community that seeks to guide leadership succession and create a space for moderate autocrats.

Democracy promotion from outside is simply not practical or effective as long as the people are not willing to band together and, at the risks and costs to their own lives, to shake off the fear and depose their dictators. As Machiavelli said, “Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.”

Dictators like Qaddafi, who had long professed to love his people while cultivating an image of himself as a father figure feared by his children, have proved to be fooling only themselves. The truth is that at the end, dictators are neither loved nor feared. Sooner, if not later, that same truth will visit Syria and Iran.

First published in csmonitor.com

Ramin Jahanbegloo is Associate Professor in Political Science and Research Fellow at Centre for Ethics at University of Toronto >>> jahanbegloo.com



معلومه که وسط دعوا حلوا خیرات نمیکنند


معلومه که وسط دعوا حلوا خیرات نمیکنند ! بدیهی است که در جنگ دو طرف باید بکشند، کشته بشوند و هر کاری از دستشان بر میآید بکنند . میدان جنگ که جلسه بحث های کتابی و روشنفکری نیست .


مهم این است که یکی بیاید قضاوت کند این شورش و بمباران شش ماهه لیبی توسط بزرگترین و مجهز ترین ارتشهای دنیا به پیشرفت و رفاه  بیشتر مردم لیبی می انجام یا برعکس ؟ خرج ناتو و ویرانی های به جا مانده را کی و از کدام منبع باید بدهد ؟   ناتو خیر سر مردم لیبی یا حقوق بشر اینهمه بمباران کرد ؟ آیا سرنگونی  بن علی ، مبارک ، قذافی و علی صالح یمنی و غیره از بین بردن تتمه نیروهای ملی و وفادار به میهن خود نیست ؟

  آیا نمیتوان دید روند طولانی مدتی که با سقوط ذولفقار علی بوتو در پاکستان شروع و اولین جمهوری اسلامی پدید آمد و بعد ایران و بیست سال بعد هم در عراق و افغانستان و به نوعی ترکیه پیاده شد ، حالا آمده سراغ مصر و یمن و لیبی و سوریه و بقیه  و میخواهد کل دولت های منطقه  را به لباس خلیفه گری آراسته کند ؟


بحث بی پایان بر سر اینکه اون چن تا کشت این چند تا ، چه جوری شکنجه کرد  ، کدام بیرحم ترند  ، فلان خبرنگار یا تحلیل گر اسم و رسم دار چی گفت یا نگفت و غیره  ممکن است برای ارضای احساسات شخصی و سرگرمی و یا وقت گذرانی مفید باشد ولی برای آینده ملت ایران هیچ ارزشی ندارد .

هر کجا هستیدخوش و خرم باشید 

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

"[Syrian and Iranian regimes] have created enormous obstacles to the nonviolent transition in these countries." jahanbegloo, august 2011

"...nonviolence is the best means to achieve social and political transformation in iran.  the use of arms reduces the probability of success." jahanbegloo, april 2011. 



really?  mr. jahanbegloo, has at any point (in the past 30+ years) iri changed its brutal strategy toward dissent?

Darius Kadivar

Human Rights Watch: Evidence on Gaddafi's Atrocities assessed

by Darius Kadivar on

Slowly but surely, atrocities committed by the Gaddafi regime are being uncovered. In the week and more since Libyan rebels entered Tripoli, horror stories of human rights violations have been emerging. The UN's rights body (OHCHR) says it is extremely alarmed by the reports of mass killings.






"intelectuals with their hearts in right place"!

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

Madison: Do you realise that you are only proving the falacy of your arguments?

You chose an  intellectual's (Noam Chomsky)'s quotes to justify you rather confused arguement against what is essentially a popular revolt in Lybia against the corrupt, murderus despotism of gaddafi, despite all it's accepoted shortcomings (that's revolution for you baby, revolutions are not polite tea parties, people get hurt badly in the process of revolutions!!!). I throw back at you the counter arguement by Prof. Juan cole, who is very close in his thoughts to chomsky. Then you brush it aside because you feel "his heart is not in the right place"!!!

Really, what incredible line of debate!!!!

What is differentiating your line of thought from those who followed the intellectual ali shariati all the way to the islamist republic of hell because "his heart was in the right place"??? I tell you, nothing absolutely nothing. I see no traces of independent thinking in your debate. Thus you have blinded your eyes to realities, because they dont fit your vision of what this world should be...

Before I leave this debate for work, I like to thank you for giving me a chance to put my point of view forward. Please dont take any offence in my line of direct communication as no offence is meant. I am only inviting you to start thinking for yourself, independent of what your political idols want you to think...........


"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


On Libya

by Madison on

How can we know the truth about the war in Tripoli after August 22?
The jornalists in Tripoli, threatend to death by NTC armed gangs, were evacuated by the Red Cross.

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky has been following the Libya war:

Mr. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya was reporting from Tripoli until August 22.

In these times we have to dear our few intelletuals left with the heart on the right place.
Those advocating the Libya war and call it a revolution don't have a clue what the word means. Most of them are servants of the empires while others stay silent when war crimes take place by US and NATO.
They reveal their true nature and leave toward the trash can of the history one by one.


Dear "Madison"; get your story right first, please........

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

On Lybia: 

"The secret of the uprising’s final days of success lay in a popular revolt in the working-class districts of the capital, which did most of the hard work of throwing off the rule of secret police and military cliques" 


clearly, Lybia situation is very different from your "Irak" situation, although you are working very hard to link the two using a couple of out of context quotes  from the poor old Noam Chomsky.

You are right on the nature of Islamist regime and how it gained power. But that was easy, even I knew it.  To give you a pass mark, you need to answer this question:

"How do we get rid of this vile islamist form of fascism in Iran"

BTW, I just love your name :)

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


مقاله ron paul 


مقاله ron paul  نماینده مجلس آمریکا را مشتاقان بهار عربی هم اگر مایلند بخوانند تا بهتر بفهمند چه میگویند و چه میکنند ؟



it is difficult to imagine

by sparrowlake on

it is difficult to imagine "secular" in these societies. That implies religious freedom, and Iraq has failed miserably as has every other Mideast country.  Failure here ultimately means the return of tyranny


درسهای لیبی و مبارزه بی خشونت

Aladin Katoor

در حقیقت این مقاله که برای روزنامه ساینس کرسسشن مانیتور نوشته شده بود ماهیت آقای جهانبگلو را روشن ساخت. مردی که لباس نهروی میپوشید و تبلیغ سیاست بدون خشونت می کرد و با ظاهری گاندی وار به ذاهدی وارسته می ماند

اما تصرف لیبی توسط کسانی صورت گرفت که خشن تر و عقب افتاده تر از خلف خود قذافی بودند. صحنه قتل عام پایتخت لیبی از صحنه ها حذف شد تا کسی از کشته شدن صدها سیاه پوست و افراد بیگناهی که در بیمارستانی قتل عام شدندخبر دار نشوند.

از همه مهمتر دخالت خارجی بود که تا سالهل لیبی و منابع نفتی آن را بتاراج خواهد برد.تصرف لیبی بدین گونه یکی از خشن .ترین و فاجعه بار ترین وقایعی بود که این کشور را سالها به عقب برد و زیربناهای آن را بمباران و نابود کرد. این افغانیزه کردن لیبی همانا در غلتیدن بدامان جنگ سالاران قبایل بدوی و اربابان خارجی آنان بود. خیانت پیشگی اینکه چنین سرنوشتی را برای ایران آرزو داشت

این لباس نهروی به اندازه لباسای قذافی مسخره است بهتر است به همان کت و شلوار قناعت کنید و یخه خود را چون بقیه به کراواتی آراسته. 


vildmose: here is a typical IRI official for you!

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

He just scapes, faced with danger!

he knows darn well, that if  syrian people get hold of him, he'd be cut into pieces alive!

his next scape will be from Tehran.


"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Iran replaces ambassador in Syria who quit his post

by vildemose on

Iran has appointed a new ambassador to Syria to replace Ahmad Mousavi, who decided to quit his post amid growing popular protests against President Bashar Al Assad and his rule.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Saturday named Mohammadreza Raouf Sheybani to replace Mr. Mousavi. Mr. Sheybani was the former deputy at the Foreign Ministry’s Islamic Republic Middle East department.

Iranian embassy staff have vacated their homes in Damascus and sent their families back to Iran


Reform requires the consent of the corrupt


A few words on IR

by Madison on

The IR is not much different from the old regime, the monarchy of Shah. The authorities of the supreme leader defined by the constitution are much like those of the Shah. Shah called himself the shadow of God, now the leader is called the soul of God!!  The president in IR, just a puppet, much like the prime minister of the Shah. And the legislative body with two separated entities are the same. The social problems of the IR, and even the list of atrocities that IR oppose to it's people contains nothing new.
Well, let's talk about the US interests, most of it is saved by IR with great accuracy. Who can destroy the organization of the laber, the real enemies of the capitalism better then IR? Who can suppress revolutionary activists the real enemies of the US better then IR?
Who saved their ass in Afganestan or in Irak better then IR?
When listening to Zbignew Bzrezinski, IR is a potential ally for US and Israel as it was during the Shah.
I believe that Trita Parsi understands the US and Iran diplomacy very well, he calls it the treacherous alliance! Actually US acts treacherous in all it's foreign policies. It is just that Israel and Iran dare to play with the same rules up to a certain point!

Democracy building is a proccess that the people must pursue with their own power. It is definitely not an ideal exercise for a foreign army.

G. Rahmanian


by G. Rahmanian on

Why else the IR was established? It was merely to protect the US interests in Iran, of course. Oh, I forgot. That was an exception. In Iran the mullahs and their militarist goons are sharing all the revenues from Iran's natural resources with Iranians. Iran has become a utopia tha Khomeini promised. No unemployment! No poverty! No prostitution! No drug abuse! No persecution of Iranians by the regime! No jailed Iranians! No rapings of Iranians in prison cells! No tortures! No lynchings! No capital punishment! No stealing of billions of dollars by IR authorities! I'd like to go on, but I'm getting bored with all these 'nos' already! All I can tell you it's like heaven back home! It's just I'm enjoying my thirty-year-long vacation out here so much, I can't imagine there's a better place. Otherwise, I would've headed back to the Islamic Paradise years ago!!!


To be continued

by Madison on

I agree with the analysis by Noam Chomsky: the US backs up the dictators in the client states until the last day, when they can no longer be saved, kicks them out and try to restore the old regime.
The popular uprising in Tunisia and Egypt is not over yet, but US will do it's best to restore what ever is possible of the old regime.

Yes, I remember the US-led invation of Irak. Back then, Ali Reza Noorizadeh, expressed his joy over the foreign occupation of Irak and the so called "liberation" of the iraki people.
Today, another page of history is being written, another war over precious resources. This senario surely will go on as long as the intellectuals are the servants of the power and make a handsome couple with the ignorant cheerleaders of the war, the hypocrisy knows no bounds...

Tiger Lily

Madison, HEAR,

by Tiger Lily on


Not to mention, there is hardly anything in the mainstream media about Tunisia and Egypt has just got most of the same vulgar puppets in charge.

In the middle of this what I can't figure out is why the Arab League is such a sad, bad ineffective joke. 

The corpses will come out to haunt us from Libya in some silly display of an enquiry later, without accountability. The media is playing exactly the same game as they did in Iraq. Beyond revoltingly inhumane. 


Wait for Christmas, when images of bunged-up five year olds on hospital drips "emerge" as saved, but due to a new label of insurgents. 



فقط وحدت مردم ؟


If people unite

قابل توجه روشنفکران !

همواره دو گونه تحول عمده در تاریخ  بشر روی داده یکی سرانجام پیشرو و دیگری پسرو بوده و هر دو با وحدت مردم و امید به آینده بهتر آغاز کرده اند

سال 1357 یک نمونه است و سرانجامش را دیدید و روشنفکران ، آینده نگران و سیاست بازان آن زمان هم همین ساز امثال نویسنده  محترم این تحلیل را مینواختند

When future generations look back, they will remember 2011 as the year of the end of dictators in the Middle East and the


دیری نخواهد پائید که همین نسل میدان تحریر و تفگ بدستان لیبی پی خواهند برد که این نه پایان عصر دیکتاتور ها بلکه آغاز مرحله ای بود که تازه فهمید ند دیکتاتور یعنی چه ؟ خواهند هم فهمید که اگر مبارک و قذافی مثلآ دکتاتور بودند رهبران بعدی علاوه بر آن ، مجری اوامر اربابان ناتو هم هستندو سرانجام میشود حکایت صد رحمت به مرده شور اولی .


همین یک کلمه از استاد اوباما  هم شده مجوز اینکه هرچه دل تنگت میخواهد بگو  

چه خوش گفت حافظ

فریب جهان قصه روشن است

ببین تا چه زاید شب آبستن است


Darius Kadivar

Yeah Sure Go tell that To Hannibal the Cannibal's Nanny ...

by Darius Kadivar on

That it was a "foolish mistake" to intervene...


If there was a Genuine "Grass Root" Revolution in all this So called "Arab Spring" it was the Libyan One and definitively not the one spearheaded by a bunch of spoiled Middle Class Facebook "Gahremans" from Egypt or Tunisia.

The Syrians and Yemanese too can take some of the credit today except that had Obama interfered from Day one against Libya's Nero, their dictators wouldn't have dared lift a finger and would have tried to negotiate a far more peaceful transition than what we are seeing now. Same thing for Bahrain.

This useless Slaughter and lingering conflict which has led to a bloody outcome of a peaceful Arab Spring is the direct result of Obama's very own hesitations.  

Libya's Freedom definitively wasn't thanks to the Hypocrits of the Arab League who wouldn't have lifted a finger for their Libyan brothers and sisters about to be slaughtered at Benghazi or Misrata and definitively not thanks to the corwardly Amr Moussa the Future Egyptian PResident Wannabe nor Muhamed El Baradai the clueless Egyptian Nevile Chamberlain ready to deliver Egypt for short term political gains to the Muslim Brotherhood  ...

US, UN, Europe and the Arab League SHAME ON YOU !

Thank God for the Libyans that the fellow those clueless Left Wing peaceniks keep calling a French Neo Con took the initiative where the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and American President Fell Short by helping the Libyans set themselves free  ...

WARLORD's INTELLECTUAL: BHL the Mind behind Sarkozy's Libyan Success

The Age when Liberal "Moralists", pseudo Intellectuals and other half baked clueless "Citizens of the World" wishing to lecture the World on Moral Grounds whilst sitting on their Bums to Watch the Bloody Spectacle is Over ...

BREAD & CIRCUS: It Ain't about Democracy or HR Stupid, It's About Show Business






Libya war

by Madison on

The writer gives the false impression that Qaddafi is being ousted by an uprising of the libyan people. Drawing a parallel between the popular uprising in Tunisia and Egypt with the Libya war is indeed a foolish mistake. Obviously the writer is serving the same cause as the US main stream media.
Libya has been opposed by the US and NATO war machine. The six months long bombing of the military targets as well as the civilian infrastructure of Libya by NATO, killing allmost half of the entire Libyan army and lots of civilians.
Qaddafi is being ousted by NATO and US special forces on the ground with CIA organized arab fighters with links to Alqaeda joined by Qatari military invation of Tripoli, not by the libyan people. The libyan people actually have been against the NATO campaign.
I am proud of the fellow canadian, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya who was in Tripoli during the war reporting the truth on Libya. See WWW.voltairenet.org



Darius Kadivar

The "R" Word ... Let Me Get This Right ... ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Ramin Jahanbeglo has changed Opinions so often that I get Lost ...


Are we speaking of the same Libya or Iran ? ...  


Libya:The Return of the King? by Gavriel Queenann

As Qaddafi's regime collapses and the world asks where is Libya headed, some look to the monarchy as a symbol of national identity

Former Kingdom’s PM Adovocates A Parliamentary System for Future Libya 

Recommended Blogs:

pictory:Bakhtiar Denounces Bazargan's Provisionary Government in exile (1979)

RESTORATION:Shapour Bakhtiar advocates Restoring the Monarchy


G. Rahmanian

Finally, An Intelligent Approach!

by G. Rahmanian on

Finally, An Intelligent Approach by Dr. Jahanbegloo! Yes, Doctor, it is not the people who seek violence. It is the regime in Tehran which has "blocked" all forms of peaceful dissent against its brutal rule. And this didn't start two years ago. It has been going on for more than three decades! The regime must be overthrown whatever it takes. Until very recently, the international community, except for a handful of countries, was mostly concerned with protecting its own interests turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the murderous savages ruling Iran against Iranian citizens. At the same time, IR's sponsorship of terrorism abroad seemed to go unnoticed by most countries for decades. The international community can help Iranians in bringing down the regime by boycotting its oil and gas!


If the writers used the

by alimostofi on

If the writers used the correct terms to describe the Hezbollahis and not refer to them as "Iranian" then they would be properly identified. This needs to be consistent. Don't abuse the name of Iran.

Ali Mostofi