Yesterday, the BBC showed rioting at gas lines in Iran. 


Yes, Iran. One of the major oil producing nations in the world has had to institute gasoline rationing.

Why? Two reasons. One, the price of gasoline is artificially kept low by the government.

Two: They pump crude oil, but lack refineries to process it into gasoline.

All of this has to be put into context of other problems hinting of problems in Iran: 

Three: They are having economic problems that make it hard to get money to build refineries. At one point the Russians slowed down construction of a nuclear plant due to non payment.
Four: the economic power of the mullahs and their families is strangling the economy. Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, and even the very Catholic Emperor Joseph did it in Austria. But in Iran, the mullahs, not the shah, are in power, and their kids can inherit the wealth. Such an economy is not good for entrepeneurship, globalization, and a bustling economy.
Five:. Arrests of students and dissadents, and fining people not wearing proper Islamic clothing, is only one sign of unrest. A hundred thousand tickets for unIslamic clothing means that there are a lot of annoyed people out there. And the crackdown attempt on a large Farsi blogosphere suggests that things are not quite under control.
Six: Iran has large minorities, including Sunni Kurds and Arabs, and recently a leading Shiite Mullah who had preached against the Arab minority was assasinated. 
Indeed, some think that the mullahs are just asking for US aggression, so that they can unite the people against a failing government. 

Some Americans who see a monolilthic Middle East just shrug and say Islam is incompatible with the modern world and Arabs are too corrupt for democracy and deserve their murderous dictators.
Yet positive signs of change are happening even in Iraq, and once in awhile a reporter notices that the future of Iraq might not be chaos or theocracy but a prosperous nation similar to what one sees in Kurdistan and in the smaller Gulf states like Dubai.

Islam is compatible with globalization but theocracy is not. Which way will things go and how many will die in the meanwhile?So in the year ahead, we might see the collapse of Iraq, or not. We might see a large middle Eastern war against Israel or not. And we might see Iranian aggression against it’s neighbors, or a redux of the velvet revolution of Eastern Europe. 

As Drudge says: Developing… 


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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