It isn’t lost on everyone that the absolute short-term champs in these Jasmine Days is the Iranian regime.
This may seem like a crazy statement but I’ll gladly expand.
1. The Iranians have positioned themselves very well as to be seen as free and independent of the West. This is important given how the West has been flat-footed (to put it mildly and politely) on the Jasmines,especially in North Africa.
2. Although it can readily be debated to what extent Iran is Islamically extreme one has to agree that at least from a Muslim perspective they have a common and stable platform from which to govern. Now I readily concede Tehran’s regime has a lot to learn on governance but we can’t idealistically prance away from Real Politik.
3. Although the treatment of their own people and press is more like China than say the USA it has to be accepted that Iran’s official posture on the Jasmines have been better than others. The lasting impression for many I fear will not be “Those f@#$ing Iranians are hypocrites” but “The Iranians didn’t support our dictator” or The Iranians didn’t send special forces to help rebels”.
4. Historical spin is also an area where Iran will win again. I haven’t seen it yet but the potential to spin sympathy and unity via Iran’s own experience with the Shah and Operation Ajax is pure gold.
5. Shiite strength/unity in critical areas. By this I mean the little emirates and the biggie Saudi Arabia. I don’t see a Riyadh fall but I do see an avenue for Tehran to continue it’s international win win actions. Recent back up for this is of course international opinion on Israel,the whole nuke thing and the recent two ship naval exercise into the Med via the Suez by the Iranians.
All in all the region is having a collective readjustment. I for one think Iran will benefit far more than the West in the end. Sadly I have no idea how the people of the Jasmine nations will fare.