From totalitarian states, Muslim or otherwise, one seldom hears reports of dissent. Such a report comes today from what is probably the most dangerous totalitarian state currently: Iran.
University students heckled Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
For those who think that this event is insignificant, we insist that it is for the following reasons.
First, it was reported at all. As we note, totalitarian states don't have much truck with dissent. When it happens, they tend to crush it and silence the reporting of it.
Second, the Iranian revolution of 1979 was started by students.
None of this is to say that another revolution, this one leading to peace and democracy, is near. It is to say that the Iranians have a very complicated political situation themselves, perhaps made no easier by the presence of about 140,000 Americans to their immediate west.
What this calls for on the United States' part--in our SWNIDish, typically contrarian but otherwise uninformed opinion--is (a) encouraging and enabling friendly Muslim states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, the Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Afghanistan, Indonesia, even Libya--it's actually an encouragingly long list) to encourage the development and empowerment of this student-led dissent; (b) being very, very patient in Iraq, so that we don't squander the advantages that our military presence in that region brings to the larger picture.