Wednesday, October 23, 2002

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A REFORMING IRAQ?: Andrew Sullivan,

A REFORMING IRAQ?: Andrew Sullivan, Joshua Micah Marshall, and the Wall Street Journal point out that Iraq's recent mass amnesty of prisoners, combined with the quasi-protest in front of the secret policy headquarters, suggests that the Iraqi regime may be on the verge of cracking, à la Ceausescu. As Sullivan notes, "once this kind of regime relaxes its grip even slightly, the unraveling could come quickly."

I hope they're right; I really do. But I have two words in response to this sort of argument -- Tiannamen Square. A leadership determined to stay in power and unafraid of casualties -- which I think is a safe description of the current Iraqi regime -- will be willing to use force to stay in control. The fact that yesterday's protest occurred at all might be a sign that the regime is cracking up -- or it could be a precursor to a bloody crackdown.

UPDATE: This story suggests both Saddam's fear of a tottering regime and his determination to prevent it from happening.

posted by Dan on 10.23.02 at 11:43 AM