THE BLOG
02/17/2011 11:15 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Domino Theory Strikes Again: Who's Next?

The next regime to go is Algeria. You may ask, "How do you know this? Didn't the police there just beat the crap out of the demonstrators a day or two ago?"

The answer is that the foreign minister stated that they're going to lift the state of emergency in a few days. In other words, part of the regime is turning against itself, and that is a fatal blow it cannot recover from.

A regime does not peacefully fall without it's own consent. This doesn't mean that the dictator says "okay, I'm going to go now" and then gets on a plane at the smallest march. A regime is more than one man, and if those at the second level from the top join those on the streets, then revolutionary change is possible without civil war.

Consider Egypt for example. The regime, in the form of the army, was not supporting itself. It was officially neutral, letting the protesters protest. The interior department sent so thugs in the streets to beat up people, and they arrested others, but they refused to go the next step because the rest of the government refused. A good section of the middle and upper level, and most of the lower level of the bureaucracy were either waiting it out or outwardly hostile to the people in charge..

The people at the top of the pyramid were willing to throw the dude at the pinnacle under the bus. This is what happened in Tunisia as well. The people in charge at the moment in both countries were all near the top of the old regime before it fell.

That was the same in Eastern Europe in 1989. In 1980, the Solidarity movement succeeded because the people at the top were willing to join in. Everyone agreed to some extent what needed to be done, and the protesters at the bottom were able to proclaim victory. It was only after the USSR and East Germany threatened to declare war and invade, was marshal law proclaimed.

The imperial regime refused to give its permission, and thus the revolution was crushed. Nine years later, the Gorbachev regime gave the go ahead, and Poland's government was more than happy to restart the revolution. Hungary was more than happy to join in the revolution against East Germany. When East German dictator Erich Honecker demanded that protesters be shot. Gorbachev and many in the top tier of government balked. In Bulgaria and Hungary, the government overthrew itself, and in Romania, the people near the top let the people at the bottom storm the palace and lynch the dictator and his wife.

Iran is different. They're willing to kill on a large scale, same with Syria. The regime is on the side of the regime in both cases. The message to would-be protesters was "come out on the streets and you die." This is why there haven't been any real marches in Damascus.

However tens of thousands are marching in Iran, and almost a hundred have been killed. The Revolutionary Guard, which is completely loyal to the regime, not of Ahmadinejad, the nominal president and court jester, but of Ali Khamanei, the Supreme Leader and demigod. The question facing the regime's middle and lower regions is what side to go with if the protesters don't run home with their tails between their legs like they did in '09.

This is why the news that the Algerian government is going to lift the state of emergency this week is so telling. Doing so will mean that the protesters will be able to come out en masse without fear of getting the crap taken out of them, and that means that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's days are finally numbered.

Stay tuned.