Dictators and their demises: a miscellany. Saddam and the Destruction of Civil Society in Iraq is the timely find, and deals with the entire history of Iraq since the Ba'ath party takeover, including a detailed ideological history of the party and the increasingly totalitarian aspects of Saddam's rule in Iraq. To ask whether democracy, even in a non-Western sense, has a chance in Iraq is to jump one step ahead of the game. The fundamental questions we need to answer first are: What was the nature of Iraqi civil society before the Ba`thist regime destroyed it? How did the Ba`th oliberate it? And can Iraqi civil society be rebuilt after Saddam has left the stage? [more inside]
Venezuela's Chavez deposed with the military claiming control for now. The end of a sometimes cringe-inducingly entertaining era. What next? Civilian constitutional rule restored by lunchtime, or not? Will the strike end, allowing oil exports to resume?