In the thirty-two years from 1979 to 2011 there have been numerous mass movements in Iran and several Arab countries that have overthrown or threatened rulers who seemed secure for several decades. By September 2011, the shah of Iran and the presidents of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya had been overthrown; of those, only the anti-Qaddafi revolt had outside (NATO) help. Major popular movements had also threatened the rulers of Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. Iran had seen the massive Green Movement in 2009, aimed primarily at fraud in that year's presidential elections. Among the questions that emerge regarding these movements are the following: Why did they arise when they did? Why were they not predicted? How much influence did one or more of these movements have on the others? Why were some movements successful and others, thus far, not? Some of these questions will demand long study and analysis, which may not lead to a consensus. Here will be a preliminary brief discussion of a few of them, with stress on the question of influence.
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