Packer compares Iran to Burma:
Incredible as it sounds, given the viciousness of the riot police and basij militiamen, the Burmese authorities are willing to be more brutal than the Iranians.
In 2007, dozens of Burmese monks and civilians were shot down (and, unlike their Iranian counterparts, they never resorted to rock-throwing or burning). In 1988, during the biggest uprising in Burma’s modern history, thousands were killed. In 2007, there were no scenes of Burmese soldiers exchanging friendly words with demonstrators, as there have been in Iran. The Burmese military brought in units to Rangoon from distant parts of the country, where they had become battle-hardened in the longstanding fight against ethnic insurgencies; there were reports that some soldiers had been given drugs before being sent into the streets of the capital. When the moment come, few of them hesitated to shoot down monks in cold bloodan unthinkable sin for a believing Buddhist. At some point, the success or failure of a nonviolent uprising depends on the willingness or unwillingness of security forces to kill their countrymen. There have been tragic deaths in Iran, but there are also reasons to think that state violence will be more limited there than in Burma, including reports of divisions within the hierarchy of the Revolutionary Guards.
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