I’m very encouraged by the events in Iran. I know many don’t share this view. Many are disheartened by how the regime has crushed a popular uprising. But has it really been crushed?
I’m thrilled because I think the Islamic Republic is in deep trouble. By ruthlessly eliminating mildly critical loyalists from the circle of power, it has weakened its own foundations and deeply disillusioned a vast sector of the population. It has become obvious the Islamic Republic no longer enjoys significant popular support. And its actions show that it now relies purely on its military and security apparatus for its survival. But for how long?
Ahmadinejad’s manufactured victory was a shock, but the bigger shock was the people’s reaction. Those millions who demonstrated against election fraud have not given up. They have not surrendered their heart and soul to the regime. They will not forget the senseless killing of demonstrators. They will not forget Kahrizak. They will not forget the ridiculous show trials and confessions. There is a lot of simmering anger and sooner or later it will overflow.
The Islamic Republic is limping along. In a matter of weeks it has managed to multiply its domestic enemies. It has pissed off a whole nation, pretty much. The damage to the legitimacy of velayat-e faghih is irreparable. Yet Khamenei and his band of thugs are not going to bend an inch. They are too drunk from a false sense of power and omnipotence. On the other hand the people are not going to fall in love with the Islamic Republic all over again. There will be many more confrontations ahead, large and small, and my bet is that the democratic movement will emerge victorious. Political Islam is dead. Wishful thinking? We’ll see!
I see nothing wrong with condemning the regime in Iran AND opposing foreign intervention or military action. Those who want an end to theocracy are not against nuclear technology. Those who oppose Ahmadinejad are not necessarily pro-Israel. The Green Movement is not pro-American (or anti-American). It is pro freedom and democracy but its followers do not promote Western domination. Freedom, human rights and democracy are the pillars of every healthy society, not just those in the West. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights seeks to protect everyone from all kinds of tyranny. It is natural and understandable for every Iranian to demand basic rights and fight against repression. They don’t need America to recognize injustice and fight for freedom.
The U.S., Israel and their allies can’t stand the Islamic Republic for their own selfish reasons. Their main objective is not the establishment of democracy in Iran. They could care less about freedom for Iranians (I don’t see any US-funded radio and TV stations or web sites promoting democracy in Saudi Arabia and undermining the pro-American sheikhs. Don’t Saudis, Egyptians and the rest of the Arab world deserve democracy?). They want Iran to stop enriching uranium, stop its rhetoric against Israel, and cut its ties with Hamas and Lebanon’s Hizbollah. None of those are likely to happen and therefore tensions will continue to rise. Gasoline sanctions could go into effect and chances of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will increase. In fact I will be very surprised if the Israelis don’t attack. And when they do, they would hand the biggest gift to the Islamic Republic and all radical Islamic groups.
My point is that we should not be silent in the face of ruthless and criminal behavior of any kind by any one. We should oppose tyranny at home and aggression from abroad.