If Iran uses force to close the Persian Gulf, the likely consequence will be war: Iran against the world. The subsequent conflict won’t be about protecting Iran’s resources or its people from outsiders. It will have been initiated by the mullahs to save their ugly butts, given the probable consequences to the regime from any oil boycott.
Normally the intensely nationalistic Iranians rally on the side of whoever rules in Tehran against any foreign troops entering Iranian soil. If the obvious goal of those troops is to oust the ruling mullahs and their thugs and leave as soon as possible afterwards, Iranians must ask themselves: Isn’t Iran at already an occupied country controlled by non-Iranian elements? Who are the REAL invaders and who are the liberators? Do the mullahs resemble Nazi occupiers in France during WWII while their opponents play the Allies after Normandy?
This WWII analogy breaks down in one key respect. The Nazis–already losing in the East and having failed to stop western armies from getting a foothold on the conti nent–stood no chance of winning the French via propaganda, patriotic appeals or loosening up. However, with their dictatorship at risk, don’t be surprised if the mullahs steal a page from Stalin from whom they’ve already borrowed show trials, public confessions and Lubyanka-style prisons. Expect the predictable, “It’s all about oil” propaganda line. Meanwhile, will Iranians be suckered by if the regime suddenly plays nice with the public only out of temporary necessity?
Don’t be fooled by Stalin’s belated popularity after victory in WW II. At the time of the Nazi invasion, Stalinwas hated and feared by most of the Soviet population for many reasons. When the Nazis gained so much ground, Stalin temporarily reversed long unpopular policies. Appeals to religion, once verboten in a country where churches had been scorned as bourgeois, became commonplace. In the first year after Operation Barbarossa, Stalin had cracked down on anti-Nazi partisans out of fear they’d be a post war problem. Eventually he has sense enough to assist them as allies though many would be arrested as soon as the war ended (Hint! Hint!) Hitler lacked such capacity to be flexible if only out of temporary military necessity. That was a major cause of the Nazi defeat in the East where many welcomed his armies at first.
Given the nature of war, anti-mullah forces can hardly avoid killing some Iranian civilians and damaging Iranian property (along with their own troops). You can anticipate the mullahs will make the most of that. How much sympathy have those mullahs shown toward Iran’s people in all the crimes committed since 2009? Like the French in 1944, Iranians must ask: Are such losses worth the gain (an end to mullah rule)? To rally around the regime for a brief nationalistic high is unlikely to save the mullahs from defeat. However it would surely prolong the conflict, causing avoidable destruction and casualties. Let’s suppose it did save the mullahs. Iranians would wind up right back where they started–enjoying the dubious benefits of hated, Nazi-style rule relying on the IRCG (playing SS), religious police (intensely despised) and the Basilj (playing brownshirts) to keep their boots on the people’s faces. Call it missed opportunity.
Consider the advantages of not rallying to the mullah occupiers:
First, a shortened war in which the bad guys must fight on two fronts–external and domestic.
Secondly, if the only other alternative for ousting the regime is bloody civil war, which is likely to be worse?
Thirdly, in contrast to most other outcomes in which the IRI goes bye-bye, an Iran liberated this way is far less likely to be stuck–like Egypt–with greedy generals determined to retain economic and political bribes Khamenei conferred as inducements for helping him mug the populace and Saudi-ize civilized Iranians.