Three Reasons to Overthrow Iran’s Mullahs Now
by N. M. GUARIGLIA
June 15, 2012
The world is at a breaking point in 2012. The issue of Iran will likely reach a crescendo this year. The wisest course is narrowing down to the only course: regime change in Tehran.
This does not mean military action, nor does it mean invasion, conquest, or occupation. In the case of Iran, regime change means open support for a "Persian Spring." It means replicating the Reagan-Thatcher model vis-à-vis Lech Walesa in Poland and the late Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia: supporting Iranian dissident and opposition groups rhetorically, politically, financially, materially, and morally until a popular uprising-simmering in Iran since the Green Movement in 2009-brings down the few hundred theocratic mullahs threatening the world.
We must do this for many reasons, but three paramount ones come to mind.
1. To avoid war.
If the Iranian regime is not replaced, it will lead to war. The Israelis may preemptively attack Iran's nuclear facilities. If the Israelis do not take action, the United States might do so. And if neither Israel nor the U.S. takes action, the Iranians themselves will continue to be the aggressors geopolitically. Should Iran get an atomic weapon, this hypothetical conflict could even become a nuclear one.
Bringing down the mullahs internally would likely turn our most hostile enemy into a natural ally. It is unclear what type of Iranian government would emerge following the downfall of the mullahs. But one thing is clear: unlike Egypt and Libya and other Arab uprisings, where the Muslim Brotherhood might take over for good, the Iranian people are far friendlier to the United States. Iran's 70 million people are amongst the youngest in the world. They want to be connected to the rest of the planet. They want the freedom to worship-or not worship-as they please. They want to be able to go on the Internet free from censure; to assemble free from threat; to read, write, and speak free from intimidation. They do not want war with the West.
2. To avoid nuclear blackmail, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear terrorism.
Should nothing be done-should the mullahs obtain a nuclear weapon-the world will enter, as Churchill once phrased it, "the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science." Never before would such apocalyptic individuals have attained such cataclysmic technology.
The issue need not be a mushroom cloud. Imagine the Iranian Supreme Leader making demands of the world, with the implicit threat of a nuclear suitcase-armed Hezbollah or al-Qaeda operative in Washington D.C., London, Paris, or Tel Aviv ready to "blow" should these demands not be met. This will be the world we will have in this new decade should Iran be allowed to go nuclear. The whole planet would be held hostage to the nuclear blackmail of the mullahs.
In addition, the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Turks, and maybe even the Jordanians would all pursue nuclear weapons to deter Iranian belligerence. (Not to mention the Israeli, Pakistani, and Indian nuclear arsenals.) We would have a wide-ranging Middle East nuclear arms race. Nobody in their right mind should think such a development would end well.
3. Peace in the Middle East.
When it comes to state sponsorship of jihadist terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran is the "mother-ship." Iran supports every relevant terrorist group around the world, including al-Qaeda. The mullahs have waged war against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, and have the blood of thousands on their hands. For these reasons alone, the Iranian regime should be overthrown in its own right. But should the Iranians gain nuclear weapons, the entire Middle East would fall under Tehran's dominion-including Iraq.
Should Iraq fall under the sway of Iran, this would turn the eight-year war from a tenable victory into a defeat. All of our sacrifices will have been for naught. Yet should the Iranian regime fall, success in Iraq is secured. So too would about half of the Afghan insurgency be defeated. The Syrian regime-Iran's little brother; Mussolini's Italy to Hitler's Germany-would probably collapse. The Hezbollah terrorist regime in Lebanon would follow. The Hamas terrorist group in Palestine, without sponsors, would also likely implode. This could potentially allow the Israelis and good-natured Palestinians to make a deal. With the fall of the mullahs, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas nexus may come to an end.
In short, regime change in Iran would mean the U.S. "wins" the entire Middle East, from Tehran to Jerusalem, from Persia through Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean. The so-called "Shi'ite crescent" would be pacified.
Regime change in Iran would prevent a regional war; prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism; do away with the world's largest supporter of terrorism; turn an enemy into a genuine friend; defeat the Shi'ite-wing of Islamic fanaticism; and, bring stability and peace to the Middle East. There is not a greater, more imminent, more advantageous strategic objective to the United States than overthrowing the mullahs. Considering the hostility of the Iranian regime and the comparative warmth of the Iranian population, there is no starker cost-benefit ratio in all the Middle East.
Contributing Editor N.M. Guariglia is an essayist who writes on Islam and Middle Eastern geopolitics.