For over three decades, the Iranian people have been held hostage by a brutal and oppressive regime of Islamic fundamentalists. They savagely brutalize and imprison their citizenry without due process of law, and in some cases, even out right kill their political opponents in public view. The regime is able to suppress dissent because of an imbalance and dictatorial political system internally and a lack of visible threat to its existence externally. In this opinion piece, I argue the freedom for the Iranian people can only be secured by military intervention from the West—Namely the United States.
The United States’ foreign policy blunders in the Middle East are well known. These blunders were exacerbated under George W Bush. The invasion of Iraq, the disruption of its civil society, and the humiliation of the Iraqis in incidents like Abu Ghraib and the killing of civilians by private security contractors have left the Arab world distrustful of the US and its intentions in the region. From the aftermath of US failures in Iraq, The Islamic Republic of Iran has emerged as the regional superpower.
Although the ruling Mullahs in Iran are not Arabs and for that matter Iran is not an Arab nation, the Islamic Republic frequently identifies itself with Arab causes and supports terrorist acts against Israel through its Lebanon based proxy, the Hezbollah. The Islamic Republic is interested in securing political, ideological, and military supremacy in the region. With this supremacy comes the ability for Teheran’s ruling clerics to promote their regional brand of conservative Islam with the ultimate goal of complete destruction of the State of Israel. This theme is often preached by the Iran’s chief fanatic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
As the United States became deeper embroiled in its self-created chaos in Iraq, its attention was diverted from Iran. US armed forces in Iraq were busy fighting local insurgencies planned and perpetrated by Al-Qaeda. Although there is no known active connection between the Jihadist group Al-Qaeda and the ruling Mullahs in Iran, they both share a similar ideology: This ideology is their shared hatred of the United States and all things American.
The cascades of events in Iraq and to some extent in Afghanistan have emboldened the Iranian ruling clerics into believing that they are invincible. They see no threats from the West except empty slogans during political news briefings or speeches on the floor of the United Nations. With backing from China and Russia, the two permanent members of the Security Council, any economic sanction against Iran has little or no chance of success. In fact, Iran has been under US imposed sanctions for some time and these sanctions have done nothing to loosen the political grip of the Mullahs.
Economic sanctions are ineffective against Iran. And the Iranian government knows it. Iran is the fourth largest oil producer in the world. With escalating worldwide demand for oil and the ever rising oil prices, the Islamic Republic’s coffers are filled with hard currency. This will enable them to obtain that which they need through sham corporations, political allies, and the black market sources. The role of china and Russia as the chief suppliers of goods and services to the Iranian regime cannot be understated.
As the Unites States and the rest of the Western powers impose economic sanctions on Iran, these same world governments compete on the world markets for Iran’s oil. The oil revenues flow into the Iranian government’s hands, in essence nullifying the pain of the economic sanctions. The Mullahs have come to realize the benefit of this vicious cycle and they have learned to take advantage of the West’s insatiable appetite for their oil.
The Iranian regime has invested its oil revenues in developing its military might. With the help of Russia, the Iranian regime is well on its way to developing nuclear weapon capability. The Country’s domestic arms manufactures have developed missile technology with capability to threaten Israel and possibly Eastern Europe. And the Iranian government has obtained sophisticated anti-air craft defense technology from Russian and China that make it harder to inflict major damage on the Regime. For these reasons, an aerial assault by the West in the absence of ground invasion makes little or no sense.
Some in the West including the Obama Administration have pinned their hopes on diplomacy. This strategy is flawed because the Mullahs in Iran perceive the United States as a “paper tiger” unwilling to make hard choices. The Iranian regime knows that unlike itself, the United States values human life and will do whatever possible to avoid an armed confrontation with the possibility of high casualties. Ahmadinejad and his ultra conservative backers in Tehran know that the United States’ adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned out badly. They also know that the American Congress and the American people have lost their appetite for more military conquests in Middle East. The confluences of these dynamics would weaken the United States negotiating power with Tehran. The end results are likely to be a stalemate. This has been the case thus far on the issue of nuclear weapons and Iran’s failure to cooperate fully with the IAEA.
The possibility of internal overthrow of the Regime is unlikely. Although the world has seen public uprising in Iran as a result of last year’s disputed presidential elections, the agents of the Regime and its brutal security forces will continue to crush these uprisings. The Islamic Republic holds little or no regard for human life. Therefore, suppression of dissent by whatever means necessary is an acceptable doctrine and is routinely followed to a point of opening fire on the unarmed protesters. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its largely civilian Basij forces are reported to number in the millions. These groups are well armed and well funded by the Islamic Republic. The revolutionary Guard and the Basij forces are the chief beneficiaries of the policies and the ideologies of the Iranian theocracy. These groups enjoy economic and social benefits that would not otherwise be available to them under a secular and democratically elected government. For these guardians of hate, preservation of the Islamic Republic, its ruling Mullahs, and their hateful ideologies is not just a cause but also a quest for survival.