Monday, December 23, 2002
I haven't blogged about it in a while, but does anyone doubt that Iran has the potential to be the next Turkey - a pro-Western, pro-American, majority-Muslim secular democracy? Check out the latest from The Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran: Leave Palestine Alone, Think About Us! (scroll to the bottom).
Iran is building to one of two ends: Moscow in 1991 or Beijing in 1989. If Iranian patriots make a serious bid to seize power and drive out the mullahs, all will depend on what the army and the security forces do. If, as in Russia in 1991, they ultimately unwilling to suppress the people by force, then any attempted coup will fail and the people will prevail. If, as in China in 1989, they are bribed or persuaded to side with the regime, then there will be a dreadful slaughter of the Iranian people, but the regime will survive. The latter outcome would be terrible for the people of Iran, and terrible for American interests. All America's and her allies' moves in the region - the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the war to end Palestinian terrorism, the struggle to contain nuclear proliferation and to manage Pakistan, the development of the Caspian oil region, the effort to bolster Turkey's position as a Western Muslim nation - Iran is the key to everything. A friendly Iran makes everything possible and a hostile Iran makes everything more difficult, because all of our moves make Iran more powerful and more central.
In that regard, I continue to maintain that one small (well, not so small) thing we could do to advance the collapse of the Iranian regime would be to wipe out Hizballah. Hizballah is the most dangerous, anti-American and anti-Western terrorist group in the world after al-Qaeda, and it cooperates closely with al-Qaeda. No group is in a better position to disrupt our war plans, whether by starting a war with Israel or by taking direct action against Western targets. And Hizballah is a creature of the Iranian regime, their primary means of power projection well beyond their borders. Attack Hizballah, and the Iranian regime will have to either take the hit quietly, which would be devastating to the regime's prestige and credibility, or respond with direct attacks on America or our overseas assets. The latter, obviously suicidal course could, if the mullahs tried to implement it, push the Iranian armed forces to take the plunge and side with the people against the regime.
We do not want to go to war with Iran directly. We want a revolution there. One has been building now for at least five years. We need to do everything we can to secure its victory.