By Reza Parchizadeh for The Herald Report
The military confrontation between the Islamic Republic in Iran and the government of the United States is inevitable. That is because, apart from the immediate practical problems between the two countries, the ideological war between the two very different and at times oppositional brands of political thought that the two nations represent, namely Islamism and Liberalism, has come to a head.
As unprecedented sanctions have crippled the Islamist regime in Tehran, it is seeking a military adventure in order to avert attention from its domestic problems and to possibly postpone its fall. Due to its economic weakening, the regime will soon lose the ability to run the country completely. When the regime fails to meet the demands of the people’s daily lives, and when it cannot afford the expenses of the state employees, including the military and security forces, it will soon find itself in the midst of a domestic crisis. Evidence suggests that the regime is on the verge of an internal crisis. That is one reason the Islamist regime is likely to spark a war.
Beyond that, what is happening today in the Middle East and the wider world is not a story that started just yesterday. Rather, the problem has been unfolding for at least for decades. During the past forty years, various Islamist cults, either with the leadership or under the influence of the Islamic Republic, have been challenging and trying to undermine the liberal order championed by the United States across the globe. Through propaganda, investment, infiltration, terrorism and war, the Islamists have been tirelessly engaged in exporting their militant and antidemocratic ideology and at the same time disrupting the liberal international order.
In line with its age-old foreign policy habits, the United States, for a rather extended period of time, tried to tame the agitating Islamists by means of a combination of punishment and encouragement in order to return the countries occupied by them, most important of them all Iran, to the family of respectable nations. That strategy eventually failed to secure the desirable results. As a result, today the current US administration is making every effort to finish off Islamism and bring that civilizational conflict to an end once and for all. As such, the war between the United States and its allies on the one hand and the Iranian regime and its allies on the other is inevitable. Even if war does not break out presently and over recent tensions, it will inevitably start sometime in the not too distant future.
In my opinion, the ultimate goal of the Trump administration is to change the regime in Iran. However, since this administration is quite conscious of the history of political, popular and press reactions to the cases of regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, President Trump and his key diplomats and advisers keep saying, based on a diplomatic convention, that its aim is only to “change the behavior” of the Iranian regime. But the Trump administration knows very well that it is as likely to change the behavior of the Iranian regime today as the Roosevelt administration was to change the behavior of the Nazi regime in the 1930s. Therefore, what will inevitably and eventually happen is a regime change in Iran.
After the designation of the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity by the Trump administration, this organization will be under much more military and economic pressure in Iran and the region, and thus its presence in the Middle East will wane in the long run. But in the meantime the Guards will exponentially augment their malignant behavior in the Middle East. Threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, targeting American civilians and military personnel, conducting sabotage missions in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, provoking the Houthis to make inroads into Saudi territory and bomb Saudi and Emirati targets, stirring sedition in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and creating a large-scale conflict between Hamas/Hezbollah and Israel are some of the aggressive measures that the regime is likely to take in the short term.
This openly hostile behavior of the Islamic Republic can, before the fall of the regime, lead to a major war, not just in the region but on a global scale. And the threat of escalation is something that the Iranian regime is counting on to deter the United States and her allies from any military response to the regime’s terrible behavior. Nevertheless, I believe the Islamist regime is again mistaken in its calculations by underestimating the will of the Trump administration to alter the course of international affairs in favor of the United States, which necessitates, eventually, neutralizing the anti-American system in Iran and installing a pro-American system in its place.
Therefore, the fall of the Islamist regime is inevitable. What is unclear, though, is the situation in Iran after the fall of the regime. Of course a regime change in Iran is in the best interest of the Iranian people and the opposition to the regime. But the point is, how prepared are the people and the opposition, spiritually, mentally, and practically, for an Iran without the regime? Have they been able to reach a general consensus and design a comprehensive democratic program to replace the regime? Will they be able to save the country from a civil war and possible disintegration? And many other similar questions.
It is precisely due to these concerns that I have always proposed that, in case of a regime change in Iran through a military intervention, such as what happened in Japan and Germany after WWII, the US government should take over the administration of Iran for a period of time in order to prepare the conditions for the establishment of a democratic, popular and pro-Western political system in that country. In other words, democracy should be injected into Iran under intensive care and with full force. And no one in the world can be entrusted with that consequential and at the same time delicate task but the greatest democracy in the world.