Will Iran’s mullahs heed the warning call?

If the mullahs in Iran had an ounce of wisdom, they would have devoted their efforts to reinforcing their home front above all with justice and equality among all Iranians.

No lessons learned. Iranians hold up a copy of Kayhan newspaper with the headline referring to the anti-government protests as “sedition” during a pro-government march in Tehran, on January 5. (AFP)

2018/01/07 Issue: 138 Page: 3

The Arab Weekly
Ibrahim al-Zoubeidi

We continue to hear from diehard supporters of the Ira­nian regime endless praise for the mullahs who, under the leadership of Ayatol­lah Ali Khamenei, have proven themselves to be wily and tough politicians to the point that they now control four Arab capitals and hold the destinies of their populations in their hands.

Better yet, the mullahs have brought Europe and the United States to their knees and given them a taste of the might of “their Islamic Republic.”

History teaches us that any country that embarks on wars and adventures outside its bor­ders without making sure that its home front is secured is doomed to fail. Look at the recent ex­amples of the doomed regimes of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Nicolae Ceausescu and others.

From its beginnings in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran used money — and plenty of it — as the weapon of choice to buy the allegiance of Shia minorities in neighbouring countries. It financed sectarian extremists of these populations, armed them and vested them with the sacred mission of fomenting sectarian and ethnic strife until they can by sheer violence impose their will on internal politics in those countries. This was Iran’s modus operandi in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and the Palestin­ian territories.

The great mullah and his gang, however, seem to have forgotten that this weapon is double-edged and can easily be turned against them especially when the home front in Iran under the mullahs becomes brittle.

Iran is rich in natural and hu­man resources. It has a rich his­tory and, even now, it gives the impression of flying from victory to victory with its Islamic Revo­lutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), militias and agents all over the Middle East. Yet, the Iran of the mullahs is sitting on hundreds of time bombs that could go off at the smallest spark, unforeseen by the mighty mullahs.

The recent riots in Iran are said to have been spontaneous, ignited by too much unemploy­ment, inflation and corruption. It is hard, however, not to expect the opposition in Iran to let the opportunity of feeding and spreading these riots pass. After all, the regime has been merciless to any opposition.

Outside Iran also, many small and not-so-small countries have been waiting for this golden opportunity to add oil to the Iranian fire for revenge or simply to keep the Iranian regime off their backs and busy with its own problems.

If the mullahs in Iran had an ounce of wisdom, they would have devoted their efforts to reinforcing their home front above all with justice and equal­ity among all Iranians, regardless of their sects or ethnicities. They would have spread the national wealth fairly among all of Iran’s provinces and they would have combated corruption and nepo­tism.

Had the Iranian regime invest­ed the country’s huge resources in the well-being of its citizens and had it taken advantage of the tremendous creativity of all Iranians, we would have had a different and happy Iran today. Had it put its efforts in building for security and peace in the re­gion and had it put aside age-old traditions and rites, we would have had a peaceful region today.

Instead, the mullahs’ regime chose to finance conflicts and wars everywhere, whether in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Bahrain or other places. It chose to build armies of terror­ists instead of roads and infra­structure. Thanks to the mullahs, international sanctions have all but destroyed Iran’s economy and turned life for its citizens into a living hell.

Look as hard as you may and you will never figure out the pressing national or religious necessity that has left the great mullah no other alternative but to lock horns with the rest of the world.

All international reports agree that high unemployment, the crackdown on personal freedom and the disastrous international sanctions are the main causes of unhappiness among Iranians. Every year, Iran tops the list of countries of the MENA region in poverty and living hardship. Last year, half of Iran’s popula­tion was, at times, unable to provide food and shelter for their families.

Despite all of this, Iran’s su­preme leader remains confident that Iranians will put up with the worst misery and gladly give up their freedom and dignity just to see Khamenei’s banner proudly flutter on the coasts of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. There is indeed no limit to the mullahs’ megalomania.

In short, and after the recent riots, the great republic of the mullahs will never be the same. The IRGC may use live ammuni­tion and tear gas all they want; they will not be able to hide the fact that the end is near for the mullahs’ regime should the latter not heed the warning.

Ibrahim al-Zoubeidi is an Iraqi writer.

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