Iranian regime falling apart
Op-ed: Echoing Napoleon's words, Israel shouldn't interfere with enemy in suicide process
About a year after the fraudulent elections in Iran and the mass demonstrations that followed, and a month after the world started to target Iran's oil and gas industries, we are seeing the Khomeinist revolution falling apart before our eyes, with international sanctions accelerating its demise.
The 1979 revolution was premised on four powerful elements that carried it out together: The students, the merchants, residents of the large cities, and religious clerics. Notably, the army was not involved back then, and is not overly involved in ruling the state toady.
However, in the past year all the abovementioned components have distanced from each other, and their support for the Khomeinist Revolution is questionable.
The students have turned into the harshest rivals of the revolution's lies; we saw it only a year ago. The merchants are greatly concerned by Tehran's growing isolation in the world – Iran's economic state continues to deteriorate and the sanctions against the banks are making it difficult now and will continue to be a burden. Meanwhile, large city residents, who hit the streets to protest against the regime a year ago, are well aware of their own deteriorating state.
It is doubtful whether most religious clerics support the current religious jurist regime established by Khomeini. In any case, they do not hold much esteem for Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as he is not truly a senior religious figure; many clerics have increasing reservations towards the police state established by the religious establishment.
Ever since the recent death of the truly important religious authority in Iran, Ali Montazeri, there has been no clear opposition leadership among the clerics, yet they are withdrawing into their houses of worship and showing less involvement in the state's affairs; this is a declarative withdrawal.
So what's left of the revolution? About a year ago we saw a sort of military coup in Iran undertaken by the Revolutionary Guards – the militia that views Ahmadinejad as a puppet. In fact, Iran today is a sort of military junta and no longer a religious state.
The solidarity among the abovementioned elements has disappeared and the regime relies on military force, fear, its militias, and oppression. Yet for how long could this regime continue to fight against the whole world? For how long will opinionated, educated Iranians who have always been hitting the streets in revolution and counter-revolution agree to suffer?
Even the regime's satellites, Hezbollah and Hamas, are starting to understand that their mother ship is weakening.
The collapse of the regime's legitimacy among key elements is bringing its demise closer. It will happen now or in a few years, yet the direction is clear. The Islamic revolution is a 30-year footnote in thousands of years of Iranian history and its end is on the horizon, as the social basis it was premised on no longer exists.
The regime increasingly crumbles the deeper the division between the various components becomes. As these elements grow more distant, the regime will crumble even more, as the disintegration process itself creates a sense of horror and fear.
Meanwhile, domestic hostility to the regime grows the more brutal it becomes (as results of its fear.) Iran's Sunni citizens, who comprise one third of the population, already smell the regime's weakness; recently we again saw a major suicide attack in Iran involving Shiite-Sunni tensions. The weakness invites an "Iraqization" process in Iran too.
So what are we supposed to do now? Should Israel exploit Iran's weaknesses in order to strike? Not at all. The Iranian regime also knows that it will collapse domestically should it embark on a military move, with the deck being reshuffled in the deeply divided state. The only element that can reunite all Iranian elements behind the regime is an Israeli strike.
So I'm reminding us, Israelis, of Napoleon's well-known dictum: "Never interfere with an enemy while he's in the process of suicide."