The problem with Iran is not something that can be summed up in a few words. It doesn’t fit into an age of sound bites and instant gratification. This is not going to be a heavy analysis that you’d submit for academic acclaim.
No, this is just a little window inside my head where I air out the dust and share a few thoughts with you.
I live in Los Angeles. It is a city that has a substantial population of Persian Jews as well as many Iranians who identify as Muslim or members of Bahai. And they have been here for a long time now. I remember the heavy influx of Persian Jews who fled Iran after the fall of the Shah, roughly 30 years ago.
My family has had many Persian friends for years and so I have had time to hear many stories about what life in Iran was like and much about what it is like now. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not claiming to be an expert, just trying to provide some foundation for my thoughts.
For years now I have heard about the influence of the mullahs and the ideology that they are pressing. I have Persian friends who remember school in Iran, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
Clearly not all Iranians have bought into the line of thought that the government is passing. Clearly there are many who long for a different path. But the reality is that this is not two hundred years ago. It is not a time of log cabins and muskets. It is not a time when you could hire a world power as a mercenary force (some will argue that point) so you can’t fight for revolution in the same way as was once done.
Now you have the quandary of dealing with an oppressive government who is far better armed and organized than the populace, at least that is the appearance. More importantly, the government is not there to protect the people. They are there to maintain their positions of power.
And they are willing to do so by using disproportionate force and extreme violence. The reports that are getting out make it clear that they are not slapping people on the wrist.
So what do you do about this. How does the world respond to such a thing. Ahmedinajad and company are not going to step down without being forced out. And it is highly unlikely that any sort of military operation is going to be launched with the intent of ousting them.
It is one of those moments where you wonder if perhaps there are senior members of the Iranian armed forces who would be willing to lead a coup d’etat, assuming that they had the support of the troops. But this seems rather unlikely.
So we come back to the question of what do we do. What sort of support can be provided to help support a real revolution and an overthrow of the existing government.
And again we have to note that a government that treats its citizenry like this would be exceptionally dangerous as a nuclear power. Can that still be stopped, or have we reached a point of no return.
Many questions, no good answers.