Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, revolution in the Middle Eastern and African regions is spreading. Perhaps the biggest question that arises today is: What will happen with Iran? For years, the west has been at odds with the Iranian government. There has long been the possibility of war between Iran and the US (and US ally Israel). Now, the people themselves are taking to the streets in the tens of thousands: All the while, there is a very real threat that the Iranian government will deal with these protests by killing the leaders of the opposition who unite these crowds. How might this uprising progress in Iran?
It could go several ways: The Iranian government could put an end to the dissent right now by killing the protesters–making any who dare to rise up against the regime think twice; if this happens, this would provide a case in favor of foreign military intervention. Another scenario that could occur is civil war in Iran, where the people begin arming themselves to fight back against the government forces. Yet another possibility is that the people take to the streets en masse as has occurred in Egypt, and topple the current government by the power of numbers alone. If the current regime agrees to change to accommodate the protesters, they may be able to hold onto power.
Many things could happen but the question is: What scenario is most likely to occur? There is always the risk that a writer who makes a hypothesis like this will turn out to be wrong. I am, therefore, skeptical to make a guess. But, nonetheless, I will venture an opinion. I think the most likely outcome will begin with more Iranians taking to the streets, first. Next, the Ahmadinejad government will use the armed forces to round-up opposition leaders and execute them and many found supporting them. This will result in anti-Ahmadinejad sentiment in world media–giving fuel to US, Israel, NATO and the UN to intervene. Many in Iran will begin to hate Ahmadinejad’s regime even more than now. The US, for years, has been looking for an excuse to go into Iran: If the people are not able to topple the government themselves, there is no better time for military intervention. The war in Iraq has wound down significantly; though there is still US military presence there. The war in Afghanistan is seemingly beginning to slow with a gradual hand-over of power to Afghan security forces expected shortly in the future. Soldiers could be redeployed to Iran to aid the people in taking down a perceived hostile regime.
It is unclear how the scenario in Iran will unfold but I have, reluctantly, stated my opinion regarding the possibilities. There is a good chance that I am drastically wrong and the protesters there might all go home this evening and forget about the whole “freedom” thing altogether. Given the way revolution has spread in these regions so fiercely over the past few weeks, I think it is unlikely that we will see an end just yet.
~Justin Allen Philcox