Will The Protests In Iran Lead To Regime Change?  What Happens Next?  According To At Least One Notable Analysis — ‘The Iran Protests Are D-Day Landing On The War Against Radical Islam’

Will The Protests In Iran Lead To Regime Change?  What Happens Next?  According To At Least One Notable Analysis — ‘The Iran Protests Are D-Day Landing On The War Against Radical Islam’
     How serious are the protests and social uprising in Iran?  Is this the beginning of the end of the Islamic regime?  What happens next?  All very important questions that no one really knows the answers to.  It is just too early to tell whether or not these protests ultimately prove to be the beginning of the end of the ‘House of Qom,’ where the Mullahs hang out.
     Michael Rubin, who has a Ph.D. in Iranian history, and has lived and worked in Iran; and, is now a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), was interviewed on CNBC’s Power Lunch,yesterday, January 2, 2018, about his perspective on what is unfolding in Iran.  Mr. Rubin contends that these protests are unlike recent protests in that the current protesters have the regime in their sights.  Also in the past, Iranian security forces remained loyal to the regime; but, Mr. Rubin noted that there is some credible reporting that at least some security force personnel are either siding with the protesters, and/or, are actively participating.
     Mr. Rubin described Iran as a ‘Tinder Box;’ and, the real question he said is:  “Is the Iranian regime better at tamping down the burning embers; or, are the protesters better at fanning the flames?  Iran is a ‘connected society,’ and despite the government’s attempt to shutdown or control social media, they will not be able to do so, Mr. Rubin said.
     Economically, the Iranian regime has not delivered on providing a better future for their nation’s youth.  Despite the lifting of sanctions and a resumption of oil exports, unemployment is over 12 percent — men at about 10.7 percent unemployed, while over 20 percent of women are unemployed; and, unemployment among the nation’s youth is just under 30 percent.
     But, as Clifford May wrote in today’s (Jan. 3. 2018) edition of the Washington Times, “It’s not just about the economy, Stupid.’   “Today,” Mr. May wrote, “the regime in Iran influences Iraq, props up the Assad dynasty in Syria, controls Lebanon through Hezbollah, and backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen.  Thinking longer-term, Supreme Leader Khamenei has a nuclear weapons program — perhaps delayed, but certainly not ended by the deal that POTUS Obama concluded — as well as a [ballistic] missile program dedicated to producing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.  That program continues apace,” Mr. May wrote.
    “The pursuit of these ambitions, has come at a cost,” Mr. May wrote.  “The Iranians who had hoped they would enjoy more freedom and prosperity following the fall of the Shah, have been bitterly disappointed.  Iranians who thought they would benefit from the tens of billions of dollars flowing to Iran in the aftermath of the nuclear deal — even more so,” he added.
     These frustrations finally erupted last Thursday, just a few days after Christmas, when “Iranians by the hundreds of thousands began expressing [their] disappointment [publicly] — risking their lives by staging protests in more than two dozen cities across the country,” Mr, May wrote, and there have been more than 20 deaths reported thus far, and nearly 500 arrests.  Both figures are likely to rise in the coming days, and weeks.
     And, contrary to much of the so-called ‘mainstream media’ reporting, these protests are aimed squarely at the regime as opposed to being mainly about the ‘sluggish economy.’  As Mr. May notes, “chants in the streets tell a different story.  Shouts of:  “We Don’t Want An Islamic Republic;” “Death To The Dictator;” Mullahs Must Get Lost;” “The Clerics Act Like Gods;” “Death Or Freedom;” “Leave Syria And Think About Us;” and “We Will Die, [But] We Will Take Back Iran.”
So, What Happens Next?
     The Stone Age did not die for a lack of stones; and, this uprising will not succeed if the regime maintains the allegiance of their security forces and the IRGC — and, they conduct a ruthless crackdown on those they consider the key leaders and agitators.  As Mr. May noted, ruthlessness usually pays for despotic regimes such as this.  Yes, social media is a wildcard; but, it cannot stop a bullet or a physical arrest.  Given that China provided the regime with sophisticated facial recognition technology several years ago — the regime is no doubt using that technology to identify those they consider to be the leaders; and, will likely arrest those individuals at some point in the not too distant future.
     Ryan Mauro, a senior National Security Analyst with The Clarion Project, a Washington D.C.-based think tank dedicated to exposing the real truth about radical Islam; as well as promoting human rights around the globe — was interviewed on Fox News, on Tuesday, January 3, 2018.  Mr. Mauro contended that these ongoing protests in Iran, represents a D-Day Landing by the Iranian people against the Islamic theocracy — once and for all.  Mr. Mauro urged that POTUS Trump ‘weaponize’ Twitter feeds into/out of Iran; and, conduct cyber attacks against the pro-regime elements in the country.  
     Maybe those moves would make a difference at the margins.  Iranian expatriate groups across Europe and elsewhere can also play a very valuable role here, in ‘feeding’ the anti-regime elements; and, other behind-the-scenes support.  These same expatriate groups can also serve as a valuable source of critical intelligence, though admittedly such intelligence needs to be taken with a grain of salt as the saying goes.
     Historically, this current revolutionary regime is already way past their prime, when you look back into hundreds, if not thousands of years of history.  Indeed, most revolutions tend to run their course and out of steam around the thirty year mark.  The Iranian revolution that ultimately brought the Mullahs to power, is now nearly 40 years old.  So, these protests may be coming at the right moment in time.  It is well overdue.
     Even if this current popular uprising by the moderates does not succeed, the sands of the Middle East appear to be shifting in the moderates favor…..finally.  One need look no further than Saudi Arabia and what Crown Prince bin Salman is doing to move the kingdom into the modern age, and away from the hard-line Islamists.  I would push back on Mr. Mauro and say that the D-Day Landing on the War Against Radical Islam — began with Prince Salmon’s decision to allow women to drive; and, mitigate religious intrusion into public life.  But, it certainly wouldn’t hurt Prince Salmon’s initiative, should the moderates in Iran decide to join the ‘party.’  Which is why this current protest movement in Iran is so important and maybe different….this time.  Here’s hoping and wishing that the moderates in Iran succeed.  RCP , fortunascorner.com

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