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  • In the Shah’s Footsteps
    Thu, 29 December 2011
    Hassan Haidar

    History certainly does not repeat itself, but the regimes of some countries duplicate failed past experiences they themselves arose with the aim of getting rid of, only to thoroughly repeat them with all of their flaws and their dangers. What calls for such talk are the large-scale military maneuvers being currently carried out by Iran in the Arabian Gulf – maneuvers aimed at testing its ability to control navigation in the Hormuz Straight, which were accompanied by threats to stop the influx of oil through the Gulf if its oil exports were to be subjected to sanctions.

    The maneuvers themselves, as well as the statements that accompanied them, had shown that the reckless possibility of sealing off the Straight is on the table for Tehran, and is being prepared for within the framework of its plans for the region, in case the regime decides to make use of this dangerous card in its confrontation with the international community over the nuclear issue.

    It is as if Iran’s leaders – who stockpile and export missile arsenals, spend enormous amounts of money on building their war machine and on its various weapons, insist on militarizing Iranian society through multiplying militias and armed organizations, and exhaust their citizens with austerity, repression and multiple intelligence services – have forgotten that the Shah’s regime before them also stockpiled weapons and arsenals, had one of the most powerful traditional armies in the world, as well as one of the largest and most lethal intelligence services, and sought to impose its hegemony on the Gulf. Yet this did not prevent it from collapsing and disappearing when its people rose up against it, and when it found no use for its tanks, submarines, warships and intelligence reports.

    Over three decades after the revolution, the regime of the Ayatollahs has reached the peak of failure at the domestic and the foreign level. Indeed, Iran today is in a state of nearly complete isolation, subjected to stifling economic, financial and political sanctions, and, were it not for its ties to regimes whose peoples suffer from the same “revolutionary” conditions or regimes that are in need of Iran’s oil and natural gas, one could say that Iran has been cut off from the world, much like North Korea.

    Tehran’s relations with neighboring Arab countries are at their worst, due to it openly interfering in their domestic affairs, a complaint being repeated in Manama, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Baghdad. The latest in its series of interferences was its prohibiting letters of credit from being opened for imports from the UAE, about which one Iranian parliamentary official said that it does not “resist the meaningless pressure imposed by arrogant [world] powers”.

    Even Turkey, which stresses Iran’s role in the region and has made sure to grant Tehran the space to elude sanctions, was not spared its threats when it decided to deploy part of the missile shield systems to defend Europe from Iranian missiles.

    As for Syria, which Iran’s leadership considers to be “the second wing of the revolution”, and which it is providing with every possible form of assistance to eradicate the protests, its regime is steadily moving closer to its collapse, which will represent a painful blow for Tehran, one that will make it reconsider many of its plans, and one that also threatens the future of its Lebanese organization, which is suffering from increasing security, political and social perturbations.

    All of this while the domestic situation in Iran is witnessing overwhelming chaos, after the news of an attempt to assassinate Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei having been uncovered, and the wave of arrests and resignations that followed. There is also the persistent dispute opposing President Ahmadinejad to the radicals in parliament and the possibility of terminating the office of President of the Republic, the increasing grip of the Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) on the network of power and economy, and the possibility for the situation in the street to erupt once again between the population and security services as parliamentary elections, scheduled in early March, draw near.

    Thus a perturbed Tehran finds only threats to level left and right, and only angry mobs to direct towards embassies, in response to pressures to stop its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons. And in all of this, it is committing one blunder after another, mistakenly believing that the world will continue to be forgiving with those who have no mercy for themselves and for their people.

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