Iran at the brink of an ugly civil war

Mohammed Al Shaikh
Mohammed Al Shaikh
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In all probability, Iran will eventually succumb to popular demonstrations and protests, simply because it doesn’t have the solutions to its growing economic problems, unless it abandons its costly expansionist practices. Most of Iran's revenues are siphoned off by militias raised in pursuit of its expansionist goals.

Furthermore, a large portion of this funding is spent on developing advanced weapons’ programs, particularly ballistic missiles. When it finally gives up these programs, it will become clear that all of its political and expansionist agendas — be they in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen have been complete failures.

Thus, I truly believe that Iran will have no choice but to snuff out protests, which subside in one place but erupt somewhere else, via the Revolutionary Guards and by adopting the practices of the SAVAK which the deposed Shah utilized to govern the country with. Such practices may be successful only for some time, but eventually they would yield to the will of the protesters, just like they protested against the Shah and toppled him.

The IRGC are as brutal as the ISIS militia, the only difference between the two being their sectarian divergence

Mohammed Al Shaikh

More pernicious than Shah’s repression

The difference between the revolution against the Shah and the revolution against the theocracy is that the claws of the repressive clerical power, in the form of the Revolutionary Guards, are far more pernicious and dreadful than those used by the Shah’s army and security forces in their time.

The Shah’s security and army were not ideologically driven and their military tactics had nothing to do with religion. Their aim was to defend Iran, the nation. However, Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia are religiously driven, are deeply embedded in Vilayat-e-Faqih doctrine and by what the clerics say.

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They do not ponder for a second before striking down anyone who faces them, and remain adamant even if they may have to wipe out half of the Iranian people. In fact, they are as brutal as the ISIS militia, the only difference between the two being their sectarian divergence.

Plagued by hunger, poverty and corruption, the floundering economy of Iran and the ineptitude of the regime in improving economic conditions gives me the confidence to firmly predict that Iran will, in the next two to three years, witness a civil war, especially if the United States persists with its sanctions against the regime and diminishes Iran’s ability to become part of the global economy.

Such measures are tantamount to adding fuel to fire. This would worsen Iran’s domestic situation and would stoke the flames of popular resentment which will spread until it exhausts the Revolutionary Guards.

The IRGC will make it violent

In contrast, the Revolutionary Guards will never tolerate the downfall of the 1979 revolution, which they deem their doctrinal duty to protect and preserve. Hence, they will certainly try to suppress protests at all costs.

Therefore, all the objective indicators point that if hungry people revolt en masse, the Revolutionary Guard can only confront them with the force of arms. If we look at Bashar's experience in Syria as a case in point, then we can see that he was only able to withstand the ire of Syrian masses with the help of Russians.

If the hungry masses come out to revolt, their revolution will likely turn into a bloody civil war, just as the one that took place in Syria. All I want to say is that economic failures that stare in the face of the theocracy will always be the cause and trigger for civil wars.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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