It looks like the protestors in Iran have pretty much beaten up the Basij, the moral equivalent of Nazi brown shirts. The Basij are afraid to show their faces. However, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the 100,000 strong militia of so-called elite soldiers (compared to the 1,000,000 string regular military) are now deployed, though no violence is reported on behalf of the IRG. (link)
The revolutionaries are responding by marching with their Korans, sitting to read when they get attacked. They also have guerrilla groups operating with the full support of the people, picking off Basij wherever they are found.
And 100,000 IRG against millions of their brothers? I don’t see that working out.
What are the possibilities? If American doesn’t interfere, then there are three possibilities.
- The revolutionaries get crushed with America standing on the sidelines. They all end up dead or in prison. Hope for a democratic Iran is gone forever. (We lose, they lose, tyrants win.)
- The revolutionaries win with America standing on the sidelines. Iran becomes a pro-Western modern democratic republic. (We win, they win, tyrants lose.)
- The revolutionaries win with America standing on the sidelines. Iran switches out governments for an equivalently anti-Western theocracy and continue to develop nuclear weapons to slaughter the Jews. (We lose, they lose, tyrants win.)
I’ll be the first to admit that although 2 is hopeful, it is actually unlikely. 1 or 3 is far more common in history, and there is no reason why Iran should be any different this time.
What if we do interfere?
- The revolutionaries lose, we lose, and we retreat to Iraq and Afghanistan to lick our wounds. The tyrants become the sole power in the Middle East, and become even more belligerent.
- The revolutionaries win with our help, we help them setup a temporary government, then we walk them through the process the same way we walked Iraq through the process. After some time (1 year? 50 years?) we leave Iran in the capable hands of the people and their constitution.
- The revolutionaries win with our help, but turn on the Americans and defeat us. We retreat into Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran becomes the new power in the Middle East, this time with a different tyrant in control.
Which one do you think is most likely? Given the results we are seeing in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Japan, Germany, and others, 2 is the most likely outcome if we choose to pursue it. The part in the middle of 2 isn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty in Iraq and it isn’t pretty in Afghanistan. I don’t know that Iran would be as much trouble as Iraq or Afghanistan is today. Regardless, we are figuring this thing out for the first time in world history, and our unexpectedly quick success in Iraq was despite all odds and all things at our disadvantage. The Iranians are nowhere near suppressed as the Iraqis, and the people love us and want us in the country to depose the government they have today.
I honestly don’t think that we could lose in Iran. That would require some super-power assisting Iran. If we were to occupy Iran, we would need only secure the borders of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan. Azerbaijan is weak, Turkmenistan is weak, the Caspian Sea can be patrolled with aircraft, and Pakistan is at least neutral.
The only powers who would have an interest in meddling with our meddling in Iran are China and Russia. North Korea is far too weak to conduct a proxy war, and they have no way of getting to the battle field. China isn’t interested in a war with the US, and Russia is falling apart.
Given that we are already accused of meddling in Iran, actually meddling will not hurt our image or hurt the revolutionary’s image. Not meddling will lead to accusations of not caring, which is absolutely not the case.
I think it is time to assemble a coalition of the kind to protect this fledgling democracy and welcome them into the new world.
The war plan should be:
- First, put the regime off balance by veiled and unveiled threats. Begin to move assets into place for a full-scale invasion, and send a conflicting message.
- Suddenly announce unconditional support of the revolutionaries along with several other countries. Demand that Khomeini and Ahmedinajed step down and allow the new government to form, as per the revolutionary’s demands.
- If they don’t step down, announce a time limit, and complete moving military assets in place.
- If they exhaust the time limit, begin an air strike against the air assets. Bomb the nuclear facilities and military hardware. Destroy any military units used to oppress the people.
- If they still don’t step down, send in ground troops in a mad rush for Tehran. The goal is to seat the new government, not pick a fight with the people or any remnants of the military.
- Once the new government is seated, begin working to extinguish the remnants of the old government and establish the new, under the direction of the new leaders.
Iran knows that we are fully capable of carrying out these kinds of threats. If we simply start making them, they will listen very closely.