I have written much in this column about my conviction that if Egypt is in a good state then this will be reflected in the Arab world, whilst if Egypt is in a bad condition then so too will this be reflected on the Arab world. Today we are witnessing the Iranian street following the path of what happened in Egypt, and should the Iranian [demonstrators] succeed in overthrowing the mullah’s regime we will be able to say “if Iran is in a good condition than the entire region will have taken another positive step.” It would certainly be great should the Iranian demonstrators succeed!
This is not out of gloating [at the situation in Iran], or inciting [anybody to demonstrate], rather this is the simple truth, for ever since the Iranian revolution toppled the Shah and brought in the mullah’s rule, our region has not known a day’s peace with a regime whose goals include exporting the Khomeini revolution. Following this revolution, the number of people with ties to [religious] fundamentalism in our region rose dramatically; this is something that we have, and continue to, pay the price for. This wave [of fundamentalism] has affected all parties in the region, however despite this no genuine solutions have been proposed with regards to resolving this problem. Today, thirty years later, we are witnessing the children of the Khomeini revolution in Iran revolting against it!
A revolution breaking out in Iran would be a monumental event that could even the playing field in the region, particularly after what happened in Egypt. This would be an event that would shock [regional] countries and rouse a region that has not tasted stability for decades. The success of a new Iranian revolution would also mean that Iran would be more concerned about its own citizens; [following this revolution] Iran’s main concern would be its domestic scene, rather than exporting the Khomeini revolution, sowing unrest, and inciting sectarianism in the region.
Should this happen, Syria will find itself face-to-face with its own citizens, without the use of foreign slogans that it has long-relied on. Damascus would also be forced to deal with the regional countries, and the world at large, according to its own capabilities, rather than relying on the capabilities of its Iranian ally and Tehran’s ability to sow discord. Hezbollah would also be weakened by this, and it will be forced to choose between normal political operations – like all other [political] parties in Lebanon – or suicide. Whilst the legitimacy of all political components and their leaders in Iraq would no longer be based upon sectarianism or Iranian backing, but rather on their ability to serve Iraq and the needs of its people. As for the Huthi insurgents in Yemen, they would no longer be able to find anybody to provide them with financial backing and so would be forced to return to reason. Should a new revolution break out in Iran, there would be a new reality in the region.
Have we forgotten about Hamas? At this point, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization would return to real political operations, or choose the path of traditional resistance. This would be the Hamas organization’s only choice for it would no longer be able to find any financial backing incentivizing the continence of its insurgency simply because it refuses to share power. In addition to this, the Gulf region would obtain some breathing space, if only for a short period of time, while this would also result in a reduction in the casualties of war in our region. In the event of the emergence of a new and democratic Egypt that respects individual freedoms and establishes the rule of law, and a new Iran which follows this same path, it will be up to the Gulf States to begin taking the next step.
Some might say that this is over-simplifying the situation or that I am dreaming, however the answer to this is very simple, for who could have dreamt what later happened in Tunisia and Egypt? Therefore with the number of demonstrators taking to the street against the regime in Iran on Monday, this means that the fire is still being stoked in Iran and that there is still hope that our region could extricate itself from the bottleneck that we have become trapped in.