Regime Change in Iran: A Win for the Gulf and the West

Imagine a situation where the Shiites of Bahrain manage to overthrow their Sunni authoritarian rulers, and their freedom inspires the Shiites of Saudi Arabia to push for the same. Imagine how Iran’s current rulers would view this situation. The Iranians would undoubtedly pressure their fellow Shiites to push the Americans out, and consequently hold the entire world hostage to their dictates. Moreover, while we wish the Egyptian people well, imagine a situation where the Iranian-allied Muslim Brotherhood eventually takes over the Egyptian revolution, just as Khomeini took over the Iranian revolution from the hands of the secularists. America and the world would end up with the short end of an Iranian victory.

But things do not have to end up that way. There is irrefutable evidence that the Iranian people want regime change. They have used every opportunity to make their views known, often putting themselves at great danger. Just as the young Arabs have shown us in the past few weeks, these Iranians too have had enough of the tyrannical rulers, who, if left to their own devices, could easily inflict upon their people the same fate as Mr. Gaddafi is inflicting on his own people.

The totalitarians run Iran to the chagrin of large segments of the Iranian people and also a very large portion of Iran’s religious establishment. Very few Iranian religious figures still support the regime. Many senior and junior Shiite clerics believe that their government is destroying Islam and want nothing more than for the clerics to return to their traditional places in the seminaries and mosques.

If we play our cards correctly, a change in Iran’s regime might end up being a win-win situation for the Iranian people, the Arab Shiites, and the outside world as well. If we helped the Iranian people free themselves from their thirty-three year nightmare, Iran’s new rulers -- whoever they might be -- would still be Shiite. These new rulers, whoever they might be, have had enough of their “estrangement” from the rest of the world and would almost assuredly like nothing better than to rejoin the community of nations.

Iranians are a proud people with an ancient history and culture who want to be respected by the outside world. This would also be a win for the Arab Shiites. Iran is about 85-90% Shiite. From personal experience, the Arab Shiites would like to have a good relationship with any government of Iran -- irrespective of their rather negative view of Persians -- because it is the largest Shiite power in the area. In such a case, it would matter much less to us who rules the Saudi oil field because the Shiites would have two free Shiite big brothers to look to -- Iran and Iraq.

Now is the time to do whatever we can to help the Iranian people oust their tyrannical regime and replace it with one which wants a positive relationship with the outside world. The Arab Shiites in Bahrain and Kuwait -- and possibly even Saudi Arabia -- would be able to be part of a free Western-oriented alliance, with the freedom to pursuit their desires just as the Iraqis are doing today. Indeed, everyone benefits except Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and their thuggish Revolutionary Guard rulers. May they and Gaddafi end up in the same trashbin of history. Let their peoples be free!