November 18, 2019
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued public statements of support for the civil society in Iran seeking the separation of mosque and state, protesters in Iraq seeking freedom from Iranian interference in its internal affairs, and protesters in Lebanon seeking freedom from Iranian domination through its proxy, Hezbollah. The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy supports all these positions.
“These revolutions are organic by the people and are rejecting what the traditional political parties and their leaders have sold them over the years,“ said AMCD co-chair, Tom Harb. “All three revolutions are rebelling against corruption and their dire economic situations and they consider Iranian influence as the key cause of the corruption and economic deterioration.”
Over the past decade, the Islamic Republic of Iran has tipped the balance of effective force in the Middle East in its favor. It has achieved superior conventional force with the use of influence operations and third-party forces. The key ingredient here has been the Quds Force, the external operations wing of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC). The fact that Iran now has such an extensive and geographically dispersed network of alliances gives it ample scope to conduct deniable operations.
However, it is very expensive for Iran to fund such a large group network of alliances throughout the Middle East. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. are biting and its own population and its third party alliances are suffering the effects economically. These sanctions have caused the Iranian GDP to shrink by 6% and have thus caused its alliances to dwindle dramatically. The recent unrest was brought about by regressing economic conditions, while the local populations see corrupt politicians getting paid to advance Iranian interests all over the greater Middle East.
“U.S. sanctions are working and should be expanded, with the goal of limiting Iran’s influence to its border,” said AMCD vice-chair, Hossein Khorram. “Iran should be held accountable for its lack of respect for the human rights of its citizens.”
“Iran is a signatory to Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Khorram continued, “but it is unlikely to change course. Most likely, Iran will continue to seize opportunities to expand its third-party capability. It is up to the United States to seize this golden opportunity by strategically nurturing secular nationalist movements in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon before Iran forces their submission through terror and intimidation as it has so many times in the past.”
“Nature abhors a vacuum,” added AMCD co-chair, John Hajjar. “If these corrupt governments fail, the Islamist militias of Hezbollah, the PMU, Quds force and IRGC will fill the void. In fact, this may be the plan contemplated by the Mullahs all along.”
The American Middle Eastern community, estimated at 3.2% of the U.S. population, can be the catalyst for the United States’ support of secular civil society against Iran’s expansionist Islamic ideology. We strongly support the formation of a US Task force on the protests in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to include the Administration, Congress and Mideastern Americans. The AMCD stands ready to participate.