Charles Elias Chartouni: The End of an Era, the Challenges of Iran after Suleimani/The Iranian Imperial Adventurism and the Middle Eastern Tinderbox

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The Iranian Imperial Adventurism and the Middle Eastern Tinderbox
Charles Elias Chartouni/January 03/2020

End of an Era, the Challenges of Iran after Suleimani
Charles Elias Chartouni/January 04/2020

The targeted assassination of Qassem Suleimani ushers a new era, be it inside the Iranian regime, and at both the regional and international levels. Whatever might be the reaction of the Iranian regime, it is the end of the reckless adventurism, arrogant provocation and exclusive reliance on violence to address contending strategic issues. The assassination of Suleimani attests the vulnerability of the Iranian regime and its reliance on destabilization, open-ended conflicts and utter disregard of diplomacy as a tool of policy crafting and conflict resolution. The myth of the lonely ranger patrolling the seams of a decaying Middle Eastern order is over, and the Iranian regime is confronted head on with the limits of its discretionary power, and the sabotaging strategy masterminded by Qassem Suleimani. The howling menaces broadcasted by the regime and its satellites are markers of vulnerability and helplessness and not the other way around.

Whatever might be the retaliation, the Iranian regime has to reckon with two limitations: A/ the end of the political and military wandering throughout the craters of an imploded Middle East, and the need for a reassessment towards grand political and diplomatic arrangements; B/ the end of the Khamenei era and the need for a post-revolutionary road map which helps Iran extricate itself from the quagmires of a failed revolutionary era, with its cohort of failed and dysfunctional governance, debunked Islamic mythology of God’s governance ( حاكمية الله ), financial, economic, social and environmental crises, international isolation, conflict-prone foreign policy and enhancing strategic hazards, and a gnawing crisis of legitimacy pitting an estranged civil society against a corrupt and retrenched revolutionary oligarchy.

This is the scenario of an ending era and the grammar of its unfolding stages, and this is what accounts for the utter blindness which inevitably led to the assassination of Suleimani, and highlights the Islamic regime systemic impasses. The moderate conservatives within the Iranian regime ( Rouhani-Zarif ) have to seize the opportunity to open up to the various strands of the internal oppositions, and force the diplomatic foreclosures, for Iran to extricate itself from the self defeating and suicidal doldrums of an exhausted failed dystopia, and a conflictive policy framework. The ravings of the Islamic oligarchy, and the choreographed Shiite pathos and delirious bereavement ( هيهات منا الذلة، Hell no humiliation ) seem inappropriate, let alone counter-productive. It’s about time to recover the sense of reality, address the compounded failures of a bankrupted revolution, which has nothing to offer but the impasses of a psychotic and walled off imaginary of a failed dystopia. The death of Suleimani impels the demise of its hallucinatory reverberations, and the reconnection with the real world which lies outside the panopticons of a threadbare revolutionary myth.

The Iranian Imperial Adventurism and the Middle Eastern Tinderbox
Charles Elias Chartouni/January 03/2020
Observers of the Middle Eastern scenery have a hard time accounting for this Iranian military and political frenzy, and the blind violence which features the Iranian regime overall demeanor, be it domestically or at the regional level. There is no other approach to the endemic crisis of a dysfunctional and decaying governance outside State terror: mob and terror squads violence, indiscriminate political assassinations, public hanging and arbitrary detentions; Whereas, the tangled web of regional conflicts induced by disruptive Iranian military interventionism are unlikely to be tackled through diplomatic overtures, international arbitraging and referral to international law and institutions. The systemic nexus which lies at the very roots of this inherently conflictual configuration, is the fear elicited by the relationships between international normalization and internal liberalization, the survival of the regime and the imponderables of Iranian and Shiite geopolitics.

The plot defines on the intersection between the moribund dystopia of the Islamic revolution, its bankrupted governance, the overall exasperation of the Iranian society, the disarray elicited by tempestuous Iranian expansionism, and the volatility of an imploded Middle East. What is mostly worrisome is the fact that the Iranian regime doesn’t seem to realize the magnitude of these conflated destructive dynamics, and tends to overestimate its ability to manage the deliberately created havoc, through incremental violence and sheer disregard of its effects. The illusion created by the costly and unsustainable interventionism is overshadowed by the widening realms of chaos, its countervailing Sunni radicalism, the decay of what’s left of the inter-State system, the heightened tempo of conflict militarization, and the deepening of international claustration, at a time when the internal legitimacy of the Islamic regime has reached its highest peak plainly displayed by the savagery of internal repression.

The domination of a totalitarian ideology, the vested interests of a corrupt clerisocracy and its repressive auxiliaries ( Pasdaran, Revolutionary Guards and their allies among the merchants of the Bazar and a subservient gerrymandered parliament …. ), the enduring imponderables of Iranian geopolitics ( Sunnite imperialism and terrorist movements ), the short term returns of political and military interventionism throughout the larger Middle East ( Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Koweït, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories and their interfaces ), and the effective domestic repression, have created a psychotic state of mind which prevents the politics of normalization and liberalization from setting a new course that mends the rifts between a waning Islamic dystopia and a post-Islamist society, and the mandated openings of a new global order. The latest buccaneering in the Gulf waters, political obstructionism and destabilization ( Irak, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories …. ), the insidious instrumentalization of the nuclear accords with the USA and the world community, and the everlasting game of victimization and blame externalization ( Conspiracy theory ), fully account for this convoluted conflict dynamic which forecloses diplomatic openings and preempts normalization. The Iranian society is confronted with future tough choices and hobbled by a deadweight legacy and its deleterious consequences.