It might be optimistic. But that’s okay. Sometimes the optimistic scenario might be right. Avigdor Lieberman, maybe reaching for some point of disagreement with Netanyahu, thinks sanctions are working and could push Iran to the breaking point by Summer 2013. As he lays it out, he sees the same scenario as the 2009 Iranian elections with the polls in 2013: people are ready to demonstrate and riot again.
It will take a little bit more than hope, but to my ears it sounds like he’s being much more forward about what is the most practical solution to the Iranian nuke problem: revolution.
Ten years ago, hinting that this was a sound policy was extreme. It was still extreme in 2005 after the demonstrations in Lebanon pushed the Syrian military out of the country. In 2009, when it became feasible, the idea was again buried by security analysts as a fantasy. In 2011, Arab protests toppled four governments. Yet, no one talks revolution as something viable.
It’s probably more for the sake of not putting it forward as a policy; that would imply Western countries are actively preparing to make it happen. So be it. But if they are, it’s good policy. It’s better than a war and certainly has more long term resolution to it.
There’s little sound analysis that such a thing will happen, especially at a specific date. That’s akin to predicting the date of the apocalypse. Lieberman’s excited (maybe more for new elections) and oddly enough he is calm. There is less a sense of urgency in this interview. I can even hear his voice getting a little deeper through the type.
He doesn’t touch on the bigger question: will a new wave of revolution spark such an uprising among Palestinians? Will Israel find itself fighting some sort of war anyway if Hamas does make a move on Ramallah?
It’s incredibly optimistic, but assuming a radical answer to this crisis is necessary then revolution is the more palatable solution to a war. But Iranians will have to work harder than in 2009 when they caught their government, the world and themselves by surprise. It would again have to be genuine rage, not just a reenactment from before. The regime will have more preparations and better control of the streets. These are reasons to think Lieberman is fantasizing about a revolutionary showdown in Tehran.
But there’s reason to think that he’s right. That the presidential elections, another nine months down the road, would mark an emotional pivot for Iranians that might spark protests and riots. He might be right.