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The Iranian tempestuous power projections in the larger Middle East, the militarization of national security, the repeated attempts at creating an international authoritarian counter-order, and the false sense of omnipotence and ubiquitousness are hardly tested with the derailment of the war objectives set after the October 7, 2023 attack in South Israel. The plodding of Hamas, the incremental unraveling of Hezbollah’s operational platforms and the firm containment policy set by the US-mounted coalition are the levers of the new political and military dynamics. The strategic overstretching of Iran and its political miscalculations are turning awry and will tend to lead to the unraveling of the flimsy ideological cobweb. The conjunction of domestic and international crises is the source of a self-destructive process that is already in motion. The heightened domestic repression and the proliferation of regional conflicts masterminded by the Iranian regime are quite indicative of its cumulative uncertainties and harbored fears spinning out of control.

The Iranian regime has no chance to survive without an active policy of internal repression and regional destabilization, at a time when its ideological and operational legitimacy and destructive power politics are challenged all along. The shrewd litmus test set by Israel after it bombed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard headquarters in Damascus, the failed military retaliation of Iran which unveiled the weaknesses of the Iranian regime, the premonitory bombing of Isfahan, and the rising synergies between the Iranian opposition and the Arab and international coalition which confronted the attacks on Israel are highly symptomatic. The Iranian regime is undermined domestically and internationally and has no more leverage to counter the incipient dynamics. The Palestinian and Lebanese sceneries are peripheral and adjacent platforms, instrumentalized by a drowning dictatorship. These observations lead us to one conclusion: the Iranian regime should be subdued if the Middle East is to oversee a normalization course and if the reformist cycle is to take its due place at the pinnacle of the regional and domestic political agendas. This is the main lesson conveyed by the latest political events.

The sturdy political containment initiated by the United States, and the successful international and regional coalition weaved by President Biden were insightful and timely political moves to tackle the conflicts at their source. The sanction politics were tangential and insufficient while dealing with a totalitarian and neo-imperial theocracy, and couldn’t obviate the need for a head-on military confrontation. The undoing of the Saudi-Iranian understanding arbitrated by China, and the marginalization of Russia and China throughout the late conflict have attested to the power of the democratic coalitions mustered by the US leadership to contain the backlashing of militant and authoritarian dictatorships. The actual scenario is reminiscent of the first post-Cold War coalition assembled by President George HW Bush in 1990 and the pattern it set while taming the rowdiness of Saddam Hussein. Having said that, the routing of the unruly Iranian power politics is inevitable and urgently mandated. Otherwise, this clever and successful enterprise should strengthen the Western resolve towards Ukraine and emphasize NATO’s centrality within the transatlantic security architecture and the need to solidify the European limes.

The coalition partners and Israel are bound to coordinate their undertakings to move sequentially in their respective and common endeavors. However essential is the pursuit of sanctions, the containment of the Iranian regime is mandatory if we were to preempt the militarization of the civil nuclear power in Iran, stem the tide of open-ended political subversion, safeguard the moderate political regimes in the Middle East, undermine the resurgent Chinese and Russian inroads, and move steadily on negotiated conflict resolution throughout the region (Israeli-Palestinian conflict, conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya…). The containment of the Iranian regime is likened to the smothering of ISIS and al-Qaida and is the prelude to regional normalization and State-building in a region that lost its multitudinous gravities. The coordinated moves between the coalition and Israel are essential to defeat Hamas, finish off with Hezbollah’s extraterritoriality, restore Lebanese sovereignty, and put an end to the frozen conflicts throughout the region. Cato the Elder considered the destruction of Carthage (Carthago delenda est) if the latest stages of the Punic Wars were to end (149-146 BC), the Islamic regime in Iran should be overpowered for Iran to recover its sovereignty and rebuild itself, and for the larger Middle East to stabilize.