President Obama finally said that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi must go. At least the leader of the free world beat the Grand Duke of Liechtenstein to that conclusion, even if not other Western leaders. It’s important that the White House did not see the uprising in Libya as just about Libya, however. Despite Stephen M. Walt’s useful idiocy, Qaddafi’s regime is the most brutal and dictatorial in the Middle East. After North Korea, it competes with Turkmenistan for the second-most-autocratic regime on earth.
Qaddafi’s exile or death will be the last nail in the coffin of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Egyptians thought, “If Tunisians can do it, why not us.” When Mubarak fled, Libyans concluded that it was their turn. If people power can topple Qaddafi, not even the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will be able to contain the rage of the Iranian people. And if the Islamic Republic collapses, then suddenly the threats from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will decline as their state support evaporates.
The Iranians often say that Washington plays checkers while Tehran plays chess. It’s time for us to get into the game and checkmate Ayatollah Khamenei.