can usually be counted upon for excellent analysis of events in the Middle East and the Islamic world. In this week's Newsweek
, he offers an examination of the crisis of legitimacy
now facing the Iranian theocracy, one well worth reading.
Dr. Zakariah does not see the regime as likely to fall any time in the immediate future, and in fact expects the theocracy's forces to prevail through "drastic means—banning all protests, arresting students, punishing senior leaders and shutting down civil society."
However, the legitimacy of the basic "Rule by the Supreme Jurist," or "velayat-e faqih" in Farsi, is collapsing. Legitimacy really does come from the people, not divine authority, as envisioned by the late Ayatollah Khomeini.
When legitimacy fails, all that are left to hold a regime in place are co-option and force. Then, it is only a matter of time before the system fails. And falls.
Dr. Zakariah's analysis is certainly worth reading. In addition to his take on events in Iran, he offers a worthwhile look at options for the West, and for President Obama specifically.