Monday, January 31, 2011

Iran and the West (Part 3)

I had in the past made posts related to part 1 and part 2 of this award-winning BBC4 documentary.

As I am trying to take bird's view of what is happening in Egypt, what is happening in Iran (execution orgy) and about Iran, I started thinking about Part 3 of this documentary.

The first part of this episode is about Iran's collusion with the USA over Afghanistan and Iraq--and the arrogance of Bush administration to accept Khatami's proposal to approach Iraq's problem in consultation with its bordering neighbors plus Egypt.

The second (and larger) part is about Iran's nuclear standoff (starting minute 18).

Khatami speaks bitterly about Mahammad Al-Baradei's backstabbing Iran (minute 27-30), turning back from his initial agreement and definition of suspension terms, and siding with the Europeans--thus undermining Khatami internally, and empowering the Iranian conservatives against the reformists. Yet, when the Israel Lobby calls El-Baradei a stooge of the Iranian government, (while keeping in mind that the current Iranian government HATES Khatami,) you can't help wondering what's going on in the most recent Middle Eastern game. Of course, there is little surprise why Israelis hate El-Baradei. To me, El-Baradei seems like a flip-flopper, at least as far as the Iranian nuclear issue is involved. He has always talked of peace and dialogue but he has a track record of flopping narratives too.

I think the dynamics surrounding the Iranian Nuclear Issue should not be forgotten these days, despite the boiling North African revolutions. As we see in this video, even a conservative hardliners like Larijani, close to Khamenei, has been undermined in making progress on this issue (minutes 54-56). To the great pleasure of Israel, Ahmadinejad has not allowed that to happen.

(Please also watch minute 32-36, to refresh your memories about how American politicians are responsible for the killing of innocent Iranian men and women who die in plane crashes. I laughed over the slip of the tongue: "we had tried regime chan..." in minute 51, by Richard Burns.)


goatman said...

Looks as if the Egyptians may be demonstrating how to have a revolution!
Yours' may have petered out from lack of interest?

Naj said...


What is happening in Egypt resembles the 1979 Iranian revolution.

It is a silly mistake to compare it to what happened in Iran in June 2009.

If for nothing else, in June 2009, Iranians didn't want a revolution; they wanted their votes to be counted. Wat happened in Iran was a mafia coup against the will of the people and an assault on Iran's half-assed democracy; which is going to make Iran look like Egypt 30 years from now.

So, don't compare contemporary Iran with contemporary Egypt; but pray that egypt will not fall in the same trap that Iran did 30 years ago.

Anonymous said...

In the Iranian Revolution, the entire polity was remade in an Islamic manner.

From the start, there was a very religious feeling to the whole undertaking - with the "Alluh o Akbar" from the roof-tops.

This is not the case in Egypt.

I think this is closer to Suharto's removal in Indonesia.

goatman said...

No matter the purpose, revolution is revolution and how it is expressed can certainly be considered.

Pedestrian said...

Funny that I've been thinking about El-Baradei's dealings with Iran for the past few days ... I don't think anyone knew at the time how instrumental those developments in Iran's nuclear standoff would be for Iran's political future (at least I didn't ;).

I just don't know what to think of the things going on in Egypt. (not that anyone cares what I think). You know Naj, it's really funny how separated we are from each other in the Middle East, even though we live so close ... we know so little about what goes on in Egypt, Jordan, even Syria ... so little about the "fabric" of life in those countries ... and they know so little about us. The walls are so thick and heavy, even though the geographical distance is short.

Naj said...

Hi Ped,

I am not sure we are so disconnected from Eyptians, but I have never met anyone from Tunesia.

I have some egyptian friends (and Amro was egyptian too ;) so I have Egyptian enemies as well)

There seems to be a genuine sense of pride experienced by some and a genuine fear of islamist instability by others. Economic disparity and corruption speak in universal terms; and my revolutionary egyptians are very focused on those items plus respect for human rights.

I think human rights is a bit of paradoxical term in the old-world; in any world where individual's rights take a back seat to clan's rights.

But what I also hear is that there is a sense of weariness about elBaradei's wishiwashiness; indeciciveness and zigzaggings.

I HATE revolutions; that I can say for certian.

Pedestrian said...

Funny that I know folks from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and a gizillion Egyptians ... but no one from Tunisia ... looking on the map, the way Tunisia is squeezed in between the other countries, makes me wonder if it's like that in real life too.

I'm not generalizing, just commenting on my own inner circle: but I was thinking of Iranians I know inside Iran, and they have much more interaction with Westerners, than say Jordanians or Egyptians. Most of them none at all.

I'm more of a clans-rights type of person ;)

Anonymous said...

I have known Egyptians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Libyans Syrians, and Saudi Arabians; some I liked, some I did not.

I new several Tunisians when I was an undergraduate student in US. I liked most of them; they were by far the easiest Arabs to get along with. And not just I, but other Iranians also felt comfortable with them.

And best of all, they knew Googoosh. They told me the story of how Googoosh once gave a concert there and afterwards was ushered in to the presence of the Tunisian President who was Habib Bourqeybah. And he expected Googoosh to kiss him but she just shook hands with him!

I support the revolutions, there was no other way since these stupid - but cunning dictators - leave the people no other choice.

Long Live the Blood of revolution!

Anonymous said...

This rebellion in Egypt is unlike Iran's in 1978.

78 was religious from the very beginning.

From the insulting article to Mr. Khomeini and onwards to “Allah u Akbar” from the roof-tops at night.

This is not the case in Egypt.

Furthermore, the Iranian Army was mostly loyal to the Shah and muredered thousands of people. That is not the case here as of yet.

The entire Pahlavi edifice collapsed, including the Army but in Egypt, like many other Sunni Muslim states, the Army is a separate institution than the state.

Lastly, there are no visible uncompromising leaders like Mr. Khoemini who could overthrow the current dispensation and replace it with a new state structure.

Anonymous said...

dear Ms. Naj,
In spite of Obama's Confession, I think some Iranians were involved in the events of '53, and also believe some Iranians were involved in the causes of several Iranian air crashes. No doubt, the Great Satan does some nefarious stuff,but Iranians need to take responsibility for their own air safety problems.btl

Anonymous said...

During the time of the Shah, geopolitical situation was different.

The international arena was dominated by Imperial America which was, at same time, challenged by USSR.

US strategy, under Nixon and his successors, was to create and nurture strong local vassals that could help US carry the imperial burden.

One such vassal state was Iran under the Shah.

Another was Yugoslavia under Tito.

Once the Cold War ended and the Peace of Yalta collapsed; US adopted the Grand Strategy that Mr. Khalilzad formulated.

I note 2 things to this Grand Strategy.

One that it was, in my opinion, an expression of absolute lack of vision for the leaders of the United States in what to do with the enormous power of the United States (vis-a-vis other states)

And secondly, that this grand strategy was a fundamentally militaristic one, formulated by DoD.

In the context of this Grand Strategy, the existing locally powerful vassal states had to be reduced in power – by whatever means necessary – in order to pre-empt from taking advantage of the new opportunities for independent action that the dissolution of USSR provided and to prevent erosion of US power. Thus Yugoslavia had to be disposed of.

Had the Islamic Revolution not occurred in Iran, according to this hypothesis, US would have found means to deal with Iran and reduce her power after the end of the Cold War.

Furthermore, any non-Vassal state, but locally powerful one, that challenged US or could do so, would also have to be reduced in power; by any means necessary. This was the famous Dual Containment policy applied to Iran and Iraq.

North Koreans understood this logic and immediately after the US-Iraq War (war of Whites against the Browns as Mexican papers at the time called it) began moving their forces towards the 38-th parallel.

That saved them from destruction at the start of the presidency of Mr. Clinton.

Again, US only targeted states in areas of the world that she considered to be critical to her interests.

The attacks on 9/11/2001 originating from so-called US friends in the Muslim world, gave ample opportunity for the further application of this Grand Strategy. The aim, per Gen. Clark, of destroying 5 sovereign states in the Middle East: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, Lebanon. This would have made the Levant and Persian Gulf into US protectorate states with the potential to bankrupt Russian oil producers and the denial of fuel to any future adversary; including China.

This was a bold and brave vision of reaching for almost permanent geopolitical dominance by the United States over the rest of the world. Mr. Blair understood this and went along with it.

So did Mr. Mandela, who opposed this from the start.

It was for this reason that US leaders ignored the days of jubilations and dancing in the cities of UAE that celebrated the 9/11/2001 attacks on US. It was for the realization of this Grand Strategic prize that ignored the fact that no one in Iran celebrated the attacks on US and, in fact, thousands held a vigil for the victims of those attacks. The blood of Americans did not matter to US leaders for they had bigger fish to fry one which was destruction of Islamic Iran.

In my opinion, this Grand Strategy, as a realizable guide to action, is finished. There are multiple reasons for it; failures in Iraq, Kosovo as a failure, unstablized Bosnia, N. Korean nuclear weapons, economic crisis since 2008, and now Egypt.

But I suspect many in US strategic community do not agree with that conclusion and are going to pursue it further.

Anonymous said...

More of the same – UK Defense Minister is alluding to war with Iran and indirectly threatening Turkey as well.

Per the script that I outlined earlier.

Iran should plan for Turkish attack from the Northwest and US-EU Axis attack from the South and West.

Wolfe's repentance is death.