April 26, 2015

Iran: Will we get fooled again?

Michael BonnerRebel Blogger

In an open letter published in the New York Times last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the Iranian nuclear controversy a ‘manufactured crisis’ which must be resolved so that Iran can deal with other, more important matters.

Iran, he says, needs a free hand to deal with ‘turmoil’ in the wider Persian Gulf area. He wants to establish a ‘collective forum for dialogue’ in that region, and to advance Iranian security interests by defeating the Islamic state and Al-Qaeda, and brokering a cease-fire in war-torn Yemen.

Western Liberals will be determined interpret this as a friendly overture of a weakling state struggling back into the ‘international community’. It isn’t. Zarif’s letter is really an announcement of Iran’s immediate geopolitical aims and ambitions as a regional power.

Zarif is right to suggest that Iran matters. But he makes no mention of cooperating with the West; he doesn’t acknowledge or apologize for Iran’s sponsorship of Hezbollah and Hamas or for international espionage; and there is no mention of mending fences with Israel. So we have to ask: will the Islamic Republic contribute to the stability of the Persian Gulf region or not, and will Iran cooperate with the West?

Iran is now, and has always been, surrounded by suspicious and hostile neighbours, some of whom, such as Iraq and Saudia Arabia, are its bitter enemies. But the Persian language and the Shiite religion are diffused in sizeable minority groups in the Middle East and in Central Asia, all of whom look to Iran for religious and cultural leadership. Given the failure of the government of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the insane savagery of ISIL, Iran is now the only organised and credible expression of political Islam in the world, and this goes for Sunni and Shiite alike.

So it is only natural that a country with such advantages would seek to project power and influence throughout its regional context and outflank its rivals. This is how we must understand Iran’s military goals in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and its aim to establish Zarif’s "collective forum for dialogue."

In the distant past Iran’s response to being surrounded on all sides by a mixture of rivals and sympathizers was to swallow them all up in a vast trans-continental empire. However unlikely this may seem, this idea of an Iranian world-system is still the goal of Iran’s foreign policy. It is simply being pursued by other means. 

The Iranian theocracy thinks of itself not so much as a country but rather as a religious cause. Such a notion lies beneath the modern Iranian theory of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic as temporary stand-in for the twelfth Shiite Imam who will return at the end of time to rule the world. This is the doctrine of velayat-e faqih (political leadership by a cleric) propounded in its most extreme form by Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1970s.

None of this doctrine has changed. Contrary to the assumptions of the liberal media, Iran is not a young nation struggling out of the ‘post-colonial’ shadow of Great Britain and America (although this is exactly the sentiment that Zarif is pandering to.) Iran sees itself as a regional power, and the nuclear deal, whatever its outcome, will confirm this position. With or without nuclear weapons, we will be forced to confront a much more influential and powerful Iran which still pulls the strings attached to Hezbollah and Hamas, and which remains the focal point of political Islamic aspirations throughout the Middle East.

We in the West must ask ourselves: will we be fooled this time?


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commented 2015-04-27 23:09:39 -0400
I saw recently on MEMRI some Sunni Imams call Obama a Shia which is the religious form of Islam his father followed. Shia is the religion of the Iran theocracy. Therefore is Obama who was probably lessoned in the religion of his father looks on Shia Iran as the friendly form of Islam. Ergo the friendly overtures to Iran. Problem is there is no friendly form of Islam to the non Islamic believers.
commented 2015-04-27 22:35:10 -0400
Of course Russia is not the same as the Islamists. But I think Putin is not above using them to get what he wants in the way of strategic global advantages. I think he wants to use North Korea, Iran, Syria to twist arms and take advantage, and that could be bad for Canada.

As to the Saudis versus Iran or to the Sunnis versus the Shia, of course we must first and foremost trust Israel. But while the Saudis have imported a lot of stealth jihad to the west, it has not rooted as well as they’d hoped and now their physical and economic security is in jeopardy. In addition, they have made small but significant progress in human rights and have activists working toward transforming the kingdom to a constitutional monarchy. So yeah, we shouldn’t turn our back on them, for sure. But maybe we should strike while they are weak and use that to twist their arm to come around even faster to abandoning jihad and accepting the realities of modernism. Between Iran and SA that SA may be the less psychotic alternative and there are far more Sunnis than Shia.

On a more positive note, there is India and, while a bit of an aloof wild card, China that has, like SA, made significant improvements in human rights over the past ten years and is working with Israel on a commercial venture along the new Silk Road that will bring increased security to the region. Israel will provide the technology and China will provide security – under the guise of protecting its commercial investment. China can’t abandon its non-interventionist reputation but make no mistake, it too is on the imperialist move with land holding already in Pakistan.
commented 2015-04-27 22:20:49 -0400
Okay; just so we are clear on this: Iran screams: “DEATH TO AMERICA!!!!!” and then America gives them money, arms, resources and the thumbs up to surreptitiously build nuclear-fucking-weapons that will reach North America. What could possibly go wrong? Also, if we are not aware and wary of this, not only have we been fooled, we are fools. And perhaps, we do not deserve to live long enough to see our own eclipse in our falling empire, through creeping jihad.
commented 2015-04-27 16:14:20 -0400
Also, we can go back to the commie vs liberty thing when this blows over. There is no sense fighting over political doctrine until Radical Islam is stopped.
commented 2015-04-27 16:12:35 -0400
Trouble is Saudi is one of the sh*t-disturbers for the regional problems in Iraq/Syria along with Turkey. I feel it would be a mistake trusting them. I am also not convinced Russia is on the same footing as North Korea. It isn’t so much as commie vs liberty anymore. There is genocide being waged in the name of Islam and most sources point to interests within Saudi itself. 9/11 was also a Saudi concoction. IMO, our best COA would be to support Israel, and later the Kurds in forming their own state, much the same way Israel was formed. Concurrently with that, it is time to start publicly denouncing and criticising Saudi directly. What we are currently doing now is failing badly.
commented 2015-04-27 15:01:35 -0400
Toby Denyer, I know too much about COMER to ever trust them.
commented 2015-04-27 14:59:10 -0400
Obama has supported Arab Spring unrest throughout the region to assist Iran in re-establishing its empire. A bit counter-intuitive given friendly American trade interests with Saudi Arabia. But Obama’s family is Shia so maybe it does make sense.

Iran is not alone. It is supported by Russia that has invested heavily in North Korea where Iran does some of its weapons testing. Remember that old axis of evil idea the left so scoffed at?

We should not be fooled by Iran’s peaceful rhetoric about regional responsibilities. We should guage the threat they and their allies in Russia and North Korea pose and then consider what our strategy needs to be to maintain our advantage in the global community, including in the arctic.

I might favour allying with Saudi Arabia and using their increasing regional insecurity to pressure them to reform from within from an absolute monarchy to a Constitutional monarchy, to modernize into a democracy that better protects human rights. And to ally with Jordan and maybe Egypt and with Israel to do so.

No matter what, it looks like rocky road ahead.
commented 2015-04-27 13:55:02 -0400
Why does this bother you when they are 9000+ miles away? North Korea is a far more dangerous situation for Canada. Libya’s a more dangerous situation for Canada. Hell even the Ukraine is more serious. If you want to attack or do whatever you want to Iran I suggest you support the COMER vs BoC Lawsuit, get your tax money back that has been stolen by the IMF since 1974. Find like minded Canadians like yourself and send mercenaries over there, but stop advocating for every other Canadians tax dollars going over to that money pit.
commented 2015-04-27 13:51:39 -0400
They are actually struggling against decades of economic oppression from OPEC and Saudi Arabian interests. You cannot go that far back to English colonialism and be accurate. Those are clear lies.

Iran is getting closer, but not close enough. Iranians are getting increasing restless with the Ayatollah, but their government is still pandering to offensive Jihad against Israel and the West. They aren’t there yet, but they are moving, and all we can do is sit and watch with a growing measure of impatience and disappointment.