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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/7/20

Is This the End of U.S. Interference in the Middle East?

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from Truthdig

A Iranian flag flies over an archeological site in Bishapur, Iran.
A Iranian flag flies over an archeological site in Bishapur, Iran.
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Major General Hossein Salami, the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran, said on January 4 that his country would take "strategic revenge" against the United States for the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani. The assassination of Soleimani, Salami said, will be later seen as a "turning point" in U.S. interference in West Asia.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reacted strongly to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's suggestion that Iraqis were "dancing in the street" to celebrate the assassination. On Twitter, Zarif posted pictures of the funeral procession for Soleimani and wrote, "End of US malign presence in West Asia has begun."

Both the military and the diplomatic wings of Iran's government are in agreement that it is not Iran that will be weakened by the assassination of Soleimani, but that the United States will suffer the consequences of this action.

Why the U.S. Fears Iran

Why does the United States of America -- the country with the largest military force in the world -- fear Iran? What can Iran do to threaten U.S. interests?

To understand U.S. fears about Iran, it is important to recognize the ideological threat that Iran poses to Saudi Arabia.

Until the Iranian revolution of 1979, relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran were on an even keel. Both were monarchies, and both were subordinate allies of the United States. Whatever historical animosity remained between the Shia and Sunni -- two branches of the Islamic tradition -- were on mute.

The Iranian revolution of 1979 shook up the region. The crown of the monarch was set aside, as a specifically religious republic was created. The Saudis have long said that Islam and democracy are incompatible; this is precisely what the Islamic Republic rejected, when it created its own democratic form of Islam. It was this Islamic republicanism that swept the region, from Pakistan to Morocco. Fears of Islamic republicanism brought shudders into the palaces of the Saudi royal family, and into the U.S. higher establishment. It was at this point that the U.S. President Jimmy Carter said that the military defense of Saudi Arabia's monarchy was a paramount interest of the U.S. government.

In other words, the U.S. military would be used to protect not the people of the Arabian Peninsula but the Saudi monarchy. Since the main threat was Iran, the U.S. turned its entire arsenal of military and information war against the new Islamic Republic.

The Saudis and the West egged on Saddam Hussein to send in the Iraqi army against Iran in 1980; that bloody war went on till 1988, with both Iran and Iraq bled for the sake of Riyadh and Washington. Soleimani and his successor Brigadier General Esmail Gha'ani both fought in the Iraq-Iran War. Both Saddam Hussein and later the Afghan Taliban held Iran tight inside its borders.

American Wars, Iranian Victories

U.S. President George W. Bush broke the wall around Iran. The United States prosecuted two wars, which were essentially won by Iran. First, the U.S. in 2001 knocked out the Taliban and delivered an advantage to pro-Iranian factions, who joined the post-Taliban government in Kabul. Then, in 2003, the U.S. took out Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party; the pro-Iranian Dawa Party succeeded Saddam. It was Bush's wars that allowed Iran to extend its influence from the Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea.

The United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel used several mechanisms to push Iran back into its borders. They first went after Iran's regional allies: first sanctions against Syria (with the 2003 Syria Accountability Act in the U.S. Congress), and then a war against Lebanon (prosecuted by Israel in 2006 to weaken Hezbollah). Neither worked.

In 2006, the U.S. fabricated a crisis over Iran's nuclear energy program and pushed for UN, European Union, and U.S. sanctions. This did not work. The sanctions regime ended in 2015.

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Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT His most recent book, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, won the Muzaffar (more...)
 

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5 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


David William Pear

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The Islamic Republic of Iran does not respond to threats. It is "allergic" to them, says Mohammad-Javad Zarif:

"I've always been open to dialogue. But dialogue does not require mutual trust. It requires mutual respect. And mutual respect starts with respecting yourself. That is respecting your own commitments. Respecting what you have agreed to."

US treats are purposely intended to initiate conflict and war. The US wants regime change and nothing the Iranians can do will ever change that.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 7, 2020 at 7:58:47 PM

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j dial

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"The US wants regime change and nothing the Iranians can do will ever change that."

There may be nothing the Iranians could do to change that but to prevail.

Times seem ripe for 'imperial change'--an improved project for a new American century.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2020 at 3:23:45 AM

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George King

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Aye David, on respect being the starting point of all of dialog regardless of distance in understanding but by ones' actions and deeds one can observe if there is self-respect for dialog. Or, as someone else has already observed, "non-compliant agreeable" is a lack of self-respect much less self-reflection. One can tell when dialog is not possible, when the modus operandi is not for dialog to happen but a one way stream of demonization for manufacturing consent.

The things that need to be understood are not for several reasons but there is truth and wisdom for forming any union or more perfect union among peoples' and nations. Unfortunately they do not care about what they have done because it does not achieve their desired result/s, that does not achieve their goals.

"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (administrations), too plainly proves a deliberate systematic plan of reducing us to slavery. Thomas Jefferson

"It has become a sarcastic proverb that a thing must be true if you saw it in a newspaper. That is the opinion intelligent people have of that lying vehicle in a nutshell. But the trouble is that the stupid people, who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations, do believe and are molded and convinced by what they get out of a newspaper. And there is where the harm lies." Mark Twain

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unwarily enslave themselves." -- Dresden James

"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic." -- Dresdin James

"What your government does abroad today, it does at home tomorrow." Netctr.com

"There was one only good, namely, knowledge; and one only evil, namely, ignorance." Socrates

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -- Buddha (563BC-483BC)

"Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. Indeed it is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear." General Douglas MacArthur, Speech on May 15, 1951

"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing tactics, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception." -- Mark Twain

Submitted on Friday, Jan 10, 2020 at 5:46:59 AM

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Mohammad Ala

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Good job. Thanks for your time.

In the title you used the wrong term of Middle East which has no historical reference and since it is an imperial term must be avoided. However, in the body of your report you used West Asia correctly two times. Thank you.

Western countries and Russia have taken advantage of many countries and stole their natural resources.

Western countries will learn that they cannot implement illegal sanctions and expect cooperation through bullying.

Iran is not Palestine to lay dead so that others can steal their lands and drop white phosphors bombs to burn skin of helpless people, hurting elderly, children, and weak.

Stealing land of natives must stop. Stealing gas and oil must stop. Illegal sanctions must stop. Killing people, especially children must stop. Killing popular leaders must stop. Bullying must stop.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2020 at 3:48:33 AM

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nelswight

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Vijay (may I be familiar?) I hope that you have opportunity to follow comments. Mohammad Ala is as well-educated and as intelligent and well-spoken as leader Jarif whom I admire and respect as much as a contempoary fellow from Kolkata who holds forth at Trinity College in Connecticut.My words flow flatulently, but forgive, please; I am an old chap of 91 years whose eyes are still open widely. You have come a long way, deservedly and I appreciate your knowledgeable and intuitive esays avidly. I immensely enjoyed following your thought in it. I have several good friends from India and need observe how fortunate the USA is to have your wisdom here (to Narendra's loss); we should soon become the United State of India.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020 at 10:55:50 PM

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