The United States Administration’s Secret Love for Iran
by Dan Lieberman
The severe negative qualities of the Iranian regime fit well into U.S. foreign policy arguments. The positive qualities, and there are some, go unheeded by the Bush administration – and for a reason – they contradict the U.S. government policies towards the Islamic nation. The U.S. administration evidently loves the serious defects of the present Iranian regime. Iran’s principal negative quality is its fundamentalist and authoritarian government. The government doesn’t sit well with its own people or with the world community, but its retrograde nature serves to make U.S. actions seem credible.
Despite U.S. State Department rhetoric, Iran has no detrimental effect on the U.S. domestic economy or legitimate U.S. overseas interests – just the opposite – both Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, and Afghanistan’s President Hamis Karzai have been quoted that Iran is a positive force in their countries. Why doesn’t the U.S., which is concerned with nations in which U.S. troops battle, regard Iran’s “positive” contributions as a benefit to U.S. policies? Why doesn’t the U.S. take advantage of this “positive force?”
The reason is simple. The U.S. poses the fundamentalist Iranian government, which is less fundamentalist and corrupt than the Saudi Arabian government, as a threat to Middle East peace and western civilization that must be countered, and the U.S. has volunteered to counter it. This altruism permits the U.S. to have a fleet in the Persian Gulf and burgeoning military bases in Iraq. The more the U.S. prods Iran, the more Iran retaliates, even going so far as indicating it might construct a nuclear weapon. More retaliation translates into more evidence for the U.S. to prove that the powerless Iranians, who have no real air force, no real navy and no modern army, are a danger and must be confronted.
Somehow, the world doesn’t seem to consider that U.S. policies towards Iran have been ultra-aggressive – arming Saddam Hussein (remember him?) in his war against Iran, sinking Iranian vessels in Iranian waters, downing an Iranian civilian airliner with a great loss of Iranian life and moving U.S. troops to Iran’s border. All these provocations answer the questions – why do the Mullahs despise the U.S. and why do they talk aggressively? But what would happen if the Islamic nation underwent a quiet revolution and Iran became transformed unto a democratic nation, responsive to its peoples’ needs. Although “polls” indicate the Iranians admire the United States (but not the U.S. government), it is doubtful the new nation would be overly friendly to a militaristic U.S. government.
Long time U.S. friend, Saudi Arabia, will tremble at being clearly exposed as the remaining major fundamentalist and autocratic regime in the Middle East, and might reconsider its close toies with the U.S. Turkey, Syria, and a hopefully revived Iraq would welcome the new Iran. These Islamic nations might engage one another in forming a secular Islamic pact that allows them to operate in their own interests and relieves them from fear of western interests. Gather in Afghanistan and Egypt to a new “cooperative Islamic sphere,” and U.S. influence in the Middle East would soon disappear. Iran’s positive qualities, all of which could be beneficial to the U.S., are politely neglected.
Note there is no Al-Qaeda in Iran, no terrorists have been Iranians, and no terrorist attacks against U.S. interests have proceeded from Iran. Compare Iran to Saudi Arabia, the breeding ground for terrorists. Iran greatly assisted the U.S. in the initial stages of the reconstruction of Afghanistan, to which the U.S. gave no recognition. Critics complain that Iran fortifies Hezbolla, which is undoubtedly true. According to a report from Foreign Policy in Focus, this support is severely limited
Foreign Policy in Focus, September 1, 2006 ”Brown University's Beeman argues that Iran has no direct control over Hezbollah. While Iran does provide the organization some $200 million a year, that money ‘makes up a fraction of Hezbollah's operating budget.’ The major source of the group's funding is the sakat, or the tithe required of all Muslims. Georgetown University professor Daniel Byman, writing in Foreign Affairs says that Iran ‘lacks the means to force significant change in the [Hezbollah] movement and its goals. It [Iran] has no real presence on the ground in Lebanon and a call to disarm or cease resistance would likely cause Hezbollah's leadership, or at least its most militant elements, to simply sever ties with Tehran's leadership.’"
Iran morally supports the Palestinians, but not militarily. If Iran sent weapons to Hamas, then where are the weapons? The same critics fail to mention that the U.S. supports Israel with mighty weapons that have caused vast destruction to the Lebanese and Palestinian communities and to other nations. In effect, the U.S. has proclaimed it is legal to arm contestants. The U.S. can take advantage of Iran’s aversions to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda. Nevertheless, the Bush administration has done the opposite – it has deliberately associated Iran with international terrorism and forced Iran to lessen its cooperation in combating the United States’ major international problem. The U.S. also seems to ignore Iran’s huge oil reserves and how those reserves can benefit U.S. appetite for petroleum.
Iran holds the world’s third largest known oil reserves and second largest natural gas reserves. Its inefficient and unstable government has been unable to develop its resources or solicit foreign capital for their developments. Why make them more unstable, more opposed to western influence, more inefficient? Obviously, the reason t is to keep Iran weak and impoverished. What can be more absurd in a world of resource scarcity? From U.S. actions, any nation that starts its name with Ira raises the ire of the U.S. How else can irresponsible actions be explained from a U.S. that knows how to help its enemies. U.S. counterproductive policies sustain the Mullahs in power and reinforce Al-Qaeda.
The outburst of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun at the APEC (not OPEC) conference; in which he asked a startled George Bush when the U.S. is going to officially end the Korean War, showed how much Bush alienates friends and brings them closer to a known U.S. adversary. It has happened with Iraq. It will happen with the Iranian people.
Although it was obvious that deposing Saddam Hussein in a nation of Shiite Muslims would expand Iranian influence from “zero” to a dominating position in Iraq, the U.S. proceeded to do just that. Now that the transfer of influence has occurred, the U.S. scolds Iran for accepting the gift. Don’t gifts without a signature usually come from a secret love?
Dan Lieberman, September 15, 2007, email@example.com Dan Lieberman has been active in alternative politics for many years. He is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter.
Dan has many published articles concerning the Middle East conflicts.