All the news not fit to print
Email | Back to History | Back to the world news | Home | Support this website

TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Articles on Iran after 2011
The USA withdraws and Iran loses
Who's bizarre?
Articles on Iran before 2011

  • (november 2011) The USA withdraws and Iran loses. There is widespread concern (or celebration, depending which side you're on) that the withdrawal of the USA from Iraq will hand a victory to the Iranian regime. Iran, so goes the thinking, will further increase its influence on the Middle East and become the undisputed regional power.
    Reality might be just the opposite. The presence of 100,000 soldiers from the USA on Iraqi territory has been a convenient (and sometimes deserved) scapegoat for all the problems in the region. This has been the case in just about any place of the world where troops from the USA were stationed. For as long as they were there, the local population (with tacit approval from the political power) blame them for all sorts of local evils. Once they are gone, however, their absence unleashes all sorts of unpredictable forces. The USA often acts like the proverbial tide: when it recedes, you can see who has been swimming naked.
    Iraq will certainly be dominated by the Shiite majority. Demographics, common sense and statistics imply it. That is usually taken as a sign that Iran will exert an influence on Iraq, because Iran is the homeland of Shia Islam and it is the most Shiite country in the world. However, it could be the exact opposite: that Iraq will end up exerting a destabilizing influence on the Iranian regime.
    First of all, Iraq is a democracy. It is not at peace, but it is free and democratic. Today the antidemocratic forces of Iran have an easy job of pointing out that Iraq is de facto "occupied" by the USA, just like Palestine is occupied by Israel, and this triggers all sorts of emotional responses throughout the Islamic world and inside Iraq as well. Once the last soldier has departed, though, the antidemocratic forces will have to face the fact that one country is a democracy and the other one is not. Period. Day after day, the Iranians (especially the young Iranians, who are more than 50% of the population) will experience the humiliation of having been passed by their Arab neighbors. When Iran was ruled by the ayatollahs and Iraq was ruled by a mad dictator (Saddam Hussein), this was acceptable. It will be a lot harder for the Iranians (who think of themselves as a superior civilization) to accept that an Arab neighbor has a better form of government and only Iran is stuck in the dark ages.
    Secondly, the sanctions are crippling the Iranian economy, whereas there are no sanctions on Iraq. In fact, Iraq's economy could be helped by countless partners: USA, Europe, Russia, China, etc. Just about every power in the world is eager to do business with Iraq if Iraq solves its internal problems. Chances are that the situation will improve (perhaps faster than outsiders can imagine) and that Iraq becomes a relatively rich country. It doesn't take much to become richer than Iran. And imagine the effect of a rich neighbor on the underemployed Iranian youth. Again, Iran used to be surrounded on all sides by poor countries: Iraq, Syria, Armenia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kurdish Turkey (the poorest region of Turkey). Imagine the trauma when Iranians will notice that their neighbors in Iraq (that shares a very long and very busy border) are getting richer. Imagine the long lines of Iranians crossing the border to buy better goods in Iraq. Imagine the crisis caused by Iranian emigrants entering Iraq to find better paid jobs. This would be the ultimate humiliation for the Iranian regime.
    Last but not least, once the USA withdraws, there will be no more excuses. Barring another stupid Israeli move (like invading Lebanon and invading Gaza), there will be no more scapegoats left: it will become obvious who is messing with whom. It is already becoming painful obvious to the Middle Eastern public opinion that the most hated regime in the region, Assad's in Syria, is supported only by Iran (whose own regime is another contender for "most hated regime in the Middle East"). If Iran keeps meddling into Iraqi affairs, it will become also obvious that Iran (not the USA) is the problem there. Iran's very nuclear program was tolerated by the region as long as it was viewed as a counterbalance to the aggression of the USA, but afterward it will look like dangerous Iranian bullying. For the first time it might generate as much public hostility in the neighboring countries as in the West. if the USA withdraws from Iraq and then strikes Iran's nuclear facilities, many Arabs are likely to view the combined actions as ideal (getting rid of two unpleasant guests).
    Iran was popular for attacking the USA and Israel from every possible pulpit. Iran spun the theories that the Jewish holocaust never happened and that the 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA were engineered by Bush. Both were very popular conspiracy theories in the Islamic (and even European) world. But now Iran is losing its appeal: it brutally repressed the youth that were doing what the Arab youth later did in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya; it supports Assad in Syria; and it would probably lose its military grip on Hezbollah and Hamas (both more interested in holding power in their regions than in wars with Israel) if only Israel stopped threatening its neighbors. Ironically, Israel (Iran's hated enemy) is the only entity that can prop up the Iranian regime: if Israel commits more atrocities, then the Iranian regime regains some of its legitimacy in the eyes of the regional public opinion. Otherwise, there is nothing to save the Iranian regime other than the brutal methods of its Republican Guard.
    To some extent it was true that Iran was the net beneficiary of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan by George W Bush. However, by the same logic, Iran will also be the net losers when Obama withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page

  • (september 2011) Who's bizarre? Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements are often described as "bizarre". In september 2011 at the United Nations he delivered a summary of his favorite themes:
    • He referred to the "mysterious September 11 incident", implying that the Bush administration might not be completely innocent of that terrorist attack that was officially blamed on Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization. The accusation is, of course, an old one. In ten years millions of people have come to doubt at least that Bush's people really wanted to prevent that terrorist attack. Warnings by Dick Clarke, the anti-terrorism czar, were ignored. Then the USA reacted by attacking Iraq, that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda but was an old fixation of the Bush camp. It all provided ammunitions to the conspiracy-theory camp. What is "bizarre" is not the accusation, but the way Bush and Cheney acted before and after the attacks. If they had acted rationally, there would be no suspicions.
    • He accused NATO of sanctioning drug trafficking. This is actually hard to deny. NATO, and the USA in particular, is perfectly aware that heroin is the main export of Afghanistan, and has done absolutely nothing to change the fact. The USA, in particular, is also the main customer of heroin. The USA is also the main customer of Mexican drugs, and is also the main seller of weapons to the Mexican drug cartels. Drug trafficking is obviously a problem created by the West, and by the USA in particular, and funded by the West.
    • He criticised the USA for killing Osama bin Laden and not bringing him to trial. Most of the world agrees. In 2001 Bush told the world that there was ample evidence that Osama bin Laden was guilty of the terrorist attacks, but that evidence has never been made public. It was mysterious back then and it is mysterious today why that evidence had to be kept secret. We will never hear Osama's version of the facts.
    • He accused the USA of being militarist and imperialist. Not many people on this planet would disagree after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    • He accused the West of paying a "fine or ransom to the Zionists" because of the Holocaust. It is difficult to disagree. The reason that the Jews got a state and, say, the Kurds and the Sahrawis did not is simply because the West decided so, and the West decided so after the Holocaust. If that is not the reason, then the West should explain why only Jews are entitled to a state of all the people without a state on this planet (the list is very long: see The phantom states of the world).
    • He added that the West should also pay reparations to Africans for slavery. Here he forgot that Muslims invented African slavery as we know it today, but fundamentally he has a point: if the West feels guilty towards the Jews, the West should also feel guilty about all its other victims.
    • He accused Israel of being responsible for "mass murder and terror against the Palestinians". Most of the planet agrees.
    • He blamed the West for viewing Zionism "as a sacred notion and ideology". This is certainly true. The West accepts that there is one state founded on religious and ethnic racism (Israel) while screaming wild when a Muslim tries to create a state based on religious and ethnic racism and while preaching the separation of state and church (to everybody except Israel, which is a self-defined "Jewish state"). The West becomes alarmed even at the mere chance that an Islamic party might win elections in Egypt, but finds it perfectly natural that Israel is officially a Jewish state. The double standard of the West is obvious.
    • He accused the USA of helping Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in a war that killed one million people. There is no doubt that Ronald Reagan helped Saddam Hussein fight that war, and that the USA benefited from that war, although Saddam Hussein might have started without any tip from Reagan.
    • He accused the USA of being the only country that ever used a nuclear weapon, and of using it against defenseless civilians. Both statements are correct.
    • He claimed that the West is targeting Iran with sanctions not because there is anything wrong with its nuclear program but because Iran dares to speak out. It is a fact that the West is not slapping sanctions against Israel, a country which has built nuclear weapons. If Israel is entitled to nuclear weapons, why others are not?
    • Finally, he called for changes in the structure of the United Nations. He is not the only one. It is plain ridiculous that small countries like France and Britain have veto power at the United Nations, while India and Brazil, to name two, have not. And it is plainly ridiculous that the dictatorship of mainland China is represented and even enjoys veto power while peaceful and democratic Taiwan is not represented at all, as if it didn't exist.
    So in the end who is more "bizarre"? Ahmadinejad or the West?

    P.S. This is not to deny that Ahmadinejad has made some truly bizarre statements and is an illegitimate leader.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page
  • Articles on Iran before 2011

Email | Back to History | Back to the world news | Home | Support this website

TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.