by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 1, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1438)
At the root of the US’ unremitting hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran is the success of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, its ability to withstand a raft of sanctions and now, its decision to abandon the dollar.
Of all his nasty pronouncements — and there is no shortage of these — Donald Trump’s threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran are the most bizarre and also highly dangerous. Even if one were charitable to him — he makes it very difficult to do so — and assume that he is ill-informed like George W. Bush and unable to grasp the implications of his statements, his behavior still gives cause for concern. Unlike his predecessors, he does not even pretend to act presidential; he speaks and acts like a street thug.
This is most graphically illustrated by Trump’s threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran. He and the bunch of fascists around him have made wild accusations against Tehran including threatening war. His now-disgraced ex-National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, issued his threat on February 2nd when he accused Iran of violating the nuclear agreement referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed with the P5+1 group of countries. Flynn’s broadside was launched after Iran successfully test-fired a ballistic missile. He said the new American regime was putting Tehran “on notice.” Trump went much further later the same day saying “nothing is off the table” vis-à-vis Iran. He also said, his predecessor Barack Obama was too soft on Iran, “not me.”
To understand the significance of this threat, one must consider what Trump had repeatedly said during the year-long primaries and presidential campaign. On numerous occasions, he said he would not rule out the use of nuclear weapons. He went so far as to say that if you have nuclear weapons, you should use them. Few people took him seriously. Most pundits said there was a greater chance of being hit by a meteorite than Trump getting elected president. On the day of the election (November 8th), the New York Times carried an analysis of the various pre-election polls and boldly predicted that Hillary Clinton had an 84% chance of winning against Trump’s 16%. The result came as a real shock for virtually everyone including Trump and members of his camp. Newsweek had gone so far as to print, in advance, 175,000 copies with Hillary’s photo on the cover with the bold headline, “Madam President.” It got egg all over its face.
But Trump’s threats against the Islamic Republic cannot be dismissed lightly even if he is considered a buffoon. American warlords that have little regard for law much less morality, infest his inner circle. Many of these people were involved in the disastrous wars launched against Afgha-nistan and Iraq and are pushing for more wars in other locales, whether Syria, Lebanon, or Iran.
Trump and his minions have accused Tehran of a raft of acts of demeanor. The perfectly legitimate ballistic missile test for Iran’s self-defence is but one example of the campaign of demonization to prepare the ground for more sabotage and perhaps outright war of aggression against the Islamic Republic.
Take the case of the Yemeni Ansarallah fighters’ attack on a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen in which two Saudi sailors were killed. The Washington warlords and their pliant media led by the Islamophobic Fox News accused Iran of attacking a US ship. At a White House press briefing on February 3rd, Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated this lie. Even when Major Garrett of CBS News reminded him that a Saudi frigate was hit, Spicer corrected himself only partially. He did not retract the allegation against Iran.
The Washington warlords have also escalated their rhetoric accusing Iran of being the world’s “Biggest State Sponsor of Terrorism.” Trump’s Defence Secretary, General “Mad Dog” James Mattis (the mad dog label is quite appropriate) made this scandalous allegation against the Islamic Republic when the US itself is the biggest global terrorist and supporter of terrorists. In the last 15 years (since September 2001), the US has killed more than four million people, most of them Muslims, in different parts of the world. At the same time, its closest allies include state sponsors of terrorism such as the Najdi Bedouins in Saudi Arabia, the tribal monarchies in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Turkey. Former US Vice President Joe Biden openly admitted this during a question-and-answer session at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 3, 2014. Biden said “our biggest problem is our allies” who are engaged in a proxy war against Syrian President Bashar al-Asad. He specifically named Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE as sponsors of terrorism.
“What did they [Turkey, Saudi Arabia and UAE] do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Asad — except that the people who were being supplied were [Jabhat] al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” Biden said.
This is widely known and reported (The Telegraph, UK, October 4, and October 6, 2014) yet on February 11th, CIA Director Mike Pompeo conferred the George Tenet Medal on Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef at a ceremony in Riyadh. The medal was awarded to the Saudi “for fighting terrorism” leading to derisive comments in the social media. To go one step further, the Trump regime slapped new sanctions on Iran on February 3, 2017.
The US Congress — the Republicans now control both the Senate and the House of Representatives — introduced its own sanctions. The person backing the House of Representatives motion HR Resolution 10 on January 3rd was not a Republican but a long-time Democrat from South Florida — Alcee Hastings. He was impeached for bribery as a federal judge but perhaps corruption is one of the requirements for becoming a congressman in the US, especially with the backing of the Zionist lobby!
When it comes to Iran, there is little to differentiate the Democrats from the Republicans. Cindy Sheehan, mother of the slain 24-year-old US soldier Casey in Iraq (April 2004), famously called them: the War Party. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed on February 3rd that the sanctions were “in the pipeline” before Trump was sworn in as president on January 20, but were activated in light of recent events (Iran’s ballistic missile test). These sanctions were announced during the Obama regime but not fully implemented.
What lies at the root of the US’ unremitting hostility toward the Islamic Republic of Iran? The simple answer is the success of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. This needs elaboration. After the Second World War, the world was parceled into the spheres of influence of the two global hegemons: the US and Soviet Union. Iran under the Shah was under US hegemony. Although a number of countries had gained independence after the Second World War, this was largely symbolic because true power remained in the hands of elites beholden to the imperialist powers. Even when countries underwent changes that were pompously referred to as “revolutions.” these were little more than noisy palace reshuffles.
Only in Iran did a genuine change occur. This was because the Islamic Revolution was not beholden to any of the global hegemons. The Islamic Revolution dealt a massive blow to the global imposed order. The chains of slavery were permanently broken. It did more: the Islamic Revolution showed that it was not only possible to break out of this stranglehold but also to survive without going under the protective umbrella of the other hegemon.
Despite decades of sanctions, the Islamic Republic has not been brought to its knees. Instead, sanctions have only strengthened the resolve and determination of the leadership and people in Iran. The secret of their success needs to be internalized by all Muslims, especially leaders of Islamic movements in other parts of the world. More on this later but first let us consider the other aspect that is driving American rulers crazy.
Whatever policies successive American regimes have adopted against Iran or tried to implement in the broader Muslim East (aka the Middle East) have ended up in total failure. Whether it was propping up the tyrant Íaddam Óusayn of Iraq to invade the Islamic Republic or later overthrowing the thief of Baghdad, capturing him and hanging him, have all resulted in utter failure. Even the ongoing US-Zionist-Wahhabi war on Syria has not succeeded primarily because Damascus’ friends Russia, Iran, and Hizbullah have stood by it. America and its allies — the Zionists and Wahhabis — have been forced to look into the abyss.
It is the successive failures that are forcing the Washington warlords to go ballistic. They are even talking about using nuclear weapons as if these are toys that can be played around with. But people bereft of all humanity and morality act in an irrational manner and ultimately end up in disaster. In his address to air force officers on February 7th in Tehran, the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei pointed to the threats emanating from Washington. He “thanked” Trump for exposing the moral and political bankruptcy of the US political system and pointedly told him that threats do not intimidate the Islamic Republic. He also repudiated the notion that the previous American regime of Barack Obama was any less hostile to the Islamic Republic (see the Rahbar’s speech in this issue).
We must, however, return to the question of Iran’s success and the failure of other Islamic movements in the world. Several factors stand out. First is the taqwa of the leadership of the Islamic Republic. They do not operate for personal or class interests. They serve the people selflessly considering it as a duty. The people in turn give them unflinching support. Without the people’s support, no system or government can survive. Above all, the leadership in the Islamic Republic relies on the help of Allah (swt), not any superpowers, big or small, for all the problems and challenges they face.
When the Islamic movements in other parts of the world internalize these points, they too will achieve success. So far, unfortunately, many of them have not been able to see past their sectarian blinkers or they are too beholden to the Najdi Bedouins, the most despicable creatures in the Muslim world. Petrodollars seem to have corrupted even otherwise committed Muslims. This is truly sad.