by Editor (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 40, No. 12, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1433)
This month marks the 33rd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The US- and Zionist-backed puppet Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Shah of Iran) was driven from power by a tidal wave of mass uprising led by the charismatic and muttaqi leader, Imam Khomeini (may Allah (swt) comfort him) in February 1979.
While suffering massive casualties — 80,000 dead according to some estimates — the Islamic Revolution was completely non-violent. The leadership of the Islamic movement refused to respond in kind to the regime’s extreme brutality, which was fully supported by the US. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter has admitted in his book, Power and Principle (1983), that despite US urging, the Shah did not show enough resolve in “dealing firmly” with the protesters. Perhaps Brzezinski thought a million civilians killed would have crushed the uprising. So much for Carter’s much-touted human rights campaign!
One cannot help but compare the non-violent nature of the Islamic Revolution in Iran 33 years ago with the violent uprisings in Libya that brought down the regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and the one currently underway in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Asad. In both places, significant foreign intervention is pushing the situation toward civil war. Despite the overthrow and murder of Qaddafi, the situation in Libya is far from settled; tribal warfare continues and has the potential to escalate. In Syria, the turmoil is likely to drag on for months with neither side overwhelming the other, ultimately descending into a chaotic stalemate. In Egypt and Tunisia, where two long serving dictators were driven from power, the old system remains entrenched.While reflecting on the Islamic Revolution it is fair to ask what it has achieved in 33 years.
The former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once remarked: “a week is a long time in politics.” To survive for 33 years in a hostile environment in which from the first day, its enemies have been trying to undermine Iran internally as well as externally, is a remarkable achievement. But Islamic Iran has done more: it has made great strides in scientific and technological fields despite facing stringent sanctions and the freezing of its assets by countries like the US and Britain. Since tens of billions of dollars of its assets have been frozen, this is tantamount to a declaration of war aimed at crippling the country’s economy.If freezing its assets were the only hostile act, this in and of itself would have constituted enough pressure on the fledgling Islamic State. After all, it had just undergone a revolutionary upheaval that disrupted normal life.
Almost immediately after the success of the revolution, leading figures were assassinated by US-Zionist agents. These included many leading ‘ulama’, a president, a prime minister, the chief justice, and many members of parliament. Altogether, some 1,200 leading figures were martyred. The elimination of leading figures on such a scale would have brought any other country to its knees; not the Islamic State of Iran. What this reflects is the depth of support the Islamic Revolution has among the masses and the courage and determination of its leaders.
Even while this campaign of sabotage and assassinations was underway internally, Islamic Iran was subjected to a full scale military invasion on September 22, 1980 by the Ba‘thist regime of Saddam Husain in Iraq. While Saddam’s regime had the backing of almost all the Western powers, which supplied him lethal weapons including chemical and biological poisons, and generous funding from his fellow Arabian rulers, the Islamic Republic singlehandedly withstood this onslaught for eight years. It is important to note that despite using chemical and biological weapons against Iran, not once did the UN Security Council muster the courage to name Saddam as the guilty party, or to label him a war criminal.
This would have implicated the same Western powers that dominate the Security Council, in war crimes. Also interesting to note is the fact that Iran neither suspended its constitution nor postponed elections for the president or parliament. While defending itself all alone, Islamic Iran also did not incur any debt. Compare this to Britain during World War II or the more recent US experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the end of WWII, Britain had incurred a debt of $55 billion (perhaps several trillion in today’s terms). The US’ plight is even worse: it has an external debt of $14.5 trillion and rising. The US economy has nosedived and continues to suffer serious blows. Statistics aside, what we must ask is: how has the Islamic State of Iran withstood all these pressures singlehandedly and survived?
The principal reason is that an Islamic revolution changes the very nature of society and makes it impervious to economic or other kinds of pressures. Similarly, its leadership is sincere and does not work for a particular class of people. In a truly Islamic society, taqwa becomes the norm and spreads to all segments of the population. For the masses, it is not their personal interest but rather the interest and survival of the revolution that is paramount. This, however, is only possible if the leadership is muttaqi and willing to make sacrifices. This is what has happened in Iran.
Imam Khomeini’s simple lifestyle, emulated by the Rahbar, Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei is what keeps them close to the hearts of the people. Islamic Iran is subjected to an intensified regime of sanctions and its nuclear scientists are being assassinated by US-Zionist agents to undermine its peaceful nuclear program, yet it has stood its ground. The question that must be asked is: why is Iran being attacked so viciously? The main reason is that it has dared to break out of the system crafted by the victors of WWII. This is seen as a threat to the vested interests of the predatory powers that thrive on sucking the blood of other people. Islamic Iran refuses to allow them to do so, hence the campaigns of sabotage, sanctions and killing of its civilians, soldiers, technocrats, and public representatives.
Far from having its will broken, the steely determination of the people and leaderhsip of Iran has inspired people elsewhere — in the Muslim East and beyond — to rise up for their rights. What is underway in the Muslim East, although not on the same scale, is the direct result of Iran’s great example set 33 years ago. The US and its Western allies are in retreat even while clutching to straws to save their tattered image. Their Arabian client regimes are similarly destined to oblivion, sooner rather than later.