Is Iran Looking for Trouble Again?
Some “defense” experts in the White House have decided that it would be a good idea to produce regime change in Iran, for the usual specious reasons. This is the second time that the Americans have decided to sabotage Iran’s government. The first was a classic example of US American regime-change thuggery, one that was “successful” but has left a bitter legacy and unclosed wounds on both sides. In 1954 Iran’s democratically-elected president, Mohammed Mossadegh, came under siege by the usual suspects largely because of his government’s nationalization of British oil interests in his country. The British-engineered international boycott of Iran failed and in 1952 they turned to the Americans for help. Using a predictable “Soviet threat” as a pretext, President Truman encouraged Iran’s ousted monarch, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, to issue decrees dismissing Mossadegh and replacing him with a general who had been imprisoned by the British during World War II for his collaboration with the Nazis.
It was a simple matter for the American ambassador, Henderson, the CIA, and the American military mission in Iran to cobble together an anti-Mossadegh mob marching in the streets of Tehran, while at the same time a Long-Live-the-Shah demonstration was pouring out of the city’s ancient bazaar. The clash between the two precipitated a nine-hour street battle that caused some 300 dead and many more wounded before Mossadegh’s defenders were finally defeated. Was there any objective reason for the American-sponsored overthrow of Mossadegh? We’re talking about toppling the elected government of a sovereign nation with which the United States was not at war.
The Iranian Dragon’s Egg Hatches
It was 25 years later, in 1979, when a group of Iranian students, who had not forgotten the U.S. role in overthrowing Mossadegh nor its longstanding support of the (then recently ousted) Shah, took 52 American hostages in the American embassy and held them for 444 days. The incident was complicated by a botched rescue attempt, known as Operation Eagle Claw, which resulted in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, as well as the destruction of two helicopters. Given these antecedents, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand the resentful and belligerent attitude of the United States today vis a vis Iran, the outcome of which remains to be seen.
And Let Slip the Dogs of War
This appeared in The Washinton Post on May 7, 2018:
Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican Party grandee and President Trump’s newly appointed lawyer, made a telling remark over the weekend. At a gathering organized by a group of activists opposed to Iran’s government, the former New York mayor seemed to suggest that the nuclear deal with Iran was doomed and that the Trump administration anticipated yet more havoc in the Middle East.
“We have a president who is tough,” Giuliani said on Saturday. “We have a president who is as committed to regime change as we are.” Confronting Iran, he added, is “more important than an Israeli-Palestinian deal.”
So much for decades of American humanitarian efforts to promote peace in the Middle East.
Giuliani, former United States Associate Attorney General and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, had been preparing Trump’s personal defense against a flurry of charges regarding alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 American presidential election. That case is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel counsel under Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI. The scope of the investigation reportedly also includes potential obstruction of justice by Trump and others. The President, it seems, is in hot water. As the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation approaches, and with it Trump’s day of reckoning, the President could do with a major distraction. The textbook solution in cases like this is a war.
Enter National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, both notorious Washington war hawks. Bolton is a longtime advocate of military action and regime change in North Korea, Syria, Libya, and Iran. His militaristic fervor is ironic considering his artful ducking into the Maryland Army National Guard during the Vietnam war. He was quoted later as saying, “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” Asked to elaborate on these remarks, Bolton explained that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because “by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from.” A shrewd politician can make a case for anything.
Pompeo Signs On, “Until the Rapture”
Current Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was a soldier from 1986-91, first in his class at West Point, attaining the rank of captain. After his military service he graduated from Harvard Law School and worked at a Washington law firm before forming a group with three other West Pointers to buy four midwest aircraft parts companies and turn them into Thayer Aerospace, with important clients in the defense industry. Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturer that was also a partner of Koch Industries, which continued to support Pompeo in his political career. Soon after he was elected in 2016 President Donald Trump named Pompeo director of the CIA. Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate in January 2018 and served in that position until Trump named him Secretary of State in April of 2018. In addition to his diplomatic and political responsibilities Mike Pompeo is an Evangelical Presbyterian Sunday school teacher who was quoted as telling a church group in 2014 that Christians needed to “know that Jesus Christ as our savior is truly the only solution for our world.” In a talk at a church the following year, Pompeo said that “politics is a never-ending struggle . . . until the Rapture.” In February 2016, Pompeo said Edward Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence”.
According to a July 30, 2018, New York Magazine article:
Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and other key figures in Trump’s circle, including key Republicans in Congress, are advocates of overthrowing the Islamic Republic and its effective ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
These hawks’ preferences for war have been stymied by the resistance of the military establishment to starting yet another large-scale war in the Middle East, the true costs of which the real generals understand better than their armchair counterparts.
What Legitimate Benefit?
What legitimate benefit is there for the US in Iran regime change? The Americans might want to grab Iranian oil but that’s far from legitimate–and judging by their Iraq oil experience they couldn’t make it work, anyway. They might want to control the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, with a third of the world’s sea-borne oil passing through it every day, but that is also a pretension of international outlaws. Could it be about Iran’s development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices? That pretext is so shopworn it’s laughable, particularly because UN inspectors
have certified Iran as free of nuclear weapons and the Iranians have signed a solemn treaty to that effect, a treaty also subscribed to by the Americans and in force until the Trump administration backed out of it for no apparent reason last year.
Perhaps they’re interested in mitigating Iranian Shiite influence in Iraq, but they brought that on themselves by derogating Suni authority there at the end of the war and leaving the door wide open for Shiites. They can’t justly blam Iran for that. All of that
said, when is the last time the American government worried about justice or legitimacy? As they made clear years ago, they’re exceptional and aren’t obliged to play by the established international rules. They have their own unilaterally-legitimized brand of We Do What the Fuck We Please (WDWTFWP) authority.
The only ones who might consider themselves directly benefitted by regime change in Iran would be Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party in Israel, who have had their eye on Iran’s wide-open spaces for decades. But why would the United States invest their treasure and young lives in order to gain lebensraum for Israel? It doesn’t make sense. Or does it?
See Iran’s Nuclear History Explained, an excellent 14-minute documentary on the evolution of Iran’s nuclear program, here on The Daily Conversation.
They Don’t Always Win
It’s only fair to point out that these American-promoted regime-change programs don’t always work out as planned. Look at the cases of Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq. When they fail it’s usually thanks to the sheer bloody-mindedness of local populations that resent being invaded and—above all—humiliated by invaders from “advanced” Western countries.
We don’t know yet what specific plans the White House wrecking crew has for Iran. Presumably they have more sophisticated resources than those of 1954. High-tech materiel aside, have any of these warriors considered the human cost of invading Iran, the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, the human waves of refugees, or the material damage to the country’s infrastructures? We don’t have to look very far to find the answers. There’s Iraq next door, with its society set back perhaps a century by United States regime-change “activism.”
Read more rantings in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.
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