Why a clash of Iranian psyche & Bush ignorance is a doomed

dialogue of the deaf”.


“American diplomacy. It’s like watching somebody trying to do joinery with a chainsaw.”  James Hamilton-Paterson, 1941.

Like a faulty speak-your-weight machine,Basher’ Bush vilifies Iran by loud-hailer from the safety of a nuclear defended USA. Predictable results are beyond the wit of the White House – or are they?


After 1500 Iran became predominantly Shi’a Muslim. Shi’as believe they should be led by prophet Muhammad’s descendants or by Supreme leaders with special access to Allah’s wisdom - Sunnis favour caliphs. In 680 Shi’as objected to caliph Yazid’s succession (the Umayyad dynasty). Muhammad’s grandson, al-Husain, with family and followers, headed for Kufa to muster support for the Shi’a cause. The party, including children, were brutally slaughtered at Karbala. Women were assaulted, human heads paraded on spears, and headless corpses trampled by horses. The violence shocked the Islamic world - the fate of the Shi’a/Sunni schism was sealed, and for Shi’as Karbala became the most holy place on Earth.  al-Husain's sacrifice for standing up to the cruel and evil Umayyads was seen as an opportunity to redeem Islam and to teach resistance to unjust rulers – ‘never be a tyrant, and never give in to tyrants’.


This story’s relevance to Bush’s yah-boo ‘diplomacy’ is that for Iranian Shi’as it is a duty to stand up to bullies who push them around. They oppose western interference which has endured for hundreds of years. After an oil dispute in 1953 the CIA arranged a coup, imposed the Shah (supposedly descended from the Ottoman imposed Shahs of the 18th & 19th centuries) on Iran, and overthrew a parliamentary democracy. The Shah’s rule was contrary to Shi’a tradition and conviction; it was characterized by vainglorious opulence and brutal secret police. To Shi’a Iranians he was a ‘Yazid’ tyrant and was chucked out in the 1979 popular uprising. In 1980, with US assistance and illegal weapons, Saddam Hussein invaded.  Eight long years later Iranians repelled the invasion through sheer determination to defeat tyrants and bullies.


Iranian government has seen significant changes since the 1979 Islamic revolution. No western style democracy, it never the less has checks and balances. The Human Development Index of health, wealth, and education shows dramatic improvement since 1980.  65% of Iranians are under 30, literacy approaches 100%, and daily life becomes more liberalized. There is much scope for improvement of human rights and freedom of speech; however progress is good compared to some US allies.


Bush brands Iran evil. He claims Iran plans a nuclear bomb despite it being specifically decreed unlawful by the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - the seat of real power in Iran. Iran’s legitimate peaceful nuclear programme began when the USA sold the technology to the Shah. Today it is scrutinised more closely than any other. Bush says Iran is threatening Middle East ‘peace’. For Iranians it’s just the US being a ‘bully-boy’ - another ‘Yazid’ tyrant.


The US has a familiar fall-back position should ‘diplomacy’ fail.  Military sources reveal that in 2003 detailed US invasion plans were made - “Operation Iranian Freedom”.  There are bases in Iraq and Azerbaijan. In the Gulf are aircraft carriers with hundreds of cruise missiles. More may follow. Marine commando units are ready at short notice for a D-Day style invasion. Diego Garcia could launch bombing sorties - rapidly eliminating thousands of targets with weapons significantly “improved” since 2003. A new “Global Strike” strategy could authorise attack, without warning, an hour’s flying time from US bases. Consent for Israeli use of Iraqi airspace could open a route for air strikes.  US Congress will not authorise Iran invasion but has already approved “all steps necessary to bring stability to Iraq”.  Bush ignored the Iraq Study Group recommendations to involve Iran and Syria to try to solve the violence in Iraq. The similarities between Iraq before invasion and Iran now are uncanny. Ahmadinejad’s controversial statements are reported - positive Iranian diplomatic initiatives aren’t. Dozens of US public statements point to aggressive intent. Attacking Iran would be catastrophic, but Bush has little left to lose on the US domestic front.                                                      


Parallels with Pre-War Iraq:


·                Iraq was said to have Weapons of Mass Destruction which, we were told, threatened the peace and stability of the Middle East and beyond.                                                                               

Iran is said to be refining uranium in preparation to make a nuclear bomb which threatens the peace and stability of the Middle East and beyond.

·                Iraq was subjected to sanctions imposed by the United Nations for flouting the will of the international community by supposedly concealing weapons and restricting inspections.         

Iran is subject to sanctions for failing to comply with a UN demand that it cease refining uranium. It is threatened with increased sanctions for continuing uranium processing and is accused of using a peaceful nuclear programme as cover for development of nuclear weapons.

·                In Iraq evidence clearly indicating that there were not weapons of mass destruction remaining or being developed in the years immediately preceding invasion was suppressed.                                                                                                                       

Iran, according to evidence, is not able to refine uranium to a degree sufficient to make nuclear weapons, and nuclear weapons have been decreed unlawful by the Ayatollas – the ultimate authority in the land – in accord with Iranian Shi’a religious conviction; but this is not widely broadcast.

·                Iraq was accused of supporting terrorism and was said to be a supplier or prospective supplier of weapons to terrorists.

Iran is accused of supplying Hezbolla and Iraqi Shi’as with weapons – both viewed as terrorists by the US.

·                Iraq was accused of a variety of human rights abuses with justification; no matter that some were carried out using western supplied illegal weapons of mass destruction  - without western protest at the time.                                                                                                                                        

Iran has a record of executing more homosexuals than anywhere in the world because they are viewed as criminals under strict religious codes. Also demonstration, free speech, and some women’s rights are restricted.

·                Iraq had been a friend and loyal ally of the west until they fell out over oil and the subsequent Kuwait invasion.                                                                                                                          

Iran had been a loyal ally of the west until they fell out over oil, the Shah regime was imposed and Iran became once more a loyal ally only to fall out again when the Islamic revolution took control of the country and the oil.

·                The US establishes a network of allies and bases to fight the “war on terror” which conveniently serve for attacking Iraq and now possibly Iran.

·                Plans had been made and military forces prepared for Iraq invasion which some thought was a strategic ploy to secure access for the UN inspection regime.                                                                                                                                       

Plans have been made and forces assembled in readiness for a military strike on Iran  - which might be a strategic ploy to try to persuade Iran to voluntarily give up its entitlement to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme (initiated originally by the US) – or it might not.


The US has form. US ‘diplomacy’ is perverse, if the intention is to resolve dispute and disagreement. US action in its approach to Iran is exactly opposite to that advised by the Iraq Study Group; with simultaneous vilification and implication that the Iranian government is responsible for violence in Iraq.  

Noel Hamel