UI – Part 526 – The Problem with Iran
Post the Revolution
After the Revolution (1979) Iran became a theocracy. Other Muslim Nations were guided extensively by the Quran and the tenets of Islam, which provided for Islamic Law, but only Iran has a government that is autocratic and religious as one. This means enforcing religious doctrines onto its citizens as state law. There are brutal hudud punishments, such as chopping off hands for theft or executing women for adultery. Saudi Arabia has a monarchy, with advisers from the ideological side of Islam. There penal practices are as bad as Iran, even though not a true theocracy, but close. Other well known Muslim countries, Syria, Morocco, Iraq, Nigeria, Lebanon, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, et al, have secular leaning governments with Islam as the State Religion. Also within the countries there are areas, regions, as in Indonesia, that apply the strict code of Sharia. In each case there are blasphemy laws and no freedom of speech or freedom of conscious. Freedom of religion is suggested, in certain instances, but limited, as non-Muslims are treated quite differently and conversions from Islam are most often met with abuse. Freedom of religion as suggested by many Islamists as a doctrine of Islam in not what most would define as freedom of religion. (An example).
What does this suggest for Iran?
The clerics that rule Iran do not embrace progress, certainly not capitalism. They always seem to realize at the 11th hour that the people of Iran desire proper services and access to goods that provide security and comfort for their families. This includes food and other grocery items. Their training and education is limited to that of the Quran. Their minds are more wrapped up in the Will of Allah than the needs of the populace. Iran as an ideology center for Shi’a Islam sees a world all for Allah as their objective and ‘true Islam’ their way. Imposing their religious philosophy and hatred towards anything western or American influenced on everything and everyone with whom they have contact is the norm. Certainly Israel remains an object for destruction. Hegemony of the region, to their West the Middle East, Arab and Sunni, and to the East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a desire. They have succeeded in creating a presence in Lebanon as the militant organization Hezbollah. They are building bases where and when they can as locations from which to direct their venom, with Israel as a target.
In Lebanon the Lebanese Army still receives support from the USA, while Hezbollah, as an extension of Iran, its Revolutionary Guard and Quds force, after many years under development, has assumed much control over this Nation.
In Palestine and Gaza the presence they enjoy is as Hamas focused entirely on Israel and expressing their hatred towards that Nation daily. Through Hamas money is provided those who harm Israeli’s or die as a martyr. It has been noted that aid the US provides Palestine is used in this funding effort. So why do we continue?
America has been able since 1979 to observe Iran. Different Presidents with different foreign and National Security Advisers have taken a variety of positions towards Iran. Soon after the Revolution the Iraq-Iran war began, lasting eight years. Reagan was President for most of that battle, making his own mistakes, Iran-Contra the greatest. Support for Saddam Hussein waned as Bush 41 took office. Then there was the Gulf War, Desert Storm. Having but one term, Bush’s promise of “no new taxes” unfulfilled, Clinton arrived in Washington. Most Presidents believe they have the character and skills to deal with foreign leaders, no matter how difficult they are, or how resistant they are towards America. But the Mullahs of Iran were and remain an obscure lot, having few practical or tolerant views, entrenched as they are in the words and world of Muhammad as recorded post his demise in the Suras of the Quran.
Map of Iran
As Shi’a the clerics of Iran assume their right to the future of Islam as descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatima, wife of Ali (son-in-Law and cousin of Muhammad). Ali was the 4th Caliph, preceded by 3 designated as the Rightly Guided, founders of the Sunni line (90% of Muslims), due to their intellect and ideological knowledge and abilities to lead.
When the Iraq-Iran war ended (1988) Iran was devastated militarily. But little was done to change the way Iran was governed. They were left to restore their military, the Revolutionary Guard, and continue their oppressive, retrograde methods on a once great and developing nation. The focus of America’s Presidents were elsewhere. The legitimacy of the clerics became even greater, popular it seemed with the people with little inside opposition. That may have been due to the active sidelining, imprisonment, or killing of dissidents. A massive error by the CIA under director William Casey towards the end of the Iraq-Iran War destroyed any network for intelligence gathering within Iran. The only source of information came from travelers to and from Iran, of which very little was useful, reliable or readily confirmed. In Iran a TV documentary series ran entitled Top Secret describing the success by Iran in revealing our spy network.
Martin Indyk, Clinton’s adviser on Iran, wrote that a “consensus emerged that Iran was the archetype of a hostile rogue regime – the most important state sponsor of militant Islamic Terrorism.” That was then, and little has been done since to properly curb their tyrannical plot to control Islam and the world for Allah; the citizens of Iran their neglected pawns. Post 911 battles in the Middle East turned towards Iraq and Afghanistan. Why not Iran?
During the Reagan years in addition to the Iraq-Iran War, Afghanistan was in conflict having been invaded by Russia (December 1979 during the Carter years). The Cold War was ebbing and Reagan’s attention was less on Iran than other foreign matters. It was during this time that Al Qaeda was becoming stronger, the Taliban was created and the Mujahidin were wanting to regain their tribal fiefdoms in Afghanistan. Reagan and his administration saw the opportunity for Russia to weaken under the weight of its own Vietnam, the Cold War end and Afghanistan’s independence restored, but with our aid, although indirectly (thru Pakistan).
Bush 41 responded to the Cold War end managing relations with Russia after the Wall came down. He wanted a smooth, careful, and peaceful transition. In addition Bush 41 was confronted with Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. He created a media cloud that permitted American troops to be engaged in thwarting Iraqi advances. At the same time we were able to establish strategic camps to mount and support our military effort from bases in Saudi Arabia. Dick Cheney was Bush 41’s Defense Secretary, and together they were able to coordinate a worldwide coalition against Saddam Hussein. Their Persian Gulf War (1st Iraq War)(Operation Desert Storm) was strategic, effective, and short. Bush 41 wanted Hussein out of Kuwait, never intending to go further and invade Iraq. 41 however did not want Saddam to expand his territory or gain control of other’s oil fields. I believe he accepted autocrats as a necessary evil in the Middle East, those with a secular orientation towards governance, a respect and need for the Muslim and Islamic prevailing ideology, and the order they maintained. Non-Muslims were treated better than in theocratic or more Islamist dominated countries (like Iran) and a semblance of peace was maintained. One other point, Saddam was able to keep Iran in check, which was a positive for the Bush Administration. Having secular leaning autocrats in control was true then also for Assad in Syria, Gaddafi in Libya, and Mubarack in Egypt. (For helping in the Gulf War, America, many Arab states, and Europe, forgave Egypt’s debt of about $20 Billion).
A frustration for 41 was the horrific habit of taking hostages, which was the case in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Bush attempted to negotiate their release, some captive since 1982, but with limited success. Since the days of the Berber Wars, and throughout history, ransom for hostages has been a revenue source, a negotiating ploy, for Islamists. In much of the Islamic world the practices of the barbaric past continue in the modern present.
Clinton was bothered by Hussein, who was as a swarm of bees in his face. His frustration peaked in 1998 when bombs from American planes began falling. No troops were used, but the destruction by 4 days (Operation Desert Fox) of a barrage of missiles and bombs left strategic targets and many other parts of Iraq in ruins. From Wikipedia, “Clinton administration officials said the aim of the mission was to “degrade” Iraq’s ability to manufacture and use weapons of mass destruction, not to eliminate it.” It appeared the goal was not capturing WMD’s but destabilizing the Iraqi Government. Regarding Iran, Clinton maintained sanctions and in some cases increased their intensity. However he may have been laying the ground work, unbeknownst to him or others, for a more Iran compliant Iraq in the future.
Clinton was distracted by Somalia, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania (Embassy bombings – actions of Osama Bin Laden), and the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina). His policy in response to attacks on American interests was bombings rather than troop deployment. In the Balkans Clinton aided the Muslims to victory over the Bosnian Serbs. As for Iran Clinton increased sanctions, banning American business trade and labelled Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism.” But there was never an invasion or an attempt to overthrow the theocratic despots of this ‘rogue state.’ Apologies were his penchant, paying for the death of passengers on flight 655 shot down by the USS Vincennes, laying blame for the coup of Iran’s PM (Mossadegh) in 1953 putting the Shah back in power on our CIA, and making excuses for the oppressive politics of the Shah having an American backed government. His Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright seemed at times favorable towards Iran; she allowed carpets to be exported along with caviar and food stuffs, like dried fruits and nuts. This Administration never fully understood Islam nor Iran’s mullahs. They were being used too.
In 1993 there was an explosion at the World Trade Center. It was a coordinated effort with Islamist backing. Clinton was aware of Al Qaeda but said very little about them, even after he was threatened during a visit in the Philippines. America was tested on our shores, but apparently did not do enough to prevent a more tragic attack on the same target eight years later.
Bush 43 followed Clinton in 2001. Inaugurated in January he was to be faced with a September to remember as 4 planes were hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists intended for use as bombs on major targets, the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House. UA Flight 93 failed by the courage of its “Let’s Roll” passengers. No one will ever forget the planes flying into the upper level side of two buildings and the Trade Towers falling. The Pentagon was partially damaged. A War on Terror was to begin soon thereafter, with Iraq and Afghanistan as primary theaters of operation. In his State of the Union address in 2002 Bush 43 waved the American Flag declaring the Axis of Evil, with Iran, Iraq and North Korea as state sponsors of terrorism having weapons of mass destruction.
It is now 2018 and after many years searching in Iraq the question often raised is should they have been so labelled. Hussein was a bad guy, a demonic, autocratic ruler, but is that anything new for a leader of a Muslim majority nation. Look at what Erdogan in Turkey is trying to attain for himself today. However it appears Iran and North Korea (‘NK’) are linked, with NK trading military weapons, technology, and I would say it is a safe assumption, nuclear weapon development materials and knowhow with Iran. Syria now fits the mold of the Axis of Evil too, as well as separatist groups, sponsored by Iran, to include Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran is the kingpin. Why did Bush 43 not target Iran after 911? And we cannot ignore the role of the Muslim Brotherhood as an active organization spreading Islamic hatred. When it come to making the enemy of my enemy a friend, knowing them to protect us, is a fallacy when it comes to Islamists. They will use us, and still not tolerate us, even though we suspect it could be possible. That was Obama’s great flaw.
It is interesting to note that Robert Mueller became the Director of the FBI one week before the 9/11 attacks. That is not to imply any relationship with the attackers. Asked at times about Muslim associations he denied any previous knowledge. There is a story to be told, however, but not now.
Obama’s history with Iran is recent enough that most have a sense of his accomplishments and thinking towards them. The nuclear agreement is credited to Obama and John Kerry. We now have a clue as to how that worked out.
Recently Trump appointed John Bolton as his National Security Adviser. He is someone who knows the history of Iran, our relations with Iran, good and mostly bad, and does not trust the Iranian Mullah leadership squad. Appeasement of an Islamist, especially one with dictatorial powers, will never work. Taming a tiger that is Islamic and demonstrating success by placing the tamer’s head in its mouth will result in a headless tamer.
Trump on May 8, 2018 announced America’s withdrawal from the Obama/Kerry Iran nuclear deal. The new administration, with much evidence provided by Israel and others, has proof Iran, the world’s leader and financier of Islamic terrorism in much of the world, ignored most of the agreement. Certainly monies unfrozen and provided with and after the agreement did more to enhance Iran’s theocratic rulers intention militarily to have Iran as the hegemony of the Middle East and Shi’a Islam the path for true Muslims to follow. More that the 80 million resident, citizens, of Iran are impacted. These people are also ignored so the religious mullahs, the ayatollah, and other clerics, as religious zealots, are clear they are more for the Allah of their interpretation of Islam, than the people of Iran, other muslims or the world. This act by Trump will be a step to curbing a desire by all Middle East nations of being nuclear so they can aim nuclear weapons at Iran while Iran is aiming nukes at them. At the same time America and other nations do not want an unpredictable country as Iran to get close to a nuclear trigger with Islamist theocratic clerics calling out on a daily basis, ‘death to America’ and death to all Jews and their nation of Israel. Christians must beware as well, and lest we forget non-Muslims and apostates!
Bless the people of Iran that maintain a desire to be free, that have knowledge of the past when indeed Iranian people lived with out hijabs and burkas, men wore western style dress, and freedom reigned.
Grace and Peace