Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Wretched Policy of Apology"


During an appearance at the Iraq inquiry on Friday former British PM Tony Blair stated that the west must abandon its "wrethced policy of apology" toward Iran. He stated that we must stop "believing that we are causing what the Iranians are doing, or what these extremists are doing". He went on to say that "We are not. The fact is they are doing it because they disagree fundamentally with our way of life and they'll carry on doing it unless they are met by the requisite determination and if necessary, force."

The general narrative from those who believe the west and particularly America has caused Iran's belligerence is as follows.

Iran will not cooperate with the west because:

1. The British and Americans conspired together in 1953 to oust the popular Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadeq and proceeded to install the reliable pro western Shah or King as leader of the nation.

Reasons why this is not an excuse.
The CIA did indeed oust Mossadeq and they had no moral right to do so even if a Soviet dominated (not that this was guaranteed) Iran would have been a disaster for the world. I have no problem with any proud Iranian nationalist being greatly angered at such a national insult and humiliation. Obviously this is even more so if such a person or their family were victims of the Shah's brutality. However, Mossadeq was a leftist and the current Islamic regime hate all leftist. Since the Iranian revolution the Mullahs have murdered tens of thousands of left leaning political opponents, most of whom were supporters of late Mohammed Mossadeq. I do not accept that the 1953 episode explains Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and opposition to the Israeli Palestinian peace process.

2. The United States and other western powers backed Sadam Hussein's Iraq in the 1980-88 Iran Iraq war.

Reasons why this is not an excuse.
It is true that the US backed Sadam in the war. However that support only really materialised in 1982 when it appeared that Iran might win, something which literally no nation on earth wanted to see. Every Arab nation also backed Iraq in what they saw as an Arab war against Persia. Even the USSR wanted to see Iran's religious revolution fail. Once again I do not object to a certain element in Iran being bitter at western support for the Iraqi tyrant, particularly given the fact the Iraq would ultimately use chemical weapons on Iranian troops and bomb Iran's cities. But the truth is it was the Khomeini regime that dramatically escalated the war. It was the Mullahs who deliberately prolonged the war and used it in order to consolidate their power, sending hundreds of thousands of young men to their deaths in trenches and prison camps in the process. The West backed Iraq because they did not want to see Iran's Shiite theocratic model spread through out the region, just as the Mullahs are continuing to attempt to this day as they foment dissents among the Shia minorities throughout the Arab world. The war may be a legitimate grievance of the Iranian people but it is no excuse or justification for the world wide chaos the Iranians are hell bent on achieving.

The Iran Iraq war was exceptionally bloody. Over one million soldiers were killed in the fighting. Sadam had Kurdish civilans gassed to death in the Iraqi town of Halabja and Iranian cities were bombed.


3. The US still does not recognise the Islamic Republic and refuses to deal with Iran on the basis of respect and equality.

Reasons why this is not an excuse.
This is a constant complaint from Tehran. What it means in diplomatic code is that Iran is angered at American attempts to covertly undermine the regime in a similar way as the CIA did in 1953. They may or may not be trying to do so right now. But I do not believe that the Islamic nature of the Iranian regime is the basis for which Washington refuses to recognise Tehran. I believe it is the conduct of the regime. The Iranian regime has executed over 100,000 people since it came to power in 1979, the same year they took the American embassy staff in Tehran hostage. Furthermore Iran is the main sponsor of both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, two organisations that are fanatically opposed to peace with Israel. During any efforts in recent times at a wider Arab Israeli peace agreement the Iranians have always thrown a spanner in the works by opposing any agreement and offering a life line to other hard line rejectionists in the process. For these reasons it is appropriate that the US should not recognise Tehran and that western powers should remain hostile to the Iranian government.

Tony Blair hit the nail on the head. Too many people seem to ask the question straight away, how have we upset Iran ? What can we to to make them less angry? This is the wrong question to ask because it is not about us, it is about them. This question is understandable because the US Iranian relationship is complicated. But when it comes to the crucial question of Iran's nuclear ambitions it is a careless question to ask, and dangerous at worst. If Iran becomes a nuclear power then Hezbollah become a nuclear power. If Hezbollah become a nuclear power then they will have the capability to do what they have been threatening to do ever since the group was formed, and that is to out do Hitler in their attempts to kill as many Jews as possible. The west must stop asking itself what it has done to upset Iran. It must confront the issue head on or it will be too late.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting.Thank you.
Jenny

Gary said...

Ted,

You are absolutely right. America must deal with Iran and soon. American forces are scheduled to be completely out of Iraq by the end of this year. When that happens Iran will move in, probably install a puppet government with some one like Sadr as leader and be in a position to dominate and intimidate the Arab world - combine that with nuclear weapons and their desire to destroy Israel and bring down Western culture and you have one scary scenario...

Gary

thesystemworks said...

Excellent piece, Ted. Provides great clarity about Iran's conduct and aims, and really demolishes the arguments of the Iranian apologists here in the West.

Paul said...

Agree 100%, we are in a confrontation with Iran. It is the Jihad they declared in 1979 against the west and have been following ever since. Appeasing them merely allows them to call the shots. We should over an Olive branch however in a clenched fist. It should consist of:

1. A full offer of free trade and diplomatic relations if Iran stops support of Hamas/Hezbollah/Al Qaeda etc, recognises Israel and decommissions their nuclear programme. Perhaps after this Hilary can do a 'Kissinger' and visit opening up normal relationships as HK did with China in 1973.

2. Point out the massive economic benefits of doing the above and asking in return a frank but if necessary private disclosure as to the whereabouts of missing Israelis such as Ron Arad and other westerners. Then forgive and forget.

But...

Upon encountering the usual belligerence or intransigence:

1. Massive sanctions. Iran is hurting from the existing ones already.

2. Transfer captured IRGC personnel from Iraq/AFG to Guantanamo pending trial by military tribunal.

3. Maintain a military 'buffer' in Iraq. This is now off the cards thanks largely to Obama's interference with the SOFA negotiations between the US and the Iraqi government.

4. As a consequence of 2 above expect a spate of kidnappings of westerners. When that happens point out that the trump card will not be a hostage rescue mission or ransoms being exchanged. But the complete destruction of Iran's economy by Navy and Air power. Sink all of their merchant shipping, destroy oil refinery's with air power and sever the pipelines that supply gas to Turkey and Syria( they also guarantee Iranian influence).

The result of all of this, a destitute and impoverished Iran, caused by their own belligerence. Oh yes and in no circumstances attempt to occupy the country with ground troops, leave them to their own mess.

Of course if Iran drops the belligerence than an altogether different policy of friendship should be encouraged. As in 1 above. We cannot go on as we are.

Ted Leddy said...

Jenny

Thank You !

Gary

There is no doubt, Iran will have to be dealt with sooner rather than later. If it is left until later they will be in a much more powerful position.

TSW

Thank You. I have found myself in the past acting like such an apologist. I have been to Iran and have many Iranian friends. I dread the thought of a devastating war being inflicted on the people of Iran and hope it does not come. But the issue absolutely must be confronted.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

Excellent analysis.

"We should over an Olive branch however in a clenched fist". I agree, the Iranian regime has at times perplexed me. As I said, Iranian nationalism is perfectly legitimate and they should be offered the opportunity to save face. But the ultimate motives of the Mullahs is very difficult to decipher, if we get it wrong it could be catastrophic. However it is worth trying. I have always argued that the solution to the clash of civilisations is more likely to come from Iran than anywhere else. Senior Iranian clerics are the only people in the entire Islamic world with any authority that have called for an Islamic reformation and a fundamental change in the relationship between Mosque and state.

On your point number 1. It is obviously very difficult to imagine Iran recognising Israel. But stranger things have happened. Perhaps recognition of the need for a two state solution would suffice.

But as you say. this is all meaningless unless the west is prepared to back up the rhetoric with actual military force.

Victor said...

3. Maintain a military 'buffer' in Iraq. This is now off the cards thanks largely to Obama's interference with the SOFA negotiations between the US and the Iraqi government.

I strongly disagree. The Iraqis are the ones who interfered with the SOFA negotiations due to their issue with legal immunity for U.S. troops. To be honest, I'm glad they are out of there because if they stay, they would become sitting ducks for Iran's ballistic missile forces.

Sink all of their merchant shipping, destroy oil refinery's with air power and sever the pipelines that supply gas to Turkey and Syria( they also guarantee Iranian influence).

And the negative consequences of this: skyrocketing gas prices which would torpedo the fragile world economy. Also, I'm sure Turkey, our NATO ally, wouldn't appreciate it if we sever their pipeline, especially during winter.

The result of all of this, a destitute and impoverished...

... and vengeful Iran! And if you don't think that Iran will catch up with us with a vengeance then you're going to be in for a rude awakening!