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The Iranian "threat": Like God, if there really isn't one, we'd better invent it!

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse


Kam Zarrabi is the author of
In Zarathushtra's Shadow

Let's indulge in a highly unlikely imaginary scenario.


News breaks out that, rather than wait for the Bush administration's term to expire, the Iranian regime has just reached the conclusion that accepting America 's terms unequivocally is truly in the Iranian peoples' best interests. Within weeks, all nuclear enrichment facilities are to be dismantled and medium and long range missiles destroyed, American and UN inspectors will gain total access to Iran's military and defense establishments, and the Revolutionary Guards Corps will be officially decommissioned. What is even more surprising, Iran offers to recognize Israel and declares Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations.


Within a few days, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei,  announces the decision that the "Islamic" connotation will be dropped from the name of the country, which will revert back to just "Iran". He then promises to retire to the holy city of Msahhad within a few months.  President Ahmadinejad resigns months ahead of his term, and the Majlis invites the Pahlavi prince and his entourage to return to Iran, accompanied by his American and Israeli advisors, to form a new government.


To make sure that everything is on the level, American, Israeli and the European Union representatives are to be invited to send observers to Iran and monitor this historic transition from a "rogue" state to a Western style modern secular democracy.


Celebrations break out, from the streets of Tehran, New York, Los Angeles, "Tehrangeles" and London to Tokyo and Seoul, and particularly Moscow .


Iran is no longer regarded as a member of the Axis of Evil or the single most dangerous threat to the peace and security of the region and the world and possibly even the universe. Iranian missiles supposedly carrying those clandestinely built nuclear bombs will no longer be aimed at Israel, Europe and the United States, against which the United States had so wisely decided to install missile defense shields in Eastern Europe and Israel at such great costs both financially and diplomatically.


The Russian government is delighted that now the United States can abandon the plans to install missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, which the Russians were suspecting were actually aimed at their country and not, as claimed by the United States, at Iran.


The White House (excluding, of course, the Vice President and his neocon cabal) is simply overjoyed with the confirmed news of this unexpected turn of events, giving the President the historic opportunity just before leaving office to declare victory over the last stubbornly defiant obstacle that had stood in the way of his humanitarian Christian mission to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East. 


With Iran 's cooperation, the Iraqi regime can now overcome its problems with its dissidents and terrorists and announces its readiness to handle its own internal security and preserve its territorial integrity. This would allow the United States and the Coalition forces to hand over these responsibilities to the Iraqis and return to their home bases to the delight of their respective populations.


The only remaining source of trouble, the Al-Gha'eda and their Taliban supporters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a real concern for both the United States and Iran, would now be quickly and effectively tackled by the joint Iran/American forces and uprooted in a few months.


Iran becomes a role model, ahead of Iraq and Afghanistan, for other regimes in the Middle East and the surrounding regions, from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to Syria and Pakistan, to adopt true democratic principles and implement reforms to comply with the expectations of the civilized world; reforms in the domains of women's rights and universal suffrage. Furthermore, this sudden awakening by the most formidable opponent of American agendas in the Middle East demonstrates to the other regional Islamic states that, next to the mandates of Allah and possibly in parallel with them, the American way must be the path to salvation, if not survival, for all.


The war on terror, at least in economically and strategically the most vital area of the planet, has thus come to its positive conclusion. Yet, much to our collective surprise, the initial celebrations and exuberant anticipations for a long awaited peace and harmony, even before the arrival of the prophesied Messiah, soon prove to have been quite premature.  Sadly, all's not well in this dreamscape!


The Israeli regime soon finds itself under increasing pressure from the West and even by its main benefactor, the United States, to consummate the long overdue peace treaty with the Palestinians. With Hamas no longer receiving support from the Iranians, and the Lebanese Hezbollah abandoned by Iran, an emboldened Israel sees the path open to expand the construction of new settlements in the Palestinian lands and to increase pressure on the Palestinian population. However, without an ominous Iran and a "second Hitler" as an existential threat, Israel has to create some other regional pariah to serve as its raison d'Ítre in order to distract the world's attention and to gain sympathy. But even Syria is now willing to throw in the towel. Not ready or willing to give up a square inch of prime real estate in exchange for any peace settlement, no matter how meaningless, the Israelis find themselves in a real quandary.


The Israelis do, however, have the ultimate trump card up their sleeve: the powerful political lobby in Washington with its proven political and financial influence on America's news media and foreign policy apparatus. Thanks to this power and influence, anything that Israel deems essential in promoting its own agenda will receive not only near unanimous Congressional approval, but the support of the bedazzled American public, as well.


Speculations begin to circulate around various intelligence agencies that the Israelis are drawing plans to stage some kind of a terror attack somewhere in the region, possibly against the remaining American bases or naval fleet or even against their own installations, and blame it on Iran, discrediting Iran's peace gestures, in order to reignite regional instability and to keep the pot churning.


The proverbial monkey jumps on the American administration's back, yet again! The dilemma is how to appease the Israeli regime, keep the little troublemaker happy, and avoid a new war.


It doesn't take long for the Russians to realize that their suspicions about the true motives for the missile defense shields in Eastern Europe were well founded. The American plans to go forward with the missile defense shields have not been abandoned. The United States, they can now see, is attempting to isolate Russia economically and, at the same time, paralyze its potential military response; in other words, the phoenix of the Cold War begins to rise from the ashes.


But this time the assured-mutual-destruction of a dreaded nuclear exchange is not going to prevent the Cold War from reaching thermonuclear temperatures.


Russians can clearly see that an expansion of NATO into the former Soviet satellites, including Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, would do to Russia what surrounding Iran with American land and naval forces, as well as economic pressures, did to Iran; i.e., bring it to its knees.  


Russia 's principle weapon against economic collapse and social meltdown would boil down to its immense oil and natural gas reserves, which fuel much of Europe's energy needs. And, high crude prices and limited supplies guarantee a degree of prosperity that would otherwise dwindle in an alarming rate. However, with Iran now a member of the capitalist club, and the American controlled Iraqi oil soon reaching its full potential, Russia's precious leverage over America's main European counterparts begins to fade, leaving raw military power as the only viable means of preventing a socioeconomic collapse.


Using the American and Israeli threats of preemptive military strikes against Iran, in which the use of tactical nuclear weapons was openly declared as an option, Russia sites its own candidates as potential dangers to its national security, among them Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and even Israel, as possible targets for a defensive preemptive attack. The Russian bear must come out of hibernation and put on some weight to protect its own territory.


A calm and peaceful Middle East, at the same time, is not good news for the gigantic military-industrial complex and defense contractors, major contributors to the American economy and living standards, who have been thriving on the windfall profits of the ongoing mayhem brought about and perpetuated by America's war on terror.


If Iran truly falls in line and agrees to support the United States in isolating, controlling and eliminating Islamic threats in the rival Arab states, some other formidable enemy must be found to replace the Islamic threat. Could that be a Sino-Russian alliance?


China would be able to accomplish its economic growth targets at a much faster rate if it had access to sufficient sources of energy - oil and gas from Russia . The Red threat of communism that was conveniently replaced by the Green threat of Islamic fundamentalism will now be replaced by a potentially far greater Yellow threat; China's explosively expanding economy backed by Russia's energy resources and indomitable military arsenal!


One can only imagine the change in the global dynamics and the economic balance of powers should India also decide to join with the Sino-Russian Federation.


Shockwaves of "democratic" reform might also spread from Iran and begin to rock the already pro-American regimes of  Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and those flourishing, fun-loving Emirates with their multi-billionaire playboy Emirs, threatening to uproot those anachronistic oligarchies. Egypt will come next. After all, isn't real democracy with all its modern attributes what we have been trying to promote in the region? Or, have we been just pretending in order to push our own agendas?


Let us be realistic; does America truly want peace, democracy and self-determination for the inhabitants of the oil-rich Middle East ? Maybe it would be safe to say that the American people would like nothing more. But what about those movers and shakers whose own private interests, world views or sympathies do not fall in line with the honest preferences of the American public?


What about those brains behind the think-tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and their neocon colleagues who have been occupying practically all the sensitive Cabinet positions, including the office of Vice President, for nearly eight years now? With Iran no longer appearing as a legitimate evil, what other evil are they going to come up with to perpetuate the myth?


And let us not forget the corporations and defense industries that must gulp up a huge chunk of the nation's budget at the expense of the secondary needs or trivial pursuits such as health, education, roads, bridges, housing, social security and the general welfare of the American people.


Interestingly, both Barack Obama and John McCain recently appeared on a televised interview show in a, to put it politely, sophomoric religious forum, where they were asked how each would respond to the problem of evil. Obama, appearing very Christian, preferred to seek out the roots of that evil and address the issue in a systematic, therapeutic manner and not by committing more evil to eradicate evil! McCain, our decorated war hero, on the other hand, would waste no time and would attack and destroy evil on the spot regardless of what stood in his way, like he was doing in Vietnam before his plane was shot down.


Wow, a world without evil; what a wonderful promise for mankind, no matter which way the new leader of the free world chooses to wipe it off the face of the map!


Don't these two candidates for the highest office in the land realize that, were there no evil, we would have to create one, because without some evil, noble and good would have no meaning at all? Could there be an "up" if there was no "down" to contrast it? Does "light" have any meaning if there was no "darkness"?


This could be why, perhaps, the omniscient and omnipotent God of Abraham saw it necessary to allow evil to exist, even though He knew that the theologians would forever try to explain His rationale for it. Or, perhaps, the Omniscient One wanted to give the powerful and the mighty the opportunity to use evil as the pretext to take up arms in pursuit of their own interests.


So, John and Barack, please don't try to sweet-talk us into believing that you truly intend to, or really believe you can, eradicate evil. Without some evil somewhere, we'd lose our own noble cause or honorable mission to promote our global interests at everybody else's expense. Dragon slayers do need dragons to slay; otherwise where would our champions come from?


Kam Zarrabi

Kam Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion. He is available to conduct lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues, at formal and informal gatherings or academic centers anywhere in the country. To make the necessary arrangements, please contact him at More information about Mr. Zarrabi and his work is available at:


... Payvand News - 08/25/08 ... --

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