Iran News ...


02/16/11

"Pro-Democracy" Movements Breaking Out All Over? Don't Kid Yourselves!

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse

 

Do you still believe that the demonstrations in the Islamic and Arab world have anything to do with "democracy", or that the United States actually supports movements toward self-determination and democratic reforms in the region?

 

If you do, you must also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. But if you don't, are you a pragmatist who believes in doing whatever is required to maintain America's advantaged position in the global affairs, regardless of who might have to be stepped on to achieve that? And if you are a good Christian idealist with the proverbial American sense of justice and fair play, who believes in the principles of the Golden Rule, are you willing to jeopardize the standards of living you have been accustomed to and regard as your birthright by having your government limit itself to doing unto others only as you would have them do unto yours?

 

How could we refer to the recent upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt or, for that matter, the 2009 post elections demonstrations in Tehran, as "pro-democracy" movements when we cannot even define what this deceptively alluringly sound-bite really means? What do we or the news media and our official Administration pronouncements refer to when labeling the demonstrations in Tahrir Square as "pro democracy"?

 

Legend has it that after Darius the Great of Persia took over the reign of command as the new emperor, he and his principle advisors sat in council to determine the most appropriate form of governance for his vast empire. One suggestion was a style of government patterned after the Athenian model of democracy. Darius rejected that idea out of hand. While in a relatively small city-state like Athens, Darius argued, such a system would work, reaching a consensus among so many diverse peoples scattered in faraway provinces of the empire would be totally impractical and would lead to anarchy and chaos.

 

After weighing other alternatives, Darius finally reached the conclusion that an authoritarian rule by a wise and benevolent king, referring to himself, of course, would be the best answer.

 

Question was then raised as to how the successor to that wise and benevolent king would be chosen once the emperor becomes incapacitated or dies. Darius pondered that point for a while and responded: We shall cross that bridge when we come to it!

 

Now, what about the so-called Athenian democracy, supposedly the model after which our modern Western democracies have been patterned? In that ancient city-state, only the elite among the men of means, i.e., property and slave owners, had the right to vote and be elected to office! The rest of the population, including all women, serfs and slaves, were excluded from participation,.

 

Today, as we all know, the United States is the self-proclaimed champion and promoter of true liberal democracy throughout the modern world. How does this paragon of a working liberal democracy actually work? Well, every citizen of 18 years of age or older, excluding those convicted of any felony, can vote for their favorite candidates. And, anyone of qualifying age can become a candidate and run for whatever office they choose, provided they can raise enough money and gain sufficient media exposure for their campaigns.

 

Naturally, in a free enterprise capitalist system operating within a liberal democratic political framework, big money, political and corporate lobbies are also free to exert their influence over the news and information media to promote the candidates they favors and to torpedo those who are not willing to toe the line.

 

The average citizen, meanwhile, continues to go merrily along with the pre-packaged news and information flowing out of the mass media, believing that in a free democratic society there is little reason to be skeptical or cynical about much.

 

How wonderful, indeed, and how symbolic of a true democracy, that the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, sheds honest emotional tears when recounting how he rose from sweeping the floors to become the most powerful voice in the US Congress! And how wonderful that a Pompom Girl suffering from IDD (Information Deficit Disorder) becomes the Governor of Alaska and has a pretty good chance of becoming the next President of the United States; that is if the other hopeful, Biblically brainwashed Fox TV host, Mike Huckabee, who just returned from one of his frequent visits to Israel (he and the Israeli lobby, AIPAC, know why), doesn't challenge her.

 

Well, this kind of democracy has been working well thus far, and will continue to work as long as the citizenry remains relatively content and preoccupied with new electronic gadgets and minor concerns about having too much to eat!

 

Citizens will remain content as long as their standard of living, as well as hopes and aspirations for even a grander future, as President Obama, like all his predecessors, promise, are not seriously in peril. To secure this image and to ensure the continued success of this liberal democracy, the system has had to engage in methods and tactics in conducting the nation's foreign policies, which are antithesis to what has always been advertised as American moral and ethical values. In other words, the success of America's liberal democracy has depended in great part on denying freedom and "democracy" in regions of the world where America's perceived strategic interests have been involved.

 

Egypt is a perfect case in point.

 

"Maidan Tahrir" meaning "Freedom Circus", like the Piccadilly Circus in London,  is not a "Square", even though we call it a Square. Similarly, the multitudes demonstrating against the regime are not "pro-democracy", but "anti-regime" demonstrators who have had enough of the military dictatorship of a corrupt, ruthless and unpatriotic rule since 1973.

 

America had two fundamental interests in Egyptian affairs; one was, of course, securing the western flank of its bastard child, Israel, and the other to have "preferred" access to the Suez Canal waterway. Both these "perceived" strategic interests required the establishment of numerous American (sometimes referred to as NATO) military bases on Egyptian soil. Both Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak bought into the deal and traded Egypt's national pride, independence and progressive reforms in exchange for the 2.5 billion dollars annual American aid or, better put, bribe money. And, what was this so-called aid money targeted for?

 

Most of that money was targeted for military and internal security use. Billions of dollars of American taxpayers' moneys were spent on purchasing American military arsenal and equipment, which was not a bad deal for American military industries, and the rest used to maintain that wonderful "stability" created through government repression and denial of any expression of dissent and dissatisfaction by an economically deprived public.

 

For almost three decades this, according to our State Department, "friendly, moderate, stable regime" carried on without too much visible public outrage. But there is a sea change underway in the whole region that is not going to subside with any "settlement" of the Egyptian dilemma.

 

It is truly amazing how as-a-matter-of-factly the American media and the Administration are responding to the unfolding events in Egypt as though it were a US Protectorate requiring directives from the White House and the State Department to steer it in the "right" direction.

 

Even the labeling of the Egyptian uprising as a "pro-democracy" movement seems to have an underlying agenda. This could be serving a double purpose: One is to deflect the public's attention away from the underlying angst of the Egyptian nation against the United States for creating, funding and supporting that dreaded military dictatorship, and the other is to establish new grounds to support the so-called pro-democracy Green Movement against the Iranian regime at an opportune time.

 

It was ironic to hear Hillary Clinton initially vocalize against the demands of the Egyptian crowds for the immediate ouster of Hosni Mubarak, by saying that, besides the angry protestors and the loyalists, there is the Egyptian nation that must be heard. Good for our Secretary of State! Yes, Hillary, there is a nation out there that also deserves to be heard. A few days later, Mrs. Clinton warned that, in chaotic situations like that, there are evil forces from the outside as well as inside the country that might try to take advantage of the situation, for which we should be on guard! She was clearly referring to possible Iranian supported influences from outside, and the rise of some Islamist movement from inside Egypt.

 

At the same time that these and similar statements were being made, both the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and Vice President, Joe Biden, were energetically encouraging the Iranian opposition groups to follow Egypt's example and stage similar demonstrations against the Iranian regime.

 

The leaders of Iran's opposition movement decided to take advantage of the occasion and scheduled demonstrations on Monday, February 14, supposedly in support of the Egyptian uprising, and thus jumping on the ongoing bandwagon for obvious reasons. It was, however, interesting that, watching TV and accessing internet videos of these demonstrations, there were no banners displaying solidarity with the Egyptian uprising.

 

The highly publicized encouragements by American officials further blemished the so-called Green movement in Tehran and helped discredit its leadership for seemingly playing into the hands of Iran's enemies. This kind of brazen interference by the American officials in Iran's internal affairs will prove to be another setback for reform movements and a potential rapprochement between the United States and Iran - and, my always cynical mind tells me, a deliberate one!

 

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden certainly must know that there is a significant difference between the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, and soon to be Saudi Arabia on the one side, and the demonstrations in Iran, on the other. The main difference is what Hillary Clinton correctly referred to as the nation out there whose voice must also be heard.

 

It is not at all surprising that Iran's firebrand and ferocious critic of American and Israeli agendas in the Middle East, enjoys tremendous popularity among, not just the Egyptians, but in practically all Islamic states in the region. His popularity is not due to his good looks or the way the Islamic Republic of Iran is conducting its own national affairs. He is admired simply because of his and the Iranian regime's stubborn opposition against the policies of the United States and the Israeli regime that have kept Egypt and other client states from realizing their dreams of self determination, national integrity and prestige, and independent statehood.

 

While Iran today does have huge internal problems, mostly in keeping up with demands for economic growth and the unrequited expectations of, as I have said before, a youthful, upwardly mobile population, the regime does enjoy the spiritual support of the Iranian masses as a whole. This is exactly the opposite of the situation in the Arab nations undergoing their growing pains at this time.

 

The Arab and non Arab Islamic masses are convulsing against decades of subservience to the interests of the colonial powers, kept silent by despotic dictators whose livelihood and advantaged position depend directly on their loyalty to the wishes of their benefactors at the expense of their own nation's best interests.

 

Does the United States truly support "democracy" and self-determination in the strategic region of the Middle East? Are you f-----g crazy?!

 

How could the world's most powerful empire afford to allow the control over its global strategic interests to be questioned, challenged or usurped through local political developments, such as what is happening in Egypt, Yemen or Jordan? The Empire must, and does, make all necessary attempts to maintain its control over the region's developments to make sure the tide or the floodwaters are channeled in the right direction. As many government officials and media pundits have already stated, no matter what changes in the Egyptian regime follow the current unrest, America's presence and control over the Egyptian military, as well as Egypt's treaty agreement and cooperation with Israel shall remain in full force.

 

In other words, the United States is supportive of "democratic" developments in Egypt, as long as we define the meaning and nature of that democracy. The same will go for the developments in Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, and potentially Saudi Arabia.

 

The Empire shall also see to it that Iran remains a publicly perceived threat to Israel and other "friendly" American allies in the region. This portrayal will justify America's military presence to protect these allies, keep the flow of oil open, and maintain the "stability" (meaning preserving the status quo) of the region.

 

Above all, having some measure of threat to the stability of the region also benefits the Jewish state most directly: one, Israel, in the atmosphere of unrest and uncertainty created by political upheavals in the surrounding Arab world, cannot be forced into making any compromises regarding its expanding settlement activities or peace agreements with the Palestinians; and, two, this symbol of Western democracy and the staunchest ally should not be denied increasing diplomatic support, economic and especially military aid from the United States for its existential well being!

 

Well, the United States Congress, as usual beholden to the Zionist lobby pressures, will gladly oblige, and, as far as our general strategy in the oil-rich Middle East is concerned, we cannot very well allow the world's richest sources of energy to fall into the wrong hands - the Chinese, for instance - can we?

 

Do you still believe that the demonstrations in the Islamic and Arab world have anything to do with "democracy", or that the United States actually supports movements toward self-determination and democratic reforms in the region?

 

If you do, you must also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. But if you don't, are you a pragmatist who believes in doing whatever is required to maintain America's advantaged position in the global affairs, regardless of who might have to be stepped on to achieve that? And if you are a good Christian idealist with the proverbial American sense of justice and fair play, who believes in the principles of the Golden Rule, are you willing to jeopardize the standards of living you have been accustomed to and regard as your birthright by having your government limit itself to doing unto others only as you would have them do unto yours?

 

Well, time to wake up, baby! The Egyptian uprising is fizzling out as did the Iranian efforts before the CIA and MI6 assisted military coup of 1953. No; it might have started as, but had little or no chance of evolving into the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1978-79.

 

And, no; there is no similarity as to the motivational dynamics behind the uprising in Egypt and other client Arab regimes and the current Iranian opposition or the Green movement in Iran.

... Payvand News - 03/25/16 ... --



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