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Time To Rethink Iran's Strategy

By Kambiz Zarrabi


Let’s get real for a moment: How would a peaceful Middle East and a less confrontational Iran serve Israel’s purpose and, by extension, these days that of the Saud clan and, by default, the presumed interest of the Unites States; who are we kidding?

America’s default position in Middle East affairs, now even more so than before under the leadership of a clueless leader, has been to follow the Zionist’s moneys and political influence rather than what might truly be America’s own legitimate and realistic interests.

On the other hand, and almost as importantly, is the financial interests of our military/industrial complex that are fueled by hundreds of billions of dollars annually from the manufacturing and sale of the so-called defensive equipment to the oil-rich Arab leaders who have been told and led to believe to fear and be wary of Iran’s hegemonic intentions!

So, the portrayal of Iran as a belligerent and “fearsome” troublemaker does serve a great purpose: the Gulf Arabs remain subservient and spend billions fueling our economy, and Israel continues to use that as an excuse to hide behind America’s protection against international condemnations for its atrocities against the Palestinians and as the greatest violator of United Nations resolutions and international law.

Of course, it would be foolish to think that the Saudi regime’s thinkers and strategists are so naive as to truly believe that Iran might initiate a military attack upon their soil. But by pretending to believe in such a probability, and their alliance of convenience with Israel, they secure America’s support for the longevity of their repressive regime.

The current unrest in Iran is reminiscent of the so-called Green Movement of 2009, this time more motivated by economic hardships than anything political. Tunisia is currently going through similar demonstrations, which seldom arouse much attention by the media.

People do have legitimate grievances against the regime’s policies, corruption, and the increasingly harsh economic circumstances mostly as the result of sanctions and pressures by the United States. There is no question that reform and moderation is long overdue in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the leadership has been well aware of that undeniable fact. The process will no doubt be gradual and in incremental steps. Obviously, a sudden or revolutionary change may result in a catastrophic collapse of the social structure and a fragmentation of the country.

It has been clearly the case that threats, economic pressures and propaganda against Iran from the most powerful and influential superpower, the United States, have kept Iran in a defiantly defensive posture, thus preventing the natural social evolution toward moderation to begin to take shape. Not only that, but espousing and pretending to support movements such as the 2009 attempts toward opening and moderation have actually torpedoed such attempts’ potential success, as is what is taking place at this very time. It seems logical to conclude that this kind of interference is actually aimed at prolonging the status quo to keep the Islamic Republic’s image as a source of threat and instability in the region.

Prolonging Iran’s negative image appears to have been a well thought out strategic plan to keep it from transitioning toward moderation and normalcy. The result has been the strengthening of the position of the hardliners, as well as a deeper entrenchment of the guardians of the country’s security and integrity, the Sepaah-e-Paasdaaraan (the Revolutionary Guards Corps) against enemies foreign and domestic. The nation has thus retained its revolutionary spirit, with anger and suspicion against Israel with its Zionist supporters as the tail that wags the big dog, the United States.

Overreacting, and perhaps not, to internal dissent and opposition to keep such antipathy from blooming into more serious movements, and to discourage foreign elements ready to fuel and fan the fire, the Sepaah has cracked down and managed to stop any such anti-government disturbances in their infancy. This has also played in the hands of foreign strategists who portray this crackdown as yet further demonstration of intolerance, suppression and the violation of human rights.

Not long after the so-called Coalition invasion of Iraq in 1993 and the elimination of Saddam Hussein as a clear and present danger to Israel, the Israeli regime under Netanyahu drew up plans with the help of well-known American Zionists, termed The Clean Break: A Strategy for Securing the Realm. This strategic vision was soon incorporated in the mission statement of what was known as The Project for the New American Century, with the same Zionist plotters as the main body of its roster!

It was quite clear that regardless of which administration might dominate the US government, Republican, Democrat, or even Independent, the American foreign policy in the Middle East would remain Israel-centric because of the dominance of Zionist lobbies and powerhouses that rule, in addition over the United States Congress, the financial, legal, scientific and academic centers of influence in this country. Just reading the statements of purpose of the above mentioned think tanks and their founding members, it was clear that after Iraq’ fall there were others such as Lebanon and Syria in line, with Iran as the ultimate target on the agenda; all Israel’s potential enemies, and none having anything to do with America’s own interests.

The Saud clan saw this master strategy much to its advantage. Purely financial and survival oriented clan saw no benefit in animosity toward the Jewish state, while pretending the opposite would do the job as the flag bearer of the mainstream (Sunni) Islamic world! The Saud clan had its problems with the minority Shi’a oil field workers and technicians, many with Iranian connections and potentially aspiring for a degree of autonomy. For the Saud tribe, Iraq after Saddam becoming a Shi’a dominated society, and Syria, a pro-Iran antagonist, was not a pretty picture. In addition, a Shi’a, pro-Iran and strongly supported by Iran, Hezbollah, was a problem for Israel and, like Syria, a barrier against Israel’s expansionistic ambitions for “Securing the Realm”. Hezbollah was a thorn on Israel’s side, and became an enemy of convenience for the Saud clan that was partnering with the Jewish state for its animosity toward Iran, albeit for different reasons.

Although on the surface Iran’s support for the Lebanese Hezbollah has always been portrayed to be for religious affiliations, the fact is that this support, like Iran’s support for the Syrian Alawite regime and the Sunni/Christian Palestinian Hamas resistance group, stems from the fact that they also act as Iran’s extraterritorial defense barriers against Israel. It should not, therefore, come as a surprise that the United States has branded all these groups as terrorist organizations, on Israel’s behest, of course! American UN Ambassador, Nicki Haley’s recent Security Council performance in support of the protesters in Iran, claiming that most Iranians oppose Iran’s support for these “terror” groups, was transparently loaded, propagandist and, in my opinion, an embarrassment for the United States in front of the world body, which rejected her appeal. At the same time the House chamber was wet with crocodile tears as the Bill 676 in support of the Iranian protesters was being floored. One House Representative from Texas called Iran’s Ayatollah Khameneh’i the world’s number one criminal and terrorist. It was pathetic and funny as in a comedy act at the same time how Ed Royce’s Bill 676 was bouncing between two other staunch Zionists, Brad Sherman and Ileana Ros-Letinen, as a tag team allotting their times to other Iran bashers, demanding severe additional sanctions against the Iranian regime. Is there any doubt as to where these sycophants get their marching orders?

To prevent Iranian influence in the Middle East north of the Persian Gulf, connecting Iran to the Mediterranean shores, the Saudis began to support, fund and arm the so-called Da’esh or ISIS bands of Sunni terrorists to create a Sunni barrier against Iran’s regional influence. Much to Israel’s delight, this was one step toward actualization of their master plan, beginning with the removal of the Assad regime from Syria, in which the United States involved itself militarily in the guise of humanitarian attempts to protect the Syrian nation against their supposedly murderous dictator!

The real effort was to support militarily and otherwise the elements within ISIS terror gangs that were confronting the Assad regime, in an undeclared and illegal war against a sovereign state! I was actually surprised as well as delighted that one member of our Congress, Reprehensive Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, herself a veteran who served in Iraq, was given airtime by the media to express her opposition to America’s military engagement in Syria as constitutionally illegal. I wonder what has kept her quiet about that subject since her brave media appearances almost a year ago!

Both Iran and Russia had legitimate reasons to participate in the war against ISIS terror groups. Both were Syrian allies and welcomed by the Syrian government and, therefore, legal under international law. Each, along with Turkey, was there for its own respective reasons: Iran, a stated enemy of the Islamic State (ISIS); Russia, a strategic, military ally, with access to the eastern Mediterranean shores for its naval forces; and Turkey, concerned with its dissident Kurds and could not allow alliances in the Syrian chaos that might jeopardize its security.

It would be impossible to argue against the fact that, had it not been for the Iranian and the Lebanese Hezbollah forces that suffered extensive losses, and with Russia’s aerial support, the Assad government would have collapsed, giving way to a fragmented land engaged in perpetual tribal wars and bloodshed, an Israeli dream come true!

It is understandable why Iran’s Quds Force, an arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, and Hezbollah, are regarded by Israel and the United States as terrorists, as are the Palestinian Hamas and the Yemen’s Houthis. They are all labeled as terrorists because America’s ally, Israel, and now the Saud clan, regard them as such, even though none has ever done anything against the United States.

Now let us look at who has been involved in the war, directly or indirectly in one way or another, on the self-declared Islamic State, and why:

The United States:
In Iraq, the stated purpose has been to help the Iraqi regime and certain Kurdish factions, namely the Barezany tribe, to fight ISIS terrorists and to liberate major cities and oil fields.
The actual mission has been to show support for the US-friendly Barzany Kurds at the expense of the Iran-friendly Talebany group, and press for autonomy and independence of the “friendly” Kurds that would claim the rich oil fields of Kirkuk and Mosul. Also, it was to assist in providing safe passage of “friendly or moderate” ISIS terrorists to Syria to join similar gangs in fighting the Assad regime.

In Syria, the stated mission was to fight ISIS terrorists and to force the removal of the Assad regime and to replace it with a democratically elected representative government.
The actual mission has been to support and provide safe haven for the “friendly, moderate” terrorists who were willing to fight the Syrian forces, the Iranians, Hezbollah and to cause problems for the Russians; all to accommodate Israel and its Zionist powerhouses in the United States. The recent decision to arm and train the Kurdish tribe in northern Syria adjacent to Turkey, which has already angered the Turkish government, is not going to please the Syrian regime, the Russians or the Iranians.

The stated mission and the actual purpose were one and the same and quite simple: to support its ally, the Syrian government against the Islamic Sate terrorists and to counter any external support, meaning American and Israeli, for the gangs opposing the Assad government. Russia could not afford to lose its access to Syria’s Mediterranean coastal cities as vital strategic naval bases. Russia also supports Iran and takes advantage of America’s animosity toward the Islamic Republic, in order to create closer strategic and trade relations with Iran.

The Saud clan:
For the ruling tribe that sits on some of world’s greatest oil and gas reserves, paranoia against the establishment and strengthening of the so-called Shi’a Crescent, stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean that would, among other things, allow for land pipeline of Iran and Iraq’s oil and gas to Europe is understandable. In other words, this mutual antagonism goes beyond mere religious division and rivalry. The formation of the Sunni ISIS groups in Iraq and Syria may not have been the creation of the Saudis, but the movement to establish a Sunni Caliphate, Da’esh, that would cover the area between Iran and the Mediterranean was more than welcomed by the Saudi regime, which began to support, fund and arm disparate cells to help them jell into a cohesive anti Shi’a movement. This strategy happened to coincide with Israel’s objectives of opposing the Iranian influence in the region, specifically Iran’s support for the Assad regime and Hezbollah and, by extension, the Hamas resistance movement.

This is exactly why the formerly secret and now quite open alliance between Israel and the Saudis took shape. This partnership has resulted in America’s support for the Saud regime’s barbarous bombardment of Yemen, which has resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent years. The blame is, of course, put on the Houthis, a very large Shi’a community, which has the support of the Iranian government. Interestingly and paradoxically, it is the Houthis who have been fighting the Al Qa’eda and ISIS cells active in Yemen, something that the United States should support even against the wishes of its Arab ally!

The question now is: What is Iran to do in the face of deepening American pressures, its economic conditions, and the very vocal public anger against inflation, unemployment and lower incomes, i.e., the steady devaluation and the purchasing power of the currency, now almost 4,500 tomans per dollar?

It is very unlikely that another Barak Obama would sit at the Oval Office in the White House again. President Obama had to wait until well into his second term to attempt a workable rapprochement with Iran in the face of opposition from both the Congressional Republicans and Democrats to whom supporting the Zionist agendas and Israel’s interests seem to be parts of their job description.

Obama’s strategy to soften the relations with Iran would have worked by giving ample assurances to Israel and its allies in the US Congress that, regardless of any opening to the Islamic Republic of Iran, their status would be safeguarded at any cost. Therefore, it would be unnecessary for the Israeli regime to torpedo any attempt toward a rapprochement between Iran and the United States, as Iran, contrary to Netanyahu’s theatrics, is not and has not been a real military threat to the Jewish state. With less Israeli threats against Iran, directly or indirectly through its allies, Iran would not be forced to allocate significant portions of its annual budget to support its proxies in Syria, Lebanon or Palestine. Unfortunately, this is not the direction things are proceeding now.

No shift in policy by Iran at this time or in the near future would stand a chance of improving relations with the United States. Iran should, therefore, improve its economic relations with Europe, and strengthen its trade partnerships with the eastern block of countries, mainly India, China and Russia. European countries would welcome better trade relations with Iran, but are under the threat of indirect economic pressures by their bigger trading partner, the United States, and are already showing resentment for American bullying by the Trump administration.

Iran should also continue its covert dialog with the US military command in order to avoid falling victim to any false-flag operation by some rogue Saudi or Israeli elements, which might ignite the gigantic powder keg in the region. Most critically, Iran must maintain a dialog with the Saudis to warn them of potential Israeli intrigue that might prompt some military action by the Arab regime against Iran.

At the same time, Iran will have to continue to beef up and improve its ballistic missile capabilities as a deterrent to any adventurism by Israel or the Saudis. Regardless of the Iron Dome defense shields and the state of the art anti-missile systems, even if only one or two out of a hundred missiles manage to penetrate and hit the targets, the damage would be catastrophic for Israel or anyone else in the region, considering the number of deterrent missiles Iran and its ally, Hezbollah already possess. Contrary to the Israeli and American propaganda, Iran does not have and does not even need nuclear weapons, for three reasons: It would not add to its security as a deterrent, since Iran conventional defensive arsenal would do the job effectively; it costs too much; and it would anger Iran’s potential European and other partners that Iran could count on against the pressures and sanctions by the United States.

Ultimately, there continues to lurk the principle issue that cannot be simply wished away - Iran’s entanglement with what it refers to as the Zionist Entity, Israel. Behind all the propaganda rhetoric, allegations and demonization by both sides lurk the facts on the ground. It would be insane to think that Iran would initiate an attack on Israel. Such an attack would result in the total devastation of Iran by the Israeli, as well as American, barrage of missiles, which may also include tactical nuclear warheads. Iran cannot afford such an assault. Furthermore, what would Iran gain by even thinking about such a venture in the first place?

Israel, fully aware of this fact, also stands to gain nothing by initiating a military attack on Iran. That would also mean irreparable damage upon its soil and population as, even if one percent of the thousands of missiles aimed at it penetrate through is defensive shields, the damage would be unbearably catastrophic.

Regarding the Saudis, it would be highly unlikely that any hostility might be initiated by them without coordinating with the United States and Israel. The only potential mishap could be caused by a false-flag episode by some rogue element, hence the importance of the backdoor channels of communication between Iran and the United States.

Based on the foregoing, the only sane solution to Iran’s dilemma is a serious behind the scenes tripartite diplomatic negotiation comprising Iran the United States and Israel.

When Saddam Hussein’s ballistic missiles, assisted by the United States, began to hit the Iranian Capital, Tehran, in 1988, the founder of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, had to drink of the poison chalice, as he referred to it, and accept the ceasefire in spite of his vow to fight to the last man to defeat Saddam, the aggressor.

Today it is not the barrage of missiles that threaten the Iranian nation; it is the economic threat, this time also by the United States just as it was the missile barrage of thirty years ago. It is time to swallow the pride and drink of another poison chalice before it is too late. This should not be construed as a defeat or surrender; it would be a strategic retreat.

Iran’s support for the Hamas resistance movement, a painful thorn on Israel’s side, has had nothing to do with the plight of the Palestinians people. And, Hezbollah was not created by Iran but it had the support of the Iranian government as a Shi’a group that actually represents the majority of Lebanon’s population. Hezbollah has been a formidable fighting force that has managed to resist Israel’s excursions into Lebanon, and possesses enough fire power and missiles to cause real harm to the Jewish state.

If it weren’t for the expansionistic aspirations of the Israeli regime to “Secure the Realm”, so to speak, to invade Lebanon and Syria, Iran would have much preferred to devote the enormous funds that support its surrogates to its much needed internal economic developments. Ideology will always take the back seat to economic necessities.

Israel should be assured of America’s full support, no matter the lot of the Palestinians or their rightful aspirations. It has already been doing that by adding to its illegal construction of new settlements, and continuing the violations of the Palestinians’ human rights with near total impunity, thanks to the Big Daddy’s veto power at the UN. This is a de-facto reality on the ground, anyway.

With that issue resolved, Iran could easily back away from Syria and the support for the Assad regime, leaving the affairs in the hands of Russia, which has a great deal to lose should Syrian regime collapses and the country falls in disarray.

For Israel, the Zionist dream of an “Eretz Ysrael” is no more than a dream. A “Greater Israel” does not need additional land grabs from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates; it should mean a more secure and prosperous Israel within its borders. That can be achieved without resorting to regional agitations, rabble rousing or demonizing Iran as an existential threat.

The United States will not lose anything in the process: it will keep on feeding its ill-begotten rogue son as it has been for decades; its control over the Saudis, their survival and their oil, will not be jeopardized; and there will continue to be enough disturbances and turmoil elsewhere across the globe to keep its arms sales active and its military industries well-oiled for a long time.

About the author:

Kambiz Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.

... Payvand News - 01/20/18 ... --

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