By Kambiz Zarrabi , February 12, 2019
The value of a US Dollar is now around 12,000 Tomans in Iran. The inflation rate seems out of control. There is a shortage of meat, even chicken, as well as other staple commodities and medicines in the market. The prices of locally manufactured automobiles fluctuate from one day to the next. Housing prices have skyrocketed since last year, to where the price of a typical flat in Tehran is over 1,000 US Dollars per square meter!
There is also the horrible prospect that what is happening in Venezuela is a model of what the United States has in mind for Iran.
In short, there is economic chaos and an alarming state of uncertainty in peoples' minds about the current state of affairs and what the immediate future might hold for the nation.
The Zionist neocon, John Bolton, the weasel who has found daylight and is now proudly emboldened with the help and support of the Clueless Clown's own Zionist son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has left no doubt that the purpose of the mission is a regime change, preferably by military assault (a violation of international law; but what's new?!) and not a change in regime's behavior through diplomacy or socioeconomic coercion in Iran.
I doubt very much that our legend-in-his-own-mind President cares, or has even the capacity to learn or understand anything about global affairs or the potentially catastrophic chess game being played in the Middle East. He listens to his manipulative kinfolk and sycophants around him and tweets or vocalizes his characteristically unmeasured statements; like farting around the White House, knowing that his staff would do their best to get rid of the stench. His recent comments about the Iranian threats, which contradict the views of his own intelligence chiefs, were clearly fed to him by the likes of Kushner and Bolton who, it just so happens, reflect Israel's agendas!
The two major cable news channels, CNN and MSNBC, that have devoted their entire programs ad nauseam to Trump-bashing, have found yet another reason to criticize the President for his disregard for his intelligence chiefs' findings that Iran, unlike North Korea, is not clandestinely developing nuclear weapons. The mainstream media is not, Heaven forbid, trying to portray Iran in a better light, they are simply pointing to Mr. Trump's ignorance and incompetence. At the same time, the cable news media, and that includes the pro-Trump FOX network, have no problem repeating the now well-established urban legend that Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of international terrorism - "naturally", everyone knows that! Just as "naturally", everyone knows that Iran wants to create a Shi'a Crescent in the Middle East, all the way from Afghanistan's western border to the Mediterranean Sea. Similarly everyone "naturally" knows that the Syrian President, Assad, Iran's ally, is a brutal monster who has been gassing his own people. Unmeasured and misleading "news" like these abound in the Western media and have become facts in peoples' minds when they remain unchallenged.
Of course, we need to understand that the cable media are not there to give us the news; they are organs that propagate opinion and commentary based on selectively chosen bits of news: they are simply propaganda tools intended for molding public opinion, and have been successful in doing that. Fox network might disagree with CNN or MSNBC on certain issues; but looking at their main anchors and their usual rosters of regular panelists during their prime-time broadcasts, one has to be deaf and dumb not to notice what sources of money and influence they and their bosses are beholden to.
A good example was Congresswoman from Hawaii,on MSNBC's Morning Joe program on Wednesday, Jan. 30th. She was pressed by the young and upcoming reporter, Kasie Hunt, about her statement that President Assad of Syria is not an enemy of the United States. Ms. Hunt seemed shocked out of her wits by that statement, as I am sure were the rest of the panel. Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq War, handled the rest of the rather aggressive interview with proper diplomatic finesse to avoid similar visible reactions by the hosts and the panel. The main point she was making was that the military deployments in Syria, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been to combat terrorism by ISIS and affiliated groups, and not to wage an illegal war to force a regime change. She did not believe that the war in Syria was serving America's own national security; but hidden unspoken in that comment was that the American lives and moneys are being spent serving others' interests and agendas.
I wish her luck in her future political pursuits, and hope that her career will survive her countercurrent, yet absolutely on the mark, opinions.
A Shi'a Crescent? Yes, but it has been there and does not need "creating"; Iraq is predominately a Shi'a nation, Syria has a Shi'a affiliated Alawite regime, and Lebanon is, again, a mostly Shi'a nation with the Iranian ally, Hezbollah, as its demographic and dominant power base. So, Iran is not trying to create this Shi's Crescent, but is trying to keep it from disintegration by the Saudis and their Israeli allies of convenience.
The World's leading state sponsor of international terrorism? Who is the pot that is calling the kettle black?! By all accounts, Iran has lost more by degrees of magnitude in people and infrastructure to acts of international terrorism by states that have sponsored them than it has been accused of doing. This is not to condone or justify acts of terrorism by states or individuals; but terrorism, especially sponsored by states, has always been a back channel tool in the pursuit of political interests when engaging in civilized diplomacy fails to deliver the wanted results.
And, how do we define state sponsored terrorism? Is it limited to assassinating individuals who are regarded as dangerous to the interests of some state? In the absence of a universally accepted definition that would encompass all aspects of international terrorism, common sense tells us that any act of force or coercion by a state that causes harm to innocent, non-combatant populations in order to affect change in attitude or actions of another state should be regarded as state sponsored act of international terrorism.
Now, judge for yourselves what state or states in the world today are the true sponsors of international terrorism! Isn't economic embargo, a trade and banking blockade, blackmail, and sanctions that deprive the non-combatant population of Iran from even simple necessities such as medicine a blatant act of state sponsored terrorism by the United States? Then ask, for whose sake or on whose behalf is the United States doing all that to a nation that poses no threat to its national security half-way around the planet!
But why; why all this animosity toward Iran? Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameneh'i just repeated again that Iran's anger is toward the US Administration, namely Trump and Pompeo, and not the American people.
Is Iran a realistic threat to America's national security? Of course not. Iran is not even a potential initiator of any military assault on its arch antagonist, Israel; and Israel with its formidable nuclear arsenal is fully aware of that. So, the conclusion is quite obvious: The United States views Iran as a threat to other points of strategic interest in the region, and not to America's own national security. This is the point that the Hawaii Representative, Tulsi Gabbard, has been raising for some time now.
So, what are these strategic interests that the United States has considered important enough to have committed its military might and financial resources to protect, if not America's legitimate concern for its own national security?
If the main purpose has been to fight terrorist groups such as Al-Qa'eda and the so called Islamic State or ISIS, both Sunni groups who, especially the latter, have been created, funded and supported by the Saudis, their enemies have been Iran and the Syrian regime, and by extension Russia, and not the United States or its Middle Eastern allies. We even know that both the United States and Israel have been supporting the "good" terrorists who have been fighting the "bad" ones that include the Syrian troops, the Iranians, the Lebanese, the Russian and the "bad" Kurds.
What remains are, first and foremost, the interests and agendas (but not protection against an imaginary Iranian attack) of Israel, America's Sacred Cow; and secondly, the Kingdom of Saud with its enormous oil reserves and oil revenues and its control over the other oil rich Persian Gulf emirates. So, let's deal with both these issues in order:
Israel knows that Iran poses no threat of initiating a military attack upon its soil, even if it did some day acquire nuclear weapons. And just as obviously, and in spite of all its gestures, Israel has no intention of a military attack upon Iran.
The reason for reaching such conclusions is simple: Any war between the two states would mean incalculable devastation of Iran's infrastructure, and an irreparable damage to what would be left of Israel. Such a war would also potentially include the involvement of the Saudi kingdom with its vulnerable oil production and shipping facilities. In short, such a war would be a lose-lose proposition for everyone involved. As I have suggested oftentimes before, if the threats of aggression are accomplishing the objectives, whatever they might be, why engage in a regionally catastrophic war that benefits no one?
The region continues to be engulfed in turmoil, but it must be serving some purpose other than getting rid of the Islamic Caliphate, ISIS or Al Qa'eda.
Israel has always exploited its own fake portrayal as a potential victim of fictitious existential threats; and it has benefited from the regional agitations in the Middle East that it creates and perpetuates. With the sympathy Israel has generated for itself since WWII among the Western states, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon countries, and most significantly in the United States, it has been receiving twenty when it has asked for ten! Israel does not need to panhandle and beg to get whatever it wants; not when it can count on its obliging legislators and donors who owe their positions to the power and influence of the Zionist lobbies with their far-reaching tentacles.
Mr. Trump's pitifully comical State of the Union address a few days ago ended with an obligatory worship and veneration of the Jewish State, after his dutifully venomous assault on Iran! He could have finished by saying, with his clownish grin: "See; I did what you wanted. Now, Mr. Adelson, how about another hundred-million toward my 2020 campaign; I hate to use my own money?!"
The Kingdom of Saud has long befriended Israel to protect and promote its own interests, first clandestinely and now quite openly. Egypt is also engaged in the same strategy to ensure its good (read obedient) relations with the United States. I don't believe that eighty-million Egyptians and twenty-million Arabs outside the Royal clan in the Arabian Desert are happy about that or even know what has been going on.
The slang still commonly used here referring to the Arabs is "Camel Jockeys." But, the camels the members of the Royal clan ride are multi-million-dollar Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and racing Bugattis that raise dust among the sand dunes.
Of course they don't produce any of these cars, or for that matter anything else worth mentioning, locally; the money used to purchase them from Europe or America comes from their oil wealth. And, if the United States, Great Britain or France, but mostly the former, need large sums to beef up their military industries, the Royal clan is always ready to oblige by buying billions of dollars' worth of unneeded Western arsenal to defend against the fake Iranian threat!
The Royals are not blind or stupid; they are fully aware that the survival of their dynasty has been hanging on a thread. Without the support of principally the United States, the pro-democracy dissident elite abroad and disenfranchised skilled oilfield technicians, predominantly Shi'ites, would topple the regime.
The Wahhabist Saud clan, (An 18th century variation on the Salafi Islam), regards itself as the legitimate keeper of Islam's holiest sites; but its self-serving brand of Islam and the hypocritical, sacrilegious practices of the clan leadership violate the basic tenets of Islam and Islamic culture.
However, regardless of all the visible and acknowledged violations of basic human rights and dignity by the Saudis, the Saud clan has remained immune to proper criticism by the United States. President Donald Trump openly stated that he was not going to jeopardize a hundred-billion-dollar purchase deal (actually routine extortion money) with the Saudis over their murder of the Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashogchi.
The Saudi regime has cozied up to Israel, allowing it to have its submarine base in the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf, as well as Israeli and American military bases on its soil.
All of these are no more than a charade to portray Iran as a real and imminent threat to both Israel and the Saudis and possibly the Arab Emirates.
No doubt the perpetuation of Iran's negative portrayal has been helped by the Iranian government's own defiant, belligerent and antagonistic attitude toward the United States. Therefore, the logical conclusion could be: why not feed the Iranian hardliners a continuing ration of reasons to legitimize their angst against the United States, regardless of what it does to a nation that has been anxiously awaiting socioeconomic normalization.
The government of the reform-oriented moderate President Rouhani has been under relentless pressure by the Trump administration to force it to fail. Let us not forget that Iran also has its own stubborn hardliners much like Pompeo, Bolton and many in the US Congress. The only difference is that the Iranian Pompeos and Boltons are home-bred and are not subjects or agents of foreign entities such as Israel.
Finally, and back to realism, it would be insane to expect the government of the United States to adopt foreign policies that do not serve its own best interests, regardless of who elsewhere is harmed by those policies. The only legitimate question that can be asked is: Are America's policies in the Middle East truly conducive to serve American nation's best interests? Examine them; and if they are, let the chips fall where they may.
I don't believe that Kingdom of Heaven will be established on Earth anytime soon!
About the author:
Kambiz Zarrabi has devoted the last thirty-some years teaching, lecturing and writing about US/Iran relations. Previous to his retirement, his career included working as geologist/geophysicist in the oil and minerals exploration industries with American and Iranian firms and in the private sector. His tenure included serving at Iran's Ministry of Economy as the Director General of Mines in the late 60s and early 70s.
He received his college education at the University of California in Los Angeles, graduating in 1960.
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