Iran and Iraq – Blunders of the Ayatollahs by Yamin Zakaria
How quickly the people have forgotten the staged celebration in Baghdad as the US soldiers pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein symbolising victory. It was the aerial shots (ignored by the mainstream media who focused on the close-up pictures of individuals) that showed the real image: in a city of five million, the small square was not even full. Claims of eight million voters turning out or 72% turn out (note 72% of the registered voters as opposed to the eligible voters) in the recent Iraqi election has already been retracted; and if millions did turn out where are the aerial shots showing the masses lining up to vote, CNN-TV and certainly Fox-TV would not have missed that opportunity. Despite the media propaganda a significant section of the Shi‚ite population including Moqtada as-Sadr and his followers did not vote. Note, the mainstream media only asked those who voted giving a close-up picture as opposed to an aerial view!
Whatever the numbers, it will be a lot less than 8 million but real the question is what percentage and who will verify the figures independently. If the turnout is less than 50% what legitimacy can such an election have that is already illegitimate as it is held under military occupation and full of irregularities? In fact, the US gave huge financial aid to the US puppet, Iyad Alawi, alone makes the election questionable; not to mention the sheer hypocrisy; the US was raging when there were rumours about China influencing the US election by providing funds to their favourite candidate. In the US, party Œdonations‚ given by the big businesses are nothing more than bribes and it is the dagger that pierces through democracy and freedom: elections, democracy, freedom are the new free market commodities!
The latest spin from the US of the Iraqi election as an “endorsement‰ is as perplexing as when George Bush stated that the men who flew the planes into the WTC building because they envied their wealth. Wealth is not much good to men who are dead! Similarly the people who went to the polls were not driven by their love for the values of George Bush or support for the war. The Shi‚ite carried placards of Ayatollah Sistani and the green flag of Islam not of George Bush or the former CIA operative Iyad Alawi, the butcher of Fallujah. Perhaps the only exception was the few Peshmerga criminals like many of the illiterate Kuwaitis did after first Gulf War. So, if the farcical election was an endorsement for George Bush then the Iraqis have been really ungrateful!
On the contrary the spin doctors forget; – the voters were also propelled by the same objective as the so-called Œinsurgents‚ (freedom fighters) which is to get rid of the US occupation. The voters opted for a political route believing that once a Sistani-endorsed government comes to power it will have legitimacy and the authority to ask the US to leave. But why would the US construct this election as a positive outcome for George Bush?
The answer lies in how the elected body will interact with the US. Early indications are that the Sistani-endorsed and Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) is going to win. The predicted 17% vote for Allawi is already very suspicious considering he has not support amongst the Sunnis, Kurds and Shi‚ites. But, more to the point will the UIA ask the US to leave immediately asserting sovereignty of Iraq, unlikely? Abdul Aziz al-Hakim leader of the UIA stated earlier that the US forces would remain to help strengthen the Iraqi National Army. He needs the US forces for survival. To compound the problem the religious Shi‚ites for theological reasons (Taqleed) do not question the Ayatollahs that are almost the equivalent of the Catholic Popes in their status. As for the US position it is clear as they are building four huge US military bases in the country, hence, judge them by their actions not just the words!
In the unlikely event, if the UIA (that will eventually form the core of the new Iraqi government) confronts the US on behalf of its electorate demanding its immediate withdrawal, the US would retaliate. She should start to push her agents notably the Kurdish elements, likes of Iyad Alawi and other treacherous elements firmly embedded inside Iraq and then start a campaign of assassination of the US opponents which would be easily blamed on the Iraqi freedom fighters. It is only then the Shi‚ite followers of Sistani might realise that political clout is ineffective without the backing of force as other Shi‚ite leaders like Moqtada as-Sadr has already pointed out.
But, how does Iran fit into this equation? Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, recently denounced the United States for menacing his Country under the direction of “Zionist and non-Zionist capitalists” in response to the routine and the latest threats issued by the US. Yet, he stood more or less idle over the Iraq invasion and the election. Actively supporting the Iraqi resistance to prevent the US from having permanent bases would have been in the interest of Iran. Even looking at the sectarian angle, Iran should have given greater support to Moqtada al-Sadr and others who opposed the US occupation, by words and deeds.
Simultaneously, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should have used the other seniors Ayatollahs to form a common front in opposing the election and expelling of the US forces, and silencing Sistani. In the mean time discussion could have been opened with the Sunnis and Kurds to plan for a free Iraq without the US presence. The Sunnis and Shi‚ites have lived in Iraq for centuries and sectarian violence is unheard of but this is something that the US has been trying to ignite from the onset.
Perhaps Iran should have even gone on the offensive by calling for war reparation as Iraq‚s sovereignty was clearly violated without any legal pretext. Instead Khamenei has gambled with elections, playing the political game with the US may prove to be blunder in the long run. It is still not too late for Iran to alter its posture and ensure that the UIA pursues a policy to actively expel the US and exposing the treacherous elements within.
Ayatollah Sistani‚s approach gave support to the US occupation during the early phase of the war by instructing his followers not to resist the Americans. His astonishing silence over Abu-Ghraib and Fallujah is unforgivable and criminal! It will be remembered by many in the same light as the actions of Nasiruddin Tusi who facilitated the Mongols entry into Baghdad. The neo-cons and the US administration in return praised Sistani openly. So the anti-Zionist and anti-US rhetoric of the Shi‚ite followers of Sistani is hollow, they should address why the very people who they see as their enemy are now praising their leaders. But the problem is once again, the theological doctrine of blind following “Taqleed‰ prevents them from accounting the actions or inactions of their leaders.
The same question could be posed to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei why did he miss this opportunity and remained idle as opposed to actively support those who resist the US. But rather, he did not oppose the election in his speech by giving it a tacit support.
The US maybe looking in the short term to weaken Iran‚s military capabilities as any nation in the region pursuing the policy of non-proliferation of WMD would only increase the relative power of the US and Israel, weakening theirs. Thus, creating a world that is not more peaceful but where they are weaker nations are brought to its knees. Examine why North Korea was not invaded or attacked, where the US tone is far more conciliatory. In the long term the US goals are to remove of the elected Ayatollahs and any Islamic influences giving a larger role to the secular Iranians that are so hostile to Islam. This is packaged as freedom and democracy! Perhaps this is why this role has been given to Europe as they have a lot more experience in such matters; colonisation through diplomacy!
Not only Iran should develop Nuclear weapons but declare its possession and the willingness to use such weapons in self-defence. Every nation has the right to defend itself. The only destabilising force is the US presence in the region; they are the real foreign fighters or state terrorists. Iran should help to supply nations with these weapons as the US supplies the illegitimate state of Israel; and should threaten to flatten Tel-Aviv if their cities are threatened by the US-Israeli forces; – then observe the neo-con hawks transform into neo-chickens!
Once the battle is brought closer to their door step their brave words behind the US military firepower would soon be replaced with the surfacing of their shylock nature. This is not aggression but legitimate self-defence considering the Iraq episode, the US cannot be trusted it always speaks with the two tongues as the Native Americans would tell you after centuries of persecution.
Copyright © 2005 by Yamin Zakaria.