Monday, August 22, 2005

"With Us or Against Us?"

What exactly is going on with Iran these days? The traditional dichotomy--so eloquently phrased by Bush as "you're either with us or against us"--just doesn't seem to apply...

The American public doesn't support military action against Iran, although polls do suggest "they" do think that the Iranian regime is a threat to the US. Seriously? It's about as valuable to poll the average American about the threat from Iran as it would be to get a team of third graders to solve the space shuttle's flying foam problem.

The Mujahedin-e Kalq organization is the Saddam-era insurgent group funded by Saddam... and they're a US State Department designated foreign terrorist organization. THEN WHY IS THE US GOVERNMENT FUNDING THEM? (Source 1 2 3 4 5) Whoa... that's a good question.

See, during the Iraq war we were initially targeting the MEK encampments--bases inside Iraq along the Iranian border from which the MEK staged attacks against the Iranian regime. Pretty quickly we realized that "these guys aren't pro-Saddam, they're anti-IRAN, and so are "WE"! So we stopped bombing them, and since then have been quietly, covertly supporting an insurgency in Iran that is very much like our interventions in El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. during the '80s.

So why is the Bush administration funding a marxist-secular revolutionary group in Iran? Specifically, the MEK marxist-secular organization which is also the group that Saddam used to repress the Kurds and Shi'a in Iraq--people who are now ostensibly our allies? Something tells me that the Kurds and Shi'a wouldn't be that happy that we're backing the MEK. The Shi'a aren't just standing still on the issue--they know. They've taken the BADR brigades (the Iranian backed, pro-shia group that fought Saddam before he became a 'constant gardner') and "dismantled them", taking the senior officers and installing them in all the leadership positions of the "new Iraqi army"--especially the special forces units--which they're now using in a classic tribal "erratic retaliator" strategy, killing Sunnis to spread the general perception of the new Shi'a power in Iraq.

But since the Shi'a politicians (elected!) are largely pro-Iranian (especially the Sharistani element), the US can't just sit back and let this whole democracy concept backfire on them, turning Iraq into a quasi-Iranian puppet state. So they're funding the MEK. Why can't the US just support the "legitimate" democratic opposition, the pro-capitalist, pro-US, pro-freedom and democracy and apple pie crowd? Easy--because those people are patriotic Iranians, and they want Iran to control Iran's oil. The US can't have that--they need Iran's oil, and they can't be bothered to pay market price for it, so they need to put a group in power (MEK) that they can control via the classic "exploitation policy" to control a country by putting a distinct minority party in power with US support. What would the Iranian-majority patriots do if they had their way? They're already doing it: they're building an oil and gas pipeline to India--a direct threat to the continuation of hydrocarbon supply to "the West".

Can't have that...problem is that the US has already cried wolf once with Iraq, and are having an increasingly difficult time convincing the world of the ongoing necessity and legitimacy of their actions. In order to get their way with Iran, look out for a whole new quiver of tactics and underhanded, covert imperial tools. The US already made the mistake of saying "we need to support democracy". The budding "democracy" in Iraq will be the biggest policy mistake that the US made in the region (from the neocon perspective). Democracy in Iran would be an even greater problem--one could make an argument that Iran already is democratic, and that is the source of the problem! Iran, over the next decade, will be a proving ground for the tactics first developed in Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. And concurently in Colombia.

This is not a conflict of "western democracy vs. evil tyrants." This is a conflict of "western, self-interested elites and their second/third world partners vs. the broader populist movements everywhere that want a more equitable distribution of wealth and power." The fundamental ideological fire that fueled the cold war has not gone away, it has only morphed. What was capitalism vs. communism has come home and shown its true colors: this is hierarchy vs. rhizome. You just knew I would come back to that one way or another!


F14Pilot said...

Thanks for your remarks on MEK. They are hated by Iranians.

Anonymous said...

This "they want Iran to control Iran's oil. The US can't have that--they need Iran's oil, and they can't be bothered to pay market price for it, so they need to put a group in power (MEK) that they can control via the classic "exploitation policy" to control a country by putting a distinct minority party in power with US support", is absolute BS.

Anonymous said...

Don't be absurd!
No one even THINKING about allowing MEK to help overthrow the Iranian gov't, has ANY intentions of allowing them to do any more than that. No one supports them 'taking over'. And the Iranian people wouldn't allow it.

The new democratic Iranian gov't will be more than happy to sell their oil to us. We've never stolen oil from anyone and there's no reason to think we'd start now.

Your theory is ridiculous.

Jeff Vail said...


You seem to include a lot of hyperbole and "no one" and "never"s in your replies. My grandfather used to call those "allness" statments--ALMOST always false. Do you have any logic or sources for your counter-assertions?

Try this, for example:

Your arguments are all wrong.

There, see? I've now used logic just as compelling as your own to completely refute your statement.

When you say "we've" never stolen oil from anyone, what do you call the Mossadeq coup and the exploits of Anglo-Persian Oil (BP)?

When people suggest that my "damn the man" rhetoric is pure speculation, I like to remind them that I AM "the man", at least between the hours of 9 and 5.

Split personalities are fun like that...

Jason Godesky said...

Jeff, for the record, the situation in Iraq was beginning to confuse me--especially trying to figure out what Iran was up to. Your post really put everything in place for me.

Anonymous -- have you been living under a rock for the past 50 years? What you're calling "BS" has been the most fundamental cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II....