Friday, January 27, 2006

Keep an Eye on Khuzestan

Keep an eye on Khuzestan. That's the South-Western Iranian province, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf, that currently has a modest but growing independence movement. It was also the site of the recent bombings that Iran is blaming on UK influence. Within the US intelligence community, at least, it is widely believed that the best option for dealing with Iran is through fomenting internal unrest of some sort. The classic formula for this (see "Coup D'Etat: A Practical Handbook" by Luttwak) is to leverage existing internal devisions--and that is exactly what is happening here. The US is actively supporting this Khuzestan independence movement, and the various "Free Iran Movements" that are being supported by right-wing think tanks in D.C. have many ties to this region. Not surprisingly, Khuzestan is the major oil producing region in Iran, but the revenues don't provide much benefit to the local and ethnically distinct Arab population. You may also recall the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980--also the work of the a group from Khuzestan agitating for autonomy from Tehran. So there are definitely some genuine tensions here for US exploitation. This is, of course, highly speculative, but I think it is still worth considering: the US may not need to invade all of Iran to influence their choices--they may just need to help the people of Khuzestan break away, and "help" a pro-US government set up shop. The mere threat of this--if the ground work is put in place to make it very credible--may be enough of a negotiating piece to force Ahmedinijad to give in to US pressure on a wide variety of issues.

Do a search on google with any of these terms and you'll see how this little-publicized issue is quickly catching on with many Washington think tanks and other "tree-top" policy projects... take a look, for example, at the Ahwaz Studies Center in Lorton, Virginia... smacks of Ahmed Chalabi in 2002??


Joshua said...

a friend sent me the following email today:

they're making the claim that 90% of iran's oil is produced in a southwest
section called khuzestan. that's in the western (conveniently bordering iraq)
and southern (conveniently bordering the gulf) corner.

i did some digging and found the name of an extremely important oil field
(scheduled to go into production in 2009) that has already been 71% promised
to China and India.

but then i found that the biggest oilfield in either iraq or iran
which is also in the same province and, according to this article, is right on
the border: this 26 billion
barrel oilfield is still in development, apparently.

meanwhile, i read stuff like this:

odds of *actually* going to war with Iran: 100%?


What do you think, Jeff?

Jeff Vail said...

I'm not sure about "going to war." However, I think that certain people are pushing to lay a very open ended foundation for action in Khuzestan. Open ended in the sense that it could be used as nothing more than a bone to throw to the Shi'a arabs in S. Iraq when we need a favor. Or it could be used to inflame a real insurgency to gain leverage against Tehran. Or--and now we are at "going to war"--it could be used to spark a "Gulf of Tonkin" or a "Remember the Maine" type incident to actually justify a US invasion. Most likely route to that outcome--in my opinion: US/UK become so overt in their support to a growing Ahwaz insurgency that Iran decides to become very overt in their support for inflaming problems in S. Iraq, even to the extent of directly attacking US/UK forces. US/UK will be able to control the news that their public perceives, making it seem like Iran acted unilaterally, rather than in response to provocation. As soon as a dozen US troops are killed by Iranians (oddly, the US will work hard to HIGHLIGHT these casualties), then there will be public support for any action in "response" against Iran...

Much like how most Americans currently think that Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990 as an overt act of aggression--not in response to illegal Kuwaiti slant-drillng into Iraqi oil fields...

sal said...

Realpolitik is all fun and games until another Hamas is created. Heard Robert Dreyfus on Democracy Now! two weeks ago.

Also, I was browsing the Polish media the first week of the year and they were debating whether Poland should support the US in an attack on Iran. I then found some indication of such talk in the German media. Apparently, the Whitehouse may have been busy Christmas shopping for another "coalition of the willing" against Iran among its NATO allies.

Yakima_Gulag said...

Coupe de Etat a Practical Guide is a favorite in my personal library! Seriously even though it's an older book, it still is relevant!
The whol racheting up of rhetoric on Iran has been seriously bothering me for some time.
Has anyone considered the fact that any of those countries in the Middle East that have things like nuclear weapons got it because their young people studied nuclear physicas in American colleges and univirsities? It's our own damn fault!
Had I been running things it never would have happened.

Anonymous said...

to yakima_gulag
hind sight is always 20 20. T'was ever thus.

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