When they’re good they’re really good and when they’re bad they’re really bad

This week I intend to illuminate one of the Western political world’s most blatant double standards when it comes to geo-political issues. The issue in question is the relationships that Western nations have with theocratic governments around the world. When I say Theocracy of course, I assume that many readers who happen to live in “Western” nations, through ceaseless discussion in the media and in political spheres, have come to understand Iran as an encapsulating the notion of a theocracy, but how we view several other Middle Eastern nations with almost identical governments is a little more questionable. In the process of discussing how the current state of affairs came to be I will inevitably dip into the history of how theocracy in its current form came to be a popular movement in the world and will doubtless come to speculate on the dangers posed by all theocracies in the near future.

The history of theocracy as we understand it, certainly in the middle east, began during the earliest phases of the Cold War in Iran. The year was 1951 and the starting gun that sounded which began theocratic movements was the policy of the then Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, to nationalise Iranian oil production, in the process depriving British oil companies of funds they felt they were entitled to.

After Mossadegh’s movement towards nationalising the countries oil resources was initially ratified in the Hague as a legal action, a clandestine movement began to overthrow Mossadegh and re-instate the Shah (the traditional leader of the country) in a supreme position of power. The clandestine movement to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran was, you’ve guessed it, initiated by an organisation who’s raison d’être was seemingly the planning of hair-brained coups, the CIA. In a bizarre twist however to the usual story of CIA ineptitude, the coup was actually a success and in place of Mossadegh now sat the dictatorial Shah Reza Pahlavi. What followed was a prolonged attempt by a western backed secular dictator to modernise Iran along Western lines which proved highly unpopular with many aspects of Iranian society. Whether the reason for the unpopularity of the modernisation programme was the break neck pace at which the Shah’s reforms were due to take place or whether it was the repressive way in which the Shah dealt with any who dissented against his rule, from both left and right of the political spectrum, we will never know exactly and will simply have to remain content to know that generally speaking the regimes movements were highly unpopular. After 25 years on the throne, the damn finally burst and a massive wave of protest, headed to some degree by religious movements as one of the most repressed social group under the Shah’s secular rule, deposed the Shah and seized control of Iran. After the revolution had successfully disposed of the former government, a vote was held and Iran officially became an Islamic republic and the worlds first theocracy as we currently understand the term. It is important that I point out here that the action which started this whole chain of events was not some innate love on the part of Iranians or by further extension, Muslims for governments based on their religion of choice, it was the imperialistic actions of dying empire trying to ensure that it could first of all, continue to plunder mineral wealth from the developing world and secondly, to prevent a government that had its own peoples interests at heart “going over” to communism. It was these two rationales that informed the British and American decision to re-impose an unpopular leader on the Iranian people who eventually coalesced around religion in defiance of the Shah. Politicians here can offer endless platitudes about the “evil” that the Iranian clerics and Hezbollah represent all they want, but they must never be allowed to forget that it was the West’s meddling hands that directly created the environments in which such movements and peoples developed.

The story however did not end there. After the Iranian revolution had successfully purged itself of the last vestiges of the Shah’s regime, genuine fears were expressed throughout the west that much like the French revolution before it that the revolution would spread and overthrow more Western allies in the process. Adding to these concerns, in the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of the Shah a crisis of sorts developed between the USA and Iran as armed groups stormed the American embassy in Tehran in search of documents which proved that the CIA had been directly involved in the overthrow of Mossadegh in the 1953 coup. It as this point in time that the seeds of mutual distrust and discord were sowed in both the USA and Iran and goes some way towards explaining how relationships between the two nations have remained so poor over the years. Further adding to the strained relationship between the West and Iran was a period, where during a protracted mutual antagonism between Iran and Iraq, many Western nations flooded neighbouring Iraq with weapons to prevent the spread of an Iranian style theocracy to another critical nation in the chain of oil supply.  This flow of weapons and support for Saddam Hussein likely lengthened the conflict much past the initial battles, to the point where in the end the war between Iran and Iraq lasted 8 long years with thousands butchered mindlessly for no major gain to either country. Alongside arming the neighbouring dictator, the Western world also engaged in a more subtle form of conflict with Iran in the form of economic blockades in an attempt to get Iran to play along with Western economic interests, economic blockades which have pretty much been a constant reality of life in Iran ever since with sanctions taking the place of the blockade in recent years. While the West intended through both of the above measures to subject Iran and principally the Iranian clerics to a position of economic and political inferiority, arguably both measures helped to cement the religio-nationalist movement in its position of power which it continues to hold unto this day.

During the same time period, events were afoot in neighbouring Afghanistan which eventually lead to the foundation of a theocratic government there. At this time, Afghanistan had recently undergone a revolution of its own, which unlike the Iranian one moved away from religion and towards a far more socialist approach to government. As the Saur revolution swept to power it became closely linked with the Soviet Union, who of course were happy to have another state on their Christmas card list, which only extended really to nations who cited Marx as a basis for their constitutions. Anyway, from the moment that a socialism-inclined government came to power and developed ties with Moscow, the loving care bear peace president of the United States Jimmy Carter signed directives to begin covert support for anti-government movements in Kabul. Eventually things came to a head when American and Pakistani backed Islamist militants, who were angry with government attempts to secularize the country, attempted to overthrow the Afghan government, which precipitated a greater period of instability throughout the country. Eventually the Soviet Union intervened in the conflict in an attempt to prop up the socialist government against a broad insurgency which among other elements had a strong religious backing. Anyone with a basic grounding in history knows what happened next now that the Soviet Union had become involved in the conflict, in the usual petty tit for tat that both superpowers waged throughout the Cold War, the USA started giving masses of military and financial aid to a plethora of insurgent groups which did eventually push the Soviet Union out of the country but in the process massively destabilised the country setting the stage for a hard-line religious government to capitalise on the anarchy that was widespread across the whole country at this point in time .

At this point in time I would take care to point out that in both the cases of Iran and Afghanistan prior to the coming to power of theocratic governments, what we can see is western political ideologies creating a vacuum which in both cases a reactionary religious movement has filled. In the case of Iran, to ensure the continuing supply of oil for the Western consumer markets, such market minded capitalism lead to a staged coup which ousted a democratically elected leader and replaced him with a widely hated monarch who however was willing to continue to perpetuate Iran’s economic subservience to Western nations. In Afghanistan we saw a European style socialist government attempt to modernise and secularize the country along the same lines as had been done by the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc nations which led to much popular resentment of the government among the people of the country and later, when the USA and USSR we saw later day imperialism ruin the country and create a lawless state where the rule of the strong would be the only thing capable of maintaining order. These facts demonstrate a clear line of causation between the actions of the West, that is both schools of Western thought – capitalism and communism, and the type of governments that later formed there. The racist rhetoric of the media who assume that somehow that there is an innate love of religious government amongst Muslims is nonsensical and we would do well to begin viewing the situation as it really is with religious governments simply being just one possible option that people who find themselves in desperate situations can turn towards to lead them.

While these two rather well known cases of theocracies were developing however, other nations in the world were also steadily moving towards a theocratic government of sorts under the radar and continue to do so. The countries in question are Israel and the Gulf Arab nations, with the main example being Saudi Arabia. It is true that neither of the two nations I have just named are true theocracies in the dictionary sense of the word defining a theocracy as a “system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.” The above being true though, does not change the fact that both of the nations I mentioned above are nations were God is taken as the ultimate source of the constitution and the laws by which citizens live their lives. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy rule over a nation which is a theocracy in all but name and has been since the day it was first formed from the remnant states left after the Ottoman retreat in the First World War 1. The kingdom is not only a theocracy, but it is a theocracy of the type that gives atheists and secularists nightmares, with many of its laws based upon the most literal translation of thousands of year old texts which advocate many things which of course upset modern sensibilities. The problem with this as a practice, in my opinion at least, is that the laws were never defined by a wide political consensus but based upon the interpretations of holy texts by Religious and Political elites who naturally are inclined towards only creating laws that maintain their elite positions within society. I’m sure for example a majority of Saudi’s would likely feel less offended by adultery or women driving, than the clerics who enforce such laws which have been used to effectively terrorise the people into a miserable state of submission to the state. Of course were the truth of the matter that a wide array of Saudi’s had agreed upon the inclusion of such laws in their constitution then while it would admittedly still gall me then at least democracy had been practised but the theocratic practices of the Saudi monarchy are enforced from the top down with religion not only being a means of finding spiritual peace, as intended, but also a means for the elite to utilise in controlling the people, surely never the intention of any prophet.

In the case of Israel , we have a state which on the surface is even less of a theocracy than any of the three nations I have mentioned above and yet there are many unresolved issues with the country, several of which revolve around the place of religion in society. Central amongst the issues for both religious Zionists and for Palestinian Muslims and Christians that live within the borders of Israel proper is that Israel does not have a written constitution. The problem with a presumptive constitution is that it will inevitably lead to calls for the drafting and creation of a written constitution in the name of simplicity, and it is this drive by many for a written constitution to codify the laws that would govern the state of Israel that is the problem as the question is pondered as to whether the state of Israel is the state of all those within its borders or whether it is Jewish state exclusively for it’s Jewish citizens. This perhaps seems less repugnant to many in the West for example by comparison to the mandatory wearing of a headscarf but when we really get down to pondering the implications of the Israeli state defining itself as a Jewish state then they are just as horrifying. Dying with cancer and in urgent need of treatment to prevent death ? Wait your a Palestinian of the Shia branch of Islam, Sorry no space for you. Nearest school for you children to attend is just a mile down the road ? Sorry, if your a Palestinian Christian then the nearest school for your kids is ten miles away in a run down area of town. Want to keep your business open all day Saturday ? Sorry, Saturday is a holy day that all must observe whether they are religious or not. All of the above scenarios might seem a little far fetched but Israel already has a pitiably poor record when it comes to minority rights and it is entirely possible that, if the state of Israel was officially codified in writing as a Jewish state for its Jewish citizens, it would take this definition of itself to its logical conclusion by depriving anyone not of Jewish ancestry of valuable services and facilities.

When we look at countries where religion does play such a fundamental part as the basis of the laws by which society lives it is notable that the West has a very chequered record on this issue with certain theocracies being bad yet others being critical allies. On reflection, I feel Iran was simply unlucky when it became the first true theocracy in the current era in that it came to represent a powerful new political idea that to some degree helped a faltering nation in regaining much pride in itself by standing up to those who would have seen it subjected to their own political and economic interests and priorities. The success and totality with which the Iranian revolution overturned the existing natural order in one of the Middle East’s largest and arguably at the time most powerful nations undoubtedly scared many in the West whose economic and industrial and even cultural strengths to some degree were based almost entirely on access to cheap oil by which to export their goods to world markets and import the raw materials. Oil that is, that primarily came from other Middle Eastern countries  were now the West was worried similar revolutions might sweep to power and give rise to more nations that were willing to stand up to the neo-imperialist economic subjugation of their countries.

And this, as almost no ever says, is were it all went wrong. In true Western style, the nations of the West fed on a diet of poor quality intelligence and their own racist paranoia decided to embrace several other countries who were equally theocratic in nature and turn a blind eye to their barbarity which certainly in the cases of Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan was as bad if not worse that of Iran. In signing this compact with devil the West demonstrated its blatant double standards on moral issues when profits are concerned and must have further reduced its own standing as an entity in the eyes of those that found themselves in countries were their rights were now being abused by corrupt elites in the name of a fundamentalist interpretation of their religion.

If the reader was left unsure by arguments offered above then I simply would ask them to consider the case of Syria, were the West is openly engaged currently in verbally antagonising a secular regime, which has always strived to negate sectarian conflict in its ethnically diverse territotry, and materially supporting some seriously unsavoury characters in their war with the Syrian Army. The reason for this you ask ? Well, the Syrian government is supported by the main bad theocracy, Iran, which we want to replace with a group of extremists who will likely replicate the hell hole that was southern Afghanistan under the Taliban, and the reason we support these groups ? Simply because they represent the interests of and are supported by the good theocracies as exampled by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

First they ignore you, then they silence you

Last week I read a highly interesting and thought-provoking essay on Al-Jazeera, albeit not the most interesting of stories I have ever shared with readers. I will elaborate a little further to make clear why my reading last week should be of interest to anyone on earth other than because, well I said so.  The article in question was a piece written by Joseph Massad for the Al Jazeera English service and was titled “The Last of the Semites”, in his article Massad discussed the racist nature of Zionism and demonstrated how as an ideology it is based on many of the  very same racist presumptions made by the most virulent anti-Semitists. This however, while explaining my own interesting in the article, is still not why this story is of interest to the reader. The reason I have discussed this story is that not long after the article was posted it was also pulled in a bizarre move by the senior editors to seemingly sate Israel’s baying hounds despite AJE’s reputation as being one of the few media sources which can be relied upon for a balanced discussion of Israel compared to many of the other leading sources of news outside of the region.

As one commentator, Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada highlighted in the wake of this event the decision seems even more bizarre considering that of the channels few red lines as far as the owner, the Emir of Qatar, is concerned – Massad has crossed all of these previously by previously publishing articles critical of both Qatari Foreign policy and the the Emir without once being censured. That the straw that broke the camels back in this case was pressure from Israel will come as no great surprise to anyone who has seen figureheads of world opinion operate against other dissenting voices on the countries policies in the past. Take for example Ali Abunimah, one of the editors in chief if not THE editor in chief at Electronic Intifada who is regularly slandered with every term that forms the varied spectrum of insults that Israel’s defenders will use to try through a policy of attrition to make something stick in the hope of rendering the victims opinions null and void. This policy is so school yard it is at times hard to believe that a country with perhaps the worlds most effective PR team (our of necessity rather than skill) is its chief user. If for example – I became engaged in an argument as to whether apples are better than oranges with my arch enemy and instead of offering evidence I simply shouted swear words at my enemy at the top of my voice until people in the audience began to agree with my shouted opinion – have I really won the argument ? or simply stopped myself from losing by being unable to present any relevant facts that backup my opinions. Much as this has been in the policy used against Abunimah and various other voices in the past, it was also the policy used by the attack dogs against Massad in the wake of this articles publication on the AJE website. Here are two choice examples in tweet form from just two of Israel’s most prominent public defenders:

“Congratulations, al Jazeera: You’ve just posted one of the most anti-Jewish screeds in recent memory”

and

“Congratulations, donors to Columbia University, for paying this monstrous fuckhead’s salary!”

what we can see here is fairly typical of this approach in that there is no balance attempted (granted its twitter and characters are limited but the point stands as balance on twitter can appear in tweets that follow an original) and there’s an appeal to a third party rather than directly to Massad himself asking him to clarify what his post meant which I presume aims at raising hackles over criticism in the press in an attempt to get third parties to self censor so to speak.

Since writing these paragraphs AJE have made a rather humiliating about face on the Massad article and restored it to its rightful place on the website. While this makes some of the statements above mildly irrelevant the overall theme of this post has remained unchanged and so I will continue without drastically altering the piece itself.

However unique this story is in many ways, it is also fairly atypical of the media’s relations with Israel as a whole which is problematic only in the sense that the representations that the lions share of the media present of Israel are utterly false in their one-sidedness. Take for example the discussion of any forces that are involved in the conflict as a clear demonstration of the media’s cognitive and seemingly inherent bias in Israel’s favour. It is true as the media should report that there is armed conflict between the Israeli army and Palestinians. Notice what words didn’t follow Palestinians then, here are a few that spring to mind as notable for their lack of an appearance “Army, Units, Regiments, Squads, Forces”. The media chooses, seemingly through omission, to neglect to inform the audience of the massive disparity in the forces involved in the conflict with “battles often consisting of whole armed brigades of the IDF on one side facing off against one or two Palestinians who may or may not be militants. When the Media chooses to neglect these details in its reportage of conflict between the two parties it presumably does so for two reasons:

  1. To actually reveal troop numbers to audiences around the world might finally put the final nail in the coffin of the deluded fantasy that the Israeli Defence Force is anything of the sort.
  2. Again, to reveal troop numbers to audiences around the world might also put paid to the Zionist myths that Israel is surrounded by hordes of rabid enemies, just waiting to pounce on the innocent jews, that has helped them to achieve so much support and recognition in the wider world.

What we can see in these justifications above are just two possible examples that the Western media might have for self-censoring their content in favour of Israel, although I am not saying that these are the concrete reasons behind every bizarre editorial decision that is made that seems to support Israel. No, I won’t suggest that as I know there is an equally pressing force which defines a worrying amount of what is and isn’t reported in the worlds media and that is… money.

The whole money aspect was something I was going to touch on anyway as it does define a lot of what is covered or not covered in the case of Israel but, after the Massad article was reposted on AJE, as if to prove my point Electronic Intifada did some digging and found financial reasons to be behind the original censorship of the article. According to research conducted by EI, the manager of the new US branch of Al Jazeera was concerned about the impact that such an article would have in US markets which are extremely sensitive to criticisms of the Zionist state. While these concerns perhaps warrant some thought they certainly do not in any way validate the decision to remove the article as to do simply demonstrates that the US market for information (amongst many others) is dictated by Zionists and that truly no source is free of the immense stifling effect Israeli power has on free speech. As a parting thought I would simply ask the reader to think about the veracity of any information they have ever received from the mass media about Israel when it has proven powerful enough to censor the one network that has prided itself in the past on providing a counter argument to the usual points made in the countries defence.

Realistic re-assessments of US Realpolitik or How I learnt to stop bank rolling Zionists and love the Iranian bomb

The following article aims to clarify several issues that the writer believes to be worthy of consideration in a reappraisal of US foreign policy in the greater Middle East region. It does not purport to be a policy draft that should be followed, or that was leaked by disgruntled employees of the state department or CIA, the simple aim of what follows is to suggest that perhaps a significantly more lucrative position could be adopted in the US approach to the Middle East. This speculative approach has the twin benefits of seeing the US’s position of power improve for the best, or for the worst, depending on the reader’s perspective and further more it would see the US stand on the side of what could be considered morally right for arguably the first time in its illustrious history when it comes to the Middle East.

Upon scrutinizing US foreign policy practically since the culmination of the Second World War, one thing above all others is noticeable as a constant, the incredible level of support that the economic, military and cultural superpower that is the USA has offered a single small Mediterranean state called Israel. Arguably the level of financial support offered to Israel by successive US administrations far surpasses any gains that they could ever receive in return for such unquestioning aid. Furthermore I would argue that this level of support by its very nature causes a greater number of issues in the long term for the US than it could ever solve. This being the case as many countries in the region define themselves by their very opposition to Israel or pride themselves on their tradition of political and military resistance to the Israeli State. What follows is an elucidation of just some of the issues that support for Israel creates for the US and following on from this, an appeal for a drastic shift in US foreign policy that I believe would see the US benefit greatly from while embracing a peaceful relationship with a long time enemy in the region.

The first issue that I would raise to demonstrate that Israel is a liability to America is its continued disregard for international law and its regular ignorance of the human rights firstly of the Palestinians but also increasingly of its African populations. There is a long record of Israel’s selective acknowledging and following of UN Security Council Rulings, take for example UN Security Council Resolution 242, arguably the most infamous resolution that this body ever passed. This resolution affirmed “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security”. Despite the Israeli authorities paying lip service to the acknowledging of this resolution, it was not until 2005 that Israel disengaged from Gaza, one of the territories acquired in the 6 Day War of 1967, and to this day there are Israeli military installations on Palestinian land in the West Bank, the other area of land that Israel seized after the conflict. So there you have, I would argue, a flagrant violation of an international law that has been ongoing for over 45 years. That this particular ruling is viewed by many parties, if not the majority of those involved, as being the fundamental basis for a fair and just resolution to the conflict surely encapsulates Israel’s attitude to international law.

Another deep-seated set of values that the Israeli administration seems determined to selectively apply is the concept of human rights. The Israeli military approach to the Palestinians and Lebanese peoples it has repetitively fought against is well documented with many tactics employed declared illegal by neutral parties such as the targeting of combatants in areas where the injury of civilians cannot be ruled out and the use of weaponry that is illegal such as white phosphorus and cluster munitions.  Furthermore the Israeli wilful ignorance of universal human rights extends into peace time with behaviours such as arbitrary arrest and detention and lack of access to legal aid enabling fair trials for many Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.  When looking at Israel’s attitude to international law and human rights we can see that at best Israel can be said to cherry pick the aspects of law that it feels it needs to follow, at worst it repeatedly disregards the rights of others and the rules of international law.  This type of ally is surely a far greater liability than it ever is an asset to the United States? Is it any wonder that when the US comes to push its agenda of human rights in the developing world that some people just don’t seem to want to listen to the same old broken record.

Amongst the greatest of the issues created by continued American support for Israel is  that very state’s conduct in dealing with it’s neighbours and certainly the native Palestinian population. The manner in which Israel has behaved towards all four countries it borders with and its treatment of Palestinians is such that any American support for Israel, whether intended or not serves to alienate America’s Muslim allies all over the world. Need proof ? how about the words of world terrorist number 1, Osama Bin Laden when discussing the American led war against Iraq in the early 1990s in his 1998 fatwa – “if the Americans’ aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there”. Here we have the head honcho of a pretty sinister terrorist gang arguing that america went to war, a war that is that cost them 61 billion dollars, purely to divert attention from Israel’s own crimes in the region. Granted the anti-Zionist stance was a relatively late addition to Bin Laden’s rhetoric however the fact that is mentioned at all within his fatwas says a great deal about how American support for Israel is conceived by those whose co-religionists suffer daily at Israeli hands.

There is on the other hand a way in which America could arguably remedy this issue. Pure power politics suggests that Israel should be abandoned in favour of a more numerical ally. Using the UN Geoscheme as our definition of the middle east we can see that the region consists of 14 predominantly Muslim nations, even 3 predominantly Christian ones too but only 1 Jewish state. It simply doesn’t make logical sense to choose to support one nation when that comes at the expense of maintaining better relations with 14 other countries. I understand that the US claims to support Israel as it fears for the safety of the Jewish state if it were to withdraw that support in the face of four powerful and, arguably after years of mistreatment by Israeli hands, pissed off neighbours but where then is the same unquestioning level of support for the Kurds? The Kurd’s aren’t reviled in the same way Israel is for its treatment of refugees, neither do they hold one of Islam’s holiest shrines in their hand and deny Arabs access to it and correct me if i’m wrong, but the Kurd’s haven’t gotten themselves mixed up in acts of ethnic cleansing recently as opposed to Israel’s daily forcible relocation of West Bank Palestinians to make way for illegal settlements.

Other than buying Israeli support in continuing the US backed blockade of Cuba www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43482&Cr=cuba#.UO33vG8fJ2A  ,  the reader should stop to question what the estimated $114 billion given in aid  has ever bought the US. That is, other than a headache and a minority group of American voters who consistently exaggerate their own importance within the American political system and an ally that is willing to interfere in its bankers affairs to try and further its own nefarious ends such as when Mr Netanyahu stuck his oar in during the latest american election by declaring overt support for Mitt Romney www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/reality-bites-for-benjamin-netanyahu-after-he-threw-his-solid-support-behind-mitt-romney-8294432.html   only, in a delectable demonstration of karma in action, to wake up to another four years of Obama. All jokes aside America really should assess the value of an ally that try’s and often succeeds to be the driving force behind all US foreign policy decisions when there are significantly bigger China shaped fish to fry further east. The Israeli interference is never a great thing but I would suggest it is most harmful when the Obama administration is attempting, wisely many would argue, to complete the pivot east. News reports keep surfacing that suggest china is up to something www.forbes.com/sites/gordonchang/2012/01/29/why-are-the-chinese-buying-record-quantities-of-gold/  and thediplomat.com/china-power/a-frightening-prospect-war-in-the-east-china-sea/, and all indicators combined seem to suggest that whatever they’re planning, it’s going to be big.

Another factor that drives American foreign policy in the Middle East is oil supply. When reflecting upon this it again seems paradoxical that instead of cosying up to the big regional oil producers who have the worlds largest supplies of proven black gold reserves sitting under their soil that America chooses instead to support Israeli ambitions for Palestinian land . It would be one thing if only one of the countries in the region had such large reserves as America could still support Israel and look elsewhere for oil having only alienated one of it’s suppliers. Instead what we have is America still supporting Israel whose only assets include a measly 95th place in the world proven reserves of oil rankings and some real estate in the West Bank and Gaza of very questionable legality. This support seems odd in and of itself but when you compare that to the fact that the support for Israel comes over showing greater levels of support for 6 other nations in the region who all place in the top 10 countries for proven oil reserves www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2178rank.html. Furthermore, not only do these countries hold some of the worlds largest reserves of the commodity which arguably drives the American economy but they also form a cartel called OPEC which has the ability to manipulate prices in its own favour and has been known to do so for political motives in the past www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/24.htm . That America has chosen to maintain its current levels support for Israel despite its reliance on Israel’s regional enemies and their exports must surely rank as nearly suicidal.

After cosndiering the many issues that support for Israel creates for America we can see that it would be no exaggeration to say that this support represents a sword of Damocles dangling above the neck of American power. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Instead what could be done is to revise all understanding of American policy in the region, shock horror, back away from the racist pariah state and embrace one of the regions powerhouses,

Iran.

My argument here is that by embracing Iran, America would reap many significant benefits while still maintaining many of the hallmarks of its traditional regional policy meaning that no great overhaul of thinking would be necessary. It would be business as usual for all intents and purposes, just with different bedfellows.

First and most important of my rather drastic suggestions is that rather than continue to pander to Zionists in try to ensure that the Iranians never develop nuclear weapons that America should  instead actively give Iran a couple of nuclear weapons. By doing so I believe that America would accrue so many benefits that is frankly surprising that it hasn’t handed over some of its stockpile to Tehran already. The first benefit would be no more sleepless nights spent wondering whether Iran has or hasn’t got its own nuclear weapons and not only would you know that Iran had the weapons but you would also know exactly how many, how powerful and the exact range, exactly the type of information that America is currently spending billions on discovering with its drone program. The other main benefit that could be reaped by a nuclear armed Iran is the neutralising of several other nuclear powers in the region. This idea is based on the political realists assumption that the only actual use of a nuclear weapon in the current day is as a deterrent to other nuclear powers in the same region. First on the list of bully-boy states that a nuclear armed Iran could neutralise is the old ally Israel, and Yahweh/Jesus/Allah (delete as appropriate) knows if there’s something the Middle East needs, it’s someone who can keep a better hold of Israel’s leash. Another country that Nuclear Iran could neutralise is, according to this ridiculous fake map msnbcmedia2.msn.com/i/msnbc/Components/Interactives/News/International/Mideast/Iran_ballistic_missiles.jpg, India. Why would the US seek the neutralisation of India you ask ? ever heard of the Naxalite movement, well if not its an incredibly popular communist movement in India which is active throughout large swathes of Indian territory ( more on them here http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/11/14/naxalite-insurgency-in-india/eds5 ) now just imagine if they get their hands on some of India’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. Need another country on that list before you’ll consider arming Iran with nuclear bombs ? How about the biggest problem nation in the entire region , Pakistan. Now here we have a state that is even closer to the precipice of become a failed state that is also armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and makes a habit of harbouring terrorists.  Just from these countries we can see how a nuclear Iran might actually be a boon to world peace rather than insecurity as journalists and Israelis often suggest. Another reason that allowing Iran to gain nuclear capacity is a great idea is that it would effectively allow America to use an ally who happens to be a member of the OPEC cartel to bully these countries into maintaining prices you like better. And we know America likes nothing better than to use a power state to do its regional dirty work.

Talking of dirty work,  another reason that America might as well support Iran because if news coming from US sources is to be believed then Iran runs every terrorist organisation that operates in the middle east and wider Muslim world, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al – Qaeda, The Medhi Army, the Taliban, all these organisations have one thing in common, that at some point in the past an ill-informed journalist has claimed Iran bankrolls them. Assuming this is true and its not a case of America allowing wilful misrepresentations of Iran in the press then if America is friendly with Iran then by default it is friendly with the whole middle east. Except Israel, but based on earlier arguments we don’t like them any more, do we.

That America likes to support a minority cannot be doubted, although as I pointed out earlier support for too small a minority is pointless as it cannot have any meaningful effect on the world around it. Persians are a minority within the wider middle east region, They’re not the same as Arabs despite what piss-poor journalists may tell you, only a couple of thousands of years of differing history between them. Also most Persians are Shi’ite Muslims making them a minority within Islam. So in Iran we have a minority group who face very real and very nasty discrimination from its neighbours but there are enough of the minority group to justify aid checks as large as the ones America has been giving to Israel all these years.

And finally if you really must make it a defining feature of your foreign policy, then Iran also has a very questionable relationship with human rights and democracy, just like America’s current best friend in the region, Israel. Just ask Mir-Hussein Moussavi about it.