Ol’ Blind Joe
Going Wobbly in Persia
By Stirling Hamilton
OK FOLKS, it’s twenty past one on a Sunday night and I’m not sure if I’m Arthur or Martha, but I’ve gotta get this piece in before daybreak or my name is mud.
One of the little-known chapters of history was the widespread famine in Iran (formerly Persia) during World War I.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Britain became the main foreign power in Iran and this famine, or more accurately ‘genocide’, was committed by the British.
A document in US archives reporting the widespread famine and spread of epidemic disease in Iran estimates the number of deceased to be 8-10 million during 1917-19, making this the greatest genocide of the 20th century and Iran the biggest victim of World War I.Read more
Moving on, in 1953 the West chose to take out Iran’s democratically elected President, Mohammed Mossadeq and installed the murderous Shah of Iran who raped and pillaged the country for decades in his service of Western commercial interests until the people got pissed off and revolted.
Hence it became an Islamic Shiite theocracy and told the West to leave its shores.
US Senator George Frisbie Hoar who served from 1877 to 1904 was right when he warned that intervening in other lands would turn the United States into a ‘vulgar, commonplace empire founded upon physical force’.
Many people around the world see the US today as a reckless bully invading foreign lands.
Current intervention in Venezuela is such an example.
US foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America’s political identity.
The name ‘United States’ is now associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping and secret prisons.
In commentary by US officials and media, Iran ‘violates’ agreements.
The US merely ‘withdraws’ from them, feinting with remorse while drenched in blood.
This stance is reminiscent of a comment by anarchist writer and Wobbly activist T-Bone Slim: “Only the poor break laws — the rich evade them”.
So the US and Saudi Arabia funded and armed Saddam Hussein with missiles and chemicals in Iraq in order to inflict a decade of destruction upon neighbouring Iran’s people.
The thing is, Iran knows it can be hurt but not defeated.
Iran is a country of 83 million people with 1.6 million sq/km of formidable, semi-mountainous territory – almost three times more populous and four times larger than Iraq.
Now we have the Trump administration reprising former opponent Hillary Clinton’s definition of Iran as an “existential threat to Israel” – which means that Iran’s very existence as the main power that can materially and militarily resist Israel’s hyper-dominance of the region is unacceptable.
That’s why Trump also embraced Clinton’s call for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be designated a terrorist organisation.
What the Yanks demand is that Iran must cease its support of Hezbollah, the most effective frontline fighting force, which prevented the Israeli seizure of South Lebanon.
To gain US approval, Iran must abandon the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, and neuter itself militarily by surrendering all of its strategic weapons.
Iran must agree to become a country that can be bombed at will by Israel and the US, as parts of Syria are at the moment.
According to last year’s Global Terrorism Index compiled by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, more than half of the deaths caused by terrorists around the world in 2017 were a result of attacks by four groups: ISIS, the Taliban, the Shabab and Boko Haram.
Experts agree that none of these groups are sponsored by Iran.
The ‘War on Terror’ declared by former US president George W. Bush after the 9/11 suicide attacks on the US World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon has been fought against Sunni jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, neither of which are backed by Shiia-majority Iran.
However, the US is funding these Sunni groups to destabilise Syria and attack Iran.
The US Government also uses its enormous economic power, including virtual control of the international financial system, to compel others to obey Washington’s dictates.
None of this has even minimal legitimacy; the same is true of Cuba and elsewhere.
The world may protest, and last November, the UN General Assembly once again voted 189-2 to condemn the US embargo on Cuba.
Only the US and Israel voted against the resolution.
Iran could employ a combination of anti-ship cruise missiles, drones, submarines, small boats and mines to ‘swarm’ US naval ships in the confined waters of the Persian Gulf.
It could target US bases in the region with its arsenal of some 2000 missiles.
It could cripple US computer networks with cyberattacks and employ Hezbollah and other groups to stage terrorist attacks abroad.
It could send local militias armed with missiles and car bombs to attack the 19,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
It could tell the Houthis in Yemen to unleash a missile barrage against Saudi Arabia and it could order Hezbollah to fire 150,000 rockets and missiles at Israel.
But Iran is not some dumb kid in a baseball cap selling faded dreams.
The weird idea of the founders of the US Constitution that one might have ‘decent respect to the opinions of mankind’ has long vanished, and the pained bleatings of the world pass in silence.
“Fortunately there have always been men whose larger minds could adapt themselves to the truth instead of narrowing the truth to them.” – American Unitarian minister, author, Abolitionist and soldier Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) in an address titled The Sympathy of Religions delivered at the Boston Horticultural Hall in 1870.