Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rhetoric & Realpolitik

By Paul Iddon

The Iranian regimes fanciful rhetoric and its telling Realpolitik.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke warmly of the Egyptian Revolution on the February of last year. As a despot was being forced to capitulate at the behest of the Egyptian people Khameini addressed them as did Ahmadinejad. Both the Supreme Leader and the President advocated the right of the Egyptian people to choose their own government and in a broader sense their own destiny. Both these men made these statements with straight faces only days before employing their mentally stunted brainwashed 14-year old Basij thugs to ruthlessly crush a peaceful gathering of demonstrators in Tehran whom were clearly distraught with the destiny outlined for them by Khameini's authoritarian regime.

Khameini also spoke of an “Islamic awakening” sweeping the Arab world. A somewhat curious statement to make considering the Iranian regime is still giving its support to Bashar Al Assad, the brutal dictator who rules Syria and uses the same Ba'athist divide and rule policies to keep the Sunni majority oppressed as Saddam Hussein did in Iraq to that country's Shia majority.

Whilst some have translated Khameni's rhetoric and tried to give it some semblance of reality by pointing out that the Muslim Brotherhood are doing well with Egypt's electorate these are very superficial interpretations of the Ayatollah's rhetoric and don't exactly vindicate his pronouncement of an “Islamic awakening”. The Muslim Brotherhood after all were the main organizational grassroots opposition to Mubarak's dictatorial rule. Whilst the US did pay the Mubarak government in grants every year that money never properly filtered down to the majority of Egyptians. As CNN's Christiane Amanpour pointed out during a visit to Egypt in 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood worked on the communal level, giving people their “bread and butter needs” when the Mubarak dictatorship had long since alienated itself from the majority of the Egyptian people.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria whom also form a lot of the grassroots opposition against the fascistic dictatorship of Assad launched a revolt against his father in 1982 in the town of Hama and were brutally crushed. 10,000 Syrians at the very least were killed in the horrific scorched earth policy the Syrian Army conducted against the residents of Hama.

It was just earlier this week that the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon said that Iran is quote "not at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood out of Islamic unity that we work towards and preach for,” around the same time the Muslim Brotherhood accused Iran – as well as Russia and China following their recent UN veto – of being an accomplice to the horrible massacre being carried out by Assad's forces against the Syrian people.

Khameini's regime is helping Assad to stay in power through the supplying of tools, equipment and technical assistance to monitor - among other things - opposition activity on the internet through the Quds Force. Khameini himself has essentially washed his hands of the scandalous fact that he is actively supporting a despot whom represses his country's Muslims through brutal divide and rule tactics - the same kind Khameini has accused the west of leveling towards the Egyptians - by blaming the unrest in Syria on the United States and Zionist conspirators. He is obviously in a morally depraved manner trying to convey that the Arab Spring and his professed “Islamic awakening” that has spread far and wide across the Arab world doesn't apply to Syria since the oppressive Ba'athist regime there happens to serve Tehran's broader interests in the region.

The Islamic Republics strategic imperatives in the region would face a major setback if the Assad regime was forced to capitulate at the behest of Syria's Sunni majority. As Syria is the so to speak conduit line between Iran and Hezbollah, the regimes primary military and political force in the Levant. If Syria were to be ruled by its majority and their outlook reflected in that countries foreign policy one doubts that they'd have ties as close to the regime in Tehran as Assad has at present.

And speaking of the wider Arab Spring, who could forget the events of those days and weeks following Khameini's pronouncements about Egypt in Bahrain?
Bahrain; a country where the same family has ruled for 200 years and a country where the close-knit Sunni minority through policies that stink of sectarianism marginalize the country's Shi'ite majority. The protests and the brutal crushing of the massive public gathering at Pearl Roundabout in the centre of Manama showed that the Bahrain situation wasn't a case of some sudden “Islamic awakening”. The graphic and moving scenes we saw at Salmaniya hospital weren't of people demanding a theocracy on the model of Saudi Arabia or Iran be put in place to rule over them, nor were they of Bahraini's demanding one sect rule over another, they were simply campaigning for equality and a tangible hint of compassion in their government.

The Saudi led GCC intervention into that country was given vocal support by the Israel's premier Netanyahu whom asserted that the Saudis had every right to secure their interests alluding to that fact that an Iranian controlled Bahrain would put Iran within “spitting distance” of the gulf states. This contemptible statement shows how Khameini's rhetoric is being used by some of the more hawkish elements in western governments to justify such deplorable actions.

It also shows that the biggest theocracies in the region that represent the two respective sects of Islam are facing widespread discontentment within their own borders. And this failure to make their own predominately Muslim populations contented seems to have led both to become overly paranoid and reactionary. Which is evident from the Saudi intervention in Bahrain and the billions that are being spent in concessions to quell further domestic protests. It is also evident in the Iran, where the regime has continued to give support to Assad's regime as well as continued to propagate such wishful rhetoric whilst trying to convey that it possesses some semblance of truth.


Anonymous said...

I believe the realiy in Syria is more nuanced: the west is playing a cynical game in there; but unfortunately all of them (Iran, West, Arabs, Russia, Isreal) are playing this cynic dirty game at the expense of people of the region; no one of them is the 'good guy'; but nonetheless I tend to agree: Assad has to go - even if he have had some real support among syrians; all those unelected leaders of the region have to go simultaneously - all of them . No one of them has any credibilty left any more ...

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:12 AM

How about the religious leadership in Iran.....should they go too?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 11:12 AM

yes I said all of them; that includes Khamenei - the supreme zombie; as long as each side tries to save his own dictator at the expense of the poeple we can not have real peace and prosperity in there

Anonymous said...

Khamenei is a hypocrite.
His regime is helping Assad's regime fight the Sunni sect.In fact the theocracy is trying to make the Syrian uprising into a Shia Sunni conflict leading to the death of thousands of people in Syria.
Already thousands of Hezbollah fighters are in Syria from Lebanon and Iraq propping up the Assad regime.
Syria is not Egypt or Libya it is a meeting place of all powers with their regional interests and concerns.

Stranger said...

Saudi Arabia inst any kind of theocracy of any kind Paul, its a little experience i know from family and the fact that the state is run by a tribe for the sake of itself like Syria and many family and kleptocratic systems that exist around the world

its social conservatism is from maintaining law order in certain areas by not antagonizing the religious society and just indifference to old social codes, because its religious codes are non-existent in most of the country is more liberal then most western countries and for those supporters of the monarchy application of any standards in no-existent

the main opposition in Saudi Arabia is religious leaders or those who want a more representative state and one that is accountable and economically egalitarian

Saudi Arabia is really a kelptocracey

Anonymous said...

Paul, I really wish you'd perform a minimum of research before putting forward such emotional responses based on MSM news reports. We live in an era of information access, so there's no excuse for not properly doing your homework.

Here are examples of Syrian public opinion polling, complete with a meta-analysis. Now the polls are based on Facebook, so they're not scientifically derived to the extent that the Iran polls are that you continue to ignore, but the analysts points out the pros and cons of each. Have a look:

Paul Iddon said...


I really wish you'd have answer mine and several other readers question concerning where you got your previous statements that the Iranian people as a whole support the regime by a 90% majority.

And I haven't ignored any public opinion poll, I've answered ever comment you've ever made propagating these polls, yet you never respond and just rehash the same point the next week. I've never stated anything along the lines of supporting a factional Iranian minority against a tangible majority, nor gave any vocal support to the Green Movement, I support the bare essentials of secularism and democracy, I've told this to you before!

And you're talking about polling under the same regime that imprisoned a man (Abbas Abdi) for conducting a Gallup poll in 2003 that found that 75% were in favour of "dialogue" at the very least with the United States. Yes imprisoned him for merely taking a poll of public opinion. So pardon me if I'm a little bit dubious about polling in Iran and don't do my utmost (as you do) to try and convey that a contented consensus exists under these totalitarian systems.

Really, a Facebook poll disproves my central condemnation of the Iranian regime for supporting a campaign of murder against thousands of Syrians at the hands of the Assad crime families murderous Ba'athist system, is that really the best you can come up with?

Come on, get real, be serious!

Stranger said...

polls in iran are easy to conduct you can just phone a thousand households around iran and just ask simple question

that's what gave Ahmadinejad majority of support before the elections

iran supporting syria doesn't come close to killing millions in iraq , afghanistan and other places by the champions of freedom

yes iran is supporting Syria but its doing it in the position that it has no choice since a country next to Syria is threatening to attack iran, how can iran risk this while creating Syria as enemy if the bashar regime survives

Paul if you knew anything about Iranian politics you'd know some Iranian MP's came out in support of Syrian protesters then even publications close to irgc came out against Assad, early on but when it looked Assad was going to stay and Israel and West are to threatening to attack, Iran had no choice but to use Syria as a strategic position to deter Israel

Iran doesn't have other allies to fall back on in its situation and in the strategic situation of Syria under the current circumstances of western attack so Paul what would any power do of course other then abandon the nuke program and become Israels ally

its simple international relations, no choice

Unknown said...

Paul, great points.
I would also note that the Saudi regime was angry at the USA for abandoning Mubarak of Egypt, and were publically neutral on Libyan crackdown on opposition during the libyan revolution. In both cases their position seemed to be guided by the fear that they maybe the next regime to go. On the other hand, the Saudis did not hesitate in calling for the syrian dictator to go. Unfortunately, the only reason for this all out support of syrian opposition is their sectarian extremism, which seems to override all else. It is the same extremism that ensures that al-Qaeda continues to receive financial and moral support from within Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I live across from Oakland, California. Have you any idea what's going on with the OWS protests there, the protester injuries and the number of arrests taking place there? Now?

What kind of a hypocrite would I be advocating on behalf of a minority in Iran or Syria? as I do not advocate on behalf of the OWS protesters here in the U.S.

Perhaps your advocacy would be better placed on behalf of the anti-EU. pro-OWS protesters in your own UK. Unless, of course, you're pro-Ulster, pro 1%.

Paul Iddon said...

I thought we were talking about the situation in the Middle East.

And what about the OWS campaign?

Given written or spoken support for them isn't exactly a life threatening thing, demonstrating in the US or the EU is hardly going to result in you getting tortured and raped in prison or murdered on the street, and I highly doubt your family is going to be sent a bill for the bullets the authorities used to shoot you dead, since nobody is exempt in a totalitarian system.

Tittering at such facts and making glib and unrelated statements with regards to the UK and Ulster (I live in the Republic of Ireland actually) is a flippant move sir. I simply asked you to relativize your polls when you advertise them as blanket rebuttals as well as to back up your own claims that up to 90% of all Iranians support the regime instead of accusing me in such a sly underhandedly petty way of being "pro 1%"

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:45 AM

OWS is demanding economic equality and not basic political freedom.

Anybody protesting in Oakland been met fire cannon fire from a tank?

Anybody been shot dead by snipers?

Suleiman Kahani said...

Paul Iddon deserves to be shot in the back of the head.

Anonymous said...

please delete comment from asshole Kahani

Unknown said...

How predictable! An IRR supporter calling for death to an American!
This is as amusing as Muslim radicals violently protesting the depiction of the profit Mohammad as a a violent terrorist. Who needs discussion when the radicals prove the point they oppose, by simply opening their mouths.

Paul Iddon said...

@ Jabbar Fazeli, MD

Relax, he wasn't calling for death, he was just saying I deserved to be shot in the back of the head. Big difference!

By the way I'm Irish not American!

Unknown said...

I stand corrected:)

Anonymous said...

S.Kahani are you Iranian?
Because if you are you should be ashamed of yourself by your childish comment.
People like you are the ones that make me ashamed to be Iranian.
Shame on you!