Sunday, June 9, 2019

How America Created "Terrorist" Iran

                                                                                                  written 2 June 2019
                                                                                              published 9 June 2019
            Misuse of antibiotics eliminates moderate and beneficial strains, insuring virulent varieties thrive.  A similar problem occurs in geopolitics.
            For 2500 years the Persian culture has occupied the crossroads between Asia and Europe now known as Iran.  Despite being invaded and occupied by numerous other cultures, it still endures.  Independence was granted by the Allies after WWII, with a constitutional monarchy and an elected parliament.  
            Oil was discovered in 1908, which British Petroleum developed, while keeping the profits.  In 1951 the popular prime minister nationalized the oil fields.  A British supported coup against the prime minister was put down in August 1953, and the Shah went into exile.  One month later, a coup organized by the CIA returned the Shah to power, who handed the oil resources to American oil companies.  
            American foreign policy supports hard line governments in regions of "interest", for American corporate advantage.  The Shah of Iran became our agent in the middle East, building the strongest military in the region.  Aggressive repression of dissent by US trained secret police created a radical religious reaction.  In January 1978, popular demonstrations began, the Shah fled the country, and Iran became an Islamic Republic in April 1979.
            Iran demanded $2B deposited in American banks be returned, which the banks didn't have on hand.  The US government helped by admitting the Shah into the country for cancer treatment in October 1979, expecting a reaction from Iran.  One week later students overran the US embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage and the US froze Iranian bank accounts and other assets.  In a cynical piece of geopolitics, the Reagan election committee made a deal with Iran. In exchange for arms, Iran agreed to stall negotiations for the release of the hostages for 444 days, until after the 1980 presidential election, which helped Reagan defeat Carter.
            The same year, taking advantage of Iranian turmoil, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein launched a surprise invasion.  To punish Iran for deposing our pet middle East dictator, the US backed Hussein, making him our new agent in the region.  After eight years, the war ended with borders back where they started.  One million Iranian had died, many from chemical weapons supplied by the US, further cementing Iranian hatred for America.  
            When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, America pulled together a coalition which defeated Iraq in such short order it disturbed other nations in the region.  
To protect itself from America's thirst for violent regime change, Iran began to expand their nuclear program with Russian help, which increased further after the second Iraqi invasion in 2003.  America responded with crippling economic sanctions.
            By 2007, Israel wanted to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, but American strategists were concerned this would bring the US into the conflict while we were still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush knew there was little public support for another war.  Working with Israel, the US secretly attacked the Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities with a sophisticated computer virus.  This plan delayed the Iranian program for a year, but was bungled.  The virus spread worldwide and became public, making a sophisticated weapon available to everyone including the Iranians.  A cyber weapons attack on infrastructure was unprecedented, and by doing it first, America normalized such behavior.
            In late 2013, Iran signed a deal with nuclear powers China, Russia, England, and the US, putting a verifiable cap on their enrichment program in exchange for removing economic sanctions.  In 2018, to spite Obama and bolster his own ego, Trump unilaterally welched on the deal, ignoring reports from other countries that Iran was complying.  Trump re-imposed harsh sanctions on Iran, threatening the world if they didn't follow his lead.  We haven't resolved our last middle East war yet, but National Security Advisor Bolton has ratcheted up tension in the Persian Gulf, ignoring the fact that disruption of oil shipments could crash the US economy. 
            Like presidents before him, Trump thinks American is supposed to be the only meddling bully on the planet, and resents competition or defiance.  In addition, he knows that a foreign war is a good distraction from his growing domestic problems.  Iran has suffered American aggression and domination for 70 years, but we call them "terrorists".