Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum 390.
(photo credit: Reuters)
If you look at the map of the Middle East, Iran looks like a giant panther
pouncing on the Arab countries (and Israel) to the southwest.
Iran really is poised to dominate the region. Its Shia population puts it in
direct conflict with most of the Arab Middle East. Its virulent rhetoric is
reminiscent of the old days of Arab-Israeli politics when Egypt’s Arab
Nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser would frequently toss vitriol and harsh threats
It’s no wonder everyone outside of Syria and Hezbollah, part
of Iran’s circle of Shia-based allies, fears its growing power, or that US
presidential candidates like Rick Santorum have declared they would bomb Iran if
Ironically, though, Iran is a problem today because, as usual,
the West helped make it so. I know the West doesn’t like anyone pointing this
out. I mean, this seems to happen a lot to the West. Israelis doesn’t like to
hear this either because it puts them, yet again, on the wrong side of a moral
Iran was governed for a long time by the Shah, Reza Pahlavi. He
was a tyrant worse than Syrian President Bashar Assad ever could aspire to
become, though Assad is trying hard. The Shah was the protector of the
West’s only real true love: one of the largest oil reserves in the world, second
only to Saudi Arabia’s undersand stash of black gold.
Yet when the Shah
decided to begin his nuclear program, the West worked with him. The Shah wanted
four nuclear plants, he said, to “provide electricity” to his poverty-stricken
Except for those related to the Shah, or who worked for his
military or the dreaded Savak (the secret service (mukhabarat
) that became role
models for Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and the Assad clan in Syria) most
Iranians at the time didn’t have electricity.
If the Shah had had a
Facebook account, all of his “friends” would be the leaders of the Western
World. The West “loved” the Shah. Few asked why Iran needed nuclear power with
all that oil to use as energy.
Everything was going well in this typical
Western Fairy Tale of love and alliances until 1979, when the first “Middle East
Spring” erupted. Iran is not Arab, of course, but if advocates of today’s “Arab
Spring” want to know what the future might hold, all they have to do is take a
look at ayatollahinfested Iran, where backwards religious fanatics now dictate
life, mixing the unavoidable fruits of the modern technological world with their
desire for a return to the year that the Shia religion took real form, sometime
around the Western year 666.
The “Iranian Spring” directed its anger at
the United States, which protected the Shah even though the Shah had murdered
more civilians than Saddam Hussein and the Assad family put together (not for
lack of effort on their part, of course).
The West tried wars, through
their “friend,” Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. The West tried embargoes, over and over
again. The West even had Iranian nuclear facilities bombed.
Yet here we
The West has tried everything but reason. The West has no
answer to Iranian complaints such as: Why is Israel allowed to have 250 nuclear
weapons? That, coupled with the injustices against the Palestinians, makes for a
powerful argument that fuels Iranian “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s
Ahmadinejad continues to use the suffering of Arabs under
Western and Israeli occupation as a smokescreen to cover up Iran’s own
militarism. We could bomb Iran back to the stone age, where their
thinking is already at. Or we could undermine them by doing the right thing
ourselves. Why doesn’t the West, including Israel, just make peace with
the Palestinians and let the Palestinians have a real state? Or push Israel to
destroy its own weapons of mass destruction?
Is Israel really in danger? Despite
Iran’s religious differences with the Sunni Arab World, they share one important
thing. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Iran would never drop a bomb on Israel
that would in any way destroy or damage the Dome of the Rock. It’s holy to not
only the Arab Muslims but to Iranian Muslims, too.
That would change if
the Dome of the Rock were destroyed and threats of right-wing Israelis became
Of course, like I said, this is all just a fairy tale. One that
is both grim and has deep roots in defining how events may turn out in the very
near future. But it is a fairy tale that Israel and the West are helping to
write as much as the Iranian ayatollahs.The writer is a Palestinian
American radio talk show host.www.YallaPeace.com.