Yalla Peace: A grim fairy tale on Iran

On a map, Iran looks like a giant panther pouncing on the Arab countries (and Israel) to the southwest.

Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
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.
In fact, 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 at Israel.
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 elected.
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 issue.
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 people.
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 are again.
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 hysteria.
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 reality.
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.