Attacks on Iran–Past and Present
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 6 Jan 2020
John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service
The Assassination of General Qasem Soleimani
On Friday 3 Jan 2020, progressives in the United States and all peace-loving people throughout the world were horrified to learn that Donald Tromp had added to his long list of crimes and imbecilities by ordering the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, who is a hero in his own country, Iran. The murder, which was carried out by means of a drone strike on Friday, immediately and drastically increased the probability of a new large-scale war in the Middle East and elsewhere. Against this background, I would like to review the history of oil-motivated attacks on Iran.
The Desire to Control Iran’s Oil
Iran has an ancient and beautiful civilization, which dates back to 5,000 BC, when the city of Susa was founded. Some of the earliest writing that we know of, dating from approximately 3,000 BC, was used by the Elamite Civilization near to Susa. Today’s Iranians are highly intelligent and cultured, and famous for their hospitality, generosity and kindness to strangers. Over the centuries, Iranians have made many contributions to science, art and literature, and for hundreds of years they have not attacked any of their neighbors. Nevertheless, for the last 90 years, they have been the victims of foreign attacks and interventions, most of which have been closely related to Iran’s oil and gas resources. The first of these took place in the period 1921-1925, when a British-sponsored coup overthrew the Qajar dynasty and replaced it by Reza Shah.
Reza Shah (1878-1944) started his career as Reza Khan, an army officer. Because of his high intelligence he quickly rose to become commander of the Tabriz Brigade of the Persian Cossacks. In 1921, General Edmond Ironside, who commanded a British force of 6,000 men fighting against the Bolsheviks in northern Persia, masterminded a coup (financed by Britain) in which Reza Khan lead 15,000 Cossacks towards the capital. He overthrew the government, and became minister of war. The British government backed this coup because it believed that a strong leader was needed in Iran to resist the Bolsheviks. In 1923, Reza Khan overthrew the Qajar Dynasty, and in 1925 he was crowned as Reza Shah, adopting the name Pahlavi.
Reza Shah believed that he had a mission to modernize Iran, in much the same way that Kamil Ata Turk had modernized Turkey. During his 16 years of rule in Iran, many roads were built, the Trans-Iranian Railway was constructed, many Iranians were sent to study in the West, the University of Tehran was opened, and the first steps towards industrialization were taken. However, Reza Shahs methods were sometimes very harsh.
In 1941, while Germany invaded Russia, Iran remained neutral, perhaps leaning a little towards the side of Germany. However, Reza Shah was sufficiently critical of Hitler to offer safety in Iran to refugees from the Nazis. Fearing that the Germans would gain control of the Abadan oil fields, and wishing to use the Trans-Iranian Railway to bring supplies to Russia, Britain invaded Iran from the south on August 25, 1941. Simultaneously, a Russian force invaded the country from the north. Reza Shah appealed to Roosevelt for help, citing Iran’s neutrality, but to no avail. On September 17, 1941, he was forced into exile, and replaced by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Both Britain and Russia promised to withdraw from Iran as soon as the war was over. During the remainder of World War II, although the new Shah was nominally the ruler of Iran, the country was governed by the allied occupation forces.
Reza Shah, had a strong sense of mission, and felt that it was his duty to modernize Iran. He passed on this sense of mission to his son, the young Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The painful problem of poverty was everywhere apparent, and both Reza Shah and his son saw modernization of Iran as the only way to end poverty.
In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh became Prime Minister of Iran through democratic elections. He was from a highly-placed family and could trace his ancestry back to the shahs of the Qajar dynasty.
Among the many reforms made by Mosaddegh was the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s possessions in Iran. Because of this, the AIOC (which later became British Petroleum), persuaded the British government to sponsor a secret coup that would overthrow Mosaddegh. The British asked US President Eisenhower and the CIA to join M16 in carrying out the coup claiming that Mosaddegh represented a communist threat (a ludicrous argument, considering Mosaddegh’s aristocratic background). Eisenhower agreed to help Britain in carrying out the coup, and it took place in 1953. The Shah thus obtained complete power over Iran.
The goal of modernizing Iran and ending poverty was adopted as an almost-sacred mission by the young Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and it was the motive behind his White Revolution in 1963, when much of the land belonging to the feudal landowners and the crown was distributed to landless villagers. However, the White Revolution angered both the traditional landowning class and the clergy, and it created fierce opposition. In dealing with this opposition, the Shahs methods were very harsh, just as his fathers had been. Because of alienation produced by his harsh methods, and because of the growing power of his opponents, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The revolution of 1979 was to some extent caused by the British-American coup of 1953.
One can also say that the westernization, at which both Shah Reza and his son aimed, produced an anti-western reaction among the conservative elements of Iranian society. Iran was “falling between two stools”, on the one hand western culture and on the other hand the country’s traditional culture. It seemed to be halfway between, belonging to neither. Finally in 1979 the Islamic clergy triumphed and Iran chose tradition.
Meanwhile, in 1963, the US had secretly backed a military coup in Iraq that brought Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party to power. In 1979, when the western-backed Shah of Iran was overthrown, the United States regarded the fundamentalist Shiite regime that replaced him as a threat to supplies of oil from Saudi Arabia. Washington saw Saddam’s Iraq as a bulwark against the Shiite government of Iran that was thought to be threatening oil supplies from pro-American states such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
In 1980, encouraged to do so by the fact that Iran had lost its US backing, Saddam Hussein’s government attacked Iran. This was the start of an extremely bloody and destructive war that lasted for eight years, inflicting almost a million casualties on the two nations. Iraq used both mustard gas and the nerve gases Tabun and Sarin against Iran, in violation of the Geneva Protocol. Both the United States and Britain helped Saddam Hussein’s government to obtain chemical weapons.
The present attacks on Iran by Israel and the United States, both actual and threatened, have some similarity to the war against Iraq, which was launched by the United States in 2003. In 2003, the attack was nominally motivated by the threat that nuclear weapons would be developed, but the real motive had more to do with a desire to control and exploit the petroleum resources of Iraq, and with Israel’s extreme nervousness at having a powerful and somewhat hostile neighbor.
Similarly, hegemony over the huge oil and gas reserves of Iran can be seen as one the main reasons why the United States is presently demonizing Iran, and this is combined with Israel’s almost paranoid fear of a large and powerful Iran. Looking back on the “successful” 1953 coup against Mosaddegh, Israel and the United States perhaps feel that sanctions, threats, murders and other pressures can cause a regime change that will bring a more compliant government to power in Iran – a government that will accept US hegemony. But aggressive rhetoric, threats and provocations can escalate into full-scale war.
I do not wish to say that Iran’s present government is without serious faults. However, any use of violence against Iran would be both insane and criminal. Why insane? Because the present economy of the US and the world cannot support another large-scale conflict; because the Middle East is already a deeply troubled region; and because it is impossible to predict the extent of a war which, if once started, might develop into World War III, given the fact that Iran is closely allied with both Russia and China. Why criminal? Because such violence would violate both the UN Charter and the Nuremberg Principles. There is no hope at all for the future unless we work for a peaceful world, governed by international law, rather than a fearful world, where brutal power holds sway.
An Attack on Iran Could Escalate
We recently passed the 100th anniversary World War I, and we should remember that this colossal disaster escalated uncontrollably from what was intended to be a minor conflict. There is a danger that an attack on Iran would escalate into a large-scale war in the Middle East, entirely destabilizing a region that is already deep in problems.
The unstable government of Pakistan might be overthrown, and the revolutionary Pakistani government might enter the war on the side of Iran, thus introducing nuclear weapons into the conflict. Russia and China, firm allies of Iran, might also be drawn into a general war in the Middle East.
In the dangerous situation that could potentially result from an attack on Iran, there is a risk that nuclear weapons would be used, either intentionally, or by accident or miscalculation. Recent research has shown that besides making large areas of the world uninhabitable through long-lasting radioactive contamination, a nuclear war would damage global agriculture to such a extent that a global famine of previously unknown proportions would result.
Thus, nuclear war is the ultimate ecological catastrophe. It could destroy human civilization and much of the biosphere. To risk such a war would be an unforgivable offense against the lives and future of all the peoples of the world, US citizens included.
Recent research has shown that thick clouds of smoke from firestorms in burning cities would rise to the stratosphere, where they would spread globally and remain for a decade, blocking the hydrological cycle, and destroying the ozone layer. A decade of greatly lowered temperatures would also follow. Global agriculture would be destroyed. Human, plant and animal populations would perish.
We must also consider the very long-lasting effects of radioactive contamination. One can gain a small idea of what it would be like by thinking of the radioactive contamination that has made large areas near to Chernobyl and Fukushima permanently uninhabitable, or the testing of hydrogen bombs in the Pacific in the 1950’s, which continues to cause leukemia and birth defects in the Marshall Islands more than half a century later. In the event of a thermonuclear war, the contamination would be enormously greater.
We have to remember that the total explosive power of the nuclear weapons in the world today is 500,000 times as great as the power of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What is threatened today is the complete breakdown of human civilization and the destruction of much of the biosphere.
The common human culture that we all share is a treasure to be carefully protected and handed down to our children and grandchildren. The beautiful earth, with its enormous richness of plant and animal life, is also a treasure, almost beyond our power to measure or express. What enormous arrogance and blasphemy it is for our leaders to think of risking these in a thermonuclear war!
John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).
Tags: Conflict, Geopolitics, Hegemony, History, Imperialism, International Relations, Iran, Israel, MENA, Politics, Power, Targeted Assassination, Trump, US Military, USA, Violence, War, West
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Jan 2020.
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2 Responses to “Attacks on Iran–Past and Present”
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US assassinates Solomon-I, in Iraq, in a Quasi-Shia State, in the wee hours of the morning.
Y would a Iranian Gen – who is anti-Israel and America, fly from a Commercial/Military Airport in Iraq – when the US embassy was firebombed just a few days ago ? He would have known that all his e-signatures would be tracked by the Americans,second by second,and there would be no dearth of spies at the hangar,ATC,Airport who would ply the Americans with precise coordinates of the General’s flight patterns ?
Surely after the US embassy bombing the Good General would have been told by his team to exit Iraq ? Could a general be so careless or foolish – that he would think that he could exit from a designated airport,after the US embassy escapade – and with another designated terrorist (designed by USA) – with makes it a double prime target – and with no collateral baggage ? In ISIS days – he was fighting with the Americans – and those days are over.
Persian Shia’ism is not a suicide cult – it appears to be one – but it is not.So the general was misled into complacency and entrapped by some , in the Iraqi state, to take that flight – and the US embassy firebombing might also have been a false flag operation as the US troops shot no one – id.est., no firebomber was killed.But the sons of Xerxes and Cyrus cannot be so naive and foolish.The General would not have boarded that plane unless he was secured by the Russians and Tehran.2000 years ago, the Jews inserted a fake verse into the Old Testament and Talmud – to state that Cyrus was the messiah- and showed it to Cyrus – who like a fool, believed it, and rebuilt the Temple !The General had read the Torah,Talmud,Hebrew Bible and the History of the Jews and the Nassara
CNN portrays the killing as a “Trump rash reaction” – but it is not.Ultimately,the USA will go to war with Iran – as the Americans do not trust the Persian Shias – on the N-Bomb,and the Persians do not trust the Jews or the Nassara. Soleimani was just the catalyst to push the Persians into the N- Suspension, and go full N-throttle – which is what the Persians have done – and which is what the Americans wanted.
Iraqi govtt will kick out the US troops and the US troops will not leave – as that is what the Americans (and Kurds,Nassara,Sunnis) really want.To be precise, the Kurds,Suniis do not want the Yankii to leave – but that they be asked to leave – so that their mortal fears of living under Persian Shias is brought to the fore – for a partition of the Iraqi state
What the Americans want is to trifurcate Iraq – which will happen inevitably post Soleimani – and which is what the Persians also seek,although the Persians would like to Shia-ise the whole of Iraq.Persian security interests are preserved by destabilising and burning Iraq to create a “sea of fire” between them and the US/Israel and satellite Hezbollahs all over the Gulf,especially encircling the Saudis (The Soleimani Doctrine).But now,they will be happy with a trifurcation
After trifurcating Itaq the Persians will export their franchise and the brand to all Shia regions in GCC and Africa (where the USA has lesser troops and even lesser interest).Even the EU/PRC will be pleased – and this will look like an amicable solution (already crafted) – after creating a well planned disaster (assassinating Soleimani)
There was no inpending attack by Soleimani – just lies and deception of the American state.There are many heads of Terror Groups in the Gulf who can be killed, with or w/o collateral impact – but they are never taken out – not even by Israel or ISIS (Israel Secret Intel Service).The Americans chose a Persian Shia,when the whole Sunni world hates Persia and the Persia Shian, and killed him in a Quasi Shia State – and so there is no empathy or support for the Persians – even after the assassination – not even from Russia and PRC.
Obviously,the Russians,PRC,EU would have known – and they did not tip off the Persians and the Americans shot off 4 Hell Fire’s – and THERE WAS NO COLLATERAL PRESENCE AT THE AIRPORT AT THAT TIME. A marked man would travel in the presence of ample collateral baggage – like the Hamas and Hezb, do in Gaza – to provoke Collateral damage,and then the Christian empathy,by Amanpour on CNN
The Persians have launched a muffled attack at a site which it knows, hosts no Americans, using missiles which have the capacity to hit US barracks,and knowing that the site hosts Iraqis – where the Iranians had ample intel and time to affix missile coordinates for the terminal descent – and they did not.The Persians used BM with intent,SO THAT THE AMERICANS could track their launch and loading and set up – AND THE AMERICANS did NOT TAKE OUT THE LAUNCHERS AND SILOS – before take off.
The whole story stinks and if it ends with the Persian missile strike – it will stink even more.Odds are there will be more strikes by the Persians and US will make 1 strike (at least) on Persian soil – to further aggravate the Persians into the N-Bomb – and then disaster will come when either side hits civilians by plan or strategy
A few days ago,the Iranian media mentioned the US blowing up of a Iranian Airliner long ago.Coincidentally,a NATO nation – Article 5 nation – had its commercial aircraft blown up in Tehran- with no survivors – at take off time – with all tanks full,Ukraine is a nation that Trump and the USA have sworn to protect.
Just providence of coincidence and incidence.No one is reporting on the passenger list – surely there would no Shias on the plane.
The Nassara do not understand 1 simple thing.For the Persians and also the Sunnis,the path to salvation and evolution, as per Shia Theology and Philosophy – goes via the Bed of Armageddon – as that is when the Mehdi will return
As an aside, the Hindoos sent a terror-spy to Pakistan, via Iran, on the cover of a port project.The spy was busted in Pakistan.Hindoo History and Persian History shows that whenever, the Persians support the Hindoos or Indians – some disaster occurs.Soleimani supported the Indian Terror-Spy.
The wisdom of the “children of Cyrus,Darius and Xerxes”,encapsulates the “transcendence of Human thought”, the “Deuterosis of the Dindoo”, as under:
A “Persian dictionary”,titled “Lughet-e-Kishwari”,published in Lucknow in 1964,gives the meaning of the word Hindu as “chore [thief], dakoo [dacoit], raahzan [waylayer], and ghulam [slave].
Evidently the Gates of Hell are ajar.In essence,the world is overpopulated.If The Indians and South East Asians (besides Thai women) were to disappear,the Garden of Eden would return.Then there are Arabs,who allow Hindoos in their nation and let them build temples in Arab nations and extol Hindoo Gods – such vermin should also die.dindooohindoo
And then there are Muslims – who will not answer 1 simple question – Was Soleimani a Mujahid and now a Shaheed.Soleimani- the Persian,named after Solomon-the son of David-David the messiah of Israel.
Solomon bore the Curse of Allah on the Jews – as per the Hebrew Bible – id.est the Jews are cursed by Allah,due to the sins of Solomon.
Y did the Russians and Tehran not protect Soleimani ? They allowed him to be killed .