Posts Tagged ‘Gulf War 1’

Iranians March Against Trump’s UN Speech

September 23, 2017

This is a very short clip from Telesur English showing the people of Iran marching in protest at Trump’s belligerent speech attacking their country at the UN. It’s only about 23 seconds long, but it does show the range of people on the march, from older men dressed in traditional Islamic garb to young women in chadors and people in western-style, ‘modern’ dress.

I remember the great demonstrations in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, in which thousands of people turned up chanting ‘Margh bar Amrika! Margh bar Thatcher!’ – ‘Death to America! Death to Thatcher!’ I wasn’t impressed with those demonstrations, but having read a little more about the political situation in Iran and foreign exploitation of the country by Britain and America under the Shah, I now understand why the Revolution broke out, and what motivated the marchers to come onto the streets.

The election of Rafsanjani a few years ago seemed to indicate that relations between the West and Iran had thawed. It’s true that the country still has a bounty on the head of Salman Rushdie, and claims they can’t rescind the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, a claim I find frankly incredible. However, people can move freely between the two nations, and there have been some cultural exchanges. For example, the Young British Artists – Damian Hurst and the rest of them – went to Iran to open an exhibition of their work, and the British Museum also leant the Cyrus Cylinder, documenting the conquests of the great Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in the 5th century B.C. to go on display.

John Simpson in his book on the country also points out that Khomeini and the other theocrats were careful to distinguish between America, Ronald Reagan and the American people. They denounced Reagan and America, but not ordinary Americans. He also states that, with the exception of the demonstrations at the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution, in one of which he was nearly torn apart by the crowd, he always knew he was perfectly safe. He describes covering one such demonstration where the crowd were chanting slogans against the ‘great and little Satans’ – meaning America and Britain. He then stepped into the crowd and walked up to one of the demonstrators, and introduced himself. The man greeted him, and said, ‘You are very welcome in Iran, Agha.’ That said, I do know Iranians, who have said the opposite, that you are certainly not safe during these marches.

Trump’s speech has had the effect of making relations between the west and Iran much worse. But it’s very much in line with the policy of the neocons, who defined and set the agenda for American foreign policy in the Middle East back in the 1990s. They want Iran and Syria overthrown. They see them as a danger to Israel, and are angered by the fact that Iran will not let foreigners invest in their businesses. It’s an oil producing country, whose oil industry was dominated under the Shah by us and the Americans, and which was nationalized after the mullahs took power. One of the holidays in the country’s calendar commemorates its nationalization. I’ve no doubt that the American multinationals want to get their hands on it, just as they wanted to steal the Iraqi oil industry.

Iran is abiding by the agreement it signed with Obama not to develop nuclear weapons. This is confirmed by the Europeans and the Russians. The real issues, as I’ve blogged about previously, are that they’re supporting Syria, sending troops into Iraq to support their fellow Shi’a there, and are allied with the Russians. It’s all about geopolitical power.

Iran’s an ancient country, whose culture and history goes back thousands of years, almost to the dawn of western civilization in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. It’s a mosaic of different peoples and languages. If we invade, as the Trump seems to want, it’ll set off more ethnic carnage similar to that in Iraq. And I’ve no doubt we’ll see the country’s precious artistic and archaeological heritage looted and destroyed, just as the war and violence in Iraq has destroyed and seen so much of their history and monuments looted.

Iran is an oppressive theocracy, and its people are exploited. You only have to read Shirin Ebadi’s book on the contemporary situation in Iran to know that. But if Trump sends in the troops, it’ll be just to grab whatever he can of the nation’s wealth for his corporate masters in big business. It certainly won’t be to liberate them and give them democracy.

And the ordinary people of America and Britain will pay, as we will be called upon to send our brave young people to fight and die on a false pretext, just to make the bloated profits of American and western big business even more grossly, obscenely inflated. Just as the cost of the war won’t fall on big business, but on ordinary people, who will be told that public spending will have to be cut, and their taxes raised – but not those of the 1 per cent – in order to pay for it.

Enough lies have been told already, and more than enough people have been killed and maimed, countries destroyed and their people left impoverished, destitute, or forced in to exile.

No war with Iran.

As they chanted during the First Gulf War – ‘Gosh, no, we won’t go. We won’t die for Texaco!’ Or Aramco, Halliburton or anyone else.

We need peace, so let’s get rid of Trump.

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Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, Israel, ISIS and Anti-Semitism

May 4, 2016

In last post I discussed how Mike had put up news of the suspension of two more Labour politicians, Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, a councillor in Newport, and Terry Kelly, a councillor in Renfrewshire, following accusations of anti-Semitism. I’ve also discussed the particular allegations made against Kelly, and suggested that this may be a case of him clumsily making perfectly reasonable points, that, depending on context, may otherwise be completely unremarkable.

The same may well be true of Miqdad Al-Nuaimi. Al-Nuaimi is accused of making tweets comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and making connections between Israel and ISIS. Now, it should be reasonable to compare Israel to Nazi Germany, no matter how offensive this comparison may seem, because there are similar attitudes to race in both countries. Israel was founded as ethno-religious state specifically for the Jewish people. There is therefore a certain similarity to Nazi Germany, which similarly granted ethnic Germans only full civil and political rights. There are a series of racist laws, which deliberately discriminate against the Palestinians. Furthermore, Netanyahu has stated that he will not allow the Arabs or their descendants, who fled Israel in 1947, to return to their ancestral homes, as this would dilute the ethnic composition of Israel as a Jewish state. And Israel is pursuing a policy designed to squeeze the few remaining Palestinians out of their homelands. So Israel is also similar to Nazi Germany and other racist regimes in seeking to purge itself of those it considers to be racially or ethnically undesirable.

Back in the 1920s, there was also an extreme nationalist group, the Maximalists, who wished to create a political-social system in Israel similar to that Fascist Italy. And a few years ago, the IDF had to do some apologising after it was caught giving its squaddies pamphlets telling them that Jews were genetically superior to everyone else. The idea of innate ethnic biological superiority is a classic racial nationalist doctrine. So it’s fair to point out that there is a Fascist element in the nation’s history, and in the ideology of parts of its armed forces.

Israel is also a democracy, whereas Nazi Germany most certainly was not. But that still doesn’t mean that it’s entirely illegitimate to compare the country to the Nazis. The systematic discrimination of the Palestinians has been compared to apartheid in South Africa. And the Broederbond, the Afrikaaner nationalist organisation that formed the core of the National Party, was influenced by the Nazis. So again, it should be possible to talk about a similarity to Nazi Germany, or at least to Nazi-influenced apartheid South Africa, in this respect as well. Just as it should also be possible to discuss the Fascist shadow in Hindu nationalism through the influence of Mussolini’s Fascists on the RSSS, the paramilitary arm of Modi’s BJP, the Hindu Nationalist Party in India, without being necessarily anti-Hindu or anti-Indian.

As for Israel and ISIS, this is the subject of a lot of conspiracy theorising on the Net. If you want to see this stuff, you can always Google it or find it on Youtube. I haven’t looked at it, because it seems completely bonkers. But that doesn’t mean that it may not be true. States do covertly fund seemingly opposing terrorist or militant organisation, in order to destroy a common enemy. For example, General Petraeus a few years ago recommended that America fund al-Qaeda in Syria to overthrow Assad. This is the same al-Qaeda that committed 9/11. The Americans also gave the nod to Saddam Hussein just before Gulf War I that he could invade Kuwait unopposed. And when he did, they counterattacked. Just because it’s unlikely, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, or make anyone prejudiced for suggesting that it has.

So here again, in the case of Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, I would suggest that his tweets and views are not necessarily anti-Semitic, and may even be quite reasonable, depending on what was said.