1. Essential to know: in the 1950’s the USA and the UK did everything they could to destroy the democratically elected government of Mossadegh. Their problem? Iran wanted to keep oil profits in Iran. The CIA has admitted they got rid of him in 1953.
2. The US and UK installed the Shah. This regime agreed to buy lots of western made weapons and sold its oil.
3. The Shah was toppled by a popular uprising.
4. Iran openly rejected US influence. To this day Iran wishes to stop using dollars in the oil trade. Countries who attempt to trade oil in any other currency besides dollars put themselves at grave risk of being invaded.
5. The US and its allies used Saddam Hussein to attack Iran. Iran is a shiite country, but under Saddam Iraq’s Sunni minority ruled the country. Sunnis and Shiites have basically hated each other’s guts for centuries, even though both are muslims. What many people don’t know is that Saddam was the USA’s poster child of what a useful dictator should look like.
6. The Iraq-Iran war was the largest conventional conflict since World War II. Saddam was a very poor strategist and even though he got massive arms shipments from the west, he failed to defeat Iran. Ironically Iran was able to maintain an army and an air force thanks to its arsenal of western made weapons it had acquired under the Shah’s regime.
7. Saddam was dissapointed. The war had been hugely expensive. He thought he could do anything he wanted and decided to invade tiny oil rich Kuwait to compensate.
8. This move completely backfired when the US and one of its best friends, Saudi Arabia, were not going to allow Saddam to control so much oil.
9. To not go after Saddam during the first gulf war probably bought about a decade of relative stability in the region. Saddam was supposed to fall back in line, but the country still didn’t behave like the USA wanted. Even harsh economic sanctions that killed thousands failed to have the right effect.
10. The utterly senseless second gulf war – based on proven lies about weapons of mass destruction – toppled Saddam. The result was a complete destabilisation of the region. The USA made several crucial mistakes. Possibly the worst one was to abolish the Iraqi army. The heavily Sunni influenced army stopped existing. Thousands of Iraqis with military expertise became jobless. Some of these formed a resistance movement. Eventually out of this came ISIS. Being Sunni ISIS mainly fights Shiites. It could easily overtake Sunni areas but struggled to control areas where there were few Sunnis.
11. The USA has a complicated relationship with ISIS and other militias. In Syria they actually like ISIS. As the enemy of my enemy – in tbis case Assad – is my friend. Iran, Russia, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are probably the only countries seriously trying to eradicate ISIS. This is not a conspiracy theory. Anyone who is willing to look at this objective and use a bit of logic can see this.
12. The USA loves to use the ‘war on terrorism’ as an excuse to spread its influence. The mainstream media narrative supports the US stance that their moves against Iran are moves against terrorism. This is mostly bullshit. The US just wants a puppet regime in Iran to do its bidding.
13. Iran and Israel are mortal enemies. (note by the way that ISIS has never attacked Israel). One could argue that Israel is practically the maffia boss of the USA’s political system. So the US will do almost anything that benefits Israel and improves the strategic situation of Israel. Israel has been very succesful in recent years to create divisions among its enemies. Its biggest threat is Iran. Iran – via Syria and via Lebanon – does support the resistance against the Israeli occupation and land grabbing in Gaza. This is anathema to Israel’s leaders.
14. Important note: democratic reforms and a relaxation of the oppression in Iran are actually stalled by US policies. The more Iran feels threatened from the outside the more its people unite and postpone internal struggles for more freedom.
15. The USA’s policies to control the Middle East have caused decades of destruction, have polarized the region, have given rise to extremists (also see Afghanistan) and have created chaos. Oddly this chaos benefits Israel, so America is not completely unhappy with the current situation. Most likely America’s biggest fear is that Iran’s navy could disrupt oil shipments. In an all out war Iran’s navy would be quite capable to do some damage, though it would not be able to permanently disrupt oil traffic in the region.
Please note that this strategy is not Trump’s brain child. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, she also would have bombed Iranian targets.
Will things escalate further?
Iran is not stupid. They do not want an all out war with the USA. At least not without open support of Russia and/or China. A succesful invasion of Iran is impossible, but it can be bombed back to the stone age. Iran is five times as big as Germany and has a huge population. Its army is quite well led. This would be the US’ first serious adversary since North-Vietnam.
There will be more attacks back and forth.
An invasion of Iran with ground troops is almost certainly not an option.
A severe bombing campaign against Iran and strong attacks on its navy could happen.
In order to make more severe attacks on Iran possible there will need to be a process of ‘manufacturing consent’. Meaning that the mainstream media will need to demonize Iran continually.
Leading up to the election Trump will likely want to have a more intense conflict with Iran. This is a classic trick of US presidents to maintain support. Not just of US presidents, Putin plays this game as well. So did Thatcher. Remember the Falklands and Argentina?
To sum up what this conflict is about:
- centuries long rivalry between shiites and sunnites
- maintaining Israel
- petroleum, also when it comes to traffic
- making sure nobody wakes up with the idea ‘hey, what if we stopped trading petroleum in dollars for a change?’
- punishing Iran for its support of Assad in Syria
- undermining Syria and Hezbollah (also shiite) in Lebanon
- in the long run: isolating Russia as much as possible and undercutting Chinese influence. Libya was destroyed because it already had too many Asian investors. It was destroyed reasoning: if we can’t have it, nobody can have it.
- Always, always, always worth repeating in any discussion about this topic: if the USA cared about human rights it would have already invaded and got rid of the Saudi regime decades ago….
In closing, a few words on Iran
- When Iraq invaded Iran in the 1980’s it compensated for its lack of modern technology with fanatical will. It sent thousands of kids into mine fields. These kids wore plastic keys made in China that would open the gates of heaven for them in the afterlife.
- It beat back Saddam’s forces. Even though the west supplied Saddam with gas. Journalists at the time were discouraged to write about the use of gas against Iran. Later when Saddam became the enemy he was of course demonized for using gas against the Kurds.
- There is oppression in Iran. When protesters are arrested they are for example raped in prison. Foreign guards are hired for this, so Iranians are not doing the raping.
- It’s a country full of paradoxes. Being gay is treated as something evil, but at the same time it’s possible to get a sex change operation. You can even get financial support for it.
- The second largest religious group in Iran is made up of the little known Bahá’í. These are being persecuted. Some Iranians seeking to live in the EU pretend to be Bahá’í in order to be allowed to stay.
- Oddly, Christianity or the Judean faith are not being persecuted
- Though very influenced by strict religion stem cell research enjoys greater freedom than in the US.
- Iranian women are highly educated
- Iranian women are definitely allowed to drive cars
- Iran took in lots of Polish refugees during World War II, about 116,000. 5,000 to 6,000 of these were jewish
- Iran celebrates New Year on the 20th or 21st of March. It’s called Now Ruz. Traditionally it’s celebrated by jumping over fire.
- allied shipments to the Soviet Union during the Second World War partly went via Iran
- when Iranians offer you something to eat be aware of the custom of ‘taroff’. You should refuse three times before accepting.
- There was a time brigades of women went on patrol armed with razor blades. When they spotted women wearing lipstick they shaved it off.
- in the mountains of Iran most people forget about all restrictions
- there’s lots of opium use
- Farsi and Dari, which is spoken in Afghanistan, are the same language, but a Dari accent is looked down upon
- gastric cancer is more common than in other countries possibly because of a love of salted fish