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The Balkanization of Iran

Balatarin

 

Iran has always presented a thorn in the eye of Western policy makers since the Pahlavi dynasty and its resurgent nationalism. Being strategically located in a position that affords it to patrol and play a significant part in monitoring and controlling the flux of forty percent of the world's oil flows, the foreign policies of superpower governments teetered between soliciting Iranian support and stability through backing and the focused undermining of Iranian regional power. Throughout modern history, we have seen both policy aims carried out with effect. The crux of the issue is Iran's power to blockade the Strait of Hormuz and its military capability to do so. Looming over this immediate outcome is Iran's power as a multiethnic nation state with vast oil, mineral, and gas resources. Its large coastline with the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea also affords it power that it is able to project within the spheres of the Gulf States, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. One of the aims of Iran's nuclear program is to solidify its hold on regional power and prevent any foreign intrigue from upsetting this influence.

 

This is why the response to Iran's nuclear program won't just be surgical strikes. In the short term, a surgical strike or any other military action aimed at destabilizing Iran and setting back its atomic aims will do exactly that, but it will not curb Iran's two main resources- human capital in the form of knowledge and raw material wealth. This is where separatism comes into play. The majority of Iran's oil and gas resources are located in the Khuzestan and Hormozgan provinces, home to many ethnic Arabs. Another large chunk of oil and gas is located near and within the Caspian Sea; areas inhabited by ethnic Azeris. Any policy of providing a mortal blow to Iran will factor in ethnic tensions and the creation of new nation-states from the mammoth corpse of what used to be known as Iran. The establishment of a Kurdish Republic of Mahabad was one of the efforts put into separatism, and while unsuccessful, it demonstrated that with enough foreign funding and support, an independent republic carved out of one of Iran's minority-held provinces is feasible and beneficial for multiple parties. A resourceless Iran poses no threat to Arab states, the increasing regional power of Azerbaijan, nor the struggling states of Pakistan and Afghanistan. And without such resources, Iran doesn't stand a chance at mobilizing its human capital in nation-strengthening efforts that could potentially pose a threat.

 

The policy does, however, pose some risks. For one, a Kurdistan carved out of Iran will destabilize and effectively plunge Turkey into ethnic war. Already, an autonomous Kurdish republic is in effect in the state of Iraq, and has also gone into effect in Syria. The next steps are Iran and Turkey- Iran being the weaker and more unstable holder of Kurd-inhabited territories. A war with Iran will provide the instability and resource sapping necessary for the formation of an autonomous Kurdistan in western Iran. The trouble starts when the Kurds of Turkey begin to demand their own autonomy. Perhaps it is a worthwhile deal for Turkish inclusion into Europe, and for the promotion of stability in a region haunted by war and sectarianism. What remains to be seen is whether the Kurds, given autonomy in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey, will opt to secede and form a resource-rich nation-state. However, it seems the Kurdistan dilemma is an inevitability; preventing 13 million people from forming a nation-state is an uphill battle for all parties involved.

 

Any formation of an Arab state from Southwestern Iran would serve the goal of limiting Iran's coastline in the Gulf and resource wealth. It would be eagerly supported by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Kingdoms, and with enough repression from Iran, will evoke international support. This will effectively cripple Iran as a nation and plunge it into Afghanistan-grade poverty within several generations. The question of Azerbaijan remains. While separatists and pan-Turkists declare that Iranian Azeris suffer discrimination, facts on the ground hold otherwise. Azeris serve high positions in Iranian society and politics, and enjoy lifestyles similar to ethnic Persians. Furthermore, the historical link of the land of Azerbaijan (northern and southern) is part and parcel of Iranian history. The Land of Fire was the hub of Zoroastrianism and Persian culture for eons. It is unclear whether separatism will take hold as a popular sentiment in Iranian Azerbaijan. It is greatly dependent on how well the Republic of Azerbaijan in the north does in the coming years, as it fosters greater relations with the United States and Europe. If standard of living and economic mobility in the country rise simultaneously as quality of life, political and social repression, and economic rot plague Iran, the desire to join their brothers in the north will increase.

 

And why would international players be apprehensive about this option in the long run? The momentary instability that will rise from carving new states out of Iranian territory is a tradeoff that pales in comparison the the benefits of stronger trading partners in the area, the goodwill of neighboring countries, and the loss of the threat to oil flow in the Gulf and the Caucasus. An Iran without Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, and Khuzestan will be an immobile and poverty-stricken land. The secession of barren Baluchistan will also rob Iran of its rich mineral resources. The goal is to ensure Iran will never pose a threat to international interests in the Middle East- without the resources and strategic advantages it holds, it will never be able to pose such a threat again. Minority groups may be apprehensive- they may hold the belief that they have greater opportunities as Iranians in socioeconomic mobility, yet a concerted support and funding effort from the international community can dissolve such apprehension at the prospect of separation.

 

Iran is "The Land of the Aryans" much as Yugoslavia was the land of the Slavs. It does not have a consistent national identity that rests on three pillars- language, ethnicity, and religion. Thus far, religion is the tie that binds many Iranians, and to an extent, language. This is why Iran is adamant on excluding Azeri and Kurdish as national tongues, as such moves may dissolve Iranian national unity. A state without a national identity resting on the aforementioned pillars provides a tempting opportunity for more powerful players to play the ethnic tension card. In this sense, whatever Iranian government in power must learn to adeptly play at identity politics and mitigate the forces of separatism and ethnic division. Thus far, all of Iran's governments have done poorly in mitigating these differences, often resulting in crises and near-losses for the nation state of Iran. As Iran's tension with the international community grows, a dismembered Land of the Aryans continues to become a very real possibility in our lifetime.

Balatarin

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SoosanKhanoom

akaDarya With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love. - Rumi

That is a plan and it is well on the warmongers agenda ... anyone who sees this not coming or at least not being cooked to be served then probably has no political IQ ! Or has not read the blog I wrote long time ago called, " Which Path to Persia? " .. To read the entire Brookings Institute report, "Which Path to Persia?" click here.
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2009/6/iran%20strategy/06_iran_strategy..... This is NOT a claim by IRI .. it is all well documented in the above report ... the degree of ignorant is beyond belief .. Sad to see some are back on their labeling games here ... indeed that will distract any forum from a decent discussions ...

I also hate to see people here claiming to be supportive and or spokesperson for the Iranian Sunnis and or kurds .... Iranian Kurds are the most genuine and kind people I have ever known and they are nationalists NOT separatists ... Furthermore, if the Iranian Sunni or kurds ever had any thing against IRI that was not more than their fellow Shaie countrymen among which many are spending time in jail if not hanged to death. The exact sad faith that many kurds also experienced under the total dictatorship of IRI ... I found it so insulting to try to divide Iranians to Shaie and Sunni ... Kurds happen to share the same religion with the rest of the country too and that is " ISLAM "

Kurds were, are and they will be Iranians forever. and I am 100 percent sure that they will fight for it as well ... just like what they did during Iran-Iraq war... . Iranians are nationalists ...Kurd or not does not matter ! Any voices here that tries to say otherwise is knowingly or unknowing on the warmongers side ...

Sadly IRI 's policy has not been in support of its people but actually was mostly in alienating of its own people ... SHAME ! The only thing that can really cause Iran to fall into pieces is a ruling dictator... yes with friends like IRI we need no enemy !

MonkeyAndOrganGrinder

Monkey And Organ Grinder

Mr. aldayus, you have a very interesting name! In Hungarian version of Hebrew, aldayus means, "I love to hug you!" At any rate, I think, if Iran is going to dodge the faith you have very accurately articulated here must do the following. It must immediately halt its efforts in instigating the Palestinians in demanding lands from the state of Israel. On the contrary, it should encourage the Palestinians to integrate into the Israeli society once and for all. Israel will reciprocate this gesture of friendship by using all its power to support Iran in its maintaining and protecting its sovereignty. How do like that quid pro quo (bedeh bestoon!) Happy Hanukkah and I love to hug you!

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

When I say IRI has to go, I mean the entire policy of USA/uk/france/israel supporting extremists and helping groups that bring chaos and regression like the mek needs to stop. Iranians suffered so much at the hands of anti-monarchists from within, its time Iran prospered again and the monarchy was restored.

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

What incentive would that provide the US? The US doesn't want a powerful Iran that is run by its people and in the interests of its people.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

I know in practice that is what is happening, that is why they portrayed the most democratic acting leader in the last century the shah as a despotic, authoritarian dictator to thwart iran's slow rise towards democracy. Because they opposed democracy and freedom for iran, but it was a mistake.

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

Well they had a reason to; during the Cold War they labeled any movement that sought a state economic model and the nationalization of resources as "communist", hence Mossadegh. This was because it threatened the power balance vis-a-vis the USSR. But with the USSR gone, what benefit does the US have in overthrowing the IRI for Reza Pahlavi? Believe me I think Reza is much better than any of the other choices (but it seems the US is favoring the MEK). They would rather have an authoritarian and repressive regime in power- it limits the capabilities of the Iranian people and allows international backing of acts against Iran.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Actually that is not true. The USA is in a decline as a direct result of its own policies and alliances/ The USA top policy makers admit they made a big mistake in removing the late shah and not recognizing how much he was doing in his alliance with the USA (alliance is very different than nowkar), they don't say so publicly as it would be stupid to admit a mistake one can not go back and fix it as their current alliances oppose this and alone the USA is not strong enough to fix their own mistake. From Iran's point of view, it can't really ever form an alliance with a nation so filthy as the USA who betrayed the shah the way it did do. More to do with loyalty and national honor, than Iranian pride.

france and uk are a different issue, they will never trust a free and independent Iran and will never want to see this as a result of their thinking, but the UK and France are not everything. A free Iran can handle both of them together as the late shah proved. If the USA wises up to the UK/France they still have a chance to get out of their current decline, caused by their poorly thought out, destructive and imbalanced alliances.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

ON THE DEAL. That is not what Israel or the USA wants. What Israel wants is to support what the US wants, which is to on the one hand help extremists like the IRI come to power and on the other hand have theses extremists only spread tyranny, suppression, poverty and turmoil in their own country which the USA and Israel are helping to regress and exploit more easily control/exploit. It's called having your cake and being able to eat it. So the error is in this idiotic thinking, that is attainable but not sustainable for the USA or Israel. Just look at the way the Russians are treating the USA, hard bitch slapping 24/7 from putin to the entire russian team. Of course the USA is in a visible decline on this path, though to be fair the real burden of the pain and punishment will be paid for by the inferior allies of the USA not only the USA.

IRI has to go and then the issues of IRI interference will obviously disappear. So really the USA need to change, no one else. What the USA is doing today in supporting terrorists and extremists in Libya, Egypt and Syria is not how America became the number one power, though unfortunately for America it doesn't know that it is causing blows to its own power and future and it can't see how.

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

Nationalism is a trend of all Iranian governments. No matter how weak they are or how much of a puppet they are, they eventually become nationalistic. The latest trend was the "neoconservatives" of the Islamic Republic, who mixed in Iranian nationalism with the Islamism of the regime. The regime posed no threat to Western interests because it relied on the weakest and most inhibitive identity glue of all- religion. But now that Iranian nationalism has even permeated this, it's time to destroy Iran by separatism- weaken it so that this trend of nationalism never occurs again. This will come along with the arming to the teeth of Iran's neighbors.

Reza Shah was deposed once he sought to officially break off from Russian and British influence. Mohammad Reza was deposed once he officially sought to make Iran a regional power. The Islamic Republic now faces what they faced. Iranian governments all displayed this bend toward nationalism, and as long as Iran is a rentier state plagued by its maintenance of natural resources, this nationalism will be crushed by superpowers dependent on those resources.

faraway

faraway

This is an excerpt from the book, "A century of War" published in Payvand a while back:

""Their scheme was based on a detailed study of the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism, as presented by British Islamic expert, Dr. Bernard Lewis, then on assignment at Princeton University in the United States. Lewis's scheme, which was unveiled at the May 1979 Bilderberg meeting in Austria, endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an 'Arc of Crisis,' which would spill over into Muslim regions of the Soviet Union


The coup against the Shah, like that against Mossadegh in 1953, was run by British and American intelligence, with the bombastic American, Brzezinski, taking public 'credit' for getting rid of the 'corrupt' Shah, while the British characteristically remained safely in the background.



During 1978, negotiations were under way between the Shah's government and British Petroleum for renewal of the 25-year old extraction agreement. By October 1978, the talks had collapsed over a British 'offer' which demanded exclusive rights to Iran's future oil output, while refusing to guarantee purchase of the oil. With their dependence on British-controlled export apparently at an end, Iran appeared on the verge of independence in its oil sales policy for the first time since 1953, with eager prospective buyers in Germany, France, Japan and elsewhere. In its lead editorial that September, Iran's Kayhan International stated"...

http://www.payvand.com/news/06/mar/1090.html

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

This is true. Many people don't know about the 1978 negotiations. The most rational choice for Iran is to accept the hegemony and the poverty that comes along with it. It's either that or be broken up and even poorer. This is why Iranian pride gets in the way. Noam Chomsky goes into detail about this type of foreign policy in his book "The Way The World Works". Iran needs to be smart and stay within its confines, but that's not the plan for Iran as far as international powers go. The problem of Iranian nationalism, no matter how hollow it is, still poses a threat to these interests.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Sorry "The most rational choice for Iran is to accept the hegemony and the poverty that comes along with it." that point of view is not a wise one. The most rational choice is for Iranians to unite around their own culture and traditions as they had done with the late shah and restore peace, progress and human rights that existed and fight idiots who try to further their arguments by lying about savak or the shah. Some people do well with Monarchy, Iranians proved they can reach for the stars with Monarchy and Democratic development can not be forced, but must come from the people and the efforts of the government as was happening with the late shah.

We can be independent and free as we were with the late shah, we all of us already know the path towards success, we just have to get used to Uniting behind one another and not looking to the USA, Russia, China, Europe as Friends, we can have alliances but must rely on ourselves first and foremost.

Roozbeh_Gilani

Roozbeh_Gilani "Personal business must yield to collective interest."

I dont know if you, yourself have written this article, but the entire article is a mixture of non factual ultra nationalist and islamist regime propaganda.
claims in the article, such as : " religion binds iranians together", is laughable, given the fact that shia ruling class has indeed been dividing iranians along the lines of shia/sunni, in araes such as kurdistan, baluchistan and khuzistan, where the article warns about separitism.
The article does not make any mention of the abject poverty of the people in mineral rich baluchestan, oil rich Kurdestan. Nor any mention of the fact that politicaly, the islamic shia regime has never had any support or legitimacy in the above mentioned provinces.
In short, the biggest force of division in Iran is the current fascist islamic regime, which is holding to power, only with absolute reliance on terror upon population. a situation which simply could not last forever. Post islamist fascism, in my and many others opinions, the geographical integrity of Iran can only be guaranteed through an all inclusive system of federal government.

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com


And "ultranationalism" is nothing more than a dismissive term for anyone who believes that their country should enjoy the right to determine its own economy and politics. Its widespread use was coined in the Cold War and continually describes movements that seek to build their country. It just sounds more threatenening than "nationalism" which has positive qualities.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Well said aldayus. You have to forgive our resident commie, who was busy betraying the late shah, (and like mullahs betraying all iranians) and participating in the deception against arya mehr while he was standing for the rights of Iranians.

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

90% of Iran's population is Shi'ite, whereas ethnically, Iran is about 50% Persian and linguistically Persian does not hold the monopoly as a language. I'm not saying it's a good thing. Look at other nations who have Persian culture- Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, etc. History didn't bind these countries together. Religion is a weak tie but it's a fact that a majority of Iran is Shi'ite. It is one of the social ties that bind. Nationalism in Iran is hollow, hence its heavy outward display. There have been efforts for over 200 years to destroy Iran's national identity, by Arabization and Turkification. Simply look at the Iranian lexicon for clues. Iran is multiethnic and has weak binding ties.

How is this Islamic propaganda? Is this the catch-all dismissing opener for responding to any article that doesn't tickle your fancies? The article implies that Iranian nationalism is weak, it implies that these minorities don't have what they want materially or politically, hence the danger of separatism. Your misperception of the writing and projection of your own attitudes results in accusations that bear no weight.

Post-Islamic fascism there will be no Iran as we know it. The Islamic regime was part and parcel of the Balkanization process, it is what primes the sentiments of separatism. If there was a democratic federal government, do you think separatism would be so sought after? Absolutely not, but in order to foment separatism, it is necessary to have a repressive and neglecting government. There was a reason why the Shah was overthrown in a weakly motivated revolution.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Bulkanization is still a goal only after a more major war including russia

BB

Mr. B

Great Article. Very good timing.

My own personal test of country is in the written language. Namely, if you have one, you are a country. Or at least have the right to be one.

Religion? Not so much. especially Islam which is traditionally quite coercive, I doubt that the 90% of Iranians (or Egyptians) who call themselves moslems, do so freely, and are what I would suggest is another test, devout.

Out of 90% Iranians who call themselves Moslem, how many are devout? And really believe that you cannot eat pork or that women are inferior beings through no fault of their own? I would say 90% of the 90% don't believe in the myth and folklore that is the great Islamic joke.

However I do agree that the 90% will never admit this, so long as they are being fed, and paid by the Marxist arm of the Islamic Republic, which has successfully channeled the oil revenues to buy favor, loyalty, and apparently a 90% statistic with which to adorn itself.

This also proves why NO opposition (internal or external) can ever succeed, and that slow and steady reform as hardliners die of old age, and are replaced by younger and more easily corruptible ones who agree to less and less totalitarianism, and more and more moderation.

As the song goes, "Freedom's just another word for, nothing left to lose"

When the power realizes there is nothing to lose by giving Iranians freedom, they will.

Great piece, well done.

SoosanKhanoom

akaDarya With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love. - Rumi

bahmani,

You brought up an interesting point here on the subject of sharing one common written language ... that reminded me of the movie " Bushu " ! Try to watch it if you have not yet ! You will then diffidently love it !

" Bashu, the Little Stranger (Persian: باشو غریبه کوچک‎), This multi-ethnic film was the first Iranian film to make use of the northern dialect of Gilaki, in a serious context rather than comic relief. "

SoosanKhanoom

akaDarya With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love. - Rumi

This comment was removed by the Iranian.com Staff for violating our Commenting Standards

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

Wow, I didn't know this would get so many comments!

SoosanKhanoom

akaDarya With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love. - Rumi

Aldays,

You are a good addition to this site ... Welcome !

We can of course agree or disagree on many things and learn in the process.. That's what maks a discussion live and fruitful ... so thanks for your thought provoking blogs .

: )

SoosanKhanoom

akaDarya With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love. - Rumi

This comment was removed by the Iranian.com Staff for violating our Commenting Standards

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

@sayyad.shaer who's the baldy on your icon?

mousa67

mousa67 offering free psychotherapy sessions to those suffering from potentialy suicidal mental condition known as "islamism"

al_dayus joon this is a great article! although I have not read it and will not!, but siince such heavy weight intellectual minds as al_suzi and bahmani have put their seals of approval on it, it must be quite something!
LOL

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

Fadat besham Mousa jan. Mesinke hanuz saret to kunet gir hast.

Kyle6

Doctor Mohandes Beware. BS detector onboard!

aldayus

for a some person that never come toiran your farsi is so good. are you rubbing our heads with cream or serious serious you been not to iran?:))

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

I haven't been to Iran even once! My grandmother was a teacher in Iran, though, and doesn't speak English. She basically taught me everything I know and Farsi is spoken inside our house. I also Skype with my father's family in Iran. But I have a very hard time reading Farsi, I have to read something two or three times to understand what it says.

mousa67

mousa67 offering free psychotherapy sessions to those suffering from potentialy suicidal mental condition known as "islamism"

eva laat baaz ham baladi dayoos joon? in aadat sar bekoon kardan ro maloomeh az haji khanoom hamsar abavit to ostralia yaad gerefti!
LOL
hast saresh jaa

mousa67

mousa67 offering free psychotherapy sessions to those suffering from potentialy suicidal mental condition known as "islamism"

This comment was removed by the Iranian.com Staff for violating our Commenting Standards

sayyad.shaer

Sayyad Sha'er visit: www.sayyadshaer.com

Kheyli tokhsi, mikham baghalet konamo on lopato gaz begiram!