The first of this series about beesharmi [See: “Haya“] deserves a supplemental comment about one of the endearing characteristics of America’s diplomatic culture, that is, in one word, “hypocrisy.” The term, regardless of its dictionary meaning, conveys to me the notion of a persistent contradiction between word and deed, word and word, deed and deed. That is why the nation that based its Declaration of Independence on the self-evidence of truths has spent the last 200 years caught up in one lie after another. The recent weeks and months have produced some marvelous examples of this.
I cannot let go of the hilarious contradiction that bedevils George Bush is Washington and Baghdad at the same time. In Baghdad, the Bush Administration is doing its level best to shoehorn the minority Sunni Arabs into a coalition government in Iraq. Yet, the same Bush Administration and the Republican Party in power in Washington have systematically refused any form of bipartisanship with the Democrats in the administration of this country!
Another contradiction that deserves even a greater ridicule is George Bush’s recent admonition to the Iraqis that they have to choose between unity and chaos! I personally would prefer to see in Iraq disunity but peace – along the lines of that [See: “Unspeakable solution”] that I suggested in May 2003. The American obsession with one territorially unified Iraq is also inconsistent with the promotion of the two-state solution in Palestine. Arguably, in the universe of Arab-Israeli conflict, this two-state idea has come about because the Palestinians and Israelis do not get along and so each group will be better off by itself. What makes Bush think that the same — three-state solution — will not be the part of the long-term reality of Iraq? Well, if a situation is going to be unavoidable in the long-term, then make it a part of the solution in the short-term – and spare your treasure and lives from continuing on a fool’s errand.
The two-state solution in Palestine – once inconceivable – is now the Zionist’s dream. The idea is to preserve Israel for the Israelis (read, preferably Jews), even if it means that Israel should be somehow smaller than its present size. Yet, similar notions of ethnic purity have long been deemed an abomination – for example Germany for the Aryan race, segregation in South Africa and other parts of the world, ethnic purity in American neighborhoods, or ethnic cleansing undertaken by the various groups in former Yugoslavia – none of these exclusionary attempts at homogeneity was acceptable as a basis for society or state. Then why should Israel be the exception.
Of late there is a movement afoot – mostly intellectual for the moment – to see if the ethnic groups inhabiting Iran’s frontiers (periphery) cannot be made to seek some sort of separatist agenda at the expense of the clerical central government. Such schemes fail to consider the unitary nature of the Iranian state, where the apparent regional fault lines are not necessarily ethnic or national per se but rather economic. The periphery of the Iranian state has always been a disadvantaged landscape; the disparity between center and province and urban and rural are as stark today as they were 100 years ago prior to the nation-building exercise of the Pahlavi dynasty. The other factor that inoculates Iran against the advent of separatist efforts is that an “ethnic” group while is typically anchored in one area of the country it is scattered throughout the realm. In part due to dislocations brought about by natural disasters, wars, transplantations or resettlements – and in part due to social and economic mobility or integrationist policies of the past 70 years — no part of Iran is truly apart from the rest of Iran.
Iran’s own experience as a multi-ethnic entity, including its traditional hospitality of religious diversity (the present situation notwithstanding), does and cannot reconcile with a construct that seeks human coexistence in separation of the races. That is why, as a matter of historical record, Iran never accepted the notion of a two-state solution in Palestine. Surprised? Well, here is the record.
On 15 May 1947 the United Nations appointed the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in order to study and report back on how to resolve the dispute between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine. The Committee consisted of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. In its August 31 report, UNSCOP reported that a majority of it members (Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden and Uruguay) recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states. The minority group, consisting of India, Iran and Yugoslavia supported the creation of a single federal state containing both Jewish and Arab constituents. Australia abstained! It is worth noting that like Iran, India and Yugoslavia chose a solution most consistent with their own national experience as home to multi-ethnic/religious groupings. Surely, Canada, Netherlands and Czechoslovakia and a few others among the majority group could have espoused the single-state solution, but did not for their own reasons – that they belonged to the Western (US and Britain) camp may have nothing to do with it!
The recommendation of UNSCOP was put before the United Nations General Assembly and on 29 November 1947 it voted to adopt the Partition Plan (Resolution 181). The thirty-three votes in favor were Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Belarus, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, South Africa, USSR, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela. The 13 countries that opposed the Partition Plan were Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. Ten countries abstained – Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. The country not voting (absent): Thailand.
It is worth noting that the Partition Plan had not a single backer among the countries that bordered Palestine or what constituted at the time the Near or Middle East. Among them – Iran continues to espouse doggedly and single-mindedly the one-state solution to this day. Either as evidence of unremitting consistency or steadfast inability to change, the Iranian public position is in consonance with the street opinion in every Moslem country whose government however espouses the two-state solution.
A recent article written by two university professors and posted on a Harvard University website [See: “The Israel Lobby“] questioned the independence of the US foreign policy in light of the pro-Israeli lobby’s influence in Washington. Of course, the naïve are quick to point out that it is not so and that any coincidence in policy is because of the convergence of American and Israeli values. Naturally! What passes for coincidence of values between Washington and Tel Aviv (or Jerusalem) has to do mostly with the convergence of money and votes from American Jews into the political coffers of candidate who say good things about Israel and pledge to support the Zionist agenda no matter what.
The recent Zionist battle cry is “Iran is the enemy” and the US leadership has begun to parrot this as its own strategic assessment. A few weeks ago, the Vice President of the United States stood before an AIPAC audience and warned that Iran’s continuing this-and-that will exact painful and severe consequences! A few days later, Mr. Cheney’s lackey (who increasingly looks like Benji) issued a similar crowd-pleasing declaration. Bolton and Cheney have been members of the advisory board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. The Iraqi guy who bamboozled the Bush Administration into Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ahmed Chalabi, too, has been a frequent speaker and guest at the Institute’s functions. Tel Aviv may not wag Washington but boy does it come close to leading it by the nose!
Bolton himself is a master of nonsense and hysteria. Here is a snippet from his remarks, courtesy of a friend who lives in England. Recently, Bolton told CNN that if Iran is not stopped, there might be risk of a nuclear 9/11. Then on Hard Talk on BBC, he was asked why it was okay for India to obtain nuclear power from the US, but not for Iran. He replied, “India did not lie” about its nuclear program. The reporter looked bewildered by this answer and changed the subject to Darfur.
Lie? Lie is a moral failing, at best. It is only illegal if it is criminalized. Even in a religion that says a liar is the enemy of God (dourough-gu doshman-e khodast), strategic or tactical lying is permitted and it is called dissimulation (taghiyeh). Evidence suggests that when it comes to imminent deprivation of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness or even property, preservation often requires lying, hiding, camouflage, dissimulation, denial, discretion and fifty other ways not to get caught or bombed. Transparency is a luxury ill-afforded by those who cannot protect or defend themselves.
Here is another delicious American irony – In the run-up to the Iraqi invasion the US secretary of state Colin Powell told the Security Council all sorts of lies and distortions in order to build a case for war. His son et lumiere presentation misled an entire world. I wonder, can an Iraqi bring a lawsuit against Colin Powell and the United States for lies that led to the demise of so many Iraqi lives, more than 9/11? Should the accused and convicted individuals then be handed a death sentence because their lie resulted in deaths? Where is the irony, you ask? The irony is in the proceedings against the accused terror suspect Mousawi who is been found eligible for the death penalty because were it not for him lying to the FBI the 9/11 attacks would have not happened!
Here is another funny note. While praising the virtues of democratic reforms and democracy for world peace and progress, a while back Bush said that democracies do not war. I look at the Coalition of the Willing and do not see a single dictatorship contributing money or soldiers to the mayhem in Iraq. I might be mistaken, probably.
According to a friend in London – A year ago, Armenia (and possibly Georgia) had approached Iran and asked to participate in Iran’s nuclear research as a prelude to importing one day nuclear energy from Iran. The US seized the opportunity and offered to sell a nuclear power plant to Armenia. Security risks aside, neither Armenia nor Georgia can afford to buy or build a nuclear power plant. The earthquake prone (up to 9 on the Richter) regions of the Caucasus (like Lake Sevan) in Armenia are not a good place for putting a nuclear power plant, the friend from London wrote. Who is proliferating for profit now, Mr. Bolton!
Speaking of proliferation, I have some interesting and useful data that I would like to share with readers so that this issue of proliferation can be put into larger perspective. According to Wikipedia – countries that have tested a nuclear device are the US, USSR, United Kingdom, France, People’s Republic of China, India and Pakistan. Countries suspected of having at least one nuclear weapon or programs with a realistic chance of producing a nuclear weapon are Israel, Iran, North Korea and Ukraine. Countries formerly possessing nuclear weapons are Belarus, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Countries formerly possessing nuclear programs but currently not considered as pursuing nuclear weapons are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Nazi Germany during WWII, Iraq, Imperial Japan during WWII, Libya, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Yugoslavia and former Yugoslavia. Other nuclear capable countries are Canada, Japan, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.
Will the US bomb Iranian nuclear sites? If Iranian program is so advanced that merits a strike, then it is safe to assume that the program is lethally radioactive. This means that if the US strikes Iranian facilities it will have to live with the consequences of intentionally causing the spewing of radiation and radioactivity into large areas of Iran and downwind, potentially imperiling the welfare of its own military and population of “friendly” countries in the area. Reported in Wikipedia, in the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 by NATO the nuclear site at Vinca was never hit because the US was aware of the highly enriched uranium that was located there. Maybe the best defense for the Iranians against an attack on its nuclear installations is to enrich as much uranium as humanly possible in the next thirty days!
Last week the American and British secretaries of state – not unlike a pair of terriers that appear on a particular Scotch whisky brand – playfully dashed off to Iraq to fill the political vacuum there with their grace! This is the first time that one has heard of a political vacuum in Iraq. What is hilarious is that there is no vacuum in Iraq, if anything there is an overcrowding brought about by foreign fighters including the military of the Coalition of the Willing. This Soviet-era vacuum theory is being floated because it usually presages the invasion of a country by its neighbors in order to restore order. Rice and Straw went to Baghdad to tell the Iraqi half-leadership there that if they do not get their act together Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria will move into Iraq in order to secure their interests and ensure that the chaos does not spread into their border areas! The only vacuum I can see for now is between the ears of the policymakers in Washington. Meanwhile the sleep-deprived US officials and congressmen travel to the Green Zone, pretending they have visited Iraq.
Guive Mirfendereski is a professorial lecturer in international relations and law and is the principal artisan at trapworks.com. Born in Tehran in 1952, he is a graduate of Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences (BA), Tufts University's Fletcher School (PhD, MALD, MA) and Boston College Law School (JD). He is the author of A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea >>> Features in iranian.com