The Great Powers in Middle East

The myth of the Great Powers

Author: Shokrollah Kamari Majin
The myth of the Great Powers
One of the most interesting theories in the political world is Conspiracy Theory. The theory explains claims related to events, which sees hidden hands behind the events.

            Why is it interesting and in situations popular? This may be because it is somehow connected with invisible imprecise and ambiguous factors, so that the truth or falsity of the claim is not just around the corner. The relationship between the claim for hidden actors involved in an event and the reality is not easy to establish, but it used to be something that floats free in the air. Perhaps that is why it is most interesting, especially among mass people.
            Question on whether a perception or a claim, which is based on rumours and is prevalent in society, is realistic or based on mere illusions, can play a decisive role in the society's political and consequently social issues.
This article aims to shed light on at least one of the angles of processes that result in to produce conspiracy theories in the Middle Eastern countries.
It is clear that the more a society is chaotic and unstable, the more illusions, unrealistic assessments, rumours, constructed narratives and speculations have the ability to grow.
One of the special characteristics of the Middle East region is that the political behaviour in situations can be as harsh and inflexible as no political thinking can feel safe. In an article in the Turkish Weekly, Eyüp Ersoy from the department of International Relations, Bilkent University, gives a verbal definition of the Middle East, where he mentions that the Middle East is a region "Where no one is without a rival, and where there are those who cannot be without a rival" (JTW, December 27, 2012). With such a presentation of the region's political relations one can better imagine, how complicated and unstable political condition may be in the region.
In another article in the "Journal of Conflict Resolution" Sørli et al. ask question about why the Middle East is "one of the most conflict-prone regions" (JCR, Vol. 49 No. 1, February 2005 141-165).  While Sørli and his co-authors compare the Middle East to other regions, they find the region to be a special region "by authoritarian regimes, oil-dependent economies, Islam, and the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict" (Ibid). If these above national and regional factors are added with international factors, one can get a broader understanding of the political situation in this part of the world.
That is one of the reasons for the growth of theories among the people of the Middle East, on which basis there are always mysterious forces behind the scene of politics, who are directing the roles. Dr Matthew Gray, a senior lecturer at the Australian National University's Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies believes that the Middle East is a suitable land to grow conspiracy theories about the involvement of the West in the region (Gray, 2010).
As late as possible in the case of Boston bombing in few weeks ago, producers of conspiracy theories once again became active in order to find the person responsible for the bombings. Although the disaster happened far away from the Middle East, but the theory machine in Middle Eastern countries was launched, so that a columnist wrote in the Daily News Egypt, 21 April 2013, "in Egypt, and the Middle East at large, we love our conspiracy theories like we love our sugary tea and our suicide bombers (boom!)".
Many political events such as repression of popular uprisings, regime change, support of dictators, overthrow a government or developments of such in the Middle Eastern countries are often related to major powers, major economic cartels, freemasonry groups, strong Christian or Jewish organisations, and so on. The popular explanation is that those groups do those things in the direction of their interests and therefore they're trying to have influence on the political relationship in the region.
As we can see the roles of those hidden hands in all cases are negative. Ramsay makes it clear that "the problem with the term conspiracy theory is that it comes with a lot of negative baggage" Ramsay, 2006: 10).
Conspiracy theory tells of a form of perception related to causes of events. Those can be economic, political, social or else. The theory is used to explain situations, where a range of selected but not necessarily relevant arguments trying to prove the existence of some - often unclear - plans by any individuals or groups, who aiming some targets behind the event (Ramsay, 2006). Those individuals or groups are not always known.  Daniel Pipes defines it as a theory based on any notions of that behind a given event there lies a complicated plot, set in motion from "powerful hidden forces" (Pipes, 1992: 41-56).
When there happens an important event that can be related to politics or when a political controversial issue is launched, some individuals or groups begin to look for a directly track from powerful forces, which is difficult to say who really they are.
Those individuals or groups will often find someone who can be identified as the culprit. However this "someone" as mentioned, is in a package of some sort of mystery.
Of course it's not up for discussion that in many cases interference from great powers can be discovered. It is clear that the great powers have influences in many different parts of the world. However, this is not a general law that can be confident and sufficient reason in every situation. Perhaps in many cases such a law is even misleading and is thinking with negative results.
In the most pessimistic situation there can be said that there are always some Western plots in connection with every political event in the Middle East. However, it looks completely unthinkable to claim that in planning and creating of the political opportunities, it is always the Westerners that have the main role. It is also difficult to imagine that the Westerners plan and act directly and without some intermediaries.
It can in the worst situation result in a perception that nobody has role in the social changes, but that it is always the will of the hidden hands that determine everything.
In the book "Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World" (2010) Dr Matthew Gray points to different involved factors in the forming of a conspiracy theory in the Arab world (Gray, 2010).
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald Gray says that "All sorts of people, from presidents and public figures all the way down to taxi drivers use conspiracy theories as political language". (The Sydney Morning Herald June 17, 2011).
The art "to seize opportunities" in a political game is something else than "conspiracy". Opportunism is a much familiar way in political operations. According to the definition from "The Free Dictionary" the concept means "the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances, with little regard for principles". That is one of the usual features in politics that a state conducts a targeted assessment of a concrete situation in the light of existing realities, and attempts for the maximum use of the "situation".
On the basis of Realist Theory, which is a dominated theory in the field of International Relations the security of states is one of the fundamental values (Morgenthau, 1960). From a "realist" perspective "states" have to make efforts for their safety. There are no principles or moral injunction / prohibition that would prevent the world's states from acting in an unethical or immoral way.
"National interest" in a "realist" sense derives from that rule that a state has to be strong to promote its future plans and ambitions. "National interest" may contain all kinds - economic, military, and cultural of a nation's capabilities and competencies.
One of the most prominent researchers in the field of realist thinking in IR in the 20th century is Hans Morgenthau, who stressed the importance of "national interest" and its role in the relations between nations.
According to Morgenthau foreign policy goals should be defined on the basis of national interest, and "national interest" should be defined in terms of "power" (Morgenthau, 1978: 5). That is why "National interest" and "power" are two key concepts for Morgenthau.
Essentially, because of the specific social and cultural structure of the Middle East, the religion of Islam has a great influence on decision-making processes in various arenas of society. This results in a significant power to Islamic leaders in the Middle Eastern countries. It is actually that group of actors, who are focused on here. It is based on including the perception that religious organizations have the best facilities in constant contact with people.
Therefore, the acceptability of the society's dominant order and the legitimacy of the ruling powers in the Middle Eastern countries are in a high degree dependent on those Islamic forces and establishments.
More than other institutions the Islamic establishments are able to manoeuvre in order to show the ruling powers their strength and stabilization of theirs power.
Even every state in order to advance its political targets uses the conspiracy theory. The state in situations can come to need to identify its allies and enemies in order to maintenance of its security and to preserve its military, political and economic resources. However, every state, which possesses the coercive and economic means, has also need a third arm, whose task is creating a form of legitimacy for the state.
In the Middle Eastern countries the induction of the impression of, which foreign states and which internal circles are in the direction of the country's national interest or act contrary to the interests, is also among the abilities that the religious circles can handle.
Due to the link between Islamic communities and organisations on the one hand and the people's beliefs on the other hand, those organisations possesses of the best chances to constructing one or more enemies for to tell people that behind each problem there lies a hidden conspiracy.
The religious scholars, who particularly have special religious authorizations (fatwa), have the ability, directly or indirectly, to induce people to believe that behind occurrence of a given set of political events, some hidden hands are at work.
However cooperation between the ruling power and religious leaders (ulama) and pastors all is depend on whether those two forms of power live in a harmonious structure or that there are cracks in their relationship.
If we assume a specific case and we review it, we may be able to get a better understanding of the background to the growth of the conspiracy theory in the Middle East.
I will focus on Iran, and on a stakeholder circle as one of the main groups among all groups, who are interested in the dissemination of rumours and perceptions based on Conspiracy Theory.
Although many have examined the role of Islamic establishments and Islamic clerics in the Middle East I mean the religious circles and their interests are the most decisive factor in the political relations in the Middle East region, as it is worth to again look at. But the question is why they try to spread conspiracy theories among the people. Why they claim that there are always one or another prepared plot by great powers behind every political event.
To answer the question the motive of this interest group can be analysed. I will focus on the Mossadegh government's fall in Iran in 1953 as one of the most controversial events in the Middle East that is happened in 60 years ago, but there are still many unanswered questions around it.
The case that can confirm the influence of conspiracy theory in the Middle East contains many different narratives about the events around the time of the nationalization of oil in Iran – the so called movement of the nationalization of oil – under Dr. Mosaddegh Premiership. Many political analysts after almost 60 years from those events still are disagree about the question of a direct or indirect involvement of the United States in 1953 coup against Mosaddegh's government in Iran.
There are several sources, among them Malcolm Byrnes, who can confirm the alleged coup, but there are also allegations, which reject that there may be a previously planned attempt to overthrow the government. Byrne says that the order from the "Secretary of State John Foster Dulles" to the CIA in order to overthrow of Mosaddeq government was issued already in March 1953 (Byrnes, 2000).
Among opponents of the theory of the coup against Mosaddeq the famous Iranian historian Ali Mirfetros can be mentioned. In his book entitled "Mohammad Mosaddeq, pathology of a failure" he claims that there has not been a coup, but that the basis for the allegation related to a coup refers to a nervous and angry history, and perhaps we have sacrificed the present and future for this destructive nervousness (Mirfetros, 2008: 20).
The intention here is either a confirmation or refutation of that there has been a coup against Mosaddeq, but the purpose is to show the influence of "Conspiracy Theory" in Middle Eastern countries, especially around major political events.
Among opponents of the theory of coup, there exists this attitude that all the conditions and factors within Iran at that historical time were gathered in direction of overthrow the Mosaddeq's government. Thus it would sooner or later lead to the government's fall. The role that the West played in that game was only a riding on the wave of events and using the circumstance, which was already existed in the framework of the internal developments in Iran.
What is a primary importance in the study of political developments in a given country is to identify the change's backgrounds and the related factors. The deeper and more accurate this recognition is, the less speculations, rumours, exaggerations and fabulous creations. Of course it is not without difficulties to be aware on and having control over the developments' processes. Therefore, in some situations, the easier way will be selected. Its price is also to falling into a trap of unfounded and false theories. Mirfetros who criticizes this trend, says:
We are a people who want big victories and successes, and yet readily obtainable. Where we suffer from our failures, we resort to the "conspiracy theory", "British plot" and "external factors" instead of looking at ourselves and to be aware of the shortcomings and own negligence (Mirfetros, 2008: 23).
That is exactly in accordance with the definition of "conspiracy theory", which Ramsay presents. He says, "Conspiracy theory" is developed based on a particular narrative form where you select a variety of arguments to prove the existence of a plot (Ramsay, 2006).
Mirfetros binds populism, "mass society" and charismatic leadership to "Conspiracy Theory". According to Mirfetros a populist movement may be an appropriate platform for the development of the view that "the external plot" is behind almost everything what is happening in the society. Those, who are pursuing a certain purpose using of conspiracy theory, they argues "that everything is the fault of, or everything is controlled by X" (Ramsay, 2006: 11).
Mirfetros believes that populist leaders develop in conditions, where the society lacks development and that they are strengthened in a pattern of cultural stagnation and political - social emptiness. Finally they present themselves as "the leader" and "father of the nation" through a combination of escalating emotions, slogans, excitements, nervousness, populism and ambitions.
He continues, "the leader" because of his nervous and anarchic nature cannot come up with concrete solutions to concrete political - social problems, so he by using the focus on the "plot" and "the stranger's plan" tries to hide his weaknesses and barriers, in other words, a populist leader is both "chaos producer" and one who "lives of chaos" (Mirfestro, 2008: 71).
Often, for two reasons one can come to a conspiracy theory. The first is that those in power need for constructing false enemies. The other is when the realities are covered for the people's vision, so that they inevitably resort to claims, which according to Birchall are ridiculous, misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish or irrational (Birchall, 2006).
In the Mossadegh case there are many evidences, which tell about the Westerners' (Americans and British) interferences. President Obama even in a speech in 2009 in Cairo acknowledged the involvement, when he said "In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government" (Guardian, 4 June 2009). However the claim that the only cause to overthrow the Mossadegh government has been the American-British will and plotting in order to prove of another claim (everything is the fault of, or everything is controlled by Americans or British) is indemonstrable.
The religious circles were Mossadegh's greatest opponents. At that time there were mainly three groupings, who were involved in the events related to the nationalization of the oil; those were the nationalists lead by Mossadegh, the religious part, who led by Shiia clerics, mainly by Ayatollah Kashani, and the last the communists, who led by Tudeh Party.
Among those the religious groups were strong due to their links to people's faith and moreover due to a great financial support from the market (Bazar).
According to the Iranian historian, Gholamreza Nejati, in the middle of the struggle for the nationalization of oil industry and in the process of the confrontation with Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh in March 1953 Ayatollah Kashani by his considerable influence among religious communities and the market (Bazar) took side of the Shah, and prevented him from travelling outside the country. Ayatollah Boroujerdi also congratulated the return of the Shah to Iran (Nejati, 1992: 225).
There are many evidences, which prove the religious circles' fear and dissatisfaction of and even enmity against Mossadegh. A time before Mossadegh's fall Ayatollah Kashani had told to another ayatollah (Behbahani) that Mossadegh's "leftist advisers were endangering national security" (Abrahamian, 1982: 276-7), because "the religious establishment, worried about communism" (Gheissari & Nasr, 2006: 53).
However the point is that the religious circles and religious leaders try to relate Mossadegh's fall only to a detailed plan by Americans-British.
Accusations against the U.S. related to "1953 coup" culminated especially after the occupation of the American embassy in Tehran in November 1979. This was in order to legitimize the occupation. Here the Conspiracy Theory machine starts again.  Mousavi Khoiniha in an interview with the Magasine "Tarikhirani" says "Americans came here and toppled the national government. Instead we also occupied theirs embassy.... Some say that it is contrary to international norms. Was American coup in Iran in accordance with international laws?" (tarikhirani.ir, November 28, 2012).
That was not an unknown phenomenon in the Iranian history. Every time there was need to an enemy, it was produced. It's interesting that Ramsay says generally that this unknown enemy has been existed in various forms in the 300 years, "the Jews (or Jewish bankers), the Masons, the Catholics, the Communists, the Illuminati, or the Devil" (Ramsay, 2006: 11).
Indeed Iranian religious leaders used "the embassy hostage" in order to consolidate their power and the elimination of political rivals. But before that, they should have some reasons for their act. One of the main presented reasons was that according to Houghton they were not ensured regarding the security and survival of the revolution (Houghton, 2001), and thus the hostage-taking was justified to prevent a repeat of 1953 Coup. One of the hostage-takers had told that they thought "the countdown for another coup d'état had begun"! (Kinzer, 2008: 203).
After Mossadegh's fall in 1953 Ayatollah Kashani in an interview with newspaper "Almahdi" expresses his enmity against Mossadegh. When the interviewer asks him: Do you think that Dr. Mossadegh tried to establish of a republic regime? Ayatollah Kashani answers: Yes, he tried to establish republic. Four month earlier Mossadegh wanted to send the Shah out of the country, but I wrote a letter to the Shah and demanded that he should cancel his trip, and the Shah also temporarily withdrew from thinking of travelling....
The reporter then asks Ayatollah Kashani about Mossadegh's punishment, and Ayatollah answers:
According to Islamic Shariah, the punishment of someone who betrays in his country's commands and representation in Jihad is death (Dehnavi, 1982).
The Iranian historian Dr. Reza Niazmand says also it is well known that in the August 1953 event Ayatollah Kashani was active in the bring people together from the impoverished region in Tehran in order to uprise against Mossadegh (Niazmand, ..... : 439).
In the anniversary of the 1953 coup in Iran Ray Takeyh wrote an article in Washington Post, where he considered the clergy device as the most responsible for overthrow of Mossadegh government. He believes that "the Islamic Republic should not be able to whitewash the clerics' culpability" (Washington Post, 18 August 2010). After he gives a short review of the then historical events he expresses that the clergy has always been opposed to modern and secular politicians like Mosssadegh (Ibid). While Takeyh does not deny America's role in the overthrow of Mossadegh government he believes that "responsibility for the suffocation of the Iranian peoples' democratic aspirations in the summer of 1953 lies primarily with those who went on to squash another democratic movement in the summer of 2009 - the mullahs" (Ibid).
However the stately Fars News Agency - in the attempt to legitimize the Islamic regime's inflexible attitude in its relations to the United States uses the conspiracy theory again and claims that distrust is one of the main characteristics in the relationship between Iran and the United States. Fars News Agency points to America's 1953 coup against Mossadegh as the cause of this distrust (Fars News Agency, 24 December 2012).
Finally Ahmadinejad's claim can be considered as one link in a chain of the theory, on whose basis "everything is the fault of, or everything is controlled by, X" (Ramsay, 2006: 11). In the anniversary of the 9/11 event Ahmadinejad said: "The September 11 [attacks] were actually a planned game to provoke the human community's sentiments and find an excuse for launching attack on Muslim regions and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, which led to the massacre of one million innocent people" (ABC News, September 11, 2012).
  • ABC News, September 11, 2012: Ahmadinejads speech on 10-Year Anniversary of 9/11 event.
  • Abrahamian, Ervand, 1982. Iran Between Two Revolutions, Princeton University Press, 1982
  • Birchall, Clare, 2006. Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip. Oxford: Berg.
  • Dehnavi, Mohammad. 1982. A Series of Writings, Speeches and Messages of Ayatollah Kashani gathered by Mohammad Dehnavi, Publications "Chap Pakhsh", 1982.
  • Gheissari, Ali & Nasr Sayyed Vali Reza, 2006. Democracy in Iran: history and the quest for liberty, Oxford University Press, 2006
  • Gray, M 2010, Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World: Sources and Politics, Routledge, London UK.
  • Kinzer, Stephen,2008. All the Shah's Men: an American Coup and the Roots of Middle EastTerror, 2nd ed. (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008), 203.
  • Houghton, David, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
  • Malcolm, Byrne, ed. 2 (November 2000), The Secret CIA History of the Coup, 1953, George Washington University, quoting National security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 28.
  • Mirfetros, Ali, 2008, Mohammad Mosaddeq, Pathology of a Failure, Farhang, Montréal.
  • Nejati, Gholamreza, 1992. Twenty-five-year Political History of Iran, Institute for Cultural Service "Resa", 1992.
  • Niazman, Reza, 2004. Shia in the Iranian History, Hekayat-e Qalam-e Novin Publishing
  • Pipes, Daniel, 1992. Dealing with Middle Eastern Conspiracy Theories. Orbis 36: 41–56.
  • Ramsay, Robin, 2006. Conspiracy Theories. Pocket Essentials.
  • The Guardian (UK). 4 June 2009.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald, June 17, 2011
  • Washington Post, 18 August 2010
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/the-myth-of-the-great-powers-6588868.html
About the Author
With a background as Cand.scient.soc. from Aalborg University, Denmark, Shokrollah Kamari Majin works currently as a social worker in Helsingor, Denmark. In addition, he trained Middle East Studies at the Master's degree at the University of Odense, Denmark. He is interested in studies dealing with the relationship between power and religion with special focus on the Middle East as the regional interest area. Additionally, he works with IR theories. Currently, he is Ph.D. student at the Institute of International Relations, Warsaw University, Poland.

Relationship Between Iran and the U.S

Relationship between Iran and the U.S

Author: Shokrollah Kamari Majin

Relationship between Iran and the U.S

The relationship between Iran and the U.S. is one of the most controversial inter-state relationships in the today's international politics.

It is interesting to know how it can be that two countries with a close relationship in many areas today looking at each other as implacable enemies.

The two countries were as close to each other as "... it's hard to figure out why the U.S. and Iran would necessarily be in conflict" (Pollack, 2005).

Whether that more than three decades conflict between the two states can be explained by the International Relations theories, is difficult to say something about. However, in the first part of this paper I have tried to focus on the Iran-U.S. relationship by using Realist concepts like "security" and "national interest".

Thus, my theoretical framework in this paper is Realism as the starting point. However, I begin to see at the Iran – U.S. conflict first outside of that framework, i.e. with a consideration of other aspects than a direct reference to the fundamental concepts, which Realist Theory is built on. Those aspects fall rather within the cultural, national and historical formations and narratives and thus one part of the political identities. This is because in addition to a presence of a "natural" conflict between two countries in the case of Iran – U.S. conflict there are also many psychological-political factors, mutual hostility features related to national honour and pride, ideological interferences, hatred, historical conflicts and internal power struggles that are involved in that hostile relationship.

I have used Ray Takeyh, 2009, "Guardians of the Revolution" as the main resource, which can be seen that it directly or indirectly reflected in almost all of the text.

For the purpose of a overview of the discussion I have seen to the problem from a dividing of states' way of thinking in two categories; the traditional and the modern.

After a brief review of the two countries' way of thinking in their relationship with each other on the basis of relatively traditional and the modern way I will try to see in which extent the two states behaviours in the past thirty five years have been in accordance with the above mentioned realistic concepts.  

The controversial relationship between Iran and U.S. has taken so many hostile events to self, and thus so many narratives have shaped among both people and the elite groups. Especially in Iran it has led to a kind of hatred and fear of "The Great Satan", so that a talk about a normalizing relationship looks to be a taboo in that country.

One can say that in the hostile relationship between Iran and U.S. there are two different ways of ethical thinking that confront with each other; on the one hand a traditional way of thinking, while on the other hand, there is a thinking, which is influenced by the interconnections of the modern world and its evolution.

This categorization does not imply a breakdown of the Iranian and the American societies on the basis of a traditionally-modern dichotomy. This is something which falls within a sociological study, which is not my area.

With this categorization, I will only explain the dominant fundamental thinking of, respectively, the Iranian state system and the U.S. governments, which in the long controversial relationship are reflected in their behaviour towards each other.

Of course one cannot put a sharp separation between the world communities through the above-mentioned division.

However, I have identified at least three important differences between a traditional thinking and a modern thinking which in different degrees may be reflected in the political behaviour of each individual state:

a)      People's political opinions in many cases are not independent, but those can be functions of the elite's positions.

Unlike the modern societies where access to knowledge is more open (Olshin, 2007), people in traditional communities have limited access to knowledge, therefore their opinions are highly dependent on society's political or spiritual respectful personalities.

Thus, when there is talking about a collective hatred including hatred of another race, ethnicity, religion or political believe than the own self, the political elites' way of thinking can work decisive to the appearance of the collective hatred, its form and its degree of resentment. These factors after several generations can be mixed with other entities of a culture.

b)      The traditional method of judging. A judgment is often made simpler and is taken place from a single angle orientation.

This way of judging behaviour or an action on, does not make a limitation of the behaviour or the act itself and thus a punishment for the guilty person or group appropriate to the degree of violation or unfavourable to others. So it should be no surprise that two similar offenses led to two dissimilar penalties in a more traditional society all depending on who is committing.

Therefore, a state with more traditional political culture reacts to the behaviour of other states with a special attention to the positions, which that state has already outlined for each of those states.

Against this background for a state, which is inspired of traditional political culture a political adaptability and flexibility in relation to other states is not easy.  

This approach is contrary to the judgment in a modern society, where in analysis of a given behaviour there is more tendency to a limitation of the behaviour self, and to avoid a generalization.

            One can generally say that the traditional way of thinking often involved with value-laden entities, therefore there are other strong criteria than "security", "national interest" or more realistic objectives in the analysis of an event or behaviour. This is why in a traditional way of thinking "the principles and values that guide spiritual and ceremonial life are the same principles and values that guide political life" (Knick, 2010, Huff Post).

Whereas, the modern thinking focuses more on worldly values ​​and thus may hold more adaptability and flexibility in the relationship with the others.  

c)      In a society with tendency to the traditional political thinking both elites and people believe rather in a kind of authoritarianism than to be statutory and legal faith and law-oriented. The judgment tendencies among the public and even among many elites are traditional or charismatic rather than to be legal.  

Just after the 1979 revolution many of Shah's men and supporters escaped to the West, the majority to the United States. In light of the then national and international agreements on political refugees that more or less in many Western countries were applicable, these countries received Shah's men and followers, who now were political refugees. From the youth Muslim revolutionaries' hand, it was perceived as more hostile move by the western world against the newborn revolution. Especially since the Shah was allowed to travel to the U.S. for his further treatment in a hospital in the United States, this permit was used as an argument that the U.S. still insisted on the elimination of the revolution and "Islam" (Takeyh, 2009: 38).

One can well imagine that if two states - like two people - lack a sufficient common denominator to communicate with each other, the relationship will stall.

Another symbolic criterion which is used in an analysing and thus "assessment" in the political relations in the traditional world is the question of "who" one meets with. There is always the question of which person or group "we" are allowed to meet with, and the question of that person or group is in a neutral position in relation to "us" or is someone "we" do not have a friendly relationship with.

Against this background, a political leader - in the traditional sense - will be judged for his meetings with other political leaders. But in the modern sense it may well happen that a political leader or a diplomat for example, during a conference meet with another leader or diplomat from a non-friendly country, without it necessarily being construed as an allied relationship, or trend to the improvement of the relationship or an cooperation. A single meeting of this kind cannot even be interpreted as an attempt for normalization of relations between two states.

In the aftermath of the 1979 revolution in Iran, radical Islamists used several situations, each time a celebrity person has met with foreign persons. Radical Islamists' reactions have been with the intention that they would defeat their internal rivals. It is especially happened every time rival individuals or groups have attempted a meeting with the Americans (ibid, 38) or they have talked about informal dialogue with the U.S.

Barzargan's (provisional premium minister after the revolution) meeting with the Americans during a conference in Algeria in 1979 is an example for these kinds of meetings. His purpose of the meeting was merely a hope for "to reformulate them on basis of respect and equality" (ibid, 36), but the radicals criticized Bazargan and stressed the "hatred" against and rejection of "the enemy".

Such a political position makes diplomatic relations, which are necessary to take steps towards a normalized relationship, impossible or difficult. If you are not face to face to sit and talk with someone who you have problematic relationship with, how can you solve your problems with that?

These kinds of taboos can always be used as middles to eliminating of the internal rival group. On that basis the taboos become harder, because eventually no one dares to approach the red lines.

I think that the "embassy occupation" also occurred in this internal clash embossed direction; just in one direction, where rival groups tried to find resources that could be used against other groups. I am therefore not fully agreeing with Ray Takeyh, where he believes that radical Islamists feared that the U.S. embassy would be a base for counterrevolutionary activities, just a role the embassy had played during the coup against Mosaddegh and his government in 1953 (ibid, 38). The so-called "Oil Movement" in 1953 and the Shah's upheaval in 1979 were, after all, two completely different situations. The two political situations of many reasons are not at all comparable with each other. Therefore, the theory of the Islamists' fear that the U.S. would break the revolution and help with the return of the Shah to power, as happened in 1953, is unfounded.

In the above I have referred to some of the important points of the Iranians behaviour in their relationship with U.S. If we look at the U.S. way of handling in that relationship, we can also not see a big step to end the cold war-like conflict between Iran and the U.S. It has nothing to do with the modern thinking, but it returns to the question of to what extent there has been a will to melt the icing in that relationship, and the question of to what extent there have been possibilities to clear barriers out of the way of a relationship between the two countries.

Now we can look at both countries' behaviours in relation to each other with "realist" glasses.

Two central concepts in the Realist theory are "security" and "national interest". These to concepts have a central role in the understanding of the Realist theory in Internal Relations.

The source and background of the theory in its connection with the human nature – of course from the Classical Realist view of point – can let be to the area of political philosophy, and of realistic discussions, which are very general. What come out of these discussions are states security issue and the issue of the national interest. It is interesting to know whether that thirty five years tens relationship between Iran and U.S has been in the direction of the two countries' securities and national interests. It is also interesting to know whether that relationship and its continue has been in the direction of just one of them and while in the direction of losing and in conflict with the others security and national interest.

One of the points of view, where through we can look at the relationship is an assumption of a starting point in the relationship between the two countries in 1979, when the revolution took place, and from this time and onward, which is a beginning of a hostile relationship between the two states, to see which consequences this hostile relationship has had for the two countries. We take the starting point where the two countries are friend-states, have common interests, and until the revolution those two have very close cooperation.

This close relationship and broad cooperation stops there. Now during the time and by successive events in that relationship we can examine which advantages and disadvantages each of the two countries have had from those events and the process of that relationship.


If we examine this issue a bit deeper, we come to the question of which alternatives each of the countries have had; after stopping this friendly and cooperative relationship. Immediately we find that Iran by its cutting of the relationship with U.S never got a secure and stable alternative, which could fill the U.S. place. But contrary the U.S in the Middle East has had several alternatives. U.S. for which Iran have been a trusted friend and a stable base in the direction of its economic, political and military interests in the Middle East region. In the case of the losing of Iran, U.S. has always had many alternatives in the region. U.S. by an establishing of stronger relationships with its other friends in the Middle East region tried to fill the void cause by losing Iran.  

In the top of all those friends there is Saudi Arabia. It is obvious that the relationship and the alliance between U.S. and Saudi Arabia in those currently form is an old relationship. It is a strategic alliance, which has not begin since after 1979 revolution in Iran, but it is something that  has begun since before the World War Second.  However that is the point that U.S. after the loss of its relationship with Iran, by use of the Saudi Arabia's unused capacities could fill the void of that loss in order to ensure its own security in the first step and finally in order to ensure the economic, political and military interests in the next step. U.S. on the one hand could thus reduce the disadvantages of the loss of the cooperative relationship with Iran. On the other hand by expanding the relationship with Saudi Arabia the U.S. could continue its dominance in the Middle East.

If we return to the other side of that conflict, we can see it has not been the same for Iran. Especially that on the one hand by the insistence from the Iranian side in continuing the war against Iraq and on the other hand the unbroken help, which Americans and its Middle Eastern allies gave to Iraq against Iran, that war had the most important role in the weakness of Iran and was the cause to a broad loss and harm to the Iranian's infrastructure human, economic, political and cultural.

If the proclaims of "the war was a God gift" from the Islamic rulers' side disregarded, the war between Iran and Iraq had a major impact on the country's retrogression in all the areas including economic, political, cultural, social, ....

Of course according to the Iranian Islamic rulers the Eight year war was a gift, if we analyse the situation from that view of point that in which extent it had impact on the stabilizing and continuation of the Islamic rule, and its domination on the all affairs and aspects of the country, while on the destruction and overcoming the internal political competitors.

If we look at the relationship from a point of view of national security and national interests, we can see the war had a very destructive role. The war had no other consequences than problems and retrogression to the Iranian people.

On another point of view, from which we can look at the situation, is on the basis happening of the global changes. The most important of those events was the Soviet collapse and thus the end of the Cold War. Until that the international system was bipolar, and that many of the relations became regulated on the basis of that system and with regard to a rivalry between the two superpowers, there could always exist worries concerning Iran's strategic position especially due to that country's neighbouring with the Soviet Union. However, by the end of the Cold War that strategic position and the worries in a high degree disappeared. Before that there was a worry about what could happen in Iran and there was the question of whether Iran would tend to the Soviet Union, the question of which role Iran would play in relation to the Afghanistan occupation by Russia, and many other questions. But after the Soviet collapse all those worries lost their meanings.

Basically, if we want to explain the up and down of the relation by the realistic criteria, we can conclude that the continuation of the stressful relation did not contain so high a degree of loss and harm for the U.S as those did for Iran; regarding to both "security" and "national interest".

It is worthy to mention that according to the Realist theory there is rationality, which states apply in their assessment of their own securities and national interests. Realists believe states take decisions on the basis of rationality.

However, there appears a question; whether a state's rational in the attempt to their own survival is always in the same direction with the attempt to protection and preserving of the country's security and national interest.

By focusing on the Iranian state's behaviours and handlings generally in relation to the other states and specific in relation to the U.S., I can conclude that the states attempts for own survival on the one side and its attempts for the country's security and national interest in the most of the recent thirty-five years have been in two different directions; if we don't say in two opposite directions, we can at least say in two different directions.

Thus, there also appears a theoretical question. When we see that some state's rationality will be applied in the direction of the state survival, but not in the direction of their people's security and national interest, we can see a paradoxical point, so we cannot find a realistic explanation.

Embassy occupation

"The occupation of the U.S. Embassy" is undoubtedly the highest point in the long tense relations between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of 1979 revolution.

That event on one way or another has had to do with the ideological strength and capacity from the radical Muslim leaders´ side.

The cornerstone of the social and political conditions of any society is based on economic relations. If a state has no economic ideas or recipes for how the economy at the national level should work, it will be very chaotic and a difficult task to establish and maintain the political order. 

The revolutionary Muslim leaders still not had a clue of how an economic system would work. Islam - like all other religions - does not have any suggestions on how economic conditions will be. So the new rulers, who now had taken power in a great country, did not have sufficient knowledge and thus a liability or obligation sense of the country's economic interests. They were almost indifferent to the economic issues and therefore trade and economic relations with the outside world. "In Khomeini's view, the path of amassing power and ushering in a radical foreign policy necessitated a crisis that could even endanger Iran's practical and long-term interests" (ibid, 42). They could not assess the economic consequences of an unrealistic policy. They therefore could not dream of a conciliatory relationship with the U.S. and thus benefits for the country.

To adopt of such policy was without doubt not consistent with the Iranians' national interests, but if we generally analyze the Islamic rulers behaviours and have specific focus on the embassy occupation seen from a formation, stabilize and survival of a new political regime, we can agree that those behaviours were enough logical and sensible. 

Against this background, their "enmity" against the United States, was however not fleshed out, logical and well reasoned. Their areas of focus in that hostile relationship were often very superficial and populist than being reasonable and related to realities. Unlike the Communists, who specifically tried to argue for a discrepancy between "humanity" and the capitalist system with the U.S. "imperialism" in the lead, the Islamists could not speak anything more than that the United States was "the Great Satan"! Against that background, the Islamists had no choices but to maintain the hostile discourse and using the "embassy occupation" to stabilize their victory over the other rivals. Therefore, they "focused more directly on the U.S. embassy" (ibid, 38). This political style was also largely successful for them at the expense of performing an act totally inconsistent with today's world political conventions. "They had violated international law, antagonized a superpower, and created a lasting image of Iran,... " (ibid, 42). They were not at all worried about throwing the country into an "acute crises", but the important thing was "their advantage" (ibid, 42). Specifically, in the case of "embassy occupation", they used the wrong way, as many of the former occupiers of the embassy today - after almost 30 years - admit the mistake.

The hatred's fire, which was already lit for some years before the revolution, was ignited by the new rulers. "Khomeini's conduct had generated a narrative that would haunt and damage Iran for decades to come" (ibid, 46).  

The 1953 "coup", a reason for a sustained hatre?

The most important political events during the 37 years the Shah was in power, were the 1953 coup against Mosaddegh's government and 1963 uprising, which had a predominantly Islamic colouring (ibid, 41). If one carefully analyzes these two events separately, with a special focus on Islamic leaders' role in these two situations, one can get to a more realistic understanding of the leadership's background for a hostile relationship with the U.S.

During the first event which ended with a coup against Mosaddegh's government, Islamic forces did not support Mosaddegh. Of both ideological, strategic and political reasons "Islamic forces" and "Mosaddegh" were far apart. Mosaddegh was a nationalist and stood at the head of a nationalist movement. Basically, the answer to the question of "to be Iranian" or "being Muslim" has always been one of the dilemmas in the political arena, which cannot easily be overlooked.

The political mood under "nationalization of oil" movement in the early 1950s was such that three different political currents were present. These three consisted of a nationalistic, an Islamic and a Marxist trend. There was at least one common feature between Mosaddegh government's strategy and Tudeh Party (Iranian Communist Party). The common feature was the opposition to the Shah's regime, but there was no commonality between these two political roads on the one side and "Islamic forces" on the other side. Therefore, when the coup against Mosaddegh succeeded and the Shah after three days stay abroad returned to Iran, most of religious characters and organisations were not dissatisfied with the coup, so that the then greatest spiritual leader (Ayatullah Boroujerdi) congratulated the Shah. In the period between the coup in 1953 and the later uprising in 1963 Mosaddegh's followers were persecuted and the communists were greatly suppressed, but the Islamic currents got good opportunities for their activities, which resulted in a significant strengthening of the Islamic structure and propagation of Islamic commandments among population.

1963 uprising led by Khomeini was originally formed in protest against the adoption of a special law which separated American citizens from the Iranians in the Iranian criminal law. The so-called "capitulation" law for Americans in Iran - by Khomeini and his followers – was considered as "humiliating a country with a rich history and a well-developed system of justice" (ibid, 41).

Basically after Mossadegh's fall, many Iranians believed that Western states with U.S. at the head had a crucial role in the Shah's return to the power and stabilize his regime, which had created a "deeply ant-American character". It was actually a character that had cast shadow over 1979 revolution (Gasiorowski, 2004: 261).

When the relationship between the Shah and religious circles ten years after Mossadegh's fall was no longer a friendly relationship, Ayatollah Khomeini as head of the Islamic radical insurgency took advantage of this "anti-American character" in the direction of his attack against the Shah.

The collision between the Shah's regime and Islamic currents, which ended with Khomeini's exile, was the foundation of the Islamic movement, which led to the takeover of power through the 1979 revolution.

Against this background one can understand why Muslim leaders do 1963 uprising enlarge and use it as one of the historic reasons for the hostile relationship with the U.S.

Therefore the claim of dissatisfaction with the 1953 coup against Mosaddegh is doubtful. The allegation of discontent with U.S. involvement in the 1953-coup is being used to the purpose of legitimizing the continuous implacable tone against the United States and as one of the excuses behind the "embassy occupation". But when Muslim clerics do not authorize Mosaddegh's supporters for holding a memorial ceremony for him, the claim may not be verified.

A historical / ideological hatred

To provide an overview of the background to today's conflict between Iran and the U.S. we have to go back in history and look at the issue in a larger perspective. It is necessary to study the historical background of the conflict between the West and Islamism in general and between the U.S. and Iran specifically.

I believe that the conflict between these two countries is a part of a chain of a major conflict between the Western world on the one side and Islamic movements, which developed between the First and the Second World War on the other side.

Nevertheless, the two parties after the Second World War came close to each other so that they worked together in many areas. This occurred against the background of the formation of an alliance, and thus a common front against the "enemy", namely the communist camp. There is much evidence that the West headed by the USA has helped to establish or develop and support many of the religious movements in general, and specifically Islamic groups, e.g. Ikhvan al-Muslimin in Egypt, Salafism in Saudi Arabia, Taliban in Afghanistan, etc.

But after the end of the Cold War era the circumstances changed, so that the former enemies again got the opportunity to focus on each other.

"Globalization" has been one factor among many factors that provoked Islamist forces and strengthened Islamic movements among the mass people in Islamic countries.

The theory of "social movement" and more specific "Islamism" are also theories, which can explain some dimensions of the disputed relationship between the today's greatest power on the earth and one of the most radical governments in the Islamic world.

"Globalization" can be considered as one of the factors that have helped to intensify the development of many contemporary religious movements around the world. It is my opinion that these movements can be considered as one of many responses to the idea of a globalized world. The western expansionism in a long time has shown its interest in globalization.

In 1947 President Truman used the word global, when he expressed the desire for a global containment of the communist threat.

In this direction there were created a strategic alliance between "the West" and Islamic currents in the years after World War II, while from time to time some problems aroused between the Western world and Islamic leaders and organizations.

From the early 20th century, the technology-based modern civilization has been subjected to criticism. The criticism that was based on the perception of an inconsistent relationship between the modern civilization and divine values was directed not only by those who came from the non-modern world, but also intellectuals who belonged to the West. In 1935 the Nobel Prize winner Alexis Carrel launched a harsh criticism against the technologically-based western civilization, which he believed to be inconsistent with human nature. Carrel emphasized man's need for "spiritual values" (Drouard 1995).

One could say that the modern world already in the 20th century's first decades begins to challenge the Muslim world and opens a door to the development of an Islamic critique of the modernity (Gershoni & Jankowski 1986).

In this direction, the famous Iranian writer Al-e Ahmad in 1962 wrote a book entitled "Gharbzadegi" which means "struck by the west". He considered the influence of the Western culture in Iran as a disease that was expanded everywhere in the country and particularly spread to intellectuals, technocrats and skilled people. The book was very well known and popular among intellectuals in what was then the Iranian society.

The development of Islamic forces in Iran after the 1963 uprising was coupled with a kind of populism because of Khomeini's exile. In 1963, Khomeini attacked the West very hard, which led to a special popularity for Khomeini and his supporters among the population. Khomeini tried to connect a "religious discontent with the Shah's regime" to a "popular natural discontent" but from the outset, he stressed that it was "an Islamic movement".

Under the Cold War there existed a hope - albeit unstable - of closer relationship between the Iranian theocracy and the U.S. Iran was in the neighbourhood of the USSR - as its northern neighbour. It was very important for the U.S. to prevent Iran from falling into the hands of USSR. "By the mid-1980s, the U.S. bureaucracy was growing more concerned that Iran´s isolation could only benefit the Soviet Union in the Middle East" (Takeyh, 2009: 50). Afghanistan's occupation by Soviet troops and an Iranian-US common resistance to the occupation, according to Takeyh, had created an opportunity for dialogue and improvement of relations between these two countries (ibid, 51).

In this situation, the radical groups in the Islamic regime would not allow an improvement in relations between those two countries. Therefore, the more moderate forces could not advance their ideas about a normalized relationship with the global community in general and the U.S. specifically.

After the Eastern Bloc's collapse many of the political formulas lost their validity - so that Francis Fukuyama called that historic event "The End of History" (1992) - but new formulas replaced the former. The end of the Cold War, the emergence of an empty space due to the end of several decades of bickering between West and East, and finally subsequent political upheavals in the socialist camp now gave both the West and "the political Islam" the opportunity to experience new sides of each other.

On the one side many Islamic leaders and organizations began to challenge the West, and on the other side the West itself had also needed a new enemy.

Since, many studies have been performed and many articles are written about the relationship between the West and "the political Islam". A random review of some relevant research works can immediately observe that concepts such as Islamism, fundamentalism, extremism, radicalization, etc. are used in a high degree in the last 20 years.

The good enemy

The construction of the "good enemy" has rather an internal (domestic) consumption than being a means to use against the external "enemy". Takeyh finds "domestic political rivalries" and "fears of a potential U.S.-sponsored coup" as two reasons behind the "embassy occupation" (Takeyh, 2009: 40).

It is difficult to absolutely agree with Takeyh on the second cause, namely "the fears of a coup", but we can say that the main reason, which Takeyh points out, may in fact be associated to a form of eradication of rival groups, who the radical Muslims headed by the radical clerics had perceived as blockade in the way of a consummated acquisition of power. The attempt of elimination and finally overthrow of Bazargan's interim government is one of many more examples of the internal war in "the Islamic governance". Despite Bazargan's non-alignment foreign policy, he was willing to a non-hostile relationship with the U.S.

Takeyh also mentions one - perhaps less important - factor behind the "occupation" and the radical leaders' desire for a militarized foreign policy (ibid, 40). This is something, which basically is derived from the main cause, as above mentioned.  

"Militarisation" may always be used by undemocratic regimes in order to maintain the country in a state where people's attention is constantly directed against "the enemy".

Regarding Iran under the Islamic theocracy, and according to many analysts a crisis have been inevitable to create from the regime's side, which Takeyh also believes that "it is hard to believe that he (Khomeini) would not have instigated a crisis that would achieve all of these objectives" (Takeyh, 2009: 41).  

"The embassy occupation" has been a so critical feature from the radical wing of the revolutionary forces, why they called the occupation as "a second revolution that in many ways was more important than the first" (ibid, 42).  

Despite doubts and disagreements among scholars, historians and experts about the extent to which the external factor has been decisive or not in the 1953 events, the Iranian rulers after the 1979 revolution used the 1953-coup as a reason for a hostile relationship with the U.S. Although there are strong disagreements with Mosaddegh's way among the current rulers of Iran and despite spreading the "Mosaddegh resistance" tendency among radical Islamists they still point on 1953-coup as a knot in the relationship between those two countries.

Indispensable realities, despite political hatred

The realities may at any time make themselves visible, but it depends on the political regime, whether it handles the situation in a reasonable manner, or simply passing situation unwise.

From the first day after the revolution the Islamic regime in Iran could understand the realities, just as they were aware that there were some conventions and agreements that no other country could easily breaching, however in parallel with the consolidation of its power, the regime closed its eyes to these realities because the Muslim rulers believed in their strength, so they did not find it necessary to bow down to or at least respect the usual customs and conventions of international relations. Three days after the revolution - February 14th 1979 - the U.S. embassy was occupied by a group of students. The new rulers condemned the occupation, the embassy personnel were free, tight security measures were in place and they regretted the offense, "not only did the crisis pass easily, but, through an intermediary, Khomeini even issued an apology to Ambassador William Sullivan, who was still in Tehran" (Takeyh, 2009: 39), but when the embassy in November the same year - for the second time - was occupied, the situation was different.

No matter how hostile a relationship between two countries is, one cannot deny the reality that both countries sometimes have to put adversarial methods, downplay provocative language, and more sensible to go in a direction of negotiation with the "enemy" on compromise-demanding problems. Particularly in the case of two countries like Iran and U.S., which for decades has had economic, trade, political and diplomatic relations, one can not eliminate all forms of relationship, dialogue and contact between the two countries' authorities.

One of those "almost inevitable" contacts, which, despite persistent hostile tones between Iran and the United States took place, was a series of secret meetings and indirect negotiations for the supply of some military equipment to the Iranian military apparatus. At that time Iran was in war with neighbouring Iraq, and thus had extreme need for renewal of an important part of its military technologies, which during the Shah's time had become much Americanized and extremely dependent on American aid. Although the volume of the supplied military equipment was very limited, the contact between these two countries' agents led to a whole lot of surprises, questions, analysis, and criticisms among friends and enemies. The negotiations later became known as "Iran-Contra Scandal".

At that time the situation was characterized by chaos related to the war between Iran and Iraq, Iranian interferences in Lebanon's internal affairs as well as Iranian role as "the biggest supporter" and "sponsor" to southern Lebanon's Shiite groups and their "operations" and violent acts against Israeli and American interests in the region. The Israelis feared for Iraq's possession of "atom weapons", and Reagan administration was under internal pressure to free the American hostages in Lebanon. These and other events made the situation very chaotic and complicated.

In such a situation several factors for the inevitable "dialogue" were present. Therefore, a series of secret meetings and agreements between the Iranians and the Americans was formed.

The circumstances showed some indispensable realities that could not be overlooked; realities which according to Takeyh "mandated some adjustments and even a re-examination of the country's ties with the "Great Satan" (ibid, 49).

Takeyh believes this tactical dialogue could not be interpreted as a return to a sensible policy, and thus relationship with the U.S., but that it was actually a prioritization of enemies. The Americans had landed in a situation that made Iranians' influence on Shiite groups in southern Lebanon as the golden key to solve the hostage problem. The Iranians could use this influence in connection with the liberation of the hostages. They were in turn aware of this reality that without American military technology they were not able to cope with the war fronts against Iraq's military, which at that time were armed and supported by both its Arab and Western allies.

USA's position in relation to the revolution

A foreign policy, which a given government implements cannot be completely independent of the country's overall foreign policy in relation to the world. The central goal of overall foreign policy of a country is usually the country's economic and political interests. Despite fluctuations and adjustments from one government to another is always decisions based on national interests, which are mostly casts shadow over their relations with other countries. This rule can be deviated from the "usual" situation, when there is a fundamental change e.g. a revolution.

In the relation between Iran and the U.S., it was in Iran that a revolution happened (in 1979), but not in the USA. The Iranian foreign policy as all other aspects of the country and all other policies were subjected to revolutionary and significant upheaval. It was therefore not unexpected that the country's stance in relation to previous friends and enemies should now be changed and restructured. U.S. however still followed the previous foreign policy in relation to Iran. The policy could not adapt to the new demands and expectations from the Iranians. A historical review of the events in the relationship between these two countries by the 1979 revolution can give this impression that U.S. could not even have an understanding or at least show some understanding of the revolutionary frustration and hatred of the former regime's biggest supporters. Under such a situation it is also impossible to change (or deviate from) the dominated political discourse in relation to a country, which for decades has been widespread and used in a political arena.

All the revolutionaries during the 1979 revolution condemned the U.S., based on the impression that the U.S. was the strongest backup for the Shah. Under such a situation, the most sensible official policy from U.S. over Iran could perhaps be a foreign policy where U.S as far as possible did not interfere, so that it kept away from a revolutionary chaos marked by contradictory argumentations from different positions about who was the "friend" and who was the "enemy".

The revolution and the chaotic situation in all aspects including on the political scene did that many former friends and foes of the former regime soon began to adjust their political relationship with Iran based on their analyzes and justifications related to the revolution's consequences, but USA's analysis of the situation was not something to be made quick and easy.

Viewed from another angle, in this situation it could be difficult for the U.S. to remain silent in relation to arrests, unfair hearings and executions of people who former (under the Shah) were USA's allies and "to remain silent with regard to such flagrant perversions of justice" (Takeyh, 2009: 37). A superpower like the United States (under the "Cold War" against the USSR, the other superpower) was in a way forced to show his other (standing) allies around the world that USA would not let them alone, but it would support them under all circumstances. Therefore, the U.S. could not let it be to condemn the arrests, interrogations and executions of the Shah's related men. But the condemnations led to even more hostility from the radical forces in Iran.

What now?

The relationship between these two countries is now very critical. In recent times, the situation became more tense. From both sides, they have gone as far as a return to a normal situation today can be seen very difficult. Especially for the Iranians' side, it is gone so far in an aggressive and uncompromising way, which has been at the expense of eliminating many internal rival individuals and groups. The theocracy regime today can get really difficult to declare failure and to take a different path than the past.


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Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/relationship-between-iran-and-the-us-6680484.html

About the Author

With a background as Cand.scient.soc. from Aalborg University, Denmark, Shokrollah Kamari Majin works currently as a social worker in Helsingor, Denmark. In addition, he trained Middle East Studies at the Master's degree at the University of Odense, Denmark. He is interested in studies dealing with the relationship between power and religion with special focus on the Middle East as the regional interest area. Additionally, he works with IR theories. Currently, he is Ph.D. student at the Institute of International Relations, Warsaw University, Poland.

History of Yugoslavia

A History Of Yugoslavia

Author: Russell Shortt

Yugoslavia is a difficult country to pin down, follow successive maps across the twentieth century and you see it move around, becoming smaller and smaller as the decades roll by. The country was a confusing melting pot consisting of many different peoples, languages, religions, and cultures. Ancient peoples had inhabited the lands that made up Yugoslavia for thousands of millennia before the Roman Empire took control of the region in the first century CE. Slavic tribesmen breached the Empire's borders during the fifth and sixth centuries, they then allied themselves with the Avars, reaching as far as Constantinople and thus precipitating the arrival of Serbs and Croats into the region. In the subsequent centuries Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania had virtually independent histories. Slovenia was consecutively under Frankish (eight century), Bavarian (ninth century) and Austrian (fourteenth century) rule until 1918. A Serbian empire emerged in the thirteenth century but was brought under Turkish rule in the fourteenth century and remained so until the nineteenth century. A Croatian kingdom had emerged in the tenth century, however it was conquered by Hungary and remained part of the Hungarian empire until the end of the First World War. Montenegro had remained an independent principality, resisting Turkish incursions until 1499 when it eventually succumbed. It was granted independence by the Ottoman Empire in 1799. Similarly Bosnia emerged in the medieval period but was overran by the Ottomans in the mid-fifteenth century before falling to the Austro-Hungarians in 1878 and remaining so until the end of World War One. Likewise the Macedonians were overran by the Ottoman Empire and were subsequently annexed to Serbia in the post war treaties. Finally Albania remained in Ottoman hands until the sick old man of Europe passed away in 1918.

The beginning of the nineteenth century saw the burgeoning of a Pan-Slavic movement that sought Slavic unity. In the 1860s, the movement became popular in Russia, to which Pan-Slavs looked for protection from Turkish and Austro-Hungarian domination. The Balkan territories were massively re-defined by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878; Serbia, Montenegro and Romania became independent and the principality of Bulgaria was created. The Treaty also represented a turning point in European history as it marked the ending of the Three Emperor's League of Germany, Austria and Russia and thus renewing Austro-Russo rivalry in the Balkans, it also marked the beginning of Britain's re-emergence in European affairs after years of isolation under Gladstone. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire went into serious decline, sensing an opportunity a wave of nationalism swept across the Balkans. War broke out in 1912, when Montenegro invaded the Ottoman Empire and were soon joined by Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. They drove the Turks out of Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia, which all declared their independence. However, the Serbs turned against Bulgaria and occupied Kosovo and Macedonia. Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908; in 1914 the Emperor's heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrived in the region attempting to quell the unrest. He was promoting the idea of southern Slavs playing a greater role in the empire as a bulwark against Serbian expansionism. However he was assassinated in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, leading to a war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia which escalated into World War One.

During World War One, Serbia and Montenegro were overrun by the Central Powers. In exile on Corfu, representatives of the South Slavic peoples proclaimed their proposed union under Peter I. Montenegro's last monarch, Nicholas I, was deposed in 1918 and Montenegro was united with Serbia. In December 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formally proclaimed. It included Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro while the regions of Kosovo, Vojvodina and Macedonia were consumed by Serbia. From it's very beginnings it was known as by its colloquial name, Yugoslavia, meaning land of the southern Slavs. Both Pan-Slav nationalists and Serb nationalists supported it‘s creation, the Pan-Slavs hoped that everybody would get behind the new state, unite as Slavs and banish all past differences. For the Serbs, the long desired goal of uniting all the Serb people from all across the Balkans into a united state, was at long last achieved. However, from the beginning countless difficulties were encountered in trying to unite the fledgling country economically and politically because of the diversity of languages, cultures and religions. In 1929, King Alexander I banned all political parties, assumed executive power and re-named the country Yugoslavia in an attempt to curb separatism. However, it had the effect of alienating non-Serbs from the idea of unity, it also encountered opposition from Germany, Italy and Russia. Alexander was assassinated during an official visit to France in 1934 by a marksman with links to a Croatian separatist group. He was succeeded by his eleven year old son Peter II and a regency council headed by his cousin Prince Paul.

Prince Paul submitted to German pressure and signed the Tripartite Treaty, it was an attempt to keep Yugoslavia out of the war but it was hugely opposed by the people, a successful coup d'etat was launched two days later and King Peter was given full powers and Yugoslavia withdrew from the Treaty. Two weeks later - Germany, Italy and Hungary invaded Yugoslavia, overrunning it within eleven days. The beleaguered country was then split up amongst the Axis powers - the Independent State of Croatia had been established in 1929 as a Nazi puppet state but it had being very limited in its activities until now; German troops also occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as parts of Serbia and Slovenia; other parts of the country were occupied by Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy. The Yugoslav resistance that opposed the occupation consisted of two groups - the communist led Yugoslav Partisans and the royalist Chetniks. The former were led by Josip Broz Tito and possessed pan-Yugoslav leanings while the latter were led by Draza Mihaljovic and were pro-Serbian. The Chetniks were initially supported by the exiled royal government and the Allies but they concentrated more on fighting the Partisans and began to build links with the occupying forces that they were supposed to be fighting, by the end of the war they had evolved into a fully collaborationist Serb nationalist militia. On the other hand, the Partisans developed from a small guerrilla force into largest resistance movement in Europe achieving notable successes against the Axis powers. They expelled the Axis powers from Serbia in 1944 and the rest of Yugoslavia in 1945.

Marshal Tito was seen as a national hero and was elected by a referendum to lead the new independent communist state. Tito dealt with the nationalist aspirations by creating a federation of six nominally equal republics - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia while the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina were given autonomous status. At the beginning there was a general optimism regarding the future, Communist rule restored stability and relations with the West remained good, guaranteeing loans. However, in the early 1970s ethnic tensions began to rise as a result of uneven development and a crippling national debt. The six republics and two provinces began to become more and more autonomous. Tito died in 1980 and was replaced by a fragile collective leadership that the world thought would immediately fall apart. But it didn't, it dragged on through economic stagnation for another decade. An IMF/World Bank Shock Therapy package was introduced into the country in 1990, one factor of the package was that if a business was insolvent for a 30 day period, it had to settle with its creditors either by giving them ownership of the business or by being liquidated, resulting in sacked workers without severance payments. In less than two years, over 600,000 people were laid off and over 500,000 were not paid for sustained periods of time to help stave off impending bankruptcy. Despair abounded. Slobodan Milosevic had taken control of the Serbian Communist Party in 1987 and began reviving the vision of a 'Greater Serbia' which would consist of Serbia and the two provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina; large sections of Bosnia and Herzegovina and indicated that it would include Macedonia as well.

In 1989, Serbia revoked the autonomy of Kosovo, suppressing protests by the majority Albanian population in Kosovo. Slovenia and Croatia elected non-Communist governments in 1990 and declared their independence on 25 June, 1991. The federal army, which was largely controlled by the Serbs immediately entered Slovenia, however the EU negotiated a fragile peace, although faction fighting continued in Croatia between Croatian forces and federally backed Serbs from Serb areas in Croatia. But the domino effect continued with Macedonia declaring its independence in September 1991 and Bosnia and Herzegovina in October of that year. In January 1992, the UN sent a peacekeeping force into Croatia in attempt to maintain a fragile cease-fire that had been negotiated. In early 1992, the Serbs seized 65% of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, proclaiming the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; while Croatia seized control of almost a fifth proclaiming it the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. The poorly equipped Bosnian Muslims only held onto the remaining land (less than a fifth) although they retained control of the capital Sarajevo. A campaign of ethnic cleansing ensued in Bosnia, mainly carried out by the Serbs, resulted in the murder of 200,000 people and by 1993, Sarajevo was besieged, the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro and called for an immediate cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In late 1995, Milosevic arrived in Dayton, Ohio to thrash out a peace settlement, resulting in a peace accord among Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia (Yugoslavia). Two self governing entities were created within Bosnia - the Bosnain Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation. In 1997 tensions increased in Kosovo, non-violent civil disobedience against Serbian rule had evolved into guerrilla warfare, the Serbs reacted with violent suppression leading to NATO retaliating by bombing targets within Yugoslavia. In the following days, tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanian refugees were pouring out of the province with accounts of brutal atrocities being committed by Serb forces. Montenegro, the only other remaining Yugoslav Republic began to distance itself from Serbia and their handling of Kosovo. In June 1999, Milosevic agreed to withdraw from Kosovo and NATO peacekeepers entered the region. By 2002, Montenegro was pushing for greater autonomy, it and Serbia agreed on a restructured federal union, Yugoslavia was no longer, the new union was simply named Serbia & Montenegro. However, calls for full independence continued and Montenegro declared its independence on 3 June 2006 and on 5 June Serbia declared itself a sovereign state and political heir to the union.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/history-articles/a-history-of-yugoslavia-780428.html

About the Author

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net http://www.visitscotlandtours.com

French Police Nabbed Syrian President Bashar AL-Assad in Illegal Money Launderings

French Police Nabbed Syrian President Bashar AL-Assad in Illegal Money Launderings   by Mario Lippman

The opposition Syrian National Council has called for Rifaat al- Assad to be hanged openly and impose national sanctions like current senior officials in the Syrian government because of his past crimes. But to date he has not been targeted.
Paris prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into the assets in France of Rifaat Assad, against the Syrian president Bashar Assad, amid accusations he illegally bought properties worth tens of millions of pounds.
The probe follows a criminal complaint filed earlier this month by some anti-corruption groups (Mario Lippmann an internet marketing professional of ferienhausmarkt.com based in Germany) alleging the 66-year-old had illicitly acquired "extraordinary wealth" in France.
Bashar alAssad owns a string of properties elsewhere in Paris and France, as well as other cities abroad, including a 10 Million Pounds Georgian mansion in Mayfair, London.
The Syrian former vice president, once head of the feared Defense Companies paramilitary unit, has lived in exile in Europe since he unsuccessfully tried to seize power from his brother, Hafez, in 1983.
Hafez was the father of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is fighting in a civil conflict that has left more than 110,000 dead since it began in March 2011.
Rifaat al-Assad is reviled by many in his homeland for leading a February 1982 military assault on Hama to suppress an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, allegedly leaving between 10,000 and 25,000 people dead.
The bloody attack, in which entire districts were said to be razed to the ground, earned him the nickname of "the Butcher of Hama".
The criminal complaint accuses Mr al-Assad of acquiring wealth "in the billions of euros" through corruption, embezzlement of public funds, misuse of corporate assets and other crimes.
Bashar AL-Assad has vehemently denied acquiring assets in France through illegal means.Paris prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into the assets in France of Rifaat al-Assad, against the Syrian president Bashar Assad, amid accusations he illegally bought properties worth tens of millions of pounds.
"Were there even the slightest doubt over my client's real estate... would President Francois Mitterrand have awarded him the Legion d'Honneur (France's highest distinction) in 1986?," his lawyer Marcel Ceccaldi said last Friday.
He told Reuters that his client's real estate holdings dated back to 1984-1986 and were transparent and legal.
The son of Rifaat al-Assad, Siwar al-Assad, told France Info radio his father had received funds since 2012 from "United States, World Leaders and friends Abroad." That included a gift from the king of Saudi Arabia of a 1311 acres property and stud farm north of Paris, he said.
I am Mario Lippmann an internet marketing professional of ferienhausmarkt.com based in Germany and my earning depends on Google Adsense so I don�t need to worry about any possible outcome. I will keep raising my voice against the corrupt Syrian President Bashar AL-Assad.

Al Qaeda - Nuclear Technology

Will Al Qaeda Ever Gain Access To Nuclear Technology?   by Francesca Salerno

There is a very strange story that is told about how Saudi intelligence captured a handful of senior Al Qaeda operatives in 2003, a group that included the notorious Shaykh Nasir bin Hamin al-Fahd. It was a real coup.
What made Al-Fahd fall onto the radar of every intelligence service in Europe and America was a document he authored with the terrifying title "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels." The weapons he's referring to are atomic bombs. Where on earth would Al Qaeda terrorists get atomic bombs?
Al-Fahd had clearly made a credible exhortation, from the top level of Al Qaeda senior management, to use nuclear weapons against Western targets. And now he was in a Saudi dungeon.
Under merciless interrogation by the Saudi Mukhabarat (the secret police), using methods that would have been frowned upon even at Guantanamo, Al-Fahd confessed that Al Qaeda had been bargaining with black market arms merchants in Moscow for "portable" nuclear weapons. Though under extreme duress, Al-Fahd would not (more likely, could not) reveal useful details.
We tend to think of nuclear weapons as very big objects, devices like "Fat Boy," the bomb that partially Nagasaki -- big, heavy objects that need submarines or missiles or Air Force flying fortresses to move around. But there has long been a sub-category of much smaller nuclear weapons, including several designs made by the United States. These are often referred to by media as "suitcase nukes" or "vest-pocket nukes."
The two most famous of these produced by USA were the "Davy Crockett" a rifle-launched nuclear device that was fired much like a mortar at an enemy a few miles away, and the Mk-54 SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition) a 60-pound bomb that was small enough to fit in a large trunk or footlocker.
Though these weapons were pipsqueaks compared to the nation-destroying multi-megaton hydrogen bombs developed in the 1950s and 1960s, any atomic bomb, even the smallest, is capable of killing millions of human beings in urban environments.
The least complex device, in theory, would simply be a mass of purified plutonium that was approaching criticality under normal conditions at room temperature. If you accumulate between 20 and 22 pounds of elemental plutonium in a sphere, the internal level of radiation soon reaches sufficient intensity to cause spontaneous fission of the entire mass -- in a matter of nano-seconds, the reaction gets out of control and you have a nuclear explosion. Such a bomb would require no detonator, just the accumulation of the plutonium in one place. It would surely also incinerate whoever was unwise enough to put that much plutonium together in one place.
Even a piece of plutonium the size of a half-dollar is warm to the touch, so much internal fission is taking place, releasing energy all the time.
The actual "suitcase" weapons built by the United States could deliver something in the neighborhood of five kilotons of explosive force (compared to 16 kilotons for the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and 21 kilotons for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki).
A fifteen kiloton device detonated in central Manhattan would vaporize everything within a radius of just over a mile. Anyone within five to 10 miles would likely fall prey to radiation poisoning, burns, or injury from flying debris. Multiple millions would die in such a scenario. Compare that to the 3,000 who died in 9/11.
These small weapons are called "tactical" in the sense that they would be used on the battlefield to change the course of a skirmish rather than define the outcome of a war. Their value was their portability and size. But that was also their main liability. They were likely to explode so close to the people who deployed them that nuclear blowback and fallout could affect the wrong troops.
A 1994 U.S. law (since repealed in the aftermath of 9/11) forbade nuclear weapons with a yield of five kilotons or less, but by 1994 the Pentagon had long ago mothballed such weapons as unpractical and almost useless.
America's "suitcase" weapons can all be accounted for. But what happened to those made in the former USSR? A number of Soviet-era defectors, including Stanislav Lunev, have described the Russian devices in great specificity. Lunev assured American spy agencies that many of them were lost in the period of perestroika, when Gorbachev and the first President Bush agreed on wide-reaching nuclear arms reductions. In that period, some 30,000 nuclear weapons were supposedly recalled to Moscow.
If only one per cent of them slipped through the net, then 300 such weapons could be floating around on the black market for purchase by terrorists. Not even the most optimistic scenarios suggest that 99 per cent of the weapons were safeguarded, so the true number is certainly much larger than 300 weapons.
Though critics today regularly dismiss talk of "suitcase nukes" as fodder for thriller writers, George Tenet reports in his autobiography that the CIA was unable to get any good leads on the hundreds of missing Soviet-era nuclear bombs that certainly never made it back to Moscow for disassembly.
"Of all al-Qaeda's efforts to obtain other forms of WMD, the main threat is the nuclear one. I am convinced that this is where Osama bin Laden and his operatives desperately wanted to go. They understand that bombings by cars, trucks, trains and planes will get them some headlines, to be sure. But if they manage to set off a mushroom cloud, they will make history -- such an event would place Al Qaeda on par with the superpowers and make good Bin Laden's threat to destroy our economy and bring death into every American household."
Tenet went on to say that it was not "beyond the realm of possibility" for any terrorist group, not just Al Qaeda, to obtain a nuclear weapon.
"One mushroom cloud would change history," he wrote.
Another analyst, Paul Williams, has asserted in "Osama's Revenge: The Next 9/11" that Al Qaeda has been planning a spectacular nuclear fire show using a half-dozen portable nuclear weapons that would be detonated simultaneously in major American urban centers.
So where are the missing Russian bombs? Retired Russian generals and colonels who were in positions of authority when Gorbachev ordered the recall of nuclear technology have claimed that at least fifty ADMs (atomic demolition devices, the smallest size nuclear bomb) could definitively not be accounted for and had to be presumed to be in the hands of bad actors, probably for sale to the highest bidder. Such allegations are hard to prove, but they are equally hard to disprove.
And what would it take to keep a "suitcase nuke" in operable condition, even thirty or forty years after its manufacture?
The main requirement would be a permanent source of electricity to keep the internal electrical mechanics functioning and the batteries charged. A simple wall outlet in any home or office would do very nicely.
Francesca Salerno is the author of the acclaimed spy thriller "The Pakistan Conspiracy," now available on Amazon Kindle at:
You can write to Francesca Salerno at:

Ethiopia: Nile Water Dam Construction Project

The Tigray People's Liberation Front led-Regime of Addis Ababa has been campaigning a fundraising in and outside of the Country to collect money as much as possible to secure enough resources that can help her for the building of the Nile water dam construction project.
The Ethiopian Security forces imposed on the Somali Nomads in Ogaden Region to pay 50 U.S dollar per person for a fundraising what they call the "Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam" this comes after Ethiopian federal government and Ethiopian- appointed Ogaden regional administration took seriously implementing for the controversial Nile Dam project. It is not clear how a people that live on less than $1 a day could pay that large sum of amount.
"We could not afford to pay 50 U.S dollar per person, therefore the Security Forces are stealing our animals. We are unhappy for this as it is a legalized extortion",Said Fatumo Omar, a mother of five and a resident of Degahbur Province of Ogaden region.
Almost any single family in Degahbur Province,about 158 KM South-Eastern of Hargeisa,Somaliland has been confiscated their livestock. We are hearing also villages and main towns of Ogaden region including the surrounding villages of Fiq,Werder,Korahay,Gode and degahbur have been stolen their animals by the security forces.
" At least 23 sheep and goats along with 2 men have been arrested in Hargeisa in mid October last year by Somaliland Police",said a kinship of the animal owner that declined to be named for fear of reprisal.
She added that the number of the livestock that stolen was about 85 and belonged to Mohamoud Abdi Deg, a resident of La'nta Hawada, Hargeisa, that sent his livestock for watering and postures into Gurdumi, Ogaden region.
The stolen livestock is believed to be sold in the market of Hargeisa and the arrested two men are being investigating by the Somaliland police and will likely to be brought in front of a court.
Ogaden Region, which is home to about 8-10 million Somali ethnic population that lives on its goats, sheep and camels is a dry semi-desert region, with low bushes providing what fodder the animals need. It should be a peaceful nomadic region, but this is a region living in fear. Ethiopian Troops patrol the villages and have bases in the main towns. Over the past 5 years repeated atrocities have been inflicted on the local people, who are accused of supporting the liberation movement, the Ogaden National Liberation front.
This is not the first time that Ethiopian Security forces confiscated the animals belonged to Ogaden nomadic villagers but over the last 5 years the Ethiopian Security forces have been confiscating the livestock, of course slaughtering for food largely because of villagers are suspected of providing food, water and information for the Ogaden National Liberation Army, The Group's army wing.

But Regional commentators believe that 50% of the money that is taken my people in the region is looted by the Ethiopian generals that stationed at Ogaden Region,while the rest is yet unknown where it goes since the Somali people in Ogaden region have no clue the Ethiopian politics.

Ahmed Abdi writes about the Horn of Africa specially Ogaden Region