May of 2016 I was privileged to have the opportunity to travel to and spend 13 days and 12 nights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I came back with more questions than when i left; they required a considerable amount of research to answer. The results are in the treatise that follows.
Iran is a sophisticated modern country with friendly people and an ancient history. Todays political atmosphere is the result of past actions by the United States and our Allies that few Americans are aware of. It is my desire that the truth be known.
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Been There, Not Done With That
Jack G. Campbell
What an eye opener. What a mind opener. It was very much not what any of us expected. The popular perception of Iran in the average American’s opinion is very incorrect.
In order to understand today's Iran a given amount of history needs to be known. It is one of the oldest civilizations on earth and mistakenly demonized by many without a working understanding of the facts. It is a history of politics, religion and petroleum dollars.
Iran did not start out a Theocracy, it was here Long before either Christianity or Islam came along, and more than 2000 years before the United States. It is an ancient culture. As a matter of fact, Iran was once a Democracy and strives to become one once more.
Iranians are not Arabs. They are Persians, they speak Farsi, not Arabic. They are historical enemies of the Arabs who have invaded them over the centuries bringing with them the Islamic religion to replace Zoroastrian.
Iran is a Shia or Shite (Follower or Friend) Islamic nation and wants you to know it. Although there is a Christian community, Jewish community, Zoroastrian community and Sunni Islamic community it is overwhelmingly Shia. It is important to them that this is understood as they consider themselves to be of a higher standard. Most of the Mid-East is the opposite with large Sunni majorities except for Bahrain and Iraq, where Saddam Hussein and his Sunni minority forcefully dominated the majority Shia and Kurd populations.
It is very important to understand the difference in the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam. Islam came out of the deserts of Arabia. The holy prophet of Islam is Mohammad. Mohammad “the last prophet” was born around 570 CE in the city of Mecca. In the year 622, with followers, he migrated to Medina; this date marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. in 629 with an army of 10,000 he marched on and conquered Mecca with little loss of life on either side. In 632 he died. This is where the Shia/Sunni split comes.
Muhammad had a daughter named Fatima, she was married to Mohammad’s first cousin Ali. It is said that Mohammad appointed Ali as his successor. At the death of Mohammad there were those that followed Ali as their first Caliph: they are the Shia.
However, there was a competing power, Mohammad’s advisor Abu Bakr, who was also his father in law. After the death of Mohammad there were those that claimed Abu Bakr as their first Caliph; they are the Sunni.
Iran is very aware that 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudi Arabian Sunni. The ISIS & Taliban terrorists we see on TV with their shoulder-fired rocket propelled grenades are from neighboring Sunni states such as Afghanistan and Pakistan to the East, plus Iraq, Syria and other states to the West. In fact, the owning of firearms in Iran is illegal, supposedly no one owns any. The few military people we saw in public were not armed nor are most of the police. We share a common enemy in ISIS/ISIL and the Taliban, but are divided in how to combat them. ISIS or ISIL is comprised of Sunni Wahhabi fundamentalist radicals. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is neither a State nor is it truly Islamic any more than the Ku Klux Klan is Christian. The Caliph of ISIL is named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Saudi Arabia continues to export it’s toxic brand of Wahhabism and we call them our ally and sell them billions in “defensive” weapons to be used against Shite Muslims in Yemen and elsewhere. Saudi Arabia and Iran are at odds, that is their problem, we should not take a side and stay hands off.
I was informed by a Sunni Muslim colleague that many of the thousands of Sunni Imams are ignorant fundamentalist people, ignorant except of Wahhabi fundamentalist dogma. It should be remembered most Sunni do not follow the Wahhabi dogma.
Today Islam is split into 2 basic categories with offshoots of each. The Shia Muslims are estimated to be between 10 to 13%; the great majority are Sunni.
We arrived in Tehran early eve as it was growing dark. It is a long bus ride from the airport to our hotel, The Espinas International, where we were met with chilled non-alcoholic refreshments while the pianist in the lounge area played The Star Spangled Banner on his grand piano as a welcoming piece.
Iran is a Democratic Theocracy, Iranians elect a president and congress. When the Ayatollah is replaced, he is elected from and by a council of 80 Imams (leaders). Iran is one of 8 Theocracies in the world, 7 are Islamic and one, the Vatican, is Christian. The members of our group had their last glass of wine or cocktail at our dinner the previous eve in Istanbul. No alcohol or drugs are allowed in Iran, although clandestine activities must exist the same as everywhere in the world. Remember, the majority of the opium/heroin in the world is grown next door in Afghanistan and makes it’s way to world markets through the neighboring states as Afghanistan itself is land bound.
Our guide was a wonderful man from Tehran who had also lived in Japan for a couple years and was well travelled, well educated, well informed and very amenable to discussing anything that was asked and was an altogether likable soul who said his goal was to collect the hearts of those he met. Afshin is 43 years old and we consider each other respected friends. He created a space in my heart for him.
The greeting of salaam is accompanied by a hand over the heart gesture signifying “you are in my heart” and “I respect you”. Both hands folded over the heart is “I keep you in my heart”. Afshin taught me this along with other kind customs.
The dress code for women is that they must keep their hair covered outside of their homes. Many still wear the burka, but that is strictly a personal choice and 80 to 85% choose to not wear one and of those that do, i saw none, zero, with the full face veil that is preferred by many of the Sunni sects.
However, the hijab is a different matter. The hijab is the veil that, in public, covers the hair of all women from the age of puberty. It is part of their dress code which
stresses modesty. As you can see, the arms are covered beyond the elbow and a shirt or garment drapes over the hips, but more liberties are being taken as jeans and pants are sometimes skin snug. Female civil rights and liberties are limited as women cannot be elected leaders, nor can they become judges and they are not permitted to sing or dance in public. But women have many freedoms, although both sporting and religious events are sex separated. They drive cars, cabs even, vote and are free to come and go as they please.
All singers, musicians in restaurants etc are men. But as you can imagine from the picture of these two beautiful ladies, they hold positions of strength in the home. Let me add that women are discriminated against in other religions and worse in some Sunni Islamic areas. On the other hand, men go about their business pretty much dressing however they chose, except no shorts are worn in public and neither men nor women wear flip-flops in place of shoes.
Tehran is a gigantic city, possibly three times as big as New York City. We were told the population was between 20 and 22 million. It is quite modern and even though they have had their economy squeezed by Sanctions, there was an abundance of construction going on everywhere and the streets were crowded with pedestrians and vehicles of every sort well into the night. Most shops close and a “siesta” is taken after the noon meal during the heat of the day; as a result most shops are open well past dark.On our second night in Tehran i stepped outside our restaurant while waiting to view the street scenes. This little girl was part of a wedding party entering. Little girls in Iran do not normally dress this way, they dress like little girls. As i stood there a gent who observed me, knowing i was not a local, came up and asked me in broken English where i was from. I was a bit hesitant as it was our first eve out but told him, the United States. He asked me where in the US. I said Texas and he exclaimed “JOHN WAYNE, WE LOVE JOHN WAYNE”.
Other than street scenes the first two days in Tehran were kind of ho hum with a visit to a magnificent Persian carpet museum and a glass museum. But all that changed with a visit to the Persian jewel collection which is the world’s largest display of jewelry and is it ever impressive. This treasure is buried in the basement of the Central Bank of Iran in a vault the size of a football field and the display is stunning. The peacock throne is a portion of this display. The jewel collection was amassed by the family of the Shah and is enormous, an impossible to describe volume of precious pieces. For those of us who have seen the Crown Jewels, i would compare them to maybe 15% of this collection and the Iranian collection is so greater diversified.
No photos were allowed in the Jewel vault, the largest jewel display on earth.
This photo was taken during our visit to the All Saviour’s Armenian Cathedral, also known as the Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea in Isfahan. Building of the cathedral dates from 1060 to 1654. It is richly decorated with paintings and frescoes depicting stories and parables from the Old Testament in the upper portions and in the lower panels from the New Testament.
The Vank (monastery in Armenian) along with the Cathedral includes a museum building with a section devoted to the commemoration of the Armenian genocide committed by the Young Turk regime of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
There is substantial art and liturgical materials on display. There is also a library building and separate printing press facility.
You can see a detailed video posted by my friends Gene Taylor and Abe Krikorian, friends who were part of our group at you tube “Conscience Films” site
The Armenian presence in Iran dates from antiquity. There are also Zoroastrians, Jewish, Assyrian Christian, and Sunni Muslim minorities all living together peacefully.
This was after a visit to the Shah’s palace which reminded us that oppressive monarchy is what their revolution was all about and that in1952 Britain and the U.S. had overthrown the Democratically elected government and democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, then installed, backed and supported the dictator of their choice, the Shah, until his overthrow in a 1979 coup.
The Shah and his family lived in magnificent splendor. The Ayatollah had sought asylum in Paris from where he oversaw the non violent overthrow of the regime. (The word Ayatollah translates as “Token of God” and is a Shia Muslim word.) Please note that although the American Embassy was overthrown and most of the diplomats held hostage for 444 days, there were no deaths and all were returned safely when Reagan took office.
The third day we caught a plane to the Southwest and the city of Shiraz.
I don’t think many have a grasp of how huge Iran really is. If you were to combine Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and most of Kansas you would have an area the same size as Iran and if you were to double the population of that same area you would almost have as many people . Sure Iran is a lot of desert but there are more than twice as many citizens in Iran as there are in the 5-1/2 American states listed above.
Shiraz is another large city, about 3 times the size of Dallas. Again our accommodations were modern and luxurious. The tombs of two of their most revered poets are there and we visited each, touching the sarcophagus of each in order to experience their presence.
Shiraz is also the dropping off point to the ancient ruins of Persepolis. Cyrus founded the site for Persepolis and construction began about 519 BC. It was built under the rule of Darius and continued until it was conquered, plundered and destroyed by Alexander the Great (356 - 323) in 330 BC. This was the first Western Invasion of Iran by Greece long before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Then on to the tombs of several of their kings which are carved in relief out of the side of a mountain, as if in Petra. From there on to the tomb of Cyrus the Great who is known to every Persian. Cyrus created the greatest empire the world had yet seen and his respect for the customs of those he conquered earned him the title of Messiah (the anointed one) from the Jews, the only non-Jew ever to receive this honor.
The way he conquered was unique. He would go to a city and tell them they had a choice: they could keep their religions, they could keep their synagogues, their homes, and properties, they would not have to serve in the armed forces, they would be protected, but they would pay taxes as Cyrus was taking over the governing. That way he could conquer a city with no lives lost on either side and the arrangement made an example for good sense to the next city they decided to conquer.
Along the way to Yazd we stopped at Pasargadae where we visited an ancient ice house, no longer in use as refrigeration has eliminated the need for them. They were tall cone shaped buildings that had entries on both sides which descended into a large bowl in the bottom. In winter time, water was carried into the bowl and the cold air would come in the entries, flow to the bottom forcing the warmer air out the top and the water would freeze to ice. Next night more water was brought in to freeze and so on until a huge block of ice was formed that supplied ice to the inhabitants well into the summer. As the cone was built, every 5 feet or so a layer of wood was put in place to allow for movement in the event of an earthquake tremor. They were in use until about 60 years ago.
It was then a long bus ride across vast desert to Yazd which was the center of the Zoroastrian religion that was dominate until Islam came to the area. But Christianity got there before Islam.
Our group arrived late and worn out in Yazd, a modern city of about 500,000 in the middle of a desert. Most of this part of Iran, even though it is on the same latitude as Austin, Texas, is a desert, supported by massive underground aquifers totaling some 3000 kilometers in length that are fed by winter snows from the mountains in the north. Travel in the height of summertime is advised against due to the oppressive heat.
Towns such as this appeared in vast areas of desert and were areas of agriculture, as the aquifer system is immense.
There are also mountains of Granite and Marble that support a huge Quarry business and massive tile and travertine plants.
Pictured below are buildings with faces of the martyrs of the Iraq Iran conflict. They are ubiquitous around the country, each city with martyrs of their own.
Exquisite art was available in the bazaars. Although Iran is still under international banking sanctions, many merchants had credit card connections through a clandestine network with Dubai and other countries.
Prior to Arabian Islamic invasion, Yazd was the seat of the dominant Zoroastrian religion, started in the 6th century BCE, the predecessor of Christianity and Islam, which is now greatly diminished, but an eternal flame of cherry wood is kept burning in their main temple and the religion is still followed by the remaining Zoroastrians.
On the outskirts of Yazd are the two Towers of Silence. These are mountain tops where the dead were taken and placed to be eaten by the birds of prey. The towers had high walls to prevent foxes and small mammals out and keep the birds from carrying large body parts away where they might contaminate the water system. The bones were then put in a pit and covered with lime to disintegrate them. This practice ceased some 50 - 60 years ago for fear of contaminates being spread. This was a Zoroastrian practice.
Yazd is also unique for it’s architecture. The towers in the pictures above were ventilating towers to catch the breeze which was then carried below into the homes. Large saucers of water were at the base of the shafts to humidify and cool the air as it flowed through the homes.
Another custom was that the doors had two knockers on them, each made a different sound. If a male were calling on the house, he would use the male knocker and the male occupant would answer the door. If a female were calling, she would use the female knocker and only a female would answer the door. I will leave it up to your good judgement to decide which knocker was used by males and which by females.
From Yazd we traveled again by bus across a vast desert to the major city of Isfahan, considered by many as the most beautiful city in Iran. There is a major river that runs through the center of the city and it is lined with beautiful parks on both sides along with major bridges to connect both sides.
Isfahan also has the second largest public square in the world, second only to Tiananmen square in Beijing. The square is a dynamic center of hundreds of shops comprising a huge bazaar. There are magnificent mosques, the men and women each have their own. Below are two examples of past hardliner displays, the one on the left was put up shortly after the 1979 revolution. It has has been in circulation for years and many Americans are familiar with it.
The one on the right shows Obama with an open hand and warns of betrayal. The warrior on the left of Obama i have forgotten the story about except that in Persian history he betrayed Iran and Obama was being compared to him.
There is a hardliner element in Iran just as their is in America, Israel, etc. They are a declining power in the face of modernity.These two men approached me in the plaza in front of the Mosque on the right below. They were a father and son. The son spoke good English, I complemented him and he told me he had been studying English in school for 4 years. His father leaned in and spoke in his ear, the son looked at me and said “My father says, please, no Trump”.
One other interesting anecdote was while I wandered the streets of Esfahan alone, on a side street I stopped at a small store front that sold snacks and soft drinks to buy a bottle of water. The storekeeper asked me the usual question of “where from”? Having had the wonderful experience in Tehran with my John Wayne friend I immediately said Texas. He responded loudly “Bush”. I said what? and he made himself clear, an irritated “George Bush!”.
The Iranian people are very aware of world events and very aware they have been unfairly stereotyped by much of the Western media. Their news services are excellent. Go here http://www.presstv.com/Default/Live and check them out. They see everything we do including NBA scores as well as US police shooting unarmed black men and more news than American TV offers.
The news service in Iran is excellent, in some regards superior to much American news sources.
They are aware of all that we in the U.S. are such as efforts by environmentalists to stem global warming to pictures and articles about police killings of unarmed black citizens, riot, white supremacists. Iranians know we are not perfect.
The Iranian people are well informed, educated and very aware of world events, most certainly concerned about how Mr. Trump will play his cards, whether he will respect the anti-nuclear agreement or sabotage it.
PressTV is the Iranian news station. Visit http://www.presstv.ir
you will be amazed at the quality and depth of news service available.
After the first world war and the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, the two major colonial forces in the Mid East, France and Great Britain, divided the territories as they saw fit, simply drawing straight lines where there had been none and with little to no regard to tribal and religious sects already there.
In 1935 Shah Reza Shah Pahlavi changed the name of Persia officially to Iran. Both names now can be used interchangeably.
Oil had been discovered in Persia and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company had held the concessions since 1913.The Shah was in charge of the nation and stayed in charge until 1941 when he was forced out of control by Anglo-Russian forces. He died in 1943 and left a young heir, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Oil was not discovered in Saudi Arabia until 1938 in what is known as modern day Dhahran. I see this as when U.S. interests made their arrangements that lead to our modern day alignment with Saudi Arabia, one of natural resource exploitation, political convenience being a byproduct not the goal of the union.
After WWII Iran was on a course to democracy with a democratically elected Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, who sought to nationalize the petroleum industry in Iran which had been under the control of British interests since 1913. As most of the revenues from this natural resource was being taken by foreign interests, namely the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company interests (the AOIC was the predecessor to British Petroleum). Mossadegh felt the proceeds from their petroleum resources could and should be used to meet the Iranian budget which included lifting their population out of poverty, disease and the backwardness of the people.
It then became a driving ambition of Winston Churchill and the British to overthrow Mossadegh to protect British profits of the oil company and a continued supply of cheap oil for Britain.
In an attempt to throttle the money supply Iran needed for democratic policies such as social security that were being introduced, the British sent their warships to the Persian gulf and set up a de facto blockade while AIOC withdrew their technicians from the area. Also during this time ARAMCO and AIOC doubled their production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to replace the lost production from Iran and to further financially strangle Iran.
As a result of this action Britain was declared an enemy of Iran and diplomatic relations were severed by Mossadegh.
In 1952, looking for an accomplice to overthrow Mossadegh, Churchill reached out to the United States under the presidency of Harry Truman, but Truman and his Secretary of State Dean Acheson opposed the measure; they held great hopes for the Mossadegh Democratic potential.
The following year, 1953, Dwight Eisenhower was elected President and Churchill was back in contact with his old war companion who was only too happy to oblige. There were two brothers, righteous and powerful, eager to carry out the overthrow of Iran's democratically elected leader and they were already underway with the overthrow of other nations at the time. Also they were personally heavily financially invested in the outcome.
It was the brothers Dulles, older brother John Foster Dulles who was Secretary of State and younger brother Allen Welsh Dulles who headed the C.I.A. Their first objective was identical to Churchill's, the overthrow of the Iranian government....The logic used was to stop the threat of the spread of Communism in Iran (as well as in Guatemala, Cuba and later Vietnam) where no threat existed. And so in 1953 the United States Central Intelligence Agency in concert with British Intelligence over threw the democratically elected government of Iran. This was accomplished by a media campaign as well as CIA agents strategically placed in the government. Our covert agent on scene in Iran was Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt.
It would not sell to the American or British people that this coup was to protect the financial interests of British Petroleum, so the propaganda ploy became it was a move to stop Communism, which they claimed was the goal of Mossadegh. It is the same ploy they used in both Guatemala and Cuba to protect the personal interests of the heavily invested Dulles boys and their friends in the American Fruit Company and in the energy sector.
The Dulles brothers and Roosevelt all profited heavily from their connections. Among other things, John Dulles’ law firm was in charge of all the Shah’s family affairs.
During this coup the Shah fled to Rome until the killing of hundreds of dissidents was over, then returned a few days after Mossadegh was arrested.
After Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was installed as the dictator of Iran many of his opponents were imprisoned, tortured and some executed. Pahlavi kept tight control over any suspected opponents through his secret police. Mossadegh himself was sentenced to 3 years solitary confinement and then held under house arrest until his death in March of 1967. Shah Pahlavi continued in power for 26 years and was aligned with the U.S. government until the Revolution of 1979 and his overthrow.
Prior to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah, the Ayatollah who was then in exile in Paris, began a covert campaign of his own. Speeches he recorded on tape were smuggled into Iran disguised as musical tapes, and were then copied and spread to the population. One of the main themes was non-violence and the movement moved forward as the United States put a worldwide embargo on Iranian oil and froze Iranian assets that were in the world financial system*.
A year of peace followed until on Sept 22, 1980, Iraq launched an all-out invasion of Iran starting a bloody war that continued until August 20, 1988. Under the Reagan/Bush administration, aid and dual-use technology were supplied to the Iraq/Hussein government in their attacks against Iran and arms supplied to Iran in the “Iran/Contra” affair. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Contra_affair
On Aug 2, 1990, Iraq moved over 100,000 troops with tanks, helicopters and trucks across their southern border and invaded Kuwait. The United States retaliated with devastating military force.
On Sept 11, 2001, 19 hijackers hijacked 3 commercial aircraft and murdered almost three thousand American citizens. The origin of these hijackers were: one from Egypt, one from Lebanon, two from the United Arab Emirates and 15 from Saudi Arabia.
On October 7, 2001 The United States launched an attack on Iran’s Eastern neighbor Afghanistan.
On January 29, 2002 In his State of the Union speech President George W. Bush declared that Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea comprised an “Axis of Evil”. This was responded to by Iran naming the United States, the “Great Satan”
On March 20th 2003 President George W. Bush and his administration began the “Shock and Awe” attack on Iran’s Western neighbor Iraq, bringing death and destruction to millions including thousands of American service men and women and unleashing the horrors of ISIL and misery and death on the majority Shia population.
In 2015 seven nations and the European Union signed a nuclear treaty. The list includes Iran, The United States, The United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. This was hailed as a great achievement by many in the world and a terrible disastrous action by Israel, Saudi Arabia and many U.S. politicians.
On March 21, 2016, shortly before my leaving for Iran, United States Senator and presidential hopeful from Texas, Ted Cruz, speaking in front of The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee compared the treaty to the 1938 Munich agreement, and stated “on the first day in office, I will rip this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal to shreds” and that “Either you (Iran) will shut down your nuclear program or we will shut it down for you”. He went on further to tell us once more how his fundamentalist preacher father had washed dishes for 50 cents an hour and closed by referring to Iran’s leaders as “bullies” and “homicidal maniacs”. For this he got an ovation. (Please look at the pictures of the two gentlemen on page 3 and see if they appear to be bullies or homicidal maniacs.)
Another Texan, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn had already gone on record to state that “it is time to bring devastating sanctions on Iran, with the credible threat of decisive American military action as a backstop and last resort” and to “put America’s boot back on Tehran’s neck”.
Recently, the American vessel that strayed into Iranian waters, whether by mechanical problems or (highly unlikely) navigation problems, and was released within 24 hours brought a comment by, arguably the dumbest U.S. congressman, East Texan Louie Gohmert that “we should start taking their ships out one at a time” and that Iran needs to believe “the US is a credible threat to bomb them”.
Really Louie? Maybe we should just keep our equipment and military off their territory instead?
There are hard liners on both sides of the equation, but we do know from the last Iranian elections and from the rhetoric on the street that the Iranian hard liners are being replaced with younger Democracy seeking thinkers seeking relations with the West and the U.S. Most attempts at reconciliation on the part of the US are derided as weakness and leading from behind by many major American politicians.
Current U.S. policy to allow the different factions to work out their difficulties seems an approp riate action.
The recent gift of $38 Billions in military armament to Israel and our commitment to back them unconditionally is of doubtful benefit in the eyes of many except to the politicians as they pay the dues to their Military Industrial supporters.
In the meanwhile, Saudi parties continue to support the Taliban and teach that Shia are not really Muslims, that they are Infidels.
We continue to sell Billions of dollars of military equipment to Saudi Arabia who continues to finance and export their prejudicial and toxic draconian Wahhabism brand of Islam to all parts of the world. The Saudis continue to bomb civilian targets in Yemen and kill innocents..
The Iranian people are desirous of peace and relationships with the west. A majority in the West reciprocate that desire.
Where is the sanity and the courage to do the right thing and seek peace?
What is the true face of Iran?
THIS IS THE TRUE FACE OF IRAN
The younger generation is taking over in iran. The old hardliners are losing out. The last elections the young progressives beat the ears back of the conservative hardliners. times are changing. it is time for americans to understand iran is a friend waiting to happen.
all we have to do is reach out. i doubt very few of our politicians are aware of the facts presented here and i will bet virtually none have been to Iran or will go as it would require acknowledging our past foreign policy mistakes and they would have to make a position change. few politicians have that courage.
Shiite militias have played a prominent role in the offensive to retake Falluja after nearly three years of ISIS rule and now in Mosul. But because of that, the battle is playing out amid persistent worries that the campaign could intensify the sectarian tensions that are tearing the country apart.
The Sunni extremist fighters for the Islamic State have warned civilians that the Shiite militias would slaughter them in revenge attacks whenever possible. The news media in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries have framed the battle in crass sectarian terms, warning that Iran’s militias were intent on killing Sunnis.
“We were surprised that they treated us so well,” said a man at a camp who was in his 50s and gave his name as Abu Muhammad, standing on Sunday outside his tent. “Daesh had told us the Shiites wanted revenge and would kill us.”
Instead, he said, he was given cookies and orange juice.
Elsewhere in the Mideast, the Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen are being supported by their Shia Brethren in Iran. Current news reports of bombings of a funeral slaughtering over 150 civilians as well as other atrocities being committed against civilians by American supplied Saudi Arabian forces, implicating the U.S. as a participant in these war crimes are in the news.
The United States is the worlds largest supplier of Military supplies and hardware and Saudi Arabia is the United States largest customer of these products.
Iran is a low hanging fruit of peace, all the United States needs to do is give them the respect and understanding they deserve and we can expect the same in return. We do not need to threaten Iran with war, there are no Taliban in Iran nor are there any ISIS, both are our common enemy. If you were threatened with violence what would you do. I would arm myself. I remind you that it is illegal for private citizens of Iran to own arms. We saw no armed military OR police in Iran although i did see unarmed military and no police.
The United States Foreign Policy needs to change where change is a benefit to all parties. It is not necessary for the opponent to lose in order for us to win.
I’m o.k. you’re o.k. should be our guideline to re-establishment in a peaceful, fruitful relationship with Iran.
The side issues of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jew, Christian, Zoroastrian, Muslim, Shia, Sunni, Houthi, Kurd, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Taliban, Kurds, Hezbollah, Al-Nusra and more are are all deserving of further discussion than this treatise is intended to cover but should be secondary issues to peace with Iran. We will always have differences.
Mostly, the profound ignorance of our population as to the overall facts is the greatest obstacle. Ted Cruz, who would be our next President if he had his way, is one of the most profoundly ignorant in these matters. He panders to the Israeli and Christian alliance crowd. We need not abandon Israel to have peace with Iran. I hope responsible Republicans will replace Cruz in his next senatorial race. They can do better.
In psychology there is a phenomenon known as the Karpman drama triangle that is descriptive of the dysfunctional situation that exists between the United States and the Middle East.
Please refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karpman_drama_triangle for further insight of these dynamics.
We have a long list of countries we have meddled in with poor results. No maybe about it, it is time for a change in our, the United States, awareness and attitude.
I strongly recommend Americans visit Iran to find out for themselves rather then being dependent on prejudiced media and government sources.
Jack G. Campbell December 7, 2016
Tomorrow being the inauguration of a new political hegemony in the United States, i would be remiss to not add a comment or two about Israel as they are a central figure in the middle East and the incoming U.S. administration has already made overtures to the Likud and Bibi Netanyahu, as they pander to the fundamentalist Christian voter in the U.S. I fear for Iran as it is being used as a pawn by posing them as persecutors to influence Israeli/American policy.
It seems we have forgotten that 70 years ago over a million Palestinians were driven from lands they had lived on for centuries and have since been occupied by Israeli forces that have created an apartheid society that refuses to allow them equal citizenship. All it takes to see this reality is to visit Israel.
We are not alone in the scramble for wealth, prosperity and power. Israelis share many attributes as Christians do, and one is greed. Greed for money and Greed for power, the same as here in the United States. Capitalism and all it’s billions. The Jewish settlements are multi million dollar projects, billions collectively and great profits are to be made. A Palestinian state would curtail those profits.
Just like the United States, politics are controlled by powerful people and hardliners, Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump are two of them. I predict their hegemonies will not survive. World opinion as expressed at the United Nations in the condemnation of the illegal and immoral actions by the hardliner Israelis has exposed the corruption of it, much to the chagrin of many politicians.
The hardliners in Israel may be a small majority there, but worldwide the Jewish majority opposes more settlement expansion in Palestinian territory and wants a durable peace. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/decision-time-2/ The consensus is that further expansion is a disastrous policy. I could go on, but limited by space.
As was explained to the world by our Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu et al are on the wrong track; real simple. Human civil rights must prevail.
It is time for American statesmen to have the courage to criticize Israel when the criticism is correct and constructive, not to pander to Bibi for the vote of the wrongheaded American voter. Israel is not in danger from Iran, we protect them.
For the first time, i am afraid for the damage that our new administration could do to our world reputation. It is necessary to step away from the picture far enough to get an objective view, not one clouded with religious dogma and greed. Time to understand that we really are a world community and that a goal of peace with both Iran and Israel are possible, but not through the use of brutality.
The Palestinians need a country of their own for a multitude of reasons.
Bibi’s days are numbered but he will always have his loyalists, as will Trump and all the demagogues. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/bye-bye-bibi/
Jack Campbell 2/19/2017 Nuff said firstname.lastname@example.org