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Iran, Iraq, Whatever...
by Saima Alvi
14 November 2002 17:32 UTC
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ZNet | Iraq
Iran, Iraq, Whatever...
by Richard Cummings; October 11, 2002  

One day, quite a few years ago, I was having lunch with my
Iranian friend, Rudy Alam, who was attending the University of
Pennsylvania, and who was the daughter of the then Prime Minster
of Iran. It was a student hangout, and a waitress recognized


"Well, I guess you’ll be going home to Iraq for summer
vacation," she said amiably.


"Iran," Rudy said.


To which the waitress replied: "Oh well, whatever."


Oh well, indeed. Rudy’s father was prime minister of Iran
because the Shah was on the Peacock throne thanks to Kermit
Roosevelt, the CIA station chief in Teheran, who engineered the
coup that deposed Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh, who had
headed a secular, fledgling democracy that had the temerity to
nationalize the oil fields that, up to that point, had been
exploited by BP. Having sued in the World Court and lost, the UK
turned to its ally, Uncle Sam, to get the oil fields back.
Rent-a-Mobs appeared, the CIA paid off the military, and
Mossadegh fled in his pajamas. Once in power, the Shah stifled
all dissent, using the notorious SAVAK, his intelligence
service, to torture his political opponents, all under the
watchful and approving eye of the United States government.


This was the first great "regime change," which ultimately begat
the fundamentalist Islamic revolution led by the Ayatollah
Khomeini, who promptly re-nationalized the oil fields and took a
whole bunch of Americans hostage. To free them, Jimmy Carter
sent in troops in a stupid action that failed and which led
Cyrus Vance to resign as Secretary of State, one of the few
noble acts by an American cabinet member in the nation’s


Fear of the fundamentalist revolution spread to oil rich nations
such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with their entrenched,
sybaritic royal families who paid lip service to Islam while
they boozed and caroused from Beirut to Bangkok and beyond. Iran
flexed its military muscle and threatened to take over the
entire Middle East.


Enter Saddam Hussein, Baathist dictator of Iraq, who was part of
the movement that overthrew the British-backed puppet monarchy
that came originally from Saudi Arabia, but which lost out to
the House of Saud, which won because of its alliance with the
fierce Ikhwan, or "Brotherhood," the military arm of Wahhabism,
that swept down on the royal opposition and decapitated them.
The CIA had given its approval to Saddam’s coup against his
Baathist allies, without knowing, until much later, that his
hero was Joseph Stalin. Oh, well, whatever. I was sitting in the
rooms of a prominent Cambridge don, having drinks with him and a
British intelligence officer when the monarchy first fell. After
downing a stiff drink, the MI6 gentleman looked at me and said,
" Iraq is your baby now." You bet.


Years later, I am attending a breakfast at the River Club, a
swank bastion of New York exclusivity, hosted by Ambassador
Angier Biddle Duke, in honor of the guest speaker, Tariq Aziz,
Saddam’s bag man. Lots of top brass, bankers, and intelligence
types are present, devouring bacon and eggs, sipping coffee and
listening in rapt attention. Tariq Aziz is cheered as he tells
us that Iraq is prepared to take out Iran and stop the spread of
its dangerous Islamic revolution. "Give us the tools and we will
do the job," he says, echoing Churchill.


So we do, and Saddam Hussein stops the Iranians, until Oliver
North gets the bright idea from the Israelis to sell arms to
Iran, in violation of the embargo, so it can fight Iraq to a
standstill, thereby neutralizing them both. We will make contact
with the Iranian-backed terrorists who are holding Americans
captive in Beirut to get their release (they knock off a CIA
intelligence officer), and the proceeds of the sale will go to
the Contras in Nicaragua, so William Casey can engineer a regime
change there in violation of federal law. The current president
of Nicaragua, heir to the Contra legacy, is on the way to the
can for corruption.


But Saddam starts to lose, so we ship him the ingredients to
make chemical and biological weapons, which he uses on the
Iranians, who back off. Saddam, who has figured out by now how
America stabbed him in the back, asks the Al Sabas, the ruling
royals of Kuwait, to forgive his debt to them that he took out
to fight the war to save their necks. "Bug off," they tell him.
He asks the American ambassador what the US will do if he
invades Kuwait. She makes a phone call, comes back and tells
him, famously, "Nothing."


So he does it, and we get Desert Storm. But Bush Pear (as in
Pere, but some sort of exotic desert fruit) decides to let Sadam
stay in power, out of fear that Iran would march on Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia. Saddam starts making weapons of mass destruction
from the stuff we gave him.


Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan (I used to have dinner, when the
Afghan royal family still ruled, at the Afghan embassy in
London, with the son of the ambassador and an Englishman who was
a descendant of Lord North, the first architect of stupid
colonial escapades), where the Evil Empire had installed a
secular puppet regime that let girls go to school. The US of A
unleashed the fundamentalist Moslem mujahadeen from Pakistan to
drive out the infidels, after a pep talk by Zbignew Brezinski,
who, with a towel wrapped around his head, yelled at them to
launch a "Jihad," a term Moslems had not used for centuries.
But, boy, do they remember how to use it now.


A young, enormously wealthy religious zealot from Saudi Arabia,
who is inspired by the Iranian fundamentalist revolution, funds
a good part of this operation with his own money. (The CIA under
Allen Dulles and William Casey always found private money for
their covert operations.) He arms the volunteer fighters and
takes down their names, addresses, phone numbers, and if
available, e-mail addresses, and writes them in a schoolboy’s
notebook, calling the whole business "Al Queda," or "The Base."
Which is what it is, just over the border in Pakistan. His name
is Osama bin Laden (Oh well, whatever.)


And after we win and allow the Taliban to take power because
they approve of the big pipeline project, Sheik Omar welcomes
bin Laden and his army as honored guests in Afghanistan. When
the US of A decides to keep its troops in Saudi Arabia, the
Moslem Holy Land, he declares war on the United States from a
cave in Afghanistan. (Oh well, whatever.) Asleep at the switch,
the CIA and FBI, at constant war with each other over
bureaucratic turf, allow the worse to happen, 9/11. Bush
declares war back. The Taliban are toast. He argues for a
preemptive strike against Iraq, which must certainly be called
"Dessert Storm."


So now, eminent Arabist, Bernard Lewis, says the problem with
Islam is a lack of democracy. His solution? A regime change in
Iraq and Iran. Iran? That’s where it all started, with a regime
change by the CIA that set off the entire chain of events. And
oh, yes, do remember that it was that regime change that
overthrew a democracy and installed a dictator. I guess you can
say that this bunch is like the Bourbons of France, of whom it
was said, "They learned nothing and they forgot nothing." Oh,
well, whatever.




Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the
Haile Selassie I University and before that, was
Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near
East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible
for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel,
Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author The Pied
Piper – Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, the comedy,
Soccer Moms From Hell, and the forthcoming novel, The
Immortalists. He holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences
from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of
Former Intelligence Officers. 


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