09 March 2012

Iran under siege ... for 2,500 years

David Cameron hoisted himself onto the world stage once again, as he is wont to do, and declared Iran an international threat. This is rich coming from a British PM. The Brits have been harassing Iran since the days of the Great Game. They invaded the country in the 1940s and were instrumental in destroying Iranian democracy in the 1950s. And while Iran hasn't invaded another country in centuries, the British, like their anti-Iranian allies the Israelis and the Americans, haven't seemed able to keep their troops within their own borders in living memory. And Cameron says Iran is the threat?

If any country is justifiably paranoid, it is Iran, not the U.K. The Iranian people have been able to maintain their national integrity for 2,500 years but not easily. They have been invaded by the Romans, the Arabs, the Mongols (who slaughtered three-quarters of their population), the Russians, the British and the Iraqis.

And threats continue. The U.S. has largely replaced Britain as Iran's imperial nemesis, denying it the right to be an equal player in its home region. The Americans surround Iran with at least 15 military bases, and three U.S. allies in the region—India, Pakistan and Israel—possess nuclear weapons. As of course does the U.S. itself. And the Americans provide massive military aid to hostile Sunni neighbours of Shia Iran, such as Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has also had great success in rallying other nations to impose sanctions on the beleaguered Iranians. And if all this isn't enough, Iran is subjected to interminable threats from Israeli and American hardliners such as Benjamin Netanyahu and the contenders for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination.

Iran could escape the current peril by submitting to American hegemony, but it is apparently unwilling to do that. Another alternative of course would be to develop a nuclear weapon thereby achieving military parity with its antagonists, but it claims it doesn't intend to do that either. The siege, it seems, will continue.


  1. Iran could be the springboard that China needs to rival or supplant American influence in the ME. If China can get Pakistan, Iran and the Shiite faction of Iraq onside, it has a land bridge to ME oil and can probably cinch the Caspian Basin to boot. This would also allow it to "contain" India which, with US urging, has been busy trying to contain China.

    China has already brought Pakistan and Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (their counterpart to NATO) as probationary members. If those two countries were to get full SCO membership, an attack on Iran could trigger the mutual defence provision in the SCO charter. The stakes for Israel would go up astronomically.

    It would be interesting to watch what an American or Israeli attack on Iran would do to Iraq with its Shiite majority. Either country would probably attack via Sunni Muslim states unless the US thinks it can do the whole job from its aircraft carriers in the Gulf.

  2. Interesting analysis, Mound.

    A couple of points on the SCO: According to Wikipedia, India is also an observer and is being encouraged by Russia to join. Iran, however, cannot be admitted as long as it faces UN sanctions.

    How ironical if, after all the effort the Americans have expended on Iraq, it was alienated by an attack on Iran.