Topical and perennial, on and off, and with little time between the two, Iran has been at the forefront of international news for four decades.
Even as Iran seeks peace, she’s ignored, derided and attacked. Few westerners really believe her. For Imam Khomeini’s fatwa on Salman Rushdie, she was vilified. The fatwa was believed to be true by shocked and concerned westerners. As to Imam Khameini’s fatwa on non-nuclearization of her armory, it is not seen as credible. To a world that believes in bluffs and lies, everything is a game. Straightforwardness is naïve and stupid strategy. The world is a zero sum game at best; a win-win strategy can never materialize (Asaduzzaman, 2019). A world that believes arranged marriages are impossible, and abstinence from alcohol, gambling and sex outside marriage as untenable, how can it understand Islam when it does not even want to know about it and stays away from it as if it was radioactive? Thus, while Sub-Saharan Africa was wrecked with AIDS-related deaths, upper-Sahara nations were fine. Nobody preached and practiced behavior modification and billion upon billions of dollars were spent to find a cure for AIDS. That is the difference between Muslims everywhere and non-Muslims of the West.
Long ago, an incisive author wrote, “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” How true Rudyard Kipling was! How true the difference in world-view!
Regarding launching and proper conduct in pursuing belligerent actions against enemies, the Qur-an (2:190) says: "And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you and transgress not the limits. Verily Allah loves not the transgressors.”
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has given clear instructions about the behavior of the Muslim army.
"Set out for Jihad (not holy war, but struggle, literally) in the name of Allah and for the sake of Allah. Do not lay hands on the old verging on death, on women, children and children. Do not steal anything from the booty and collect together all that falls to your lot in the battlefield and be good, for Allah loves the virtuous and the pious."
So great is the respect for humanly feelings in Islam that even the wanton destruction of enemy's crops or property is strictly forbidden. The righteous Caliphs followed closely the teachings of Allah and those of His Apostle in letter and spirit. The celebrated address which the first Caliph Abu Bakr (r) gave to his army while sending it on an expedition to the Syrian borders is permeated with the noble spirit with which the war in Islam is permitted.
"Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock except for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone" ‘
The West is oblivious of these Islamic values. After all, it is a part of the very Shari’ah that, by propaganda design and wrongful attribution, is viewed with derision and suspicion. The secular despots it promotes in Muslim lands are essentially clueless and deliberately careless about them. So, the West neither knows nor seeks to discover the kernel of Islamic values. It knows more about Communism than it knows about Islam. After all, Communism was created and initially largely bred by its own children and their followers worldwide.
Islam and its Prophet (pbuh) were successful beginning 1456 (1443 + 13) years ago and even now for having been honest and sincere. While Iran is blamed for its Islamic nature, it is given no credit for good conduct that flows from it. When the Qur-an (8:12) says to incline toward peace when your enemy inclines, well-meaning Muslims and Iranian leadership incline. The practically godless western hegemony does not understand this and does not care to appreciate even when it knows about it. When the Quran says that killing an innocent person is like killing the whole humanity (5:32), the Iranian leadership believes it and seeks not to arm itself with nuclear weapon. What a farce the West communicates when it condemns Iran for its theocentric principles and then turns around disbelieving it for its adherence to the same!
This asymmetric view of Islam has clouded western governments’ approach to genuine Muslims and their leadership. They are robbing Muslims of their hard fought, age-old, organic socio-political movements seeking value-based political salvation (as in late President Morsi’s Egypt) by choosing autocratic forms of government (military or monarchy) not for their competence and social value but for their reluctance with Islamic mores of administration, and their brutal, unelected, youthful leadership that promise long-term, stable, subservient relationship with the West (Jordan, KSA and Egypt are cases in point). This point is further proven by i. how, through our rapid preemptive intervention, Muslim nations in ex-Soviet territory had to accept military/political autocrats, while the European Christian nations were inducted into NATO and the EU. Whenever it appeared the political freedom of any former East European Soviet states was in any way being compromised by Russia, the latter was made to face exclusions and embargoes; and ii. our support for pliable Muslim city-states with little or no historical and political import on the hinterland – and at best, one-time remote outposts overrun by Colonialists. Thus, not forging proper relationship with historically large Muslim nations is a dangerous sign of our continued insincerity and opportunism as well as disrespect.
In the last few years, Democratic Congressman and spokesman, Mr. Adam Schiff, has voiced his opinion about Iran and oil tanker explosions. I would like to use him as a foil to understand how western politicians, journalists and scholars, to a large extent, have approached Muslims.
Going back in time.
1. Adam Schiff voted in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, In February 2015, discussing how or whether to tailor Bush-era plans from 2001 and 2002 to fight ISIS, Schiff was asked if he regretted voting to invade. He said, "Absolutely. Unfortunately, our intelligence was dead wrong on that, on Saddam at that time. The vote set in motion a cascading series of events which have [had] disastrous consequences."
As to Donald Trump’s Russian debacle, he has said many things.
2. Adam Schiff: There Is "Compelling" Evidence "In Plain Sight" Of Trump-Russia Collusion [Posted By Tim Hains on February 17, 2019]
3. Adam Schiff: I Don't Regret Calling Out This President, Collusion Evidence Still In "Plain Sight" [Posted By Tim Hains on April 7, 2019]
4. In Twitterdom, @RepAdamSchiff, on June 14, 2019, he wrote: What is the President hiding in his tax returns? And since when does “shall” mean “unless it displeases Trump”? And, perhaps more importantly: What will be left of DOJ’s independence and reputation for impartial justice after Barr? The answer? Very little.
5. Again, at @RepAdamSchiff, he followed up with: Sorry, Mr. President, wrong again. You eagerly took foreign help in the 2016 election and want it again. When a foreign national offered info relevant to our investigation — not election — we informed the FBI before and after the call. It’s called ethics. You should try it.
So, my question, according to “evidence” per Adam Schiff, President Donald Trump is suspect from various points of view, but why is it that on Iran, he thinks the President is to the point?
Yet, as I set out earlier, more than decade ago, Congressman Schiff was quick to endorse the invasion of Iraq. He was equally quick to disown his eager endorsement once the tide of public opinion turned the other way. Now, he is united with a man he has repeatedly disapproved of on yet another suspect claim: Iran’s culpability.
On June 16, 2019, in CBS Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan, this is what Mr. Schiff said:
“There's no question that Iran is behind the attacks. I think the evidence is very strong and compelling. In- in fact, I think this was a class "A" screw up by Iran to insert a mine on the ship. It didn't detonate. They had to go back and retrieve it. I can imagine there are some Iranian heads rolling for that botched operation. But nonetheless, the problem is that we are struggling, even in the midst of this solid evidence, to persuade our allies to join us in any kind of a response and it shows just how isolated the United States has become. Our allies warned the United States, I think our intelligence agencies warned policymakers, that this kind of Iranian reaction was likely a result of a policy of withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Agreement.”
This is really a non-sequitur position to take when appearing to be against a fresh military action in the Middle East. Once culpability is endorsed, war may follow whether Mr. Schiff appears to endorse it or not. He also said that just as with Iraq earlier, “Congressional approval is necessary to initiate hostilities against Iran.” It is a convenient process, hiding among mass approval masks one’s failure to be fair. That is how Julius Caesar was assassinated. In a collective killing, there can be no prosecutor! That’s why in his interview, he has also spoken about forming an international coalition on the matter. Appearing statesman-like - impassionate and deliberate, and having already endorsed the President’s causa bellum, Mr. Schiff has given the President a clear tried and true strategy to confront one more Muslim nation-state. Will the world be fooled twice?
In dealing with Iran and as with anyone, why is fairness important? Lack of justice evokes reaction and resistance. It gathers sympathizers. It delegitimizes the aggressor.
We, the USA, clearly reneged on a hard fought, internationally recognized peace treaty - the JCPOA.
Then we launched war by other means: economic blockade of Iran.
We are acting like a playground bully. Should Iran react to the imposed tribulations, more will rain down upon her. It reminds me of the treatment of protesting slaves in Americas’ plantations.
We have armed to the teeth everybody hostile to Iran, banned her from acquiring defense equipment from abroad while demanding that she should forgo developing any meaningful defensive tools. It was not enough that she gave up any ambition toward acquiring any form of WMD. Now, we are demanding her boots.
We have worked with Iran during the ISIS crisis, thereby clearing an outcome of our prior messiness in Iraq. Also, to our mutual benefit, we cooperated with her on various matters in Afghanistan. Then, like the quintessential turncoat, we assassinated the man we worked with: General Qasem Soleimani. One is reminded of the fates of once-US-friendly ex-Presidents, Panama’s Manuel Noriega and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
It is false that Iran undermined the Syrian Spring. We were no champions of that spring. Note, our quiet collective subversive role in Egypt’s Spring ($12b gift from KSA and UAE with nary a whisper against it by us, repeated visit by Israeli ambassador with key personnel of the previous regime, and Mrs. Clinton’s -President term-ending communique that it’s not a US government concern should the first popularly elected Egyptian government be replaced. This clearly gave lie to President Obama’s Cairo speech earlier in his Presidency.) We looked at the Syrian Spring from two points of view: Get a government pliable to us perhaps infused by Wahhabi followers. Failing which, Balkanize the country, a proof of which is our lingering connection with leftist Kurdish elements. The Kurds may be unaware that they are being recruited through friendly overtures just as the Laotians were recruited during the Vietnam War. If only they foresaw that this may not give them autonomy, much less independence, and may cause them to be mass ferried to the USA. The irony is that President Bashar Al Assad is a dyed in the wool secular leftist. We did not get our way 9,000 miles away from our border and we are blaming Iran (and Turkey) for it. So, yes, Iran undermined our version of the Syrian Spring!
Lastly, our internal and global position, nay propaganda, has always been that democracy is superior because it ensures representation which in turn reassures equity. Yet when it comes to real politicking, these thoughts are but throwaway bluster. Unfortunately, because of this our foreign policy’s sustained racist, bigoted underbelly is now fully exposed for the world to see.
So, did Iran sabotage the four ships earlier and now then the two ships? We have gone quiet on the first four. So, if those attacks were not done by Iran, who did them? Could the same party be culpable for the latest damage? BTW, according to an analyst (Rodney Shakespeare) how could Iranian frogmen attach a limpet mine 30-40 feet up on the hull of a ship? It’s quite a haul! Also, why haven’t we asked the Iranians to share their information about what they plucked from the ship’s hull?
Now, one could accept the Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas be a relentless bondsman of President Trump on matters domestic and foreign, but this of Adam Schiff appears odd given his history of accusing the President of mendacity and obfuscation!
What can one say other than that, come hell or high water and regardless of dispassionate assessment and buyer’s regret, Mr. Schiff is unfailingly well aligned with the good old Axis of Good: USA-UK-Canada-Australia-Norway! Mr. Schiff’s schizophrenic assessment skill is worrisome because he appeared to be one of the fair fighters up on the Hill.
Thank goodness for the idiom: The apple does not fall far from the tree. It tells us what to expect.
This nature of western politicians, journalist and scholars regarding Muslims is pervasive. Even as President Obama signed the JCPOA, he hardly changed his verbiage regarding Iran. The underlying, strategic bellicose viewpoints survived the signing. This was supposed to be a balancing act. It is strange that the West feels compelled to balance any positive action toward an openly Muslim entity. Its proponents fear being viewed as appeasers. So, even with a signed JCPOA, the western hatchet lay exposed and its honesty, buried. There was not going to be endorsement of anything Islamic. So, the cause for a war with Iran, and countries like Iran, lived on to see the next day. The next day came under Trump. Thank goodness he did not follow through, but he damaged equally badly by withdrawing from JCPOA, imposing unheard of sanctions designed in Israel and killing Qasem Soleimani. Mr. Obama, earlier, by not being bold and honest in breaking down stereotype thereby giving a backbone to his undertaking, subverted his seminal foreign policy success. One could argue that to the West the JCPOA was a peaceful layover and not a peaceful final destination.
This article was originally published on June 27, 2019.