Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Iran; an enemy or a potential ally?

An Iraqi military check point that is situated at the western bank of Shat El Arab north to the city of Faw at the Iraqi-Iranian border named Shehan was subjected to Iranian fire on Friday. The same thing happened to some Iraqi army patrols between Gazeel and Hadida north to Basra.

Colonel Dhafir Sabah Al Timemi mentioned that this was the 4th time the Iranians have opened fire on Shehan check point during the last week in addition to several other aggressions along the line from the north of Basra down to Al Shalamja.

Colonel Timemi said also that Iraqi border guards have captured 83 Iranians who were trying to cross Iraqi-Iranian borders illegally. He said that these Iranians were detained in Al Shalamcha border check point, interrogated and then were handed over to the Iranian side.

The Colonel who’s the Iraqi border guards chief in Basra said that the Iraqi side showed discipline and did not respond to the Iranian aggression in the same manner. He mentioned that he was under pressure from the British forces in Basra to respond similarly but he refused saying that this was a “purely Iraqi-Iranian issue” and that there’s no place for any interference from the coalition forces operating in Iraq.
Al Sabah.

Hmmm...I think Colonel Timemi’s intentions are good and he probably did the right thing by practicing self discipline, but I seriously doubt that it was purely his decision (and it shouldn’t be). Besides, his statements are in my opinion, are incorrect regarding considering this a purely Iraqi-Iranian issue and also the role of the coalition forces in Iraq, as they still have the major responsibility in Iraq and they will be questioned and blamed for any serious security problem.

Anyway, I think this issue is very serious and it shows clearly that Iranian authorities attitude is a clearly aggressive one and they don’t seem to be keen on at least keeping their efforts to hinder the progress in Iraq a secret. They seem to be very frightened (and they should be) by the democratic changes in Iraq that they have lost their caution and are not considering how dangerous it is what they’re doing.

The Iranian regime (not only the Mullahs)is of course nothing like Saddam’s regime. They’re much more sane and they have a considerable degree of approval among their citizens. They have some sort of democracy, they have a relatively more freedom compared to Saddam’s regime and most of the Arab regimes, the opposition act openly in Iran (some of them at least) and there’s sharing of authorities to a good extent between the major (only?) Two parties.

All the above mentioned factors make Iran and despite her opposition to the USA, all the lack of clarity that surrounds her nuclear program and her lack of complete cooperation with the UN in this issue a totally different story than Saddam’s regime, as there’s absolutely no place for large military operations here and if it is to be done, it’ll be a total failure.

These facts seem to have encouraged the Iranian authorities to go on with their aggressive attitude against new Iraq whether directly like what was happening lately or indirectly by allowing terrorists to cross their borders into Iraq, not to forget the support and instructions they offer to their puppet Sadr through the evil Iraqi cleric "Al Ha’airi" who lives in Iran. This particular Mullah has been the source of many “Fatwas” that were printed and posted everywhere in Iraq and that encouraged violence against not only the coalition but also the Iraqi Arab Sunni in an attempt to start a civil war. It is refreshing though that they have ‘picked’ this idiot ( Sadr ) as their man, as there is no one who could possibly make all their efforts go in vain other than this retard.

The situation in Iran is a very complicated one and it’s not an easy thing to decide which force (conservatives or reformists) have the major role in forming Iran’s policy towards Iraq and on what they agree or disagree on.
There were real democratic changes and reforms that have taken place since 1988 but the theocratic nature of this regime makes it extremely difficult for the reformists to go much further and there is a serious need for some serious changes to make this happen, and in my opinion this can be made without the use of military force, at least not in a large scale. I have great hope in the Iranian people to fight for their rights and achieve the necessary changes and all that is needed from the free world is to give them the support they need.

The reason I’m talking in length here about the Iranian internal affairs rather than dealing with this event as an Iraqi-Iranian conflict is that I think freedom and democracy in both Iraq and Iran are not only very important but also very closely related. Instead of focusing entirely on how to deal with the Iranian threats (which is important of course) we should try to sort out Iranian political powers, decide who are our potential allies and seek ways to support them. By this we can ensure a better future for both countries, although we may have to endure sacrifices in the present and near future.

Of course securing Iraqi-Iranian borders is a vital issue for controlling security and promoting democracy in Iraq and this can include very restricted military actions that show the Iranians that these aggressions cannot passed unpunished and it’s not easy to decide who should carry these and respond to Iranians intimidations.

To sum it up I think the Iranian Mullahs are outraged and thus are confused and making series of mistakes and they’re wright in that America cannot ‘invade’ Iran but they’re misjudging her ability to support Iranian freedom lovers and the pressure she can put on to minimize the role of the conservative Mullahs on decision making.

How to take advantage of these mistakes is a matter of strategy and the tactical points should not weigh against the ultimate goal of democratizing the Islamic world. One just have to imagine how wonderful it would be to have strong allied democracies in Iraq and Iran and the enormous effect this will have on the entire Muslim and Arab world. I know it’s a dream now but I do think it can come true.

-By Ali.

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