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American hostility contributing to convergence of Iranian and Saudi interests

February 10, 2017

Today, Iranians and people the world over celebrated the 38th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. The revolution overthrew the American-puppet king, the Shah. It was an important event in terms of Iranian independence and opposing colonialism. It was a significant event also in terms of struggling against neo-colonialism in the midst of emerging U.S. global hegemony. A violent American and British operation put the Shah in power. The revolution two and a half decades later took place at a time when there were two superpowers vying for influence in the world. It was also a time of rapid growth in world trade and change in how rich countries exploited former colonies and poor countries. Today, despite some Americans’ statements of regret about 1953, there are still uprisings, coups and coup attempts involving the CIA and MI6. Iran is an oppressed country – mostly due to foreign exploitation and activity, not Iranian policy – and still faces U.S. threats to its sovereignty. Despite some sanctions relaxation connected to stifling the development of the Iranian nation’s nuclear program, the U.S. continues to interfere in Iran’s economic and peaceful relations with various countries.

In the past, there were sometimes seemingly contradictory messages in Iranian media meant for international audiences, about the #1 global or regional danger. The messages suggested Israel, Saudi Arabia, a certain religious movement sometimes called “Wahhabism,” or extremism, might be the top enemy or threat, not the United States. So, despite some reports alleging self-restraint in anti-American expression this year, it was refreshing to hear that the Supreme Leader of Iran again highlighted America’s evil role on the occasion of the Islamic Revolution anniversary and led demonstrations against recent American threats. On Ayatollah Khamenei’s website right now is a selection of photos appearing to equate Trump, Obama, and Clinton.(1) (This contrasts with manifestations in some other countries of strong preference for many U.S. leaders over Trump. Different attitudes toward American leaders in relation to Trump could indicate differences in overall receptivity to U.S. influence.) One photo shows an Iranian standing on the Israeli flag and a picture of Netanyahu’s head, but also on images of Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. If Ayatollah Khamenei thought the U.S. and Britain weren’t at least as threatening as Israel and Saudi Arabia, the pictures there might be different.

Islamic revolution is sometimes contrasted with Marxist revolution. This writer is a Marxist who has frequently made favorable comments about various states, including Muslim states, in comparison with the United States. Atheists in the United States, and “Marxists” who don’t understand certain global realities, do not compare well with Muslim proletarians, even non-Muslims in Europe, Christians in the Third World and others struggling against the United $tates. Iran is a capitalist country, but so is everyone. At this point in history, no country in the world is socialist, and the United States is now hegemonic. The vast majority of countries are either imperialist or neo-colonies. Under neo-colonialism, oppressed nations can end up being exploited and influenced by multiple countries, due to structural causes, despite strenuous efforts in the policy domain to avoid it. Under neo-colonialism, oppressed nations have a degree of autonomy in comparison with earlier arrangements. Like other nations and no less than other nations do, they generally have a potential to pursue their own interests at the state level and oppose those of the dominant United States where there is a conflict between them. No less than rich states can, even oppressed country states that have cooperated with the Americans in the past can today, with sufficient internal pressure and international cooperation, become part of an international united front against U.S. hegemony as the Islamic Republic of Iran is. There is no proletariat in exploiter-majority rich countries like the United Snakes, and Marxist revolution and other domestic revolution will lack spectacular success even in oppressed countries until U.S. hegemony has ended. Even revolution against old-type colonialism today – the condition in Palestine – requires that struggle focus on U.S. imperialism in many cases.

Public opinion

There have been some relevant interesting items about Trump in relation to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

One is a Quinnipiac University poll suggesting more Americans would support the Muslim travel ban if Saudi Arabia were added to the list.(2) The ban countries list would then include both Iran and Saudi Arabia. 68% of Republican registered voters and 61% of Democratic voters – similar percentages – thought “countries who have been linked to the 9/11 terrorist attack, such as Saudi Arabia, should have been included on President Trump’s immigration order.” If Trump were to introduce an order focused on Saudi Arabia and Iran – designated and defamed by the U.S. State Department as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” throughout former President Barack Obama’s presidency – probably a solid majority of AmeriKKKans would support it. Iran and Saudi Arabia – sisterly Islamic countries of the Persian Gulf – would both face a colonial situation of having to welcome U.S. foreign investment while most Iranian and Saudi citizens cannot travel to the United States.

Another item is an article, published several days ago, on the site of Iran’s IRNA news agency. The article seemingly illustrates the undesirable impact of foreign media exaggerating the extent and quality of Americans’ opposition to the travel ban.(3) “The new president, however, should not forget that he is facing obstacles, including legal challenges and a large number of people who are opposed to his policies. These people include ordinary citizens, experts, those who work for media, etc.” It is true there are a large number of people in the U.S. who are against the travel ban to varying degrees, but “large” could mean any of a number of things in a country with more than 250 million adults. Much-smaller countries seeing images of U.S. protests on TV and photos in newspapers, and reading individuals’ statements without adequate context, could get the wrong impression. To suggest a majority of Americans are strongly opposed to actions against Islamic countries and people from them, separately from just trying to distance themselves Trump in some way, could lead to erroneous conclusions. When Trump starts making changes in domestic policy that are more controversial with Democrats than the travel ban, the focus will shift. Democrats will try to differentiate themselves from Trump in other ways. The world needs reliable information on this point, not incomplete information suggesting there is some progressive American majority or near-majority that can be counted on to stop things in various areas of policy. (Americans need to be divided along various lines and not mainly partisan lines – not united.) It is unfortunate there aren’t more Americans correcting the false impression channels like CNN are giving.

Another unfortunate statement is an English-language piece attributed to a university lecturer, also on IRNA. It is suggested that the Zionist entity’s American sponsors (who are massively complicit in contemporary colonialism in Palestine), and Trump in particular, are being manipulated by I$rael into a war against Iran.(4) This is not the message people need to hear globally. Similarly, a Financial Tribune article, quoting Iran’s defense minister, raises the idea in English that Israel is a bigger threat than the United States to regional security.(5)

In actuality, the hegemonic settler imperialist entity, the United States – which perpetuates, benefits from and engages in colonial oppression of the Palestinian nation, and promotes the weakening of Middle East states’ independence and strength as a matter of policy – is the greatest threat in both the world and the Middle East. The United States has strategic interests in opposing a Palestine two-state outcome with more Palestinian sovereignty and relative stability. The Americans are in favor of instability even more than the population of its military outpost Israel is. They benefit from instability and lack of peace in the Middle East (and in other parts of the world) more than anyone else does. The Americans are liars and did nothing to advance the two-state solution during the presidency of Obama – supposedly the best America had to offer who turned out to be just another obstacle, war criminal, bully, arrogant deceiver, and avatar of the Great Satan. The Americans support the status quo: a lack of Palestinian sovereignty, an Israeli state that depends on the U.S. for support, and growth of ISIS. The Americans pretend to play the role of neutral mediator to establish peace, but do the opposite. They are the principal force opposing Middle East security. The world including the Middle East is on one side, struggling to unite; the United States is on the other. The most important conflict isn’t between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Arabs and Iranians, Shias and Sunnis, Arabs and Israelis, or Jews and Muslims.

The two-state outcome (that the United States opposes in actuality) would be temporary, and one day the Israeli entity will be gone. But right now the world’s most important conflict, both potential and realized, is with the Americans.

Thankfully, Iranian Press TV reported Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying, “There may have been changes inside the US, but what seems to have remained unchanged is the US hostility toward Iran and the Iranians.” Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Trump has revealed the true nature of the Americans, the “real face” that America has long had and Trump has exposed.(6) Ayatollah Khamenei said Trump “has laid bare the real nature of America before the eyes of the people of the world through his remarks and measures both during election campaigns and in recent days, and is showing the truth about America.” Trump has unmasked Obama’s deception. According to the Leader’s own website, Khamenei also said, “If rationality is taken advantage of under the aegis of hope and trust in God, it will be ensued with the Almighty God’s assistance. However, rationality resulting from putting one’s trust in the Great Satan and materialistic powers will only lead to a mirage.”(7) “The Leader of the Islamic Revolution mentioned hope and trust in God, followed by taking advantage of rationality under their aegis, as requisites for the reconstruction [of the country] and doing away with deadlocks, while emphasizing, “If, instead of doing this, we put our trust in devils, especially the Great Satan, and use rationality under the aegis of hope in those devils, the result would be a mirage.”” There is no explicit reference to Israelis or Saudis in the detailed description of Khamenei’s remarks, to air force and army personnel, currently on Khamenei’s site and other Iranian sites.

Regional peace efforts

Anti-Iran sentiment is indeed old in the U.S., and anti-Saudi sentiment is also not new in the United States. Americans play Iran and Saudi Arabia off against each other. The old anti-Iran sentiment and anti-Islam tendencies, and various crises related to U.S. hegemony, are contributing to a basis for Iran and Saudi Arabia to cooperate. The Iranian newspaper Financial Tribune and the official Kuwait News Agency have reported on public, official Iranian and Kuwaiti support for Iranian dialogue with the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council. Saudi Arabia plays a large role in the (P)GCC.(8)

This is an opportune moment. Trump has given Saudi Arabia an excuse to extricate itself from American involvement in the Yemen war, and seek a peace that is satisfying to Yemen and all of the brotherly Islamic countries of the Persian Gulf. After drone strikes, cruise missile attacks and attacks in Yemen with American bombs and guidance during Obama’s presidency, the current White House administration has called an operation involving boots on the ground, a Navy SEAL funeral, tens of millions of dollars in equipment loss, and civilian deaths, a “success.”(9) If that is a success, it seems the Americans may be ready to make the Yemen war more clearly their war.

There seems to be some confusion about whether certain U.S. operations were suspended or allowed in the first place in Yemen.(10) Any Saudis or Yemenis who are involved in covering for the Americans, in any way, should stop.

Either the Americans are in control in Yemen, or they are not. Either way, Saudi Arabia doesn’t need to appear to support or benefit from American massacres of Muslims. There has to be a limit to cooperating with the Americans, even if the cooperation is viewed as a convoluted way to limit the Americans’ influence or mitigate their involvement in the region. Hopefully, the Saudis can overcome American blackmail and pursue their interests by cooperating more with the Iranians. Iran and Saudi Arabia can face American threats together. ◊

• “Yemen war: Amerikan “blackmailing” of Saudi Arabia discussed in Iranian media,” 2016 December.
• “U.S. image and leader favorability in surveys - some underlying economic realities,” 2016 September. “

1. “Millions mark Islamic Revolution in Iran,” 2017 February 10.
2. “February 7, 2017 - American voters oppose Trump immigration ban, Quinnipiac University national poll finds; big gender gap as voters disapprove of Trump.”
“America boycott movement growing in spite of Democrats’ pro-AmeriKKKan disagreement with Trump,” 2017 February.
3. “Trump’s authority challenged by US Constitution,” 2017 February 6.
4. “Israel provokes US against Iran,” 2017 February 5.
5. “Israel biggest threat to region,” 2017 February 9.
6. “World seeing old US enmity towards Iran under Trump: Tehran,” 2017 February 9.
7. “The Leader: No country can paralyze Iranian nation,” 2017 February 7.
8. “Iran-(P)GCC dialogue benefits region,” 2017 February 9.
“GCC-Iran dialogue to defuse regional tension,” 2017 February 7.
9. “Yemen raid had secret target: Al Qaeda leader Qassim Al-Rimi,” 2017 February 7.
10. “Saudi-backed Yemeni officials deny they banned US commando raids,” 2017 February 8.

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