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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Iranian-Palestinian relations develop in the midst of unexpected U.S. election result
November 11, 2016
According to Iranian Tasnim News Agency and Iran’s official IRNA, Iran’s foreign minister made comments to the effect that Israel, not Great Satan the United States, is now the #1 enemy of both Iran and most of the world.(1) This is at a time when a great many people still have difficulty with the concept of the United $tates’ being the world’s main enemy, whether it has a “fascist” current president or president-elect or not. Even among secular alleged leftists, many never fully understood fascism or international united fronts as defined by scientists, but somehow it is easier for reasons of expedience to talk about Israel as enemy #1. One may now be in an odd situation of having to decide which is worse: Democrat-influenced post-election discussion of “fascism” suggesting AmeriKKKans will be a powerful force against a supposedly uniquely-threatening Trump administration, or U.S. State Department and Treasury Department -influenced discussion of the Amerikans’ dropping in rank as an enemy.
Notably, it looks like the English-language IRNA and Tasnim articles were published after amerikans had begun voting on November 8 in the United States, but before it was clear Donald Trump was going to win. It is typical for states to express openness to improving or maintaining relations with the united $tates after presidential elections. There is no custom, however, compelling Iran to downgrade that entity as a global threat so explicitly and publicly. There will be undesirable consequences for the Palestinian cause if more non-amerikans hear such messages from Iran in the future. Perhaps Ayatollah Khamenei or a Khamenei-influenced media organization will clarify.
According to IRNA, Javad Zarif “said the Zionist regime posed the greatest threat not only to the region but the whole humanity.” The context includes criticism of some Arabs and Muslims for allegedly understating the threat. Also, it seems Zarif’s remark about Israel was meant to draw attention to the I$raeli-Palestinian issue. “ . . . Palestinian groups have to be confident that the world will never forget the danger of the Zionist regime. / He said the issue of Palestine will continue to remain the most important issue of the Islamic world till establishment of stability there.” Zarif mentioned Israeli nuclear weapons and that certain Muslim movements were concentrating attacks in countries other than Israel.
According to Tasnim, Zarif exactly said in Lebanon, “The most serious threat to our region and the world of humanity is the Zionist regime. This colonial phenomenon is the source of all threats to peace, security and human rights.” This goes far beyond saying Israel is the top regional threat as Hassan Nasrallah(2) has said. Reportedly, Zarif went so far as to refer “to Takfiri terrorism as the second greatest threat to the region and the world.” The united $tates, then, would at most be the third-greatest threat.
The united $tates is mentioned in neither article explicitly. Zarif mentioned the Balfour Declaration and “the Zionist regime as a creation of colonialism” according to IRNA.
Hopefully, by “Zionist regime,” Zarif was referring imprecisely to the amerikan-I$raeli colonial entity in Palestine. Otherwise, the omission of the united $tates in these articles is regrettable. The amerikans have strong ties with Lebanon and still have influence there – against Iran’s own interests. Zarif is of course aware of that, which makes these IRNA and Tasnim articles – relevant to Iranian-Lebanese relations under Lebanon’s new president – both understandable and concerning. The new Lebanese president elected at the end of October, President Michel Aoun, is reportedly allied with certain anti-Israel militants considered terrorist by the united $tates. There is an obvious reason to kiss amerikan ass while highlighting an Israeli threat, but a global plurality considers amerika to be the greatest threat to peace as reported in Iranian media previously.(3)
The dominant narrative is that Iran is just competing against Saudi influence in Lebanon and other countries, but it is important how things may or may not be changing in relation to the amerikan role, specifically, in the Middle East and in the world. It is evident some of those with the strongest anti-Israel rhetoric, for example suggesting that Israel is a superpower bullying the united $tates, are counterproductively setting back the anti-amerikan struggle so important to advancing the Palestinian cause and to making progress in the Middle East. Hopefully that won’t include Iran, which many in the world view as a major stalwart opponent of the united $tates.
U.$. election considerations
With regard to the u.$. election, the Iranian government may have anticipated a Clinton victory and that Clinton’s presidency would make a difference somehow. And Iran may have anticipated a Trump victory and an opportunity for a “reset” under Trump, or a need to avoid confrontation over JCPOA. In any case, it would have been wise to anticipate either election result. Only the delusional who thought there were too many so-angelic (or image-conscious) amerikans for Trump to be elected, or don’t understand how Democrats’, liberals’ and phony leftists’ own words paved the way for Trump, are in utter shock. People are wondering how the “bookies” and prediction markets got it wrong, but unless this writer is mistaken, Trump’s chance of winning the presidency on electionbettingodds.com never went below 10% after winning the Republican nomination. It is others who somehow don’t understand what probability is despite graduating from middle school in the united $tates or betting on long shots in sports. Non-amerikans paying attention to reality-based media weren’t in shock to the extent many amerikans are.
In reality, Clinton would not have made the two-state solution any easier. Contrary to what some critics of the two-state solution seem to suggest, that doesn’t mean amerikans would have supported anything more radical than that.
Iran would be wrong to think there is going to be some kind of progressive revolution in the united $tates, making broadly uniting against the united $tates somehow less necessary. The fact that there are more amerikans burning buildings and cars, protesting on campuses, and publicly talking about assassination or “not my president” in 2016 after the Democrat didn’t win, than after Obama’s election or reelection, doesn’t by itself mean there is something revolutionary going on in the united $tates. It’s not just that many of these people harbor and still promote the anti-China, anti-Iran, anti-Saudi, anti-Islam, anti-migrant-worker, anti-offshoring and populist anti- “establishment” attitudes that helped Trump win (and the anti-Russian attitudes that helped em win by scaring people about war). It’s also that other varieties of extreme reaction – the other faces of amerikkka – don’t always reveal themselves in the street or out in the open. It’s something many are of course discussing now in a way – that many Trump supporters kept a low profile – but some continue putting too much weight on conspicuous protest and continue to make mistakes about the balance, composition or nature of forces.
In a way (though Trump’s presidency will probably deflate the united $tates’ undeserved image in the world, boosted by Obama), having Clinton as President would have been less confusing. Now, what happens during the next presidential term will be blamed on “fascist” Republicans and Democrats will be treated as an anti- “fascist” force. That will happen regardless of what has happened during Obama’s presidency and what will and won’t happen between now and January 20. Some in Muslim countries may erroneously come to overestimate Democrats’ and amerikans’ pro-Palestinian potential.
International united fronts
Maybe the best interpretation of what Zarif said is that Saudi Arabia itself is not the #1 or #2 regional or global threat. And, certainly it is true the I$raeli-Palestinian issue is of great global importance, major relevance to various countries’ international struggles. In terms of theory and in Zarif’s defense, the basic theory involved is correct: there is a specific imperialist country/entity – not “Wahhabism,” “Takfirism,” “extremism,” “terrorism,” or an oppressed nation – that is the top threat to the world including non-imperialist and imperialist capitalist countries. Iran, correctly, doesn’t make as much positive reference to the I$raeli working class as many others do. Furthermore, Zarif would be correct to criticize those who make religious – or ideological – purity of society a more urgent objective than opposing the primary international enemy. (Although, it is possible some of those Zarif criticizes are now more anti-amerikan rhetorically than Zarif is at the moment.)
In that way, in the current economic and political circumstances, Muslim Javad Zarif is more concrete and Marxist than many atheist, pseudo-Marxist CIA types who were interested in political intrigue of individuals but never really cared about, understood and accepted the substance of what people like Lin Biao, Luo Ruiqing, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai were all saying in China at some point, in some cases at the height of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Chinese example is relevant in that there may be significant disagreement about the identity of the #1 enemy, but much of the same theory may be expressed in different statements.
So what Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Iran’s top diplomat, said does have a scientific basis. It just happens to be inaccurate in terms of the particular analytical or strategic conclusion. Effectively opposing I$rael will require much sacrifice in countries’ relations with the united $tates. Right now, the Philippines seems to be setting a good example at least in global media.
Iran and the two-state solution
Interestingly, Iran’s current diplomacy seems to suggest focusing on the amerikkkan-I$raeli settler entity is consistent with trying to overcome obstacles to a two-state outcome better than what exists now on the Palestinian nation’s land. There was the recent IRNA interview of a Palestinian diplomat about the need to end a “peace process” stalemate, and amerikan opposition to the two-state solution.(4) Recently, Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat (reportedly a Marwan Barghouti supporter) met with traditionally Iran-influenced Hamas leaders.(5) The meeting was reported in Iranian media. Hamas “called for holding elections and forming a unity government.”
“According to the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency, the trio [Abbas, Haniyeh, Meshaal] emphasized reconciliation and the importance of dialog between Fatah and Hamas to achieve unity, establish a consensus government, and organize elections. / The sides agreed to protect the ‘Palestinian national project’ from Israeli attempts to destroy the so-called two-state solution, it added.”
It would be hard to make the message there any clearer. Any readers who were skeptical about the discussion of Iran and Saudi Arabia here, and opposing the two-state stage because they were fantasizing about another approach premised on Iranian support, might want to look into why they were getting things wrong.
That is IRIB’s Press TV citing official Palestinian Authority media. Hamas there is agreeing to protect the Palestinian national project from opposition to the two-state solution. There may be more Arab influence with Hamas recently, and Iran may be seeking to maintain or expand its influence for various reasons (not just competition with an Arab country), but dialectically maybe Iran and certain Arab countries may now have more reason to come to an agreement about how to proceed with the amerikan-I$raeli colonialism issue.
Iran doesn’t support the two-state solution less than the united $tates does; the united $tates actually strongly opposes it despite all of the appearances and confusion about that. Discursively it would be difficult for a variety of Iranian media to support a plan including the Zionist entity’s temporary existence, in plain language, but that doesn’t mean Iran is against the two-state solution more than the u.$. entity is.
Another recent PressTV article quotes Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal as describing Israel as “a burden” on amerikans.”(6) (Hamas is still branded a terrorist organization by the united $tates.) That may obscure the amerikans’ strategic interest in its relationship with I$rael. However, the same article contains, “Trump has been a staunch opponent of the so-called two–state solution, having referred to East Jerusalem al-Quds as the ‘undivided’ or ‘eternal’ capital of the Israeli regime.” Additionally: “The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. / The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinians state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.” In other words, the united $tates will still be opposing the two-state solution as Palestinians have said or suggested.(7) Obstacles to peace should be removed.
Economic relations involving Iran and both China and France are developing.(8) The Chinese and French governments claim to support the two-state solution. China and France have an interest in peace and stability in the Middle East more than the amerikans do.
Developments in Iranian-Palestinian relations should not be assumed to mean Palestine is moving away from the two-state solution. The two-state solution can be a temporary step, and the united $tates opposes the solution. ◊
• “Decay in anti-Americanism is to blame for bad Iranian-Saudi relations and disorientation in anti-Israel struggle,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-09-23-news-Decay-in-anti-Americanism.md
• “Iran signals its support for the two-state solution and Palestinian diplomacy,” 2016 November. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-11-01-news-Iran-two-state-solution.md
• “AmeriKKKa unmasked: Trump in sight of victory,” 2016 November. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-11-09-news-AmeriKKKa-unmasked.md
• “Three Worlds Theory,” 2008 September 22. https://web.archive.org/web/20081221210847/http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/wim/wyl/threeworldstheory.html
• “Arab League Secretary General arrives in Ramallah,” 2016 November 9. http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=CHTSh3a51613565190aCHTSh3
1. “Israel main threat to humanity: Iran’s FM,” 2016 November 8. http://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2016/11/08/1234920/israel-main-threat-to-humanity-iran-s-fm
“Zarif: Zionist regime a danger to whole world,” 2016 November 8. http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82299795/
See: “West has not fully met its nuclear deal commitments: Iran envoy,” 2016 September 21. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/09/21/485787/iran-iaea-najafi-israeli-nukes
2. “Nasrallah calls for ‘comprehensive resistance’ against Israel,” 2016 May 25. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/05/25/467346/Lebanon-Hezbollah-Sayyed-Hassan-Nasrallah-Israel-war-2000 “The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement says Israel is the “greatest threat” to Palestinians and the entire region, calling for “comprehensive resistance” against the Zionist enemy.” “He further highlighted Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, saying every one should remember that the Tel Aviv regime is the real enemy and the greatest threat to the entire region.”
“Nasrallah: US remains “Great Satan”,” 2015 July 26. http://en.alalam.ir/news/1723784
3. “U.S. image and leader favorability in surveys: some underlying economic realities,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/posts/2016-09-05-news-American-favorability-differences.md
“Washington threatens the whole world,” 2014 August 9. http://en.alalam.ir/news/1621524 “Washington long ago gave up diplomacy. Washington relies on force and intimidation. The US government is utterly devoid of judgment. This is why polls show that the rest of the world regards the US government as the greatest threat to world peace.”
“U.S. most dangerous threat to world peace: poll,” 2014 January 3. http://en.alalam.ir/news/1551109
4. “Iran signals its support for the two-state solution and Palestinian diplomacy,” 2016 November. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-11-01-news-Iran-two-state-solution.md
5. “Palestinian President Abbas holds rare meeting with senior Hamas leaders in Doha,” 2016 October 28. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/10/28/491002/Palestine-Mahmoud-Abbas-Khaled-Meshaal-Ismail-Haniyeh-Doha-meeting
6. “Time for US to end backing Israel’s perpetual crimes: Hamas,” 2016 November 11. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/11/493062/Hamas-Khaled-Meshaal-US-Trump-Israel-Palestinians
7. “Trump’s victory will not affect Palestinians, say analysts,” 2016 November 9. http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=M5XGPva51616420449aM5XGPv
“New JMCC poll shows pluralities of Palestinian youth prefer Marwan Barghouti and the two-state solution; PSR poll shows unfavorable Palestinian views of the United $tates,” 2016 October. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-10-15-news-Marwan-Barghouti-polls.md
8. “Iran, China, France to ink oil deal,” 2016 November 8. http://en.mehrnews.com/news/121157/Iran-China-France-to-ink-oil-deal
“Iran, China seal New Silk Road deal,” 2016 October 31. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/10/31/491562/Iran-China-seal-New-Silk-Road-deal