Downplaying the Iranian threat
That was the era when the world witnessed huge events across the world that changed the overall landscape of the international politics and the impact of those changes continue to be felt even today. Those events include the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iran-Iraq war, fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent collapse of the communist camp.
Reagan of the Republican Party won the presidential elections against the Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and the Republican victory in that election was the failure of the US administration headed by Carter to resolve the American hostages crisis in Tehran.
Closely on the heels of the Iranian revolution in 1979, a group of revolutionary students gatecrashed the US embassy and held 52 Americans hostages for more than a year and the US administration failed to free the hostages through operations carried out by Special Forces.
Iranians used to hold protest demonstrations frequently in major Iranian cities. During those demonstrations, they used to burn the United States flags and some anti-American slogans gained popularity in Iran like “Death to America,” “Fight Against the Forces of Global Arrogance” and “the Great Satan.” The so-called revolutionaries also used to chant slogans vowing to export the revolution.
In those days the word Al-Qaeda was not in circulation, but the word mujahideen was becoming popular. The US itself gave this title to the American-supported fighters against the erstwhile Soviet Union and the stigma of “terror” was not attached to them, and the war continued until the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan.
In the years after the end of the hostage crisis in Tehran, Iran’s proxies in Lebanon launched a series of kidnapping of westerners, most notorious of which was the kidnapping, torture and murder of the Director of CIA in Beirut, William Buckley.
Beirut also had the first taste of suicide blast in 1983 when the barracks of the international peacekeeping forces were bombed leaving 241 Americans and 58 French dead. It was the deadliest attack against US interests before the 9/11 attacks. However, none of those terrorist attacks provoke the US to launch a war or give it a sectarian classification.
I am prompted to say this after I watched a televised interview conducted by American journalist Thomas Friedman with US President Barack Obama, who forgot or pretended to forget that the war on terror led by his country did not open Iran and its agents’ terror front in Lebanon and Yemen, and that terrorism has no religion or school of thought; he was talking about the threats facing the Sunni nations.
“'The biggest danger is not a possible attack from Iran, but it is the discontent within their countries, the wrath of angry youths and the unemployed and a sense that there is no political way out to their grievances,” President Obama said.
The president seemed to be prejudiced against these countries and that he forgot the internal threats faced by Iran in addition to the human rights and democratic violations committed by Iranian governmental bodies.
Here and there we find those who defend Iran and its agents and justify its actions by saying that they do not do anything against American or western interests. Some of them say that the slogan “Death to America” is only for domestic consumption.
Then one wonders what these people would have to say about the bombing of the peacekeeping forces in Beirut, abductions in Lebanon, hijacking of planes in the 1980s, explosions in Kuwait, Alkhobar, Beunes Aires and Bangkok and also the recurring assassinations in Lebanon and also assassinations attempts in other parts of the world including the attempt on the life of the Saudi ambassador in the US.
Iran, its Revolutionary Guard, their agents Hezbollah and Ansar Allah raise the same slogans, and they use the same terminology, and commit the same crimes, besides stoking sectarian conflicts in the region. They had in the past been accused of committing terrorist crimes. They have the potential and capability surpassing a number of other countries.
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