Archive for June 27th, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Iran: In Dire Need of Foreign Enemies

American governments have experienced it in the past: your enemy refuses to continue a lucrative arms race, or you have him hanged and he’s no longer around. The bitter fruits of victory always seemed to come as a surprise.

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the removal of Saddam Hussein‘s regime was actually a nice service rendered to Tehran. For a while, a Shi’ite rule similar to Iran’s looked likely, at least to uninitiated news readers like me. And after all, the West did see Saddam Hussein as a bulwark against theocracy all around the Gulf, during the 1980s, didn’t it?

But Iran’s supreme leader and his followers have a problem now. On June 6, a German Islam expert was interviewed by Iran’s foreign radio station and commented on Barack Obama‘s Cairo speech:

The response by Muslims in Germany is very divided. The more west-oriented Muslims, or those who aren’t west-oriented but who, in the final analysis, somehow have an inferiority complex to the West, have reacted positively, have emphasized the aspects which they consider hopeful. On the other hand, my personal assessment, and that of many Muslims, is that Mr Obama is really one of the greatest actors of our times, who will be worse than Bush, because Bush was an open enemy who clearly said, I’m waging war against the Muslims, a crusade against Islam and Muslims, and he has done that. That was an open hostility, but it was open.

Oh, happy days!

I’m not trying to make my mind up about the authenticity of the presidential elections earlier this month. But apparently, Iran’s theocracy fears losing its greatest enemy. After the war waged against Iran by Iraq with a lot of international backing (no, not only Western) and after years of uninspired Western antagonism, a bit of breathing space has apparently started a period where Iranians can think of their own future, rather than worrying about how enemies abroad might try to shape it. Now, the threats to keep the Iranian people down may have to come from Iran’s government. That’s a feature Tehran traditionally liked to attribute to the governments of Egypt or Saudi-Arabia.

Mourning the beloved Great Satan

Mourning the loss of a Great Satan

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