Opinion: Trump's war against Iran

October 23, 2017

Donald Trump

Dangerous path: Donald Trump's rhetoric could be sowing the seeds of future conflict

In an article for the West Australian, Dr Ameer Ali from Murdoch's School of Business and Governance, discusses the repercussions of  President Donald Trump's anti-Iranian rhetoric.

Donald Trump and the US military-industrial-media-academic-congress-complex (MIMACC) with support from the Saudi regime and Benjamin Netanyahu, has virtually declared war on Iran by raising the possibility of unilaterally abrogating the internationally-agreed nuclear deal signed in 2015.

This has obviously embarrassed the US allies, isolated the superpower and above all rekindled the anti-US and nationalistic sentiments in Iran on which that nation’s conservative mullacracy thrives.

The roots of this anti-US sentiment in Iran go back to the early 1950s when the CIA successfully engineered a coup to topple Dr Mossadeq’s democratically elected government and bring back the puppet Shah.

From then until Obama’s equally successful nuclear deal, Iran-US relations had been topsy-turvy to say the least. To keep Iran calm and friendly is an asset to minimise troubles in the volatile Middle east and to stabilise the oil market at an affordable price to consumers.

However, successive US administrations seem to have never come to grips with the Shia mindset that has historically demonstrated a rabid intolerance towards oppression and outside interference in domestic affairs.

The current Iranian regime came to power in 1979 by exploiting that mind set and calling the US “the Great Satan” and the US embassy a “den of thieves”.

Yet, the presidential elections of 2009 showed a rising wave of discontent against the Islamic regime. The Green Movement that started that year provoked nationwide demonstrations against the regime, planted the seeds for the Arab Spring two years later and sent shock waves to the Mullahs. The regime’s survival was secured only after indiscriminate slaughter of the opponents by the security forces and vigilantes.

Even now there is serious discontent against the current rulers in Iran and, given time, a regime change towards a more democratic rule is inevitable.

The Obama administration must have read the situation accurately and wanted to normalise US-Iran relations so that a regime change in the future will occur spontaneously without outside interference. The internationally agreed nuclear deal was the outcome of that realisation.

Now, an unpredictable Donald Trump, in pandering to the wishes of a tiny elite that thrives on selling weapons of mass destruction and waging wars internationally, is trying to jeopardise a hard-won peace.

From the point of view of the unpopular Iranian regime, Trump’s anti-Iranian rhetoric will provide a golden opportunity not only to rekindle the traditional anti-US and aggressive nationalist sentiment, but also to resume the nuclear program. If the US declares war, the Middle East volatility will certainly worsen with the Shia in Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia rising in support of Iran and causing irreparable damage to an already sensitive sectarian balance. All this will favour the conservative mullahs in Iran.

Iran is also closely watching Trump’s empty rhetoric against North Korea. That nation’s potential nuclear threat that is keeping the US war mongers away from indulging in any rash military action. It was also by surrendering the nuclear weapon preparations that Gaddafi in Libya became an easy prey to NATO and US attacks. It was the destruction of the nuclear reactor by Israel that made Saddam Hussein totally powerless in the face of the US invasion. Trump’s latest warmongering is clearly sending a message to other nations: if you want peace, prepare for war.

Australia has been acting notoriously like a US vassal state when it comes to foreign policy. For instance, no sooner had Trump announced that military solution is an option to checkmate North Korea, our Prime Minister was quick to show his readiness to invoke the ANZAS Treaty. I hope that at least in the Iran issue, our Government will maintain some semblance of independent thinking and keep its distance from Trump's warmongering.

This article was originally published in the West Australian on Monday 23 October.    

Dr Ali lectures in Economics at the School of Business and Governance. Explore our courses.

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