[News] Interesting comments ad analysis on Iran

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sun Jan 5 00:06:21 EST 2020

By    Sima Shakhsari - January 3, 2020

Things that have made me cringe a few times today:

1. Celebrations of Soleimani’s death by fellow Iranians.If you are
celebrating, you either don’t understand that this is going to potentially
cost thousands of lives in the region, or you are pro-war. If the latter, I
have nothing to say to you.

2. The way that some people totally take the U.S. presence in Iraq as the
norm, but are shocked that Iran has presence in Iraq. The U.S. neocolonial
domination in Iraq has become naturalized to the point that we don’t ask
why is it that 17 years after “liberation” (my a%#) of Iraq, US security
forces/proxies are still there. And why are the lives of one or two
American proxies worth more than lives of thousands of Iraqis?

3. As much as I am fully in support of an independent Iraq and think that
only Iraqis should run Iraq, I really have a problem with the way that
people treat U.S. and Iran as equal imperial elements in Iraq. First, there
is a HUGE difference between U.S. imperialism and the Iranian geopolitical
and idealogical influence/interest in Iraq (and Syria and Lebanon for that
matter). The myth of sovereignty of nation-states and the assumption that
there is an even playing field in the international relations erases gross
inequalities of power in this narrative. You simply cannot equate the power
that the U.S. empire has with Iran’s regional support of Hizbollah and
Al-Hashd a’sha’bi. So when you say in the same breath “U.S. and Iran out of
Iraq,” it is kind of like liberal queers saying “Israel stop persecuting
Palestinians and Palestine stop persecuting Queers!” As well-intentioned as
it may be, the two are simply not the same and by putting them in the same
sentence, you are erasing the gross violence of Israeli settler
colonialism. In the case of Iran and the U.S. you are erasing the violence
of US imperialism, histories of economic extraction, and US geopolitical
and military interventions in the Middle East (by making it seem like Iran
and the US are two equal nation-states in the “international” order of
things). That is not the case.

4. This phrase: “it’s true that Soleimani has American blood on his hands,
but the U.S. should not have assassinated him illegally” (or similar
phrases that seem very benign. I am not a Soleimani fan, because to me he
represents the conservative elements of the Iranian state. But hear me out:
the man was a military strategist who cleaned up the mess that the US had
managed to create in the region. And I am talking about Al Qaeda and the
US-backed Free Syrian Army from which some elements of ISIS emerged. And it
was Iran’s quds forces under Soleimani’s strategic leadership that curbed
ISIS in Iraq. And so congrats to the US for killing Soleimani and
potentially emboldening ISIS again.
Again, I am not defending Iran’s support of Asad in Syria. But you cannot
ignore Iran’s role in stopping ISIS on one hand, and curbing US and Israeli
aggression on the other. Sadly, Soleimani was so dedicated to the cause
that he did it at any cost (including collaborating with Asad). So, he had
more Syrian blood on his hand than American blood. And if anything, he and
his forces protected Americans’ asses against ISIS in Iraq. But as we know,
friends become enemies when they no longer serve US interests (examples are
too many). Before I get accused of revering Soleimani, let me be clear that
I am not saying idolize Soleimani after his death. But recognize what he
did. And accept that for many in Iran he was considered to be a national
hero and a humanitarian. But as it is often the case, discourses of
national security (which are coupled with state’s humanitarian claims)
often produce internal others. And that is why for the people whom he
deemed enemies, he was not quite loved.

5. Making this solely about the American elections, or only worrying about
the human and monetary cost of another war to Americans. Meanwhile, some of
us cannot sleep thinking about thousands of Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, and
Lebanese lives that could soon become casualties and numbers.

If I come across as bitter and grumpy, it’s because I am.

A friend in Iran who was not going to vote in the Iranian elections—because
he was extremely pissed with the Iranian state— is going to Soleimani’s
funeral and is now in favor of revenge. This is what the U.S. assassination
of Soleimani has done to many Iranians. It’s called nationalism. And it
works like a charm. Imagine if Pompeo was assassinated by Iranian drones on
a visit to Canada to discuss military coalitions. I doubt that American
nationalism would not be mobilizing a war (the comparison is far from
perfect because of the uneven geopolitical relations, but you get the

So, while the U.S. election trick (start a war to distract from
impeachment, etc.) might sound like a logical explanation, the world does
not revolve around the U.S. domestic politics. This is more about the U.S.
geopolitical power in the region and the fear of independent democratic
movements that would cut off U.S. political and economic power in the
“Middle East.” This assassination has effectively hijacked the protests in
Iraq. And it has incited strong nationalist feelings among many Iranians
who would put their grievances aside to defend Iran in the face of U.S.
attacks.. It has further polarized the political realm and left people with
only two options: to stand behind the Iranian state’s military forces, or
to advocate US-backed regime change. Same trend applies to Iraq (and by
extension other parts of the region if a war breaks out). It is already
happening in social media fights between those who celebrate Soleimani and
Al-Mohandes’s deaths and those who see them as heros who stopped ISIS... So
we are back at the Manichaean logic of “you are either with us or against
us...” Trump is a moron, but this is bigger than Trump. It’s not just a
“reckless” act by an idiot in chief. It is a calculated and vicious evil
plan that will leave thousands and thousands Iranians and Iraqis dead, and
will push the possibility of independent and truly democratic movements
(not the replicas of US liberal democracy) back by decades. This is not
because Trump fears impeachment. It is more because the U.S. imperialist
agenda despises truly democratic uprisings in the Middle East. They are not
good for the business.
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