Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The politics of supporting Iran

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review
-- The only option America has is of using precision bombing to take out Iran’s nuclear installations. Iran’s bombing of Israel with conventional payloads will end up killing more Arabs than Jews. The Shias on the other side of the Gulf are not Iranians but Arabs. The Arabs in Khuzestan in Iran are not very happy

We all genuinely wish well for Iran. It is no exaggeration to say that Imam Khomeini’s revolution inspired most Pakistanis. Today no one except a handful of fanatic sectarian terrorists bad-mouth Iran. Officially Pakistan is on its way to becoming defiant towards the US as it seeks Iran’s gas through a pipeline. All Pakistanis and the government are opposed to an invasion of Iran. But this might lead us astray when we look at the facts.

GEO (April 21, 2006) Foreign Affairs discussed Iran’s challenge to America and Huma Baqai said that under the NPT Iran was entitled to enrich uranium which it was doing and America had no right to try and stop it. Ikram Sehgal said that Iran could respond militarily to an American attack because 10 percent of the population on the other side of the Gulf were Iranians with Shia faith.

He said Iran would attack the ports where Americans had their bases and that it also had missiles that could hit Israel with conventional payloads. General (r) Tariq said that Iran had no military option against America.

The only option America has is of using precision bombing to take out Iran’s nuclear installations. But the other side of the coin is actually the price of oil. Iran is earning $60 billion or more from oil because of the price hike. (This is up from $18 billion.) If it gets the US to shoot off its mouth in competition with President Ahmadinejad, the oil prices will go through the ceiling. If Tehran thinks that fear of a global economic crisis will deter all but the mad among the Americans from risking war, it might just get that mad man in President Bush. The Shias on the other side of the Gulf are not Iranians but Arabs. The Arabs in Khuzestan in Iran are not very happy, but still the Shia factor began mattering in 1979 when they arose in Saudi Arabia after the Iranian Revolution.

The bombing of Israel with conventional payloads will end up killing more Arabs than Jews. About Iran’s right to enrich, the NPT has the condition of full-scope safeguards and Iran was to open all the nuclear centres for inspections. It then entered into a Special Protocol with the IAEA. That means it has to accept very intrusive inspections, which it doesn’t allow. Or that is what the IAEA says.

Inside Tehran however Mr Ahmadinejad is not doing anything more elated than our politicians do when fishing for cheap popularity. He is very much a throwback to Dr Mossaadeq of the early 1950s in his theatrics. Dr Mossadeq was more unrealistic in the funks he faked in Majlis, but Ahmadinejad is on dangerous territory because Iran is no longer a weak bankrupt state and will fight rather than submit. This could take the whole region down economically, apart from the popular internecine Muslim unrest.

GEO (April 22, 2006) reported that a village Sher Muhammad Rind near Nawabshah was held hostage by armed men for two days and then put to the torch. Armed men sat in the village and fired on whoever came out of the house. They killed a girl and wounded two others in this process. The village belonged to the Rind feudals and the police said on TV that it was a no-go area for them because a Rind from the village was a federal minister. The war was between two Rind brothers. It had started after the village was used as the hideout of criminals from all over Sindh.

The feudals of Sindh are powerful people because their holdings are no-go areas. This is one big problem in Pakistan. Over 60 percent of its territory is no-go and the population living there has to live under the personal rule of the feudals and sardars. In this case dacoits were being allowed use of the village as a resting place in return for payment.

This is also a mixed blessing for Pakistan’s (mis)rulers. They can control people through their feudal chiefs and sardars. The downside comes up when the state wants its jurisdiction established and finds itself facing opposition from the very people it had first empowered. Separatism receives support from the feudal class for this reason.

GEO (April 23, 2006) 50 minutes talked to students that had gained distinction in the various science examinations. When the argument came around whether basic science should be taught as opposed to derived technological subjects, one girl said that basic sciences actually did not suit a narrow-minded society which did not tolerate criticism based on objective empirical evidence.

She said the basic sciences tended to change the thinking of people studying them and liberated their minds which did not suit a conservative society. The host said this comment was outside the ambit of discussion.

The girl has ended up saying some amazing things. Apart from Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, who wrote a book about it, and Dr Abdus Salam, who once dwelt on this aspect of the basic sciences vis-à-vis the almost “magic”-like qualities of borrowed technology, no Muslim has really talked about the relationship of fundamentalism with technology, and the dearth of teachers of the basic sciences in the Islamic world.

Hum TV (April 20, 2006) Qazi Hussain Ahmad said that Hizb ut Tahrir advocating a caliphate in Pakistan and the Islamic world was spreading an unrealistic doctrine. He asked: where would the caliph come from? Descend from Heaven?

Hizb ut Tahrir is the Arab version of anti-democracy khilafat. Qazi Hussain Ahmad wants to get to power through democracy and then complete the job of Islamising the state. This is a national project. An “export”-oriented ideology, which the Hizb advocates has failed and is not supported in Pakistan. Dr Israr Ahmad is opposed to democracy and wants khilafat with one Islamic country ruling the entire Islamic world. But he too has not linked up with Hizb ut Tahrir. Hizb works better in states with no democracy, as in Uzbekistan.

Source:daily times
Posted by ali ghanandi-irannuk


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