Lessons from 911 and Iraq

Sam Ghandchi




Persian Version




The experience of Sept 11th showed that:


1. There are two major opponents of post-industrial global development.  The first being the retrogressive pre-industrial forces like Islamists in the Middle East, and the other being forces like the ultranationalists in the West.  Both these forces are undermining globalization.


2. It is a mistake to view 911 as a response to inequalities of globalization and seeing it as a "South" versus "North" issue. Although such inequalities and discontents are true in the globalization, but 911 was not a symbol of that struggle in the world.  The proper response to unequal development, is the way countries like India, Singapore, or Taiwan have worked and competed in the world, where they have even become a challenge to the Western countries in the global market, and India has 100 billion dollars a year revenue from high tech.


3. Contrary to the facade the Islamists like to create, they are *not* representing the rightful aspirations for social justice, by those deprived by inequalities of global development.  Sept 11th  was the symbol of the pre-industrial resistance, reaction, and attack on globalization.  The goal of Islamists was not to bring equality to the global post-industrial development.  Their goal was to turn back the world to their 1400-year-ago-old nightmare of the world, while using the inequalities of globalization as a justification for their atrocities.


4. It is also important to be clear to oppose both the retrogressive Islamist forces, that have grown in the past 25 years, and at the same time, to oppose the ultranationalist forces of the West, who think going back to pre-global Western Nation States,  is the solution for combating the pre-industrial forces of the past.


5. Sept 11th proved that making deals with retrogressive mollahs of Iran, in cases like death threat to Salman Rushdie, would not secure the Western countries.  Moreover, contrary to the view of some Western analysts, these retrogressive forces do not represent the aspirations of the masses of the Middle East.  The people of Middle East, just like the Westerners, are as appalled by the atrocities of  these dark forces.



The experience of Iraq showed that:


1. US invading Iraq, relying on Ahmed Chalabi, was a mistake.  Ahmed Chalabi is called Reza Pahlavi of Iraq.  He was not part of the progressive people's movement, and had no mass base, and wanted U.S. to control the situation by the U.S. army.  The same way Iran's Reza Pahlavi, and other monarchists of Iran, have been trying to get the U.S. to invade Iran, to get to power, when they have no mass base inside Iran.  Iranian people made a revolution to end the monarchy, and nobody is a believer in monarchists'  Myth of Democratic MonarchySome monarchists are even encouraging the U.S. to use mojAhedin or former mojAhedin members to create covert operations to invade Iran.  The Iranian people and pro-democracy movement condemn any covert activities by U.S. or any other country in Iran.  U.S. should learn from the Iraq experience that invasion is not what the people want, and if the Iranian monarchists really had any mass base, and wanted to use armed struggle, they should do it themselves, rather than trying to use innocent ex-mojAhedins as cannon powder in U.S. covert attacks, which they are calling for.


2. Second lesson U.S. can learn, is not to support a group that itself is anti-democratic and retrogressive. In other words, this is what U.S. did by supporting Shi'a Islamists in Iraq, who were Saddam's opposition, but the they are a backward, retrogressive, and anti-democratic force themselves, and on the eve of collapse of Saddam, Shi'a Islamists became the first block to success of a a secular democracy in Iraq, by forcing new constitution towards Islamism. In Iran's case, if a force like mojAhedin does not democratize, then it will not be a reliable ally for pro-democracy movement in Iran, and U.S. should not support it, as it will result in another Khmer Rouge, or Iraqi Shiite Islamist opposition experience, this time in Iran.  Those like myself discussing the issue of mojAhedin,  our purpose is not to take advantage of their members, rather it is to make sure their organization becomes democratic, and they develop proper relations with our pro-democracy movement, even if we ignore their past cooperation with Saddam's regime.  If their organization not democratize, then critics like me hope that their members who leave that organization, to form their own democratic groups, rather than joining IRI, or joining any mercenary operations. Both what IRI is doing with ex-mojAhedin, or a covert plan by some US monarchist supporters, are condemned in the eyes of Iranians.


3. The third lesson from Iraq is that even keeping Saddam, hoping he would democratize, which was the approach by many in Democratic Party and by many Europeans, would not have worked, and in Iran, the same way, the so-called IRI reformist alternatives are useless.  For the case of Iran, I have explained it in details in Islamic Democracy is *not* Pluralism why any hope in the IRI factions is a mistake, because IRI reformists are not going to end Islamism and embrace secular democracy, their goal is to prolong Islamism, albeit to form their own kind of Islamist state, and not to end Islamic Republic.  It is important to know that our problem in Iran is *not* just extremist forces and apartheid, which was the case in South Africa.  In other words, just abolition of apartheid, and removing religious and sexist racism from IRI constitution, and moderation, will not solve the problem of Iran.  IRI in its totality is a retrogressive state with a reactionary constitution, and it has to be fully ended, and replaced with a *secular* democratic republic.  And hopefully this will happen peacefully. This was the topic of my discussion in Mr. Kerry, Islamic Republic of Iran Must Go.


4. The future of Middle East is democracy and secularism with a respective constitution, although some U.S. analysts keep recommending the failed paths noted above. Spending energy to see what Shi'a Ayatollahs say from one day to another, rather than helping the democratic elections and supporting formation of secular democratic republics.  All the image that the retrogressive forces create of mass support is not true.  In fact, they tell the masses that they have the U.S. support, to gather support for themselves.  Middle Eastern people are supporting secular democracy like the end of Middle Ages in Europe.  The West needs not believe in the fabrications of obsolete forces in the Middle East, like the monarchists, who have no problem to give special privileges to clergy again, trying to get U.S. support and money to push their backward programs.  The world public opinion needs not to call Middle Eastern countries as the so-called "Islamic" countries, and thinking people in the Middle East are waiting to follow the latest fatwas of Ayatollahs.  In Iran, even 100 years ago, the mollahs had a hard time to keep people's following,  and surely surely they will be a peripheral force in Iran's future.  The image of Middle East as the land of religious people is a wrong image.  Maybe even Americans are more religious than Iranians.


I would suggest to every Iranian, or others who care for Iran, not to put their hopes in:

1. Monarchy that has shown what it is in practice, for decades before IRI. Monarchy built Savak, and Evin prison, that are now used by IRI, and Shah was the one who let mollahs free, when he shut down the secular democratic gatherings of Jebhe Meli and others, to kill the secular democratic movement in Iran.

2. MojAhedin's leadership, which still does not work seriously to democratize that organization, and to work right with Iran's pro-democracy movement, even if we neglect their errors of working with Saddam.

3. IRI lobbyists who have been whitewashing IRI human rights abuses all these years. If the money people raised for the lobbyists to fight sanctions, had been given to organizations that work for human rights, like mehr.org, Mehr which always clearly called for human rights conditions to remove sanctions, then we would have been way ahead in forming an Iranian alternative, and even a pro-HR Iranian voting block abroad.



Instead of wasting time trying to change the monarchists or mojAhedin or IRI lobbyists, let's support the independent secular republican alternative that needs urgent help to organize, and be confident that they can lead Iran to democratic and progressive future because:


1. The alternative of secular democratic republic is what Iranian people are supporting.


2. This is why the obsolete forces like monarchists, change their face everyday, and come under various facades, to deceive people, because they have no support among the people.

3. In today 's political movement of Iran, we want shafAfiat (transparency). There are people who are speaking hundred times more important issues, than many of the anonymous followers of monarchy, mojAhedin, and IRI lobbyists.


4. These individuals do not use anonymity to speak against IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran). They use anonymity not to take responsibility for their words, and to show themselves as many, when they are only one or two working for these groups, trying to impose their dictatorial force on Iranian people, with deception and lack of transparency and clarity, using *personal* attacks on Iranian pro-democracy activists.


5. The secular democratic republicans of Iran are the ones who can lead Futurist Iran.  The sooner we rely on ourselves and avoid wasting our time with the above mentioned forces, the farther ahead we will be.

Hoping for a Futurist,  Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran,


Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher



May 5, 2004






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