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  1. Iran’s Eye-for-an-Eye Strategy in the Gulf
  2. How the US Helped Create Saddam Hussein
  3. Where Would America Be If It Never Invaded Saddam Hussein's Iraq?
  4. Customer Reviews

Mohammad Reza Shah, only the second shah in the Pahlavi dynasty, had fled to Rome when the fighting began. When it stopped, he returned to Tehran and reclaimed his power from Parliament. The coup, which Iranians later learned had been engineered by the United States, turned many Iranians against America. It was no longer viewed as a bulwark against British and Russian encroachment but the newest foreign meddler.

Mossadegh was tried for treason in a military court, and in was sentenced to three years in jail. He remained under house arrest in Ahmad Abad, quietly tending his garden, until his death in In the s, the Shah began an aggressive, U. As Britain pulled out of the region in the s, Iran became the guardian of the Persian Gulf. The Shah stifled all political opposition, dismissing or repressing opponents as enemies of the state. The revolution, led by religious fundamentalists, took him by surprise.

Mossadegh, in contrast, was more of a democrat at heart. Even though his reforms were modest, he is respected today for his nationalism and tough stance against foreign interlopers. Today, his admirers regularly make the trek some call it a pilgrimage to his tomb. The walls were covered with photographs of the prime minister: making fiery speeches in Parliament; defending himself in a military court after the coup; gardening in Ahmad Abad.

The high wall surrounding the former U. Embassy, which occupies two Tehran blocks, bears numerous slogans. After a six-month standoff, President Jimmy Carter authorized a rescue mission that ended disastrously after a helicopter collided with a transport plane in the Dasht-e-Kavir desert in north-central Iran, killing eight Americans. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who had opposed the operation, resigned. Carter, shaken by the failure, was defeated in the election by Ronald Reagan.

Still, Iran was regarded by the United States and others as an outlaw state. Adjacent to the compound, a bookstore sells religious literature, anti-American screeds and bound copies of American diplomatic files painstakingly rebuilt from shredded documents. The place is usually empty of customers. When I bought a series of books entitled Documents from the U. Espionage Den , the chador-clad woman behind the desk looked surprised. The books were covered with a thin film of dust, which she wiped away with a wet napkin.

Mohsen Mirdamadi, who was a student in Tehran in the s, was one of the hostage-takers. After all, America had overthrown one Iranian government.

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Embassy when he was taken as a hostage, said he had no orders to work to destabilize the new government, contrary to what the revolutionaries alleged. The council has the power to block the passage of laws as well as prevent candidates from running for the presidency or the Parliament.


Iran’s Eye-for-an-Eye Strategy in the Gulf

Mirdamadi, like Khatami, says Iran deserves a government that combines democratic and Islamic principles. His reformist views won him a parliamentary seat five years ago, but in the elections he was among the 2, candidates the Guardian Council barred. A presidential election is scheduled for June, and social critics in Iran as well as international analysts say a free and fair contest is unlikely.

With many Iranians expected to stay away from the polls in protest, a conservative victory is almost guaranteed. But what flavor of conservative?

How the US Helped Create Saddam Hussein

A religious hard-liner close to current supreme leader Khamenei? No matter what, neither is likely to share power with secular democrats or even Islamist reformers like Mirdamadi. State Department have all sharply criticized Iranian officials for their use of torture and arbitrary imprisonment.

Nobody wants to experiment with religion and politics anymore. Now, they want secular democrats. Abookstore owner told me that the ideas of reformist clergy are much more popular than the pronouncements of conservative mullahs. And translated American self-help books by the likes of motivational guru Anthony Robbins outsell political tracts. But the owner keeps the hottest commodities discreetly in a back corner.

There I saw technical texts on sex and female anatomy. He just smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders. Iran today is at a turning point. Either the Islamic revolution must mellow and embrace political change, or face a reckoning down the road when hard-line clerics come into conflict with the secular, democratic ideals of the younger generation.

But though the influence of religion in politics is under assault in Iran, national pride remains a potent force. To get a glimpse of raw Iranian patriotism, a good place to go is a soccer stadium. Crowds grew antsy, and a few hurled insults at police patrols.

Where Would America Be If It Never Invaded Saddam Hussein's Iraq?

When a group of bearded young men—members of the Basij volunteer militia, linked to conservative religious figures—sauntered to the front of the line and passed through the gate, the crowd roared its disapproval. I saw this frustration again later, when a parking attendant outside the stadium demanded a fee. At halftime, the chairman of the German football federation presented a check to the mayor of Bam, a city in southeastern Iran devastated by an earthquake that killed 30, people in Throughout the game, which Germany won, , large loudspeakers blasted government-approved techno music.

The mostly young men filling the , seats swayed to the beat. Asmall group near us banged on drums.

The music stopped, and an announcer recited from the Koran, but most people continued chatting with one another, appearing to ignore the verses. When the music came back on, the crowd cheered. Continue or Give a Gift. Privacy Policy , Terms of Use Sign up.

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Ingenuity Ingenuity Awards. The Innovative Spirit. Travel Taiwan. Time and again, America turned a blind eye to Saddam's predations, saw him as the lesser evil or flinched at the chance to unseat him. No single policymaker or administration deserves blame for creating, or at least tolerating, a monster; many of their decisions seemed reasonable at the time. Even so, there are moments in this clumsy dance with the Devil that make one cringe. It is hard to believe that, during most of the s, America knowingly permitted the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission to import bacterial cultures that might be used to build biological weapons.

But it happened. America's past stumbles, while embarrassing, are not an argument for inaction in the future. Saddam probably is the "grave and gathering danger" described by President Bush in his speech to the United Nations last week.

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  7. But the story of how America helped create a Frankenstein monster it now wishes to strangle is sobering. It illustrates the power of wishful thinking, as well as the iron law of unintended consequences. He emerged after two decades of turmoil in the '60s and '70s, as various strongmen tried to gain control of a nation that had been concocted by British imperialists in the s out of three distinct and rival factions, the Sunnis, Shiites and the Kurds.

    But during the cold war, America competed with the Soviets for Saddam's attention and welcomed his war with the religious fanatics of Iran. Having cozied up to Saddam, Washington found it hard to break away-even after going to war with him in Through years of both tacit and overt support, the West helped create the Saddam of today, giving him time to build deadly arsenals and dominate his people. Successive administrations always worried that if Saddam fell, chaos would follow, rippling through the region and possibly igniting another Middle East war. At times it seemed that Washington was transfixed by Saddam.

    The Bush administration wants to finally break the spell. If the administration's true believers are right, Baghdad after Saddam falls will look something like Paris after the Germans fled in August American troops will be cheered as liberators, and democracy will spread forth and push Middle Eastern despotism back into the shadows. Yet if the gloomy predictions of the administration's many critics come true, the Arab street, inflamed by Yankee imperialism, will rise up and replace the shaky but friendly autocrats in the region with Islamic fanatics.

    While the Middle East is unlikely to become a democratic nirvana, the worst-case scenarios, always a staple of the press, are probably also wrong or exaggerated. Assuming that a cornered and doomed Saddam does not kill thousands of Americans in some kind of horrific Gotterdmmerung-a scary possibility, one that deeply worries administration officials-the greatest risk of his fall is that one strongman may simply be replaced by another. Saddam's successor may not be a paranoid sadist. But there is no assurance that he will be America's friend or forswear the development of weapons of mass destruction.

    One of Saddam's early acts after he took the title of president in was to videotape a session of his party's congress, during which he personally ordered several members executed on the spot. The message, carefully conveyed to the Arab press, was not that these men were executed for plotting against Saddam, but rather for thinking about plotting against him. From the beginning, U. By going to war with Iran, he could bleed the radical mullahs who had seized control of Iran from the pro-American shah.

    Some Reagan officials even saw Saddam as another Anwar Sadat, capable of making Iraq into a modern secular state, just as Sadat had tried to lift up Egypt before his assassination in But Saddam had to be rescued first. The war against Iran was going badly by Iran's "human wave attacks" threatened to overrun Saddam's armies.

    Washington decided to give Iraq a helping hand. After Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad in , U. Official documents suggest that America may also have secretly arranged for tanks and other military hardware to be shipped to Iraq in a swap deal-American tanks to Egypt, Egyptian tanks to Iraq. Over the protest of some Pentagon skeptics, the Reagan administration began allowing the Iraqis to buy a wide variety of "dual use" equipment and materials from American suppliers.