Friday, December 14, 2007

Understanding the relationship between the U.S. and Iran: I'm casting a wide net

Last February, after I had been blogging for a couple of weeks, I posted "Writing and bouillabaisse soup," describing the similarities between writing and making this famous fish soup. I wrote, "First, you take a big fishnet and, standing on a rock jutting out into the sea, cast it as wide as you can. After you gather the net and pull it up on the rock, you begin a careful examination of everything caught in it.”

I’m throwing my net wide to try to gather as much information as possible about why the relationship between the U.S. and Iran is so difficult and even scary. The recent National Intelligence Estimate that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program four years ago has not dispelled Bush's fear that Iran remains a threat and cannot be trusted with even the scientific knowledge to enrich uranium for peaceful civilian use.

This fear has trickled down to many ordinary Americans, and some of this fear is expressed as hatred for Iran. I was saddened yesterday to read's "Nick Turse, The Holiday Gifts from Hell (on Earth)": “You might also think about the ‘Give Peace a Chance - Bomb Iran' fitted t-shirt from SnafuGear. Or slip over to to pick up that ’Tic Tac Toe Anti-Iran’ T, featuring the snazzy game-board motif, with Afghanistan and Iraq already Xed out and all those bombs heading Iran-wards. Or what about the ‘Tehran Forecast’ t-shirt that reads: ‘15,000 degrees, high radioactive winds.’

“Had enough of shirts? Feelin' a tad sad because the latest National Intelligence Estimate wrecked that plan to take out Iran? How about a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's face on toilet paper and the phrase ‘Shiite Head’ in faux Arabic script?

“And, for goodness sake, don't forget the Xmas cards you'll need to accompany your gifts. Perfect for the T's and the hat are DareWare's ‘Funny Anti-Iran Anti-Muslim Greeting Cards’ with a lovely image of a mushroom cloud and the classic all-seasonal line:‘Nuke Iran for Peace.’ "

So far my net has caught the excellent The Great War for Civilisation - The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk. His first-hand description of US support for Iraq in its war of aggression on Iran in the 1980’s is mind-boggling. This 1000+ page book has helped me understand the animosity the US has felt for Iran since the revolution unseated the Shah Mohamed Pahlavi in 1979, an event described in Chapter Four, “The Carpet-Weavers.”

Another catch is Trita Parsi’s Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealngs of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. I now have a better understanding how Israel’s and Iran’s relations have shifted from covert cooperation (even when Ayatollah Seyyet Ruhollah Khomeini was in power) to Israel's conviction today that Iran is an existential threat.

Since last January, I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs on Iran and wrote 41 posts, which I've listed below. By following my “recipe” in "Writing and bouillabaisse soup," I hope to write knowledgeably about this important subject in future posts.

January 25
February 1
February 8
February 13
February 26
March 26
March 28
April 4
April 7 - guest blogger Jim Stoops
May 23
May 24
May 25
May 26
May 27
June 2
July 3
July 5
August 24
August 25
August 30
August 31
September 3
September 3
September 5
September 6
September 6
September 14
September 17
September 20
September 21
September 22
September 25
September 28
October 2
October 3
October 9
October 11 (about Trita Parsi’s Treacherous Alliance)
Oct. 18 (Iran hasn’t launched a war in 222 years)
October 24 (a great photo, even if you don’t read the post)
October 25 (I highly recommend you check this one)
December 5

(Persian miniature: Iran Chamber Society, also worth checking to learn more about Iranian culture)

No comments: