Democracy for all?

The objection has always been in implementation methods applied by the Americans


Democracy for all?
by Ardavan Bahrami

“ … Their conclusions were unanimous: That madman, the Shah of Iran, had inexplicably used cobalt as the contamination agent in the six nuclear bombs which had exploded in the Middle East. Cobalt has one of the longest half-lives of any substance known to man. The oil fields of Saudi Arabia, of Kuwait, of Iran, would remain totally inaccessible for at least twenty-five years. The Arabs were through as a world power – and as a threat to Israel. Of course, the Western industrial powers were through too. … For the world was now forced to live with a bank system that lay in ruins, with monetary chaos, and with the prospect of having to survive on half its former oil reserves. The lights, everywhere, gradually began to flicker and fade. The Crash of ’79 was complete.”

Paul E. Erdman’s colossal #1 bestseller novel was published in 1976 while the recent fuel crisis was very fresh in Western memories. It was an exciting novel, translating complex world monetary and economical issues into simple language for every reader to understand. Using real life personalities, as well as current affairs of the time, it made its message convincing and even made the false portray depicted by the Western propaganda machinery of the Shah of Iran during the 1970’s, more plausible.

Nevertheless this calamitous prophecy written three decades ago has never been more pertinent than today.

The Middle East has been on news headlines for at least the past thirty odd years. Our region is the only part of the blue planet where almost every nation has economical interests. Thus, conflicts between international interests and regional ambitions have not always been compatible. Nevertheless, today more than ever before, this region is playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of our world. No matter which direction it takes –deeper into Islamic fanaticism or towards secularism and therefore, democratic values – its tremors will encompass a radius stretched from the South China Sea to the Atlantic shores. Naturally, such ‘devastation’ or ‘progresses’ will have a direct impact on the rest of the world for decades or generations to come.

Various American governments have attempted to tackle the ‘issues’ in the Middle East by enforcing prescriptions that so far have bear no results.

Under the banner of “Human Rights – For All” the US democrats in the late ‘70s won the office and embarked on this crusade. They wanted this fundamental principle brought to all nations that they believed did not enjoy the rights of man. In reality, however, Iran’s Imperial government seemed to be the only victim of their ‘benevolent’ campaign in the entire world.

The consequences of Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy, has since spread like a plague around the globe. The American intention to present the Iranian nation with human rights on a silver platter only gave freedom of speech to the likes of Ayatollah Khomeini and his gang. A freedom of speech granted to those which up until then our government had managed to harness and therefore, preventing the world from facing a more dangerous fanaticism than that of the Nazis.

Jimmy Carter’s international campaign only few years prior to the collapse of communism, incepted a new world threat, born out of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which has since grown to threaten many free nations. A dilemma that if not dealt with intelligently and soon, will become a domestic issue for most European countries with large Muslim populations.

Today the West is struggling to secure any sort of peace and stability in the Middle East. Those old enough, do remember the region back in the 70’s, when exactly such characteristics – with few exceptions and/or incidents - were applicable to the region. However, today the West is appearing even incapable of guaranteeing the security of their own citizens in their own cities.

The question many have begun asking is the sincerity of the West in facilitating the growth of democracy and human rights in the Middle East. After all, wars and post war reconstructions have always been a very lucrative business, offering employment in the Western world and increasing production in all walks of life. So if that proves to be right, then where better to push for such continuous ups and downs than the only region – the Middle East - that can actually afford all the West can offer, in good old hard cash!

Despite what we have witnessed since the advent of religious fanaticism: the international assassinations and terrorism; analysts, journalists and the so called experts and scholars, seem to be only scratching the surface. While the concerned politicians, activists and those who care are looking for reasons and solutions, no one seems to realise or is brave enough to draw a link between the new enemy and its ideological mother - the international religious fundamentalist terrorism – born out of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

It is worth mentioning here, that those the West campaigned to free from Iran’s Savak prisons in the late 70’s – in the name of human rights - eventually occupied positions in the newly established republic in Iran. The very individuals who orchestrate today’s international mayhem - where the entire Western civilization tries or perhaps pretends to eradicate - are the very ones that the 70’s Iran had easily muzzled. Their triumph in Iran, however, and the establishment of their Islamist-Nazi regime, financed by Iran’s petro-dollars, eventually guaranteed the 9 11s we have witnessed in the past 28 years around the globe.

Decades later the US republicans picked up a new banner: this time “Democracy - For All” as their new prescription for the people of that region. Whether this was based on the successes of their earlier attempts or if we believe optimistically, to correct their earlier humongous miscalculation; so far they have achieved nothing but pushing the region and the world into deeper and darker crises.

No one in the West or among the people of the Middle East has ever objected to the essence of Americans slogans i.e.; the US foreign policy. The objection among the people of our region has always been in implementation methods applied by the Americans.

The US seems to always believe their prescription should be shoved down every nation’s throat - without an accurate diagnosis - and it should cure. They have failed time and again but seem never to learn from their mistakes; nor do they ever take a lesson from history.

I cannot help to question - having failed to spread human rights in the Middle East back in 1979 – not to mention their ‘ally’ and ‘friend’ Saudi Arabia, who has never been in the spotlight of such a campaign - how successful or I’d like to use the word ‘honest’ could their intentions be in bringing about multi-party systems to our region?

In certain circles - back in the late 70’s - there was a belief that creating a ‘Green Belt’ – a chain of Islamic governments – would lessen the burden of responsibility for the US and, therefore, the prevention of Communist expansion could be dealt by regional players themselves. But there is also a more sinister opinion that believes the world’s economy is always in need of enemies, hence, the new bipolarity: Islam vs. Christianity is the way to replace that of the Cold War.

Carter’s fiasco of presidency not only did not bring human rights to any parts of the world; but as a replacement for what we had achieved he laid the foundation of what today the West is fighting in the streets of not only Middle Eastern cities, but in New York, Madrid and London. Carter presented the future generation a phenomena that if ignored would end up costing the Americans and the Europeans far more than imaginable.

Let’s have a flash back! Back in the heydays of the 1970s, the Imperial Iranian government’s foreign policy was formed on the basis that to guarantee peace and stability in the region, mutual dedication and collaboration of the key regional players is a must. Mr. Carter himself applauded His Imperial Majesty in his famous New Year speech at Niavaran Palace congratulated HIM for his achievements and hence called Iran an island of stability. This took place in an era where economical and social developments in the region and particularly for us Iranians, had broken historical records. It was to this end that the Pahlavi Iran played a pivotal role: Iran and Iraq had signed the Algiers Accord in March of 1975, ending border disputes and hostilities through delicate diplomacy. Iran assisted the Sultanate of Oman - at their request – by taking military actions in that country in order to avoid a communist takeover, which would have had undesirable consequences for the Western industry, as well as our region but especially for Iran’s striving projects. Iran’s Imperial government’s engagement with Egypt and Israel too, eventually resulted in the Camp David peace accord - promising a better future for them as well as for the Palestinians, despite the fact that today it is Jimmy Carter who has taken most of the credits.

However, I somehow find it ironic that those who dedicated their lives to secure what today the West claims to be aiming for, i.e.; peace and stability in the Middle East, were neither supported nor protected, but instead eliminated by the religious fanaticism that since 1979 has crept up the foundations of every religion and society. These men: the late Shah of Iran, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Robin of Israel fought successfully against dogma and as the result had brought peace and progress upon their nations.

In more recent year, the war against Saddam Hussein lead by America has brought further instability to a region that since the establishment of the Islamic Republic has been nothing but a cauldron of atrocities, destructions and catastrophes.

Americans marched into Iraq carrying their new banner: ‘Democracy’. I have written before that democracy - especially in countries where religion still plays a pivotal role, cannot be safeguarded if it is not coupled with secularism. Democracy’s survival depends on unity, sovereignty and stability, however, these novelties are in direct proportion to the existence of a strong secularist establishment supporting and reinforcing a true secularist identity of that nation - above races and/or religions which maybe building the mosaic of that country.

It is hard to understand why politicians and experts on the Middle East - who draft foreign policies, advise or implement their theories - never express or emphasise the need for secularism in the region. The result of such short sightedness– whether intentional or not - is what we witness today in Iraq. Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis are expected to create a unified, democratic and/or a federal Iraq without any attempts or mention in any statements, speeches or interviews given by those involved in promoting secularism. If the US or the West aims to achieve democracy in that country, wouldn’t it have been more attainable had the Iraqis been empowered so that they could develop democratic institutions by supporting and encouraging their society to move away from fanaticism and to bring in secular leaders?

Of course such an idea would have still not flourished, for as long as the roots of this ‘new world enemy’ i.e. the Islamic regime is in power next door.

We have Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews, black and white, various languages and races living in harmony in most Western democracies of the world; just like the Iranian society used to be before the Islamic revolution. However, such differences are not highlighted or given importance in European countries. Why then such intelligence is not applied when the West speaks of promoting their prescription of democracy to our region?

Reza Pahlavi, heir to the Iranian throne has been the only politician, activist or personality who has voiced his concern and belief that secularism is the key to establishing any form of democracy. Other than him, so far I do not recall anyone’s else even mentioning the slightest notion of such an ideology.

But perhaps it is not so bad to be the only one! What would be a shame, however, is not to take advantage of this individuality to further ones position to a platform, where those who seek alternatives for the current situation in the Middle East to galvanise and offer their assistance and come to support this new voice.

They say history repeats itself. I wish this to be the case for our region today. The world today lacks visionary leaders. We do need such leaders in the Middle East who are supported by free thinker, humanists and those who truly believe that the advancement of the human race and societies is only possible through science and technology. Such individuals should be supported by all free men and woman who can not only give rebirth but can also expand the true secularism that the likes of Ataturk laid its foundation for Turkey.

Reza Pahlavi, whom I’d prefer to address as Reza Shah II has this ability to stand out, make one last move in this dangerous world chess of dogma vs. reason, to either win and take over or to lose and retire.

No one from the US government or that of various European cabinets is willing or even capable of delivering the true and lasting prescription for establishment of a true secular, democratic and in some cases federal systems in the Middle East. But there are influential individuals and bodies among American and European societies that are keen and capable of supporting and advancing such doctrines.

What Iran needs today is a fresh start. We need someone who can make the world stop and to listen. To present world leaders and of course industrialists a long lasting solution for peace and security in the Middle East where everyone is kept content! Such ideological implementation would help other already in practice institutions in countries like Turkey, Israel and India to help those pockets of similar voices throughout the Islamic world to rise above dogma and to bring an era of enlightenment to our region based on mutual understanding and respect.

Yes, it is possible for you Your Majesty to take advantage of our dire situation today and be a new Reza Shah the Great or even a new Ataturk. The world surely has changed since their days, but human desire for betterment is strong today as it was in Iran and Turkey of the 1920.

Today is the time to act; to change tactics and approach. Tomorrow there could be no Iran, so what do we have to lose?

The decision is solely yours, Your Majesty. The past track records prove that one final push needs to be done, in the right direction. The question remains, however, whether you would like or can be an Ataturk or not!



The Pahlavi dictators were wrong for Iran

by John Carpenter III (not verified) on

The article has so many errors.

Look what MSN Encarta says about the Pahlavi dynasty:

The 1906 constitution remained law until 1979, but after 1925 it was ignored in practice by the Pahlavi dynasty shahs, who created a highly centralized government over which they ruled as virtual dictators. Beginning in the early 1950s, popular disaffection with arbitrary rule increased gradually, culminating in the 1979 Islamic revolution.


You can't make this stuff up!

The Pahlavis were a disaster for Iran.

Monarchy of any type is wrong for Iran.

Iran needs a democratic republic.

If anyone ushered in the Iranian theocracy it was the Pahlavis in January 1979.

The Pahlavis policies were one wrong movement after another wrong movement.

9/11 was done by Wahabbi Sunni extremists who hate Shias. Let us not forget those same Sunni Wahabbi extremists, the Taliban over ran an Iranian Embassy in Mazari-Sharif, Afghanistan and killed all the Iranian diplomats.

The Wahabbis hate Shias. This is a fact.

Your article is wrong.

The Taliban and Al-Qaedah were trained and assisted by the West in the 1980s to fight the USSR.

To say that Mohammad Reza Pahlavi put a dent into communism is just plain ignorant.

MR Pahlavi was aided by the Shia Clergy in exterminating the Iranian Communists.

Let us not forget, the Iranian theocracy eventually banned the MKO (Mujahedin Khalq) and the Tudeh. What is the biggest threat to a theocracy? Communism/socialism.

The article you have written is revisionist history.

The Pahlavis were no Ata-Turk.

Even Ata-Turk's Turkey is falling apart. Why would anyone in his right mind follow that idiot. The EU has not yet allowed Turkey to be a member. Even the former USSR satellite countries have become members of the EU. Turkey has become a laughing stock in Europe.

And does democracy and human rights even exist in Turkey? Ask a Turkish Kurd. You will get a big fat "NO" to such a question.

I have never in my life read so much jibberish.

It is as if Mr. Bahrami is Reza Pahlavi writing under a fictitious name. That could be the only person who would write such an absurd piece of work.

Reza Pahlavi, according to a former accountant of his, is financially unstable. He owned stock in many businesses that went into bancruptcy. Is that what you want for Iran? A bancrupt economy?

Reza Pahlavi has done nothing for Iran and Iranians for over 30 years...

He just desires to be king...Why doesn't he just open a Burger King and wear one of their crowns?

Reza Pahlavi belongs to one of the most dysfunctional families in Iranian history. Drugs (Gholam Reza Pahlavi) and suicides (Layla Pahlavi) are their normal occurences. The Shah's sister Ashraf was involved in Prostitution (the CEO of Iran's red light district "Shahre No") and the CEO of the drug trade during the reign of M.R. Pahlavi.

you just can't make this stuff up.

Mansour Rafizadeh, Hossein Fardust, Fereydoun Hoveyda, General Pakravan, General Nassiri, General Rahimi all documented the corruption of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It is interesting to note all these guys are the Shah's men.

One can go on and on...


Nice Puzzle

by Dude (not verified) on

The Islamists in Turkey are gaining ground far more than the reformists let alone scularists in Iran. Turkey's territorial integrity is subject to Kurdish and Armenian aspirations. Turkey is subjected to Iran's oild and gas push and European Union's membership pull.

And India is not part of the Middle East and is now hemmed in by Pakistan.



by maziar58 (not verified) on

that's the question.and old brit quote.
when I left my homeland I was barely in my 20's
and now in my 50's,