The Cost of Meddling and the Price of Appeasement
Iran is the seventeenth largest country in the world, encompassing just under one-million square miles of land—larger than the combined nations of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Portugal. It is also the sixteenth largest country in terms of human population. The size of the country, its terrain, weather patterns, shortage of water, and the distribution of human populations make Iran unsuitable for sustained land warfare.
Reza Shah Pahlavi
Reza Shah Pahlavi (1878-1944) (also known as Reza Shah) was the Shah of Iran from December 1925 to September 1941, when a joint British-Soviet invasion forced his resignation. Before leading Iran as its monarch, Pahlavi served as Iran’s prime minister. He was appointed legal monarch by the Iranian Constituent Assembly, which deposed the previous shah, Ahmad Shah Qajar . Reza Shah sought to restrict opposition to his regime by restricting freedom of the press, worker’s rights, and certain political freedoms. Political parties were banned—including the party most loyal to Reza Shah—along with trade unions.
He was also known for punishing through torture criminal elements, spies, and those accused of plotting regicide. There are some today who accuse Reza Shah of suppressing religious expression, particularly those practicing the moslem faith and of suppressing the communist elements in Iran during his reign. The confiscation of clerical land holdings did not endear him to a group of increasingly radical Iranian clerics—and the more these leaders protested Reza Shah’s policies, the more he cracked down on Islamic extremists.
In 1941, Nazi Germany began Operation Barbarossa—the invasion of the Soviet Union. It was a direct violation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. That summer, Soviet and British diplomats sent a number of notes to the government of Iran, stating that they regarded the presence of Germans in Iran, such as those administering state rail systems, as a threat to the Soviet Union and United Kingdom. The implication was that if Iran did not expel these German civil servants, a state of war might exist between Iran and the allied powers.
It was the intent of the British to ship arms to the Soviets through Iran. Iran, however, did not believe the British would declare war on Iran, particularly since Iran had declared its neutrality in the growing conflict. However, on 25 August 1941, British and Australian forces attacked the Persian Gulf and Soviet land forces invaded Iran, which included the aerial bombing of Tehran. It was not long before Iranian defense forces collapsed. On 16 September, Reza Shah resigned and was replaced by his son, Mohammed Reza .
In 1953, the United States helped to orchestrate a coup d’ẻtat, which overthrew a popularly elected prime minister and strengthened the Iranian monarchy. Despite his demonstrations of enlightenment in 1941, Shah Reza Pahlavi by 1971 had become increasingly authoritarian (and inept). His domestic policies did as much to foment revolution as did the radical Islamist Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (who was working to achieve revolution in the background from Paris).
One might argue that through their support of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian people have suffered mightily of their own choosing. It can also be argued that the policies toward Iran of the United Kingdom and United States have not served the interests of either country, or of Iran and its people .
The United States eliminated through extreme prejudice Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, a thoroughly nasty fellow who commanded the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and the so-called Quds Force, an organization responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations, which involved providing military assistance to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
Soleimani was sanctioned by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government in its suppression of civil protests. Owing to the fact that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other terrorist since Osama bin Laden, the United States listed him as a known terrorist. At 0100 on 3 January 2020, a US drone strike introduced Soleimani to the afterworld. This strike came as a consequence of Soleimani’s orchestration of the attack on the United States Embassy in Baghdad .
Shortly after the drone strike, President Donal J. Trump warned leaders in Iran against following through on their threats to avenge General Soleimani. By now, all of Donald Trump’s “tweets” have become famous, but his communique via Twitter in the aftermath of Soleimani’s demise is particularly noteworthy.
Mr. Trump wrote, “Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, and badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters.
“Let this serves as a warning that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, will be hit very fast and very hard. The United States of America wants no more threats.”
President Trump made two important decisions: to kill Soleimani —and to do it publicly. In making the act public, Mr. Trump left no doubt as to whom was responsible for Soleimani’s long-overdue death. Trump in fact emphasized the direction of his administration when he also announced that there would be no more Benghazi’s. Bravo, Mr. Trump! But of course, the decision places Iran in the unenviable position of having to decide what to do about the drone strike.
Currently, there is a lame duck government in Iraq, which Iran must see as an opportunity. There is also an issue among some Afghanis who wonder why, if Mr. Trump can reach out and touch Soleimani, why can’t the United States reach out with equal precision and rid the world of a number of Pakistani thugs who fund or orchestrate Taliban anti-government campaigns. It is an interesting question.
What the US government should keep in mind, in addition to the fact that Iran is unsuitable for a sustained land engagement, is that only 55% of the Iranian people are ethnic Persian; a large percentage of the Iranian population are minority Sunni moslems. This is a fact that should lead US political leaders to avoid any policy or action that would serve to unite these disparate groups behind the Ayatollah or any of his henchmen .
With substantial American military forces to the east and west of Iran, the Iranian regime must have concerns that the United States is well-placed to foment rebellion inside Iran—and this may be the reason Iran is desperate to develop an offensive nuclear capability. It may also explain their support of ideological extremism, which equates to cheap warfare for Iran, while remaining costly for everyone else.
The problem we have with Iran today is more than just a little of our own fault. We need to stop meddling in Middle Eastern affairs; it is a nasty habit we picked up from the British. We also need to stop appeasing thugs and criminals. There is no good reason for any American president to “understand the plight of Islamic freedom fighters.”
What these Islamists do in their own country is none of our concern; it should only be a concern to us when their unseemly behaviors affect our (actual) national security, the safety of our people, and the protection of our property. I support the concept of using our air forces to punish any Iranian revenge attack. I do not care about any collateral damage that might result from it.
The Iranians opted for their plight in 1978-79; they continue to put up with radical regimes today. The sooner Iran understands that western civilization will defend itself, that we (collectively) will not tolerate Islamic extremism (in any form), the quicker they learn that there are dangerous consequence to global extremism, the better for everyone.
Donald J. Trump is the only president we’ve had in the past 32 years with the courage to set Iran straight. Not only should we (true) Americans be thankful for that, we should also demand it from all future presidents/presidential candidates.
- Buchan, J. Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequences. Simon & Schuster, 2013.
- Abrahamian, E. Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran. University of California, 1999.
- Daniel, E. L. The History of Iran. Greenwood Press, 2000.
- United States Department of State, American Foreign Policy Basic Documents, 1977-80. Washington, DC 1983.
- Ascended to the throne of Iran at the age of 11 years after his father was overthrown in 1909. His reign was short lived, sent into exile in 1925. He passed away at the age of 32 years in 1930.
- Mohammed Reza reigned until 1979 when he abdicated and went into exile. The Iranian revolution was unusual in the sense that it occurred in a relatively prosperous nation, not the result of war, financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or a military coup d’ẻtat. Rather than evolving as a single event, the revolution involved a series of incidents beginning in 1977 which culminated in wide-scale civil disobedience that included both secular and religious elements and university students. Strikes and demonstrations paralyzed Iran between 1978-79. On 16 January 1979, the Shah went into exile leaving the government in the hands of a regency council headed by an opposition prime minister The council in turn invited Ayatollah Khomeini to return to Iran, thinking that he would serve the interests of secular government by maintaining the status of a religious figurehead. That didn’t happen, of course.
- The Iranian Hostage event occurred in November 1979, lasting for 444 days, which proves beyond question that US elections have significant consequences to the safety and security of the American people, United States property, and our national prestige. It is a shame that the American voter has never learned this important lesson of history, which is illustrated by their election of Barack Obama to the presidency, their continued and bewildering support of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their jaw-dropping support of Marxist/globalist politicians.
- American diplomatic, economic, and military efforts to limit Iranian influence in the Middle East has had no impact on Iranian behavior since the Iranian Revolution in 1976. In addition to murdering Americans, Soleimani was also responsible for the deaths of (estimated) thousands in Syria, but of course the American political left has condemned the attack, arguing that it violated international and human rights standards protecting known terrorists, murderers, and rapists generally, and Soleimani particularly.
- It is only through the fear and intimidation imposed on them by Iran’s revolutionary guard that keeps minority groups “in line.”
For the best in news.