Saturday, June 13, 2009

Iranian Election: no Excuse for Western Agitation

Watching the scenes of Iranians protesting in Tehran after the re-election of President Ahmadinejad and noting the predictions (on the BBC , for instance) of on-going antagonism between his government and those of Britain and the United States, I am reminded of the words of an Iranian friend currently seeking asylum in the UK.

When I asked him once whether he thought the United States would ever fight a war against Iran, my friend said that he doubted that would happen as the American government should be aware of the Iranian people's long history in unifying against foreign invaders - the country having successfully resisted all attempts at military conquest since 1501.

Instead, my friend said, he believed that if President Ahmadinejad continued in his provoactive stance towards the west, the Americans would attempt to ferment civil unrest within the country and seek to bring down the government in that way. In that scenario, thousands of Iranian civilians would be killed by the police and security services in the uprising. This, in effect, would, accoring to my friend, represent a proxy war fought against the Iranian government with Iranian civilians serving as the foot soldiers, with no loss of American lives and with no significant political damage if the uprising failed in its (American) aim of achieving regime change inside Iran.

Let's hope for the sake of thousands of innocent Iranian civilians that Mr Panetta and his colleagues at the CIA show the restraint needed to not contribute to such a bloodbath.

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