Iran: Which side are you on continued…


 Okay, the battle on the ‘left’ concerning who to support in Iran appears to come down to the following:

On the one hand we appear to have those who say that the mass demonstrations are solely the result of the West’s attempts to undermine and overthrow the existing regime, utilizing a ‘colour revolution’ similar to those used in the Ukraine and Georgia. And there can be no doubt that Western intelligence agencies are up to their necks in destabilization strategies (see below). If this is indeed true the question to ask is: Have Western agencies fomented or exploited the opposition and to what degree has it been a success as measured by the mass demonstrations and by elements of the Left supporting the demonstrations?

On the other side as it were, are those who say there is no foreign intervention, the mass movement is wholly indigenous and reflects growing opposition to the theocracy, or at the very least Western machinations are only incidental to the situation. A good example of this approach is advocated by Hamid Dabashi in his essay ‘Left is wrong on Iran’ where he says,

‘The US Congress, prompted by AIPAC (the American Israel Political Affairs Committee), pro-war vigilantes lurking in the halls of power in Washington DC, and Israeli warlords and their propaganda machinery in the US, are all excited about the events in Iran and are doing their damnedest to turn them to their advantage. The left, indeed, has reason to worry. But having principled positions on geopolitics is one thing, being blind and deaf to a massive social movement is something entirely different, as being impervious to the flagrant charlatanism of an upstart demagogue like Ahmadinejad. The sign and the task of a progressive and agile intelligence is to hold on to core principles and seek to incorporate mass social uprising into its modus operandi. My concern here is not with that retrograde strand in the North American or Western European left that is siding with Ahmadinejad and against the masses of millions of Iranians daring the draconian security apparatus of the Islamic Republic.’ — ‘Left is wrong on Iran’

The problem with this approach is that reduces the issues down to a one-dimensional ‘for or against’ analysis, for although some on the left are supporting Ahmadinejad, this is not the be all and end all of the debate. I for one, see the situation as more complex than either supporting or opposing Ahmadinejad, after all the ‘official opposition’ led by Musavi is exploiting the situation every bit as much as Ahmadinejad is, tapping into the discontent felt by many, especially the secular (Westernized?) strand of Iranian society. And it would be foolish let alone naive to assume that Western support for Musavi is predicated on the West’s desire for democracy to break out in Iran. READ ON


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