A Triangle of Realpolitik: Iran, Iraq and the United States: Iran Would Be Happy to See Saddam Hussein Overthrown. but Both Regime Officials and Their Opponents Have Reason to Fear. What Come Afterward

By Farhang, Mansour | The Nation, March 17, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Triangle of Realpolitik: Iran, Iraq and the United States: Iran Would Be Happy to See Saddam Hussein Overthrown. but Both Regime Officials and Their Opponents Have Reason to Fear. What Come Afterward


Farhang, Mansour, The Nation


Since the 9/11 calamity, there have been two instances of cooperation between Iran and the United States, once during the assault on the Taliban and then in the course of preparation to attack Iraq. In both cases, a convergence of interests compelled Washington and Teheran to put their exchange of hostile words within brackets and focus on the foe. In the current situation, Iran's long border with Iraq makes the country useful to the American military; and Washington's determination to overthrow Saddam Hussein is most welcome in Teheran. This semi-veiled bedfellowship is based on sharing an enemy and the desire to eliminate him at any price. Therefore, once Saddam Hussein is dead or exiled, the temporary marriage will be annulled. Washington will shift the spotlight to Iran and its nuclear program; and the reigning ayatollahs will resume their condemnation of US presence in the Persian Gulf as a threat to Iran's independence and religious identity.

Since early November 2002, Iran and the United States have been quietly discussing specific measures to deal with military emergencies and the flow of refugees if/when the United States attacks Iraq. These are similar to the arrangements they made when the United States ousted the Taliban regime from Afghanistan. Diplomats from small Arab states in the Persian Gulf and Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, representing the largest dissident group of Iraqi Shiite Muslims based in Teheran, are involved as intermediaries. The ayatollah, who has been living in Iran since 1980 and is closely tied to Iran's ruling clerics, receives US funds for mobilizing anti-Saddam Shiites. He actually wants the US military to overthrow Saddam and then leave Iraq to the Iraqis, who, according to Ayatollah al-Hakim, could be guided to establish an Islamic republic patterned after the one created by his mentor, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Al-Hakim commands several thousand Iraqi rebel troops stationed on Iranian soil near Iraq. These forces have been trained and equipped by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. In the event of US military action against Iraq, al-Hakim's forces could move, if Washington and Teheran consider it necessary, to prevent possible Iraqi use of the border areas. Once the war ends, however, al-Hakim will have to choose, for all practical purposes, between one leg of the "axis of evil" and the "Great Satan." It is virtually certain that he will do what is necessary to win favor from the US military or civilian administrator in Baghdad.

To show good faith to Washington, Iran has ended its lax attitudes toward Iraqi oil smugglers operating along its Persian Gulf shoreline and has begun to implement United Nations sanctions restricting Iraqi oil sales since 1991. According to Vice Adm. Timothy Keating, the coordinator for the US naval force charged with stemming the flow of illegal Iraqi oil sales, in 2002 Iraqis smuggled a lot less oil than they did the previous year. Keating attributed the change, at least in part, to "an apparent change in Iranian policy to restrict smugglers from using Iranian waters."

Furthermore, Iran has just completed nineteen temporary camps along its 730-mile border with Iraq in preparation for the inevitable flow of refugees to its territory if/when the war starts. Special UN agencies have helped the Iranian government to build these camps, which are situated just a few yards inside Iranian territory because, as Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mussavi Lari put it, Iran does not want Iraqis fleeing conflict to travel too far into Iran. "If war happens," he said, "with the assistance of international organizations we are ready to offer humanitarian aid at the border." During the decade following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Iran became the home for 2.5 million Afghan refugees. And in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, around 1 million Iraqi Kurds and Shiites fled to Iran. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Triangle of Realpolitik: Iran, Iraq and the United States: Iran Would Be Happy to See Saddam Hussein Overthrown. but Both Regime Officials and Their Opponents Have Reason to Fear. What Come Afterward
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.