World View: India’s Open Magazine: The West Gets Constantly Surprised by Iran

Iran's revolution: Political quake still shaking Middle East
© AFP/File

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • India’s Open Magazine: The West gets constantly surprised by Iran
  • Effects of 1979 Islamic Revolution on the Mideast and the world
  • Iran and India vs Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and China
  • Massive terror attack on Iran’s IRGC
  • Coming soon: World View: The Conflict between China and Japan, by John J. Xenakis

India’s Open Magazine: The West gets constantly surprised by Iran

The following interview appeared on Wednesday in India’s Open Magazine:

World View: Iran's Struggle for Supremacy, by John J. Xenakis
World View: Iran’s Struggle for Supremacy, by John J. Xenakis

Available on Amazon
13 February 2019

The West gets constantly surprised by Iran because of their universal stupidity, says John J. Xenakis.

On the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, an American scholar talks about its impact on world politics

by John J Xenakis

John J. Xenakis juggles multiple careers: that of a software engineer, historian, journalist, analyst and author. The American scholar, who has developed what he calls the “generational theory” to forecast the future of countries and people, is the author of World View: Iran’s struggle for Supremacy. As Iran celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution this month, Xenakis delves deep into the legacy of its spearhead Ayatollah Khomeini and how the historical event changed the course of world history. He argues that it is a pity that most journalists and politicians don’t have even “the vaguest clue of what’s going on Iran.” He also talks about other countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia which is fighting a proxy war with Iran in many parts of the region. Edited excerpts from an interview with Executive Editor Ullekh NP

Effects of 1979 Islamic Revolution on the Mideast and the world

Looking back, how has the Islamic Revolution of 40 years ago altered the history of the Middle East and the rest of the world?

There were three events that occurred in 1979 that set the direction of the Mideast. The Islamic Revolution changed Iran from a Western ally to a Western enemy and radicalized the Mideast. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which was an invasion of a Muslim nation by a Christian nation, further radicalized the Mideast and Pakistan. And the Salafist attack on Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque was the first major terrorist attack in recent times. It led to Osama bin Laden and his band of jihadists to leave Saudi Arabia and go to Afghanistan to fight the Russians. These events can be traced directly to the Iran-Iraq war and to the 9/11 terror attack.

What are your thoughts on Ayatollah Khomeini’s legacy?

Ruhollah Khomeini’s greatest sin is that he corrupted Islam by twisting it into a policy called Wilayat al-Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) which turned himself into an “infallible” Supreme Leader who could order the arrests, torture, rape, beatings, and executions of political opponents with impunity. Furthermore, he devised a constitution with absolutely no checks and balances, which makes Iran a kleptocracy, unable to get anything done except with bribery and extortion. Khomeini was truly evil. He has fouled Islam and destroyed Iran.

Many famous intelligence officials and news correspondents who have worked in Iran have opined that they had underestimated the inherent strengths of that country to survive insurmountable odds. What do you think?

Dictators always survive in a police state, where political opponents can be arrested, tortured, raped, beaten, and executed at will with impunity. What you call “inherent strength” is the ability to use violence to control the opposition.

A lot of people talk about “regime change” in Iran without having any idea what that means. If all it means replacing one Supreme Leader by another, it will make no difference at all. The problem is that the constitution and entire government are a kleptocracy, where it is impossible to survive without bribery, corruption, and violence.

However, generational theory tells us that an important change is coming. The fanatical hardliners in Iran are in the generations that lived through and fought in the 1979 Revolution and those people are quickly disappearing. The younger generations, who grew up after the 1979 Revolution, have no such fanaticism. In fact, they are generally pro-American, pro-Western, and have no particular interest in seeing Israel pushed into the sea. These younger generations are increasingly in power and they will dramatically change Iran’s politics. Some opposition figures are even suggesting that the son of the deceased Shah could come back and restore a secular government.

Do you think that Iran has been villainized over the past 40 years because it took on the might of the U.S. and threw an American stooge out of power? How justified are the West’s sanctions on that country?

Iran is a country that abducted American ambassadors and declares “death to America” and “death to Israel” every single day. They’re corrupt, violent terrorists, and they’re spreading terror throughout the Mideast in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, and Yemen. Of course, they’re going to be villainized and they deserve it.

Just as Hindus in India feel an emotional link with Shia Muslims in Iran, and tend to excuse Iran’s sins, Jews and evangelical Christians in America feel a close emotional link to Jews in Israel, and tend to excuse Israel’s sins.

Iran and India vs Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and China

Isn’t it Saudi Arabia, a friend of the U.S., that is the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East (we feel the pressure in India as well because Islamism in India is also funded by the Saudis)? Why do you insist it is Iran? Besides, Israel isn’t a saint after all and has earned the wrath of UNHCR on many occasions for its treatment of Palestinian civilians. It is a country whose economic mainstay is arms and its government has been accused of terrorism by religious groups within. Your comments.

Saudi Arabia is “A fountainhead,” not “THE fountainhead.” In Yemen, SA is in a never-ending proxy war with Iran, in Syria SA is supporting many anti-Assad rebels. The Jamal Khashoggi incident has shocked everyone and has had the ironic effect of pushing SA closer to Pakistan. Many people also blame SA for 9/11. SA itself has an internal split between the Sauds and the Wahhabis. At any rate, Saudi Arabia and Iran are headed for war.

Many in the U.S. Congress do not consider SA to be a friend. Obama hated SA, and SA hated Obama. SA and U.S. have had a close relationship since the 1930s based on the following core agreement: SA will provide oil to the world, and the U.S. will provide security to the Mideast. Trump’s “friendship” with SA is based on that core agreement. This core agreement greatly benefits everyone, including India. There have been many problems in the SA-U.S. relationship over the decades, but this core agreement has remained the most important factor.

And if I’m not mistaken, most of the funding for Islamism in India comes not from the Saudis but from Pakistan’s ISI. However, that may be a distinction without a difference because Pakistan is a close ally of SA and China, both of whom are enemies of India. India, on the other hand, is a close ally of Iran, as illustrated by the Chabahar seaport project. Hindus and Shia Muslims have been allies for centuries, all the way back to the seminal Battle of Karbala in 680. I discussed this in my book.

Nobody’s a saint, especially in the Mideast. Israel is a democracy and has an independent judiciary, which makes them unique in the Mideast. Muslim Arabs are much safer living in Israel, and have more freedoms, than in any other Mideast country. Just as Hindus in India feel a close emotional link with Shia Muslims in Iran, and tend to excuse Iran’s sins, Jews and evangelical Christians in America feel a close emotional link to Jews in Israel, and tend to excuse Israel’s sins.

There’s also anti-Jewish sentiment in the U.S. – read the current news stories about Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, who is the Somali Muslim congressional representative from Minneapolis, which has a large Somali community.

Many in the U.S. consider UNHCR to be highly biased, condemning actions in Israel while ignoring massively greater human rights violations by others.

Did the 1979 Revolution intensify the Shia-Sunni conflict and how?

By changing from a secular government to a radical Shia government, they radicalized the Wahhabi Sunni extremists and other jihadists.

What are the untold stories of the Islamic Revolution? Why did Saddam Hussein spare Khomeini while the latter was in exile in Iraq? How come he became a darling of the international media overnight in France? Were there more to these developments than meets the eye?

These are all political developments that were not nearly as important as the three major events in 1979 that I listed above.

Iran is still a power that continues to surprise the West. Do you think there are chances that it will become a nuclear power soon?

Well, I was surprised myself when I did research for my book and discovered that no analysts, journalists, or politicians have even the vaguest clue what’s going on Iran, as judged by the fact that they say one incredibly stupid thing after another every day. That’s why they keep getting surprised – because of their universal stupidity.

Will it be a nuclear power soon? They’re undoubtedly continuing some nuclear development, and/or buying nuclear technology from North Korea. Even under the Iran nuclear treaty, they’re permitted to develop nuclear weapons by 2025, and they’re certainly planning to do so.

How important is it to understand Iran in order to understand political Islam?

I don’t even know what this means, since no one wants to bother to understand political Islam or Islam at any level. However, someone who wants to understand Iran and Islam can start by reading my book, which has the best and most accessible exposition of both that I’ve seen.

Who are your favourite historians who have written extensively on Iran?

The best was Homa Katouzian. In my book, I showed how generational changes led to the historical flow Russia/Britain-Iran border wars -> Tobacco Revolt -> Constitutional Revolution -> White Revolution protests -> Islamic Revolution. Most historians discussed these as individual, almost unrelated events. Katouzian was the only one who understood how one leads to the next.

Open Magazine (India)

Massive terror attack on Iran’s IRGC

On the same day that the above article was published, there was a massive terror attack in southeastern Iran targeting a bus carrying members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Supreme Leader’s security forces that conduct the most vicious atrocities against any peaceful protester or anyone who says something not approved by the dictatorial government.

A suicide bomber driving a car laden with explosives targeted the bus, causing a massive explosion. Official government figures put the number of dead at 20, although other reports say that as many as 41 IRGC members were killed. Dozens more were injured. The attack took place in Sistan-Baluchistan province, near the border with Pakistan.

The Sunni terrorist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which says it wants greater rights for the ethnic minority Baluchis, took credit for the attack. This group was formed in 2012 as an offshoot of the al-Qaeda linked Jundallah, which is in the Pakistan Taliban.

Both Jundullah (Soldiers of God) and Jaish-ul-Adl (Army of Justice) have stated openly that they’re committed to the extermination of all Shia Muslims. Jundullah itself was an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) which in 2013 issued the following statement: “Our mission [in Pakistan] is the abolition of this impure sect and people, the Shias and the Shia Hazaras, from every city, every village, every nook and corner of Pakistan.”

In 2010, Iran captured and executed Jundullah’s leader Abdulmalik Rigi and declared that the defeat of Jundullah. But Jundullah reconstituted itself with new leadership and stepped up the attacks on Iran, claiming revenge for the execution of Rigi.

Jundullah and Jaish-ul-Adl are offshoots that have extended the extermination plan from Pakistan across the border into Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province. On January 29, a bomb exploded in the provincial capital Zahedan and three members of a bomb squad were wounded when a second device blew up. There have been dozens of such attacks in recent years, killing hundreds of people.

Two people were killed and about 40 wounded in the port city of Chabahar early December. The Chabahar port project is an important part of the strategic relationship between Iran and India, as I mentioned in the Open Magazine article quoted above. For that reason, it is possible that Jundullah and Jaish-ul-Adl attacks on Sistan-Baluchistan province are also intended to be an attack on Indian assets.

For Wednesday’s attack, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, declared that the blame goes to the United States because of a Mideast summit being held in Poland. Zarif tweeted:

Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that #WarsawCircus begins? Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with twitter bots? US seems to always make the same wrong choices, but expect different results.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman added, “The self-sacrificing military and intelligence children of the people of Iran will take revenge for the blood of the martyrs of this incident.”

I have been writing about Jundullah’s terror attacks on Iran for almost ten years, and even though the attacks are being conducted by a group vowing to exterminate all Shia Muslims, Iranian officials always find a way to make delusional statements blaming the attacks on the US. Press TV (Iran) and Radio Farda and Guardian (London) and Reuters

Related Articles:

Coming soon: World View: The Conflict between China and Japan, by John J. Xenakis

A new book, World View: The Conflict between China and Japan, by John J. Xenakis in the Generational Theory Series, will be published soon.

The topics include:

  • History of China – Korea – Japan relationships.
  • Why China does NOT want war with the United States.
  • However, why China DOES want a revenge war with Japan, even though it would also mean war with the United States.
  • How China’s society today is mimicking Japan’s society of the 1930s — the same crimes, the same atrocities, the same barbarism, and the same preparations for war.
  • History of 5,000 years of China’s dynasties and their influence today.
  • History of Confucius and Sun Tzu’s Art of War, and their influence today.
  • China’s continuing preparations for war.

As the book is being completed, there is an active discussion going on in the Generational Dynamics forum about its contents, as well as book excerpts and other World View stories.

If you’d like to follow the discussion, or even contribute your own thoughts and comments, do any of the following:

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Open Magazine, Ullekh NP, Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, Wilayat al-Faqih, Guardianship of the Jurist, Hindus, Jews, Evangelical Christians, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Jamal Khashoggi, Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, Soviet Russia, Pakistan, China, Chabahar seaport, Homa Katouzian, Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Sistan-Baluchistan, Abdulmalik Rigi, Jundullah, Soldiers of God, Jaish-ul-Adl, Army of Justice, China, Japan, Korea
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