Visit ArabTopics.com

The Many Matryoska Dolls to America’s Way of Imagining Iran

On the 17 September 1656, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant Puritan, who had won a civil war, and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England’s enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world. And this axis – led by Catholic Spain – was, at root, the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of ‘evil’. This ‘evil’, and the servitude that it beget, was the evil of a religion – Catholicism – that refused the English peoples’ desire for simple liberties: “… [an evil] that put men under restraint … under which there was no freedom … and under which, there could be ‘no liberty of individual consciousness’”.

That was how the English protestant leader saw Catholic Spain in 1656. And it is very close to how key orientations in the U.S. sees Iran today: The evil of religion – of Shi’ism – subjecting (they believe) Iranians to repression, and to serfdom. In Europe, this ideological struggle against the ‘evil’ of an imposed religious community (the Holy ‘Roman’ Axis, then) brought Europe to ‘near-Armageddon’, with the worst affected parts of Europe seeing their population decimated by up to 60% during the conflict.

Is this faction in the U.S. now intent on invoking a new, near-Armageddon – on this occasion, in the Middle East – in order, like Cromwell, to destroy the religious ‘community known’ as the Shi’a Resistance Axis, seen to stretch across the region, in order to preserve the Jewish “peoples’ desire for simple liberties”?

Of course, today’s leaders of this ideological faction are no longer Puritan Protestants (though the Christian Evangelicals are at one with Cromwell’s ‘Old Testament’ literalism and prophesy). No, its lead ideologues are the neo-conservatives, who have leveraged Karl Popper’s hugely influential The Open Society and its Enemies – a seminal treatise, which to a large extent, has shaped how many Americans imagine their ‘world’. Popper’s was history understood as a series of attempts, by the forces of reaction, to smother an open society with the weapons of traditional religion and traditional culture:

Marx and Russia were cast as the archetypal reactionary threat to open societies. This construct was taken up by Reagan, and re-connected to the Christian apocalyptic tradition (hence the neo-conservative coalition with Evangelists yearning for Redemption, and with liberal interventionists, yearning for a secular millenarianism). All concur that Iran is reactionary, and furthermore, the posit, poses a grave threat to Israel’s self-proclaimed ‘open society’.

The point here is that there is little point in arguing with these people that Iran poses no threat to the U.S. (which is obvious) – for the ‘project’ is ideological through and through. It has to be understood by these lights. Popper’s purpose was to propose that only liberal globalism would bring about a “growing measure of humane and enlightened life” and a free and open society – period.

All this is but the outer Matryoshka – a suitable public rhetoric, a painted image – that can be used to encase the secret, inner dolls. Eli Lake, writing in Bloomberg, however, gives away the next doll:

“Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] … a handful of Trump’s advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption …

“The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 … their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime’s incompetence and corruption.

“Wurmser’s crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble,” he writes. Such a U.S. attack would “rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival.” Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis — and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak.

“Wurmser’s memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago … After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. “This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies,” Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo.

In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response “does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be).” Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime’s domestic legitimacy crisis.

So there it is – David Wurmser is the ‘doll’ within: no military invasion, but just a strategy to blow apart the Iranian Republic. Wurmser, Eli Lake reveals, has quietly been advising Bolton and the Trump Administration all along. This was the neo-con, who in 1996, compiled Coping with Crumbling States (which flowed on from the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper, written for Netanyahu, as a blueprint for destructing Israel’s enemies). Both these papers advocated the overthrow of the Secular-Arab nationalist states – excoriated both as “crumbling relics of the ‘evil’ USSR” (using Popperian language, of course) – and inherently hostile to Israel (the real message).

Well (big surprise), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to ‘implode’ and destroy Iran. And his insight? “A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani”; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran’s domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government.

Eli Lake seems, in his Bloomberg piece, to think that the Wurmser strategy has worked. Really? The problem here is that narratives in Washington are so far apart from the reality that exists on the ground – they simply do not touch at any point. Millions attended Soleimani’s cortege. His killing gave a renewed cohesion to Iran. Little more than a dribble have protested.

Now let us unpack the next ‘doll’: Trump bought into Wurmser’s ‘play’, albeit, with Trump subsequently admitting that he did the assassination under intense pressure from Republican Senators. Maybe he believed the patently absurd narrative that Iranians would ‘be dancing in the street’ at Soleimani’s killing. In any event, Trump is not known, exactly, for admitting his mistakes. Rather, when something is portrayed as his error, the President adopts the full ‘salesman’ persona: trying to convince his base that the murder was no error, but a great strategic success – “They like us”, Trump claimed of protestors in Iran.

Tom Luongo has observed: “Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week, and it’s clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate, simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place. It is [occurring because it offers] the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp.” Ah, so here we arrive at another inner Matryoshka.

This is Luongo’s point: Impeachment was the leverage to drive open a wedge between Republican neo-conservatives in the Senate – and Trump. And now the Pelosi pressure on Republican Senators is escalating. The Establishment threw cold water over Trump’s assertion of imminent attack, as justification for murdering Soleimani, and Trump responds by painting himself further into a corner on Iran – by going the full salesman ‘monte’.

On the campaign trail, the President goes way over-the-top, calling Soleimani a “son of a b—-“, who killed ‘thousands’ and furthermore was responsible for every U.S. veteran who lost a limb in Iraq. And he then conjures up a fantasy picture of protesters pouring onto the streets of Tehran, tearing down images of Soleimani, and screaming abuse at the Iranian leadership.

It is nonsense. There are no mass protests (there have been a few hundred students protesting at one main Tehran University). But Trump has dived in pretty deep, now threatening the Euro-Three signatories to the JCPOA, that unless they brand Iran as having defaulted on JCPOA at the UNSC disputes mechanism, he will slap an eye-watering 25% tariff on their automobiles.

So, how will Trump avoid plunging in even deeper to conflict if – and when – Americans die in Iraq or Syria at the hands of militia – and when Pompeo or Lindsay Graham will claim, baldly, ‘Iran’s proxies did it’? Sending emollient faxes to the Swiss to pass to Tehran will not do. Tehran will not read them, or believe them, even if they did.

It all reeks of stage-management; a set up: a very clever stage-management, designed to end with the U.S. crossing Iran’s ‘red line’, by striking at a target within Iranian territory. Here, finally, we arrive at the innermost doll.

Cui bono? Some Senators who never liked Trump, and would prefer Pence as President; the Democrats, who would prefer to run their candidate against Pence in November, rather than Trump. But also, as someone who once worked with Wurmser observed tartly: when you hear that name (Wurmser), immediately you think Netanyahu, his intimate associate.

Matryoshka herself?

Source: 
Strategic Culture

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
James Bovard 27
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 385
Pass Blue 330
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 16
John Pilger 423
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 3197
FEE 5253
Marine Le Pen 403
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 1168
Mohamed Omar 403
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 19
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 137
Vetenskapsradion Historia 187
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 252
Les Crises 3547
Richard Falk 210
Ian Sinclair 129
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 11730
Kafila 594
Gail Malone 43
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 10965
Vanessa Beeley 197
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 5970
Paul Craig Roberts 2372
News Junkie Post 66
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 5859
Sir Ken Robinson 25
Stephan Kinsella 114
Liberty Blitzkrieg 879
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 3989
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 101
David D. Friedman 162
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1537
Tom Dispatch 606
Levant Report 18
The Saker 4931
The Barnes Review 582
John Friend 522
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 162
New Eastern Outlook 4741
School Sucks Project 1811
Giza Death Star 2126
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 666
GMWatch 2548
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 35
Jay's Analysis 1134
Le 4ème singe 91
Jacob Cohen 219
Agora Vox 18658
Cercle Des Volontaires 452
Panamza 2517
Fairewinds 119
Project Censored 1222
Spy Culture 613
Conspiracy Archive 84
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 630
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 985
Independent Science News 87
The Anti Media 6877
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 314
The Mind renewed 456
Natural Society 2627
Yanis Varoufakis 1094
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 162
Porkins Policy Review 453
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 639
Libyan War Truth 361
DeadLine Live 1916
Kevin Ryan 67
BSNEWS 2115
Aaron Franz 265
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 121
Dr. Bruce Levine 157
Peter B Collins 1744
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 11682
Climate Audit 227
Donna Laframboise 500
Judith Curry 1176
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2660
Syria Report 78
Human Rights Investigation 93
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 13263
Laura Wells Solutions 48
Video Rebel's Blog 466
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 22471
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3293
Northerntruthseeker 2692
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4855
AntiWar.com Blog 3375
AntiWar.com Original Content 7530
Corbett Report 2599
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1279
Webster Tarpley Website 1147

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public