24 April 2003

Neoconservatives Promoting Return of Son of Shah to Iran

Reza Pahlavi, the eldest son of the former Shah of Iran who ruled from 1941 to 1979, is waiting in the wings for Operation Iranian Freedom. Pahlavi, a USC graduate and US Air Force trained fighter pilot, has even got an excellent website up, detailing his goals for a new free Iran:

Today, however, the time has come to write a new chapter in the history of my country.

My goal is simple, achievable and straightforward. I envision an Iran: wherein its prosperous economy gives every Iranian an equal chance for hope and opportunity; An Iran where its women fully participate in the political, socio-economic and cultural life of their homeland; An Iran where its press is free from intimidation, harassment, imprisonment and torture; This vision includes a progressive, civil and stable society in which the separation of Religion and State is recognized. Finally, the Iran of tomorrow ought to have a foreign policy based on principles of harmony and mutual respect.

Yes, yes, a return to the planting and nurturing of CIA puppets that brutalize and terrorize their subjects is in full bloom ...

Grandfather Reza Khan was a respected warfighter in the Cossack Brigade in the late 1800's, and ultimately led a coup to rid the country of a government that allowed British, Russian and Ottoman troops to occupy Iran during World War I. Khan became Prime Minister of the new government and four years later in 1925, ascended to the throne replacing the weakly Ahmad Mirza Shah. He took the name Reza Shah Pahlavi (Reza Shah Kabir or Reza Shah the Great) and the dynasty was underway.

According to "Reza Shah introduced many great reforms, reorganizing the army, government administration, and finances. He abolished all special rights granted to foreigners, thus gaining real independence for Iran. Under Reza Shah's 16 years of rule, roads and Trans-Iranian Railway were built, modern education was introduced and the University of Tehran was established, and for the first time, systematic dispatch of Iranian students to Europe was started. Industrialization of the country was stepped-up, and achievements were great. By the mid 1930's Reza Shah's dictatorial style of rule caused dissatisfaction in Iran. In World War II the Allies protested his rapprochement with the Germans, and in 1941 British and Russian forces invaded and occupied Iran. Forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, he died in exile in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1944."

Like father like son, so yet another cliche has it, and Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi was also forced to abdicate and subsequently died in 1980, exiled in Egypt. This Shah of Iran was embroiled in the CIA coup that ousted quixotic Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq and was a pawn of successive American administrations during the Cold War, which pitted the USSR against the USA. His popular legacy is the current theocratic regime in Iran and SAVAK--the brutal intelligence arm of the Shah. For a short time, though, he waived the flag of democratic reform and Iranians had high hopes for democracy. He instituted the White Revolution, a 1963 program that included land reform, the extension of voting rights to women, and the elimination of illiteracy. But the trappings of power, fear of opposition groups, and insensitivity towards Islam (Arab Muslims conquered Iran in roughly 650 BCE) led him, like his father, into an insular dictatorship and all the wretched practices that method entails.

8 April 2003

Taliban Resurgence

Yes, you may remember that other campaign, the one to root out Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Well, it appears that the Taliban are reemerging in control of a war torn Afghanistan.

...the Taliban is not only determined to remain a force in this country, but also is reorganizing and reviving its command structure.

There is little to stop them. The soldiers and police who were supposed to be the bedrock of a stable postwar Afghanistan have gone unpaid for months and are drifting away.

At a time when the United States is promising a reconstructed democratic postwar Iraq, many Afghans are remembering hearing similar promises not long ago.

Instead, what they see is thieving warlords, murder on the roads, and a resurgence of Taliban vigilantism.

So much for "liberating" Afghanistan ... Iraq will probably share a similar fate...

The Red Cross has suspended operations in Afghanistan indefinitely due to the danger now posed to international workers.