Scapegoating Iran


Originally published by Press TV

by Kevin Barrett

Every year on the Day of Atonement, the ancient Hebrews would blame all of their problems on a goat. Then they would send the goat out into the desert. Goodbye problems!

The ancient Greeks did exactly the same thing.
Unfortunately, blaming all your problems on a scapegoat does not solve those problems. But it may offer a temporary escape in the same way that drugs can provide a brief escape from life’s problems. (The Greek word for scapegoat, pharmakos, also can mean “mind-altering drug.”)
Today, some of the ancient Hebrews’ supposed descendants, the Jews, and their Semitic cousins, the Arabs, are blaming their problems on Iran. Some imagine that going to war with Iran would somehow solve those problems.
In reality, it would just make the problems worse.
But the scapegoating mechanism is irrational. People indulge in scapegoating for emotional reasons not pragmatic ones. Those who make the mistake of blaming their problems on a scapegoat usually end up with more problems than they started with.
Let’s examine how Likudnik Israelis as well as some Arabs are making Iran the scapegoat for their own societies’ troubles.
Israel is facing several immense, existential crises. The Israeli economy is utterly dependent on American handouts that total more than a trillion dollars and counting, according to the Christian Science Monitor; and economic inequality in Israel has sparked massive protests. The different groups of Jews in Israel – orthodox, reformed, secular, ashkenazi, sephardic, settlers, peaceniks, white, black, brown – are endlessly squabbling with each other, and with the Israeli and Palestinian Arabs. Israel’s neighbors, the people of the Middle East, do not accept it as a legitimate state. The Palestinian ethnic cleansing victims are not going away, they are winning the demographic race with Israeli Jews. Israel is increasingly despised everywhere, including in the US, and has been named as the leading threat to world peace in European public opinion polls. Palestine is now accepted as a state at the United Nations. And Israel has lost three small-scale wars to Hezbollah and Hamas during the past six years. Many analysts, including Henry Kissinger, have stated that Israel will not exist ten years from now.
It is easier for Israelis to pretend that Iran is the source of all of their problems than to admit that they, the Israelis, are digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole of their own making. After all, does not Iran support Hezbollah and Hamas? Does not the Iranian leadership call for an end to Israeli apartheid, and support a one-state solution that would put an end to Israel as a “Jewish state”? Do not Iranian leaders say out loud what almost everyone in the Middle East believes: The story of the Nazi holocaust has been exaggerated and mythologized in service to Zionism?…Maybe if we just bombed Iran, the Likudniks imagine, all our problems would go away.
In fact, any potential Israeli war on Iran would cause great suffering and severely damage the global economy. If Israel launched such a war, Iran would certainly inflict tremendous damage on Israel. Additionally, the world would turn ferociously against Israel, and the “Jewish state” would soon end. Sensible Israeli strategists know this. But emotional attachment to scapegoating Iran prevents rational thinking.
Unfortunately, it is not just Israelis who are blaming Iran for their own problems. The Saudis are spending billions of dollars trying to convince Sunni Arabs that Shias in general, and Iranians in particular, are to blame for the problems of the Arab world.
Why do some Sunni Arabs allow themselves to be brainwashed into hating Persians and Shias?
In a word: Envy. Iran, unlike most of the Arab countries, won its independence from Western imperialism in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The Pharaoh of Iran, the Shah, was overthrown, and the Americans and Israelis ejected. Iran now controls its own resources, leads the global Non-Aligned Movement, and has succeeded in establishing a viable Islamic democracy. Unlike virtually every Arab head of state, the Supreme Leader of Iran does not take orders from the Americans or the International Monetary Fund.
Iranians, of course, have paid a price for their independence. More than half a million Iranians died defending their country from Saddam’s invasion, which was incited by the West in an attempt to destroy the Islamic Revolution. Today, the West’s all-out economic war on Iran has caused serious hardship for ordinary Iranians. But all of this suffering has not stopped Iranians from insisting on independence rather than enslavement.
The Arab countries, by contrast, are mostly vassal states. When the US orders the king of Saudi Arabia to jump, the king says “how high?” And when the Rothschild oil/banking cartel orders the king to raise the price of oil, the answer is the same: “how high?”
The Arabs could have staged Islamic revolutions, just like the Iranians did. (In fact, the Egyptian revolution is becoming an “Islamic revolution lite”; but whether the Egyptians will achieve complete independence from the West is an open question.)
The [Persian] Gulf oil sheikhs, who are allowed pampered lives of luxury in return for propping up the petrodollar empire, have managed to escape the Islamic revolution…so far. They have convinced many of their people that Iran’s Islamic Revolution is a “Shia thing” that could not be duplicated in a Sunni country. What rubbish.
The Arabs’ failure to win genuine independence is mostly their own fault. If they feel the need to blame someone for their failure, they ought to blame the actual enemies of Arab independence: The West, led by the US and Israel. Instead, following the Saudi propaganda line, many irrationally scapegoat Iran and the Shia.
What did Iran ever do to prevent Arab independence? Iran has been calling on the Arab world to follow it in winning genuine independence through Islamic Revolution since 1979!
Iran is not propping up the petrodollar dictators of the [Persian] Gulf. Iran was not propping up Mubarak. Iran is not propping up the corrupt Western puppet regimes in Algeria and Morocco and Jordan.
While issuing their standard anti-Shia rhetoric, the Saudis have joined the US-Israeli effort to destabilize Syria, the last independent Arab country. They have sent brainwashed imperial mercenaries to terrorize Syria…
The pharaohs of the [Persian] Gulf are also spreading propaganda blaming Iran for the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. In reality, Iran opposed those invasions, which were designed to surround Iran with US military bases, and set the stage for a Zionist-inspired war on Iran aimed at extinguishing the Islamic Revolution.

Sunni Arabs need to stop scapegoating the Shia, and take responsibility for their own failure to overthrow the pharaohs of the [Persian] Gulf, establish Islamic democracy, eject the US military, thumb their noses at the IMF, join the Non-Aligned Movement, progress in science and technology, and win control of their own resources and destinies.

As long as the enemies of Islam can turn Muslim against Muslim, encouraging one group of Muslims to scapegoat another, they will maintain their stranglehold over the Middle East and its immense energy resources.
Muslims must learn to work together to win their common independence, and unite in the common cause of establishing justice on earth.

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