Repost from the old site.
Updated February 6, 2008:
Most people do not realize that the famed Shah of Iran was actually a blood and soil, Persian supremacist, ethnic nationalist, primordialist, volkisch, fascist along the same lines as Hitler’s Nazis and Milosevic’s Serbs. Yet it is true – in fact, the Shah even formed an alliance with Nazi Germany.
The Nazis attempted to form all sorts of alliances with people they mistakenly regarded as genetic inferiors – including Bosnian Muslims, Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs, Ukrainian, White Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian rightwing nationalists, Iranians and some of the upper-caste peoples of East India.
The East Indians, of course, are part of the original Aryans – the light-skinned invaders who descended from the steppes into India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at various times in the past 3,500 years. In India, they displaced the native Indians – the Dravidians or South Indians – and pushed them to South.
They also twisted the Hindu religion by adding on their casteism, which was apparently not present in the original pre-Aryan system. Originally, in the caste system, those at the top were the lightest-skinned and the lowest castes tended to be the darkest. It is interesting that over thousands of years the Brahmins have become progressively darker.
The Nazis were fascinated that these Brahmins regarded themselves as fellow Aryans and even sent researchers over to India to measure skulls and analyze the facial characteristics of statues and engage in other peculiarities of Nazi racial research. The Brahmin class of India has always returned the favor and many have long been supporters of Hitler, Nazism and fascism in general.
The fascinating article linked above deals with something that is little known to most Americans – a neat summary of many of the views expressed by what are best termed Iranian nationalists. Americans have no understanding at all of this ancient, proud culture.
The piece notes the Western deceit that modern nationalism began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1600’s Europe, when the principle of inviolable national borders was first codified. In fact, this is a Western narcissistic view. Other nations, in particular Persians and Iranians, have a long history of what could be called nationalism, depending on how one defines the term, dating back maybe 2500 years to Cyrus the Great.
US idiots like George Bush and the council of clueless super-Zionist advisors whispering in his ear provoke this ancient culture at their peril.
The piece goes on to discuss the Minorities Question in modern Iran. Most people do not recognize that Persian and Iranian are not synonymous. Persian is an ethnic group, but Persians only constitute 51% of all Iranians. Azerbaijanis are a huge group in the northwest, constituting 23%.
US imperialism and Kurdish nationalism make much of Azerbaijanis supposed desire to break away from Iran, but there is not much truth to that. Those who say such things do not understand history. It is true that there is an Azerbaijani minority that invokes irredentism and wishes to break away from Iran and reunite with “northern Azerbaijan”, the independent state of Azerbaijan.
But the majority of Azerbaijanis have no desire to do such a thing. People do not understand that despite the racist Persian ethnic nationalism of the Shah, Azerbaijanis have typically ruled Iran for many centuries now. In fact the Supreme Jurisprudent Ayatollah Khameini is an Azerbaijani.
The Sassanid Empire was one of the most prominent empires in the world from 200-600, a rival to the Roman Empire. This culture, to many, represents the pinnacle of Iran’s power in the world. Its religion was Zoroastrianism and it was characterized by great tolerance towards religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews.
The Sassanids were defeated in the mid-650’s by invading Arab Muslim armies, many Iranians were put to the sword, and many Iranian nationalists have resented the resulting forced imposition of Islam ever since. According to these nationalists, there is a difference between those societies where Islam was “native” – supposedly Arab societies, and those where it was imposed by force – supposedly all non-Arab countries.
This greatly simplifies matters, and in many ways is false. For instance, Islam has deep roots in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Muslim India, Eastern China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Albania, Kosova, Bosnia, the Caucasus and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
So the case of Iran is not generalizable. In most cases, where Islam conquered non-Arab lands, many of the natives converted and become passionate Muslims. In fact, some of the world’s most ferocious and fundamentalist Muslims have traditionally come from non-Arab lands like Afghanistan and Pakistan. But in Iran, something different happened: Islam ran up against Persian nationalism.
To understand the conflict between Iranian nationalism and Islam is essential to understanding modern Iranian culture. The Khomeinists have enraged Iranian nationalists by declaring wholesale war on Iranian nationalism. According to the mullahs, there is no need for Iranian nationalism since Islam supplants it. Iranian nationalists are often theologically diverse, secular, atheists, agnostics, or even Zoroastrians.
Even worse, the mullahs seem to have imposed a pro-Arabism on Iran. This is sure to infuriate Iranian nationalists. Iranian nationalists have always had a resentful and bigoted attitudes towards Arabs (and some towards Muslims – who they regard as having a barbaric Arab religion).
When you hear an Iranian nationalist hurl an insult like “lizard-eating Mohammadens”, this is the rage they are mining. It is the rage at a primitive culture of desert barbarian wanderers – so barbaric, in fact, that they “ate lizards” – that invaded the glorious, superior, Sassanid Zoroastrian Empire and destroyed it, supplanting it with inferior Arab Islamic culture and religion.
The mullahs have not only waged war on symbols of Iranian nationalism, but they have also tried to import Arab culture and language, much to the fury of Iranian nationalists. Since, to Islamic fundamentalists, Arabic is the language of Islam (a bigoted and irrational construct on its face), they tend to promote Arab culture and language over native culture and language.
This tends to produce friction between Islamic fundamentalists and non-Arab nationalists in the non-Arab parts of the Muslim World. For instance, it is often difficult to find a copy of the Koran in any language other than Arabic. And many non-Arab Muslims claim that Arabs, especially Gulf Arabs, look down on them and despise them when they go Mecca on hajj.
The Arab chauvinism in Islam has been a long-term hindrance to spread of the religion. Furthermore, for centuries after the conquest of Islam, the greatest Iranian poets, authors and scientists – beloved by all Iranian nationalists – were ordered to be killed by the fundamentalist Islamic morons ruling Islam at the time. Few of these heroes of Iranian culture were killed, but the fact that their deaths were even condoned stings.
It is important to note that Shia Islam was also imposed at the point of the sword sometime later and many Sunni Iranians were put to death.
The remains of this violent religious imposition can be seen today, when one notes that Sunni Islam (Iran is only about 75% Shia Muslim) continues to hold sway in the outliers of the Iranian state – in the desolate Balochi barrens of the southeast, in the northeast near Afghanistan, and in wild, mountainous Iranian Kurdistan in the northwest.
All of these parts of the Iranian state remain largely outside of the regime’s control, and Sunnis continue to complain, legitimately, of discrimination by Iranian Shia Muslims.
The rage between Iranians and Arabs is difficult for outsiders to fathom, but is essential to understanding the region. Sunni Islam is synonymous with Arab identity and nationalism, as Juan Cole astutely notes, in the same way that White Christianity is synonymous with American nationalism. Hence, the secularism of Arab nationalists has always been a bit of a lie.
The Arab masses and regimes are Sunni. Shia minorities have traditionally been suppressed in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in Lebanon. This is the root of the Sunni-Shia conflict that rages ferociously in Iraq today.
See here for a particularly bigoted and insane example of Sunni Iraqi bigotry from the interesting blog of a secular Iraqi woman. Note that she ridiculously claims that Shia Islam was invented by the Iranians to destroy the Sunni Islamic civilization of the Arabs.
I realize that sounds like the ravings of a mentally ill person, but this is how many Sunni Muslims, especially Sunni Arabs from Mesopotamia, the Gulf and the Levant, regard Iran and Shiism.
When we understand this sick, crazy, racist hatred, we can understand why Saddam attacked Iran, and why he was supported in that war by all of the states in the Arab peninsula. We can understand why the secular King of Jordan intones darkly about a “Shia Belt” snaking ominously from Iran, across Iraq, to Syria and Southern Lebanon under Hezbollah control.
We can understand the insane, Nazi-like massacres of crowds of Shia civilians – men, women and children of all ages – in Iraq by both the Sunni Islamist guerrilla animals and Saddam’s secular, Shia-hating fascist Arab nationalists. We can understand why the government of Yemen launched a murderous war on the Zaidi Shia of northern Yemen, who constitute 40% of Yemen but are locked out of the state.
We can understand why the Sunni Muslim states of the Gulf are supporting the preliminary plans for a US attack on Iran, and why these states and the Iraqi Sunni-Nazi rebels will stand up and cheer till they can’t talk if the US invades Iran. We can understand why the viciously racist Sunni Arab bigots of Iraq intone darkly, “We will never be ruled by the blackhats (the Shia)”.
While the Arab attitude towards Iran and the Shia has always been one of sheer, Nazi-like racist hatred, the Iranian attitude towards Arabs has tended to be one of the disdain of a supposedly superior people for a supposedly inferior one.
I have droned on enough on this subject, and we need to move on to the rest of the post. If you wish to dive into this fascinating matter further, click the link above and take a crash course in Iranian history, the minorities of Iran and modern-day Iranian nationalism. I hope you enjoyed this excursion.
April 7, 2006
Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: Sunni Islamist guerrillas shot and seriously wounded Hojatoleslam Yusef Mohammadi Soleimani, a top cleric who represents Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Centre for Higher Education here.
April 8, 2006
Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: 6 armed Sunni Islamist guerrillas abducted Eshaq Nezamdoust, a local Iranian official who was in charge of distributing oil products here.
April 9, 2006
Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: Sunni Islamist guerrillas shot dead 2 Iranian army officers here, Mostafa Ahmadi and Behzad Qolipour.
May 4, 2006
Many of you are probably aware of the furor over Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the figurehead President of Iran, and his comments regarding Israel and the Holocaust. This much-distorted comments are grist for the propaganda for a campaign to get the US to wage a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, primarily for the benefit of the Zionist state in Israel.
If the US won’t do it, “mad dog” Israel says, then Mad Dog Israel herself may be forced to take matters into her own hand. Ahmadinejad shoots off his mouth quite a bit and says some dumb things, but it’s important to note that he is just a figurehead with little power. Remember when reformist Khatami had the same office as Ahmadinejad, and all the Iran-haters said that Khatami had no power anyway?
Well, shoot, Ahmadinejad has the same power as Khatami. If Khatami had no power than Ahmadinejad also has no power, logically speaking. In Iran, the office of the President seems to be mainly utilized these days to vent off steam from the unhappy population, to give them somewhere to channel their dissatisfied energies.
Ahmadinejad’s comments in question concern his purported remarks to “wipe Israel off the map” and his Holocaust denial. First of all, let us note that Holocaust denial in various forms is not unusual at all amongst Arabs and Muslims, especially Islamists.
Furthermore, many misguided non-genocidal persons on both the Right and Left, are caught up in the nonsense of Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Revisionism. Lamentable as it is, it does not necessarily make one a new Hitler.
As far as Ahmadinejad’s comments to wipe Israel off the map, Juan Cole makes clear that he was apparently paraphrasing Khomeini’s remarks from 25 years ago, when the Ayatollah compared Israel to the Shah’s regime, and said in poetic Persian that “the Occupation regime over Jerusalem shall vanish with the page of time”. Cole is adamant that there is no killing of anyone, much less military action, implied in that remark.
Nevertheless, led by the Jewish Lobby and their Gentile fellow travelers on the Fox TV circuit, the US neoconservatives have been hammering out a devious propaganda campaign designed to paint Ahmadinejad, and Iranian Muslims in general, as insane suicidal maniacs out to finish the work that Hitler started.
The supposed evidence is the Holocaust revisionist remarks and the “wipe Israel off the Earth” remark, which Cole has convincingly demonstrated that it is being misquoted. Supposedly, Ahmadinejad is a member of a Shia mystical sect that believes that the 12th Mahdi, or hidden Mahdi, who supposedly vanished on the site of holy Shia mosque in Samarra that was recently detonated by Al Qaeda, is going to return soon.
This religious belief is roughly analogous to the Christian crazies who think that the “end times” are here and Jesus is coming back soon. The common thread in both loony beliefs is that the world is coming to an end. Because Ahmadinejad believes in this nonsense and supports suicide bombers fighting the Zionist regime in Israel, the Israeli Lobby paints him, and an entire nation of Shia Muslims, as suicidal nutcases.
They want to get a nuclear bomb in order to suicidally fire it at Israel, which in the process will destroy Iran with the inevitable US and Israel nuclear retaliation. Clearly, this is a serious question: Is Iran actually capable of such an insane act? We can’t afford to be wrong about our answer here. I have thought about this for months now, and I do not believe that Iran or its leaders are suicidally insane.
I realize there are ominous consequences if I am wrong, including the deaths of maybe 100,000 Israeli Jews. But I am willing to stick my neck out here, just for the sake of argument. I would also like to take this time to argue passionately against any kind of lunatic US or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program, a disastrous idea with truly dangerous consequences.
May 13, 2006
Kerman Province, Between Kerman and Bam: Armed terrorists with the radical Sunni Islamist group Jundallah (Army of Allah) disguised themselves as cops and set up a roadblock on this highway deep inside Iran and stopped motorists and pulled them out of their vehicles. 11 males were lined up next to a ditch and executed. A 12th man was killed when another vehicle was sprayed with gunfire as it drove past.
A 12-year-old boy was wounded by gunfire, but instead of finishing him off, the terrorists strung him up on a power pylon. He survived, but was badly traumatized. Afterward, the terrorists fled into the Kofout Mountains southeast of Kerman.
The murders stunned the nation, which despite its “terrorist” reputation, is actually a very safe country for travelers. Jundallah has its origins in the Sunni population of the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan.
The Sunnis here complain of discrimination and ethnic cleansing by Iranian Shia officials, charges which have a basis in fact. There are suggestions that Jundallah may be based over the border in Afghanistan, possibly in the wild deserts of Nawruz Province. Clearly, Jundallah has a safe haven in the area where Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan all come together. This is one of the more dangerous places on Earth.
Travelers heading there are advised to take a bodyguard, or preferably several bodyguards. None of the three governments in the region have much control over this area. It is overrun with drug traffickers (usually smuggling heroin or opium), who travel in large, very heavily-armed convoys.
They periodically fight it out with Iranian troops. Iranian troops have lost an incredible figure of hundreds of troops in just a few years fighting running battles in this border region with drug traffickers. Jundallah has links to Al Qaeda. In March, they killed 22 people in Zahedan, a very wild and dangerous city located where Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran all come together. Last year, the group beheaded an Iranian security officer.
Iranian officials say that Jundallah is the arm of Al Qaeda inside Iran, and they say that Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi is bin Laden’s right hand man in Iran. That is probably correct.
May 15, 2006
Kerman Province: Iranian Basij and Revolutionary Guard paramilitaries tracked down and killed 10 terrorists who murdered 12 drivers in cold blood on the Kerman-Bam highway 130 miles from where Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran come together (see May 13 entry for details).
May 19, 2006
Syria: Syrian officials arrested dozens of leaders of the various Shia Arab Ahwaz fronts who are waging guerrilla war in Iran’s oil-rich Ahwaz Province. I cannot support this struggle, which is simply designed to steal much of Iran’s oil wealth. However, the Arabs in this region fought bravely in the Iran-Iraq War and suffered heavy casualties.
They complain that they do not see much of the oil wealth in this region. The area was heavily damaged in the war, and the Iranian government hasn’t even rebuilt it very much. The Arabs also complain of discrimination. There is some truth to all of this, but one of Iran’s top military leaders is an Ahwaz Arab.
If Iran had any sense, they would institute affirmative action to hire Ahwaz Arabs, rebuild the Ahwaz region and let the area see much more of their present share of the wealth. This conflict has always been fed by Arab nationalist fascists like the Baath fascists in Iraq, whose hatred of Iran borders on the insane and pathological.
Furthermore, in recent days, US and British Special Forces and intelligence are in the region assisting the insurgency. By arresting most of the top leaders of the insurgency, Syria is spitting in the eyes of Arab nationalist bigots all over the Arab World, and is throwing its lot in with Shia solidarity (Syria is ruled by a Shia sect) and Syria’s alliance with Iran.