Iran's nuclear ambitions have been very much in the news, causing me to take a look at the history of Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Fundamentalist Revolution that drove the Shah of Iran into exile.
A Couple of Historical Parallels and Other Issues
-- by Robert M. Liu
Some time ago, I wrote an article entitled "A Set of Interesting Historical Parallels", in which I mentioned an ancient Chinese hypothesis on how history might repeat itself in 60-year cycles as well as a set of examples highlighting the similarities between certain historical figures who have emerged 60 years apart and their actions -- for example, the similarities between Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein.
I posted that article on my Authorsden.com web page. Since then, quite a few readers have downloaded it. Now I wish to add two extra examples. Hopefully, you too will see the similarities between the historical figures in question as I do.
Recently, Iran's nuclear ambitions have been very much in the news, causing me to take a look at the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran founded in 1979 after Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Fundamentalist Revolution drove the Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) into exile.
Assuming there is something to the above-mentioned ancient Chinese hypothesis, let's move back 60 years from the late 1970s to the late 1910s and see if we can find some historical event similar to Khomeini's Islamic Fundamentalist Revolution of the late 1970s. I believe I have found something in that earlier decade that is similar to Khomeini's Iranian revolution. Close your eyes and guess what that is before you read the next paragraph.
In my opinion, Shah Pahlavi's Iranian Empire of the late 1970s was like Czar Nicholas II's Russian Empire of the late 1910s. Therefore, I see a historical parallel between the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of the late 1910s and the Iranian Islamic Revolution of the late 1970s, between Czar Nicholas II and (Mohammad Reza) Shah Pahlavi.
In March 1917, confronted with a deteriorating situation that caused the government to totter, Czar Nicholas II abdicated. He sought asylum in Great Britain, but Britain did not dare to accept him. In July 1918, he and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks on Nikolai Lenin's orders.
In 1979, the Iranian situation was deteriorating rapidly. Jimmy Carter's incompetent Democratic administration did nothing to prevent the Shah's government from collapsing. There were reports that Shah Pahlavi had intended to seek asylum in America, but perhaps the Carter Administration had refused him asylum. But Shah Pahlavi of Iran had more luck than Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Egypt offered asylum to the Shah and his family. Had he stayed in Iran, he and his family would have been executed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards on Ayatollah Khomeini's orders.
The next historical parallel to draw naturally would be between Nikolai Lenin and Ayatollah Khomeini. Lenin returned to Russia from exile in the 1910s to launch his Bolshevik Revolution which toppled Czar Nicholas II. A Georgian by the name of Joseph Stalin joined Lenin in the revolution and became powerful.
However, Lenin did not get along with Stalin and did not want Stalin to be his revolutionary heir apparent. He made this clear in his last Will and Testament. But after he died in 1924, his last Will and Testament fell into the hands of Stalin, who suppressed the important document, usurping supreme power. Soon, a power struggle erupted between Stalin and Lenin's followers. After a bloody purge, Stalin became the supreme leader of the Soviet Union.
In the 1970s, Ayatollah Khomeini was in exile. At one time, he lived in Iraq, and the powerful Saddam Hussein did not like him. So he had to leave for France. In 1979, Khomeini returned to Iran from exile to launch his Bolshevik-style Islamic Fundamentalist Revolution which toppled Shah Pahlavi of Iran. Soon, a bloody war broke out between Saddam Hussein and Khomeini's Iran. Had Saddam Hussein defeated Iran, he would have annexed Iran and become the supreme leader of a quasi-Stalinist union consisting of both Iraq and Iran.
As it turned out, Saddam Hussein could not defeat Iran and so could not form a quasi- Stalinist union of Iraq and Iran. As to Ayatollah Khomeini, he died in 1989, that is, 65 years after Lenin's death, and his followers inherited his quasi-Leninist Islamic revolutionary regime.
All this brings us to the present issue of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which looks like a mini-Soviet Union under the control of a bunch of quasi-Bolsheviks who follow the principles of a quasi-Leninist ideology dressed as Iranian "Islamic Fundamentalism" and who are determined to have their own nuclear bombs. Some media analysts say that Iran might detonate its first nuclear device in the next 3 to 5 years, that is, between 2009 and 2011.
Please remember that the former Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, and 2009 is exactly 60 years after 1949. If you agree that there may be a historical parallel between Czar Nicholas II's Russian Empire of the late 1910s and Shah Pahlavi's Iranian Empire of the late 1970s, between Nikolai Lenin and Ayatollah Khomeini, between the Bolshevik Revolution of the late 1910s and the Iranian Islamic Revolution of the late 1970s, between the Soviet Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran which looks like a mini-Soviet Union without a Stalin, I would infer that there is a real possibility of Iran detonating its first nuclear bomb in 2009 or shortly thereafter.
World War II ended in 1945, followed by the first stage of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. Now it seems the first stage of a new cold war between Iran and the West has already begun.
The Democrats are still blaming the Bush Administration for its failure to capture Osama bin Laden. But last month, the media were reporting rumors that Osama bin Laden had died in August 2006 of a water-borne disease. Intelligence analysts believe he is either dead or sick. Osama bin Laden was born into a super-rich family and received a good education. Judging from the fact that he gave up a comfortable life for the sake of his "ideal", he was apparently seeking some kind of grandeur. But now, what kind of "grandeur" has he got?
Given his character, one would think that Osama bin Laden must be either very arrogant or very proud. Now imagine yourself as a very proud man who seeks grandeur but ends up hiding in a hole. Would you call that a happy and healthy lifestyle? No man can stay healthy after years of living dangerously under mental stress. There is reason to believe that Osama bin Laden must be feeling very depressed if still alive.
So, maybe, those rumors cannot be dismissed as totally baseless. In other words, Osama bin Laden is basically out of the picture. The U.S.-led coalition may have already won most of the major battles against al Qaeda, despite the frequent suicide bombings in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where America's NATO allies are making considerable contributions toward maintaining an overall control of the mountainous region.
To the U.S. forces in Iraq, the real challenge is posed by the Baathist insurgents, led and organized by members of the intelligence-security-military apparatus of the deposed Saddam Hussein regime. They have been in contact with foreign terrorist groups such as al Qaeda all along and are now ready to hire suicide bombers from such groups to cause as much mayhem as they can. The top leadership of this underground Baathist network may be hiding in Syria, issuing its instructions from there to the insurgent fighters inside Iraq.
If you agree with me that there is a historical parallel between Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein, then, you may see the deposed Saddam Hussein regime as a quasi-Stalinist entity controlled by a quasi-Stalinist political organization called the Baath Socialist Party. Since one of the main characteristics of Stalinism was its strong and ruthless organizational capacity which enabled Stalin to control his regime, I would presume that the current quasi-Stalinist underground Baathist insurgent network in Iraq may also have a strong and ruthless organizational capacity which enables the network to control a large chunk of the Sunni population. That is why it has survived to this day despite the efforts of the U.S.-led coalition to pacify Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.
On the other hand, the insurgents in Iraq are not having a good time. They are hiding, and they are being hunted. That is not a happy and healthy lifestyle, either. It is a dog's life. How long can they live like that -- under stress day and night?
Sometimes, they make a video that shows masked insurgent fighters parading through a city street. But it is propaganda designed to exaggerate their strength and to fool media outlets like CNN. If they are so strong, why can't they hold a town for longer than a week? Their ability is limited to hit-and-run operations. What the U.S.-led coalition needs is actionable intelligence information on where insurgents are hiding, which would enable U.S. and Iraqi forces to hunt them down. The point is that U.S. and Iraqi government forces need to stay on the hunt, though it may be a very long hunt.
And if we regard Iraq and Iran as a single region and draw a parallel between the former Soviet Union and this region, we may see that the current situation there looks as if the U.S. has invaded a quasi-USSR with strong tyrannical forces, some quasi-Stalinist, some quasi-Leninist, and has captured a Stalin-like tyrant called Saddam Hussein, and is now trying to build a democracy on part of the region, while the rest of it looks like a mini-USSR under a quasi- Bolshevik leadership guided by a quasi-Leninist ideology called Iranian Islamic Fundamentalism and bent on setting off a nuclear bomb in the not-too-remote future.
It is a tough job that the U.S. is facing, no matter which party wins control of Congress on November 7, 2006, and the White House in November 2008. The problem is here to stay. Whining and blaming George W. Bush won't make it go away. What's more, the fundamental problem of this region (Iraq and Iran) was not created by George W. Bush. It came into existence because the Free World lost control of Iraq in the 1950s and of Iran in the late 1970s. What the Bush Administration now is trying to do is to roll back some of the tyrannical forces in the region before they detonate nuclear bombs -- a very real possibility those irresponsible Democratic demagogues may be unwilling to face.
[November 2, 2006]