Yalla Peace: A grim fairy tale on Iran

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Yalla Peace: A grim fairy tale on Iran
By RAY HANANIA 03/06/2012 JERUSALEM POST

On a map, Iran looks like a giant panther pouncing on the Arab countries (and Israel) to the southwest. If you look at the map of the Middle East, Iran looks like a giant panther pouncing on the Arab countries (and Israel) to the southwest.

In fact, Iran really is poised to dominate the region. Its Shia population puts it in direct conflict with most of the Arab Middle East. Its virulent rhetoric is reminiscent of the old days of Arab-Israeli politics when Egypt’s Arab Nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser would frequently toss vitriol and harsh threats at Israel.

It’s no wonder everyone outside of Syria and Hezbollah, part of Iran’s circle of Shia-based allies, fears its growing power, or that US presidential candidates like Rick Santorum have declared they would bomb Iran if elected.

Ironically, though, Iran is a problem today because, as usual, the West helped make it so. I know the West doesn’t like anyone pointing this out. I mean, this seems to happen a lot to the West. Israelis doesn’t like to hear this either because it puts them, yet again, on the wrong side of a moral issue.

Iran was governed for a long time by the Shah, Reza Pahlavi. He was a tyrant worse than Syrian President Bashar Assad ever could aspire to become, though Assad is trying hard. The Shah was the protector of the West’s only real true love: one of the largest oil reserves in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia’s undersand stash of black gold.

Yet when the Shah decided to begin his nuclear program, the West worked with him. The Shah wanted four nuclear plants, he said, to “provide electricity” to his poverty-stricken people.

Except for those related to the Shah, or who worked for his military or the dreaded Savak (the secret service (mukhabarat) that became role models for Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and the Assad clan in Syria) most Iranians at the time didn’t have electricity.

If the Shah had had a Facebook account, all of his “friends” would be the leaders of the Western World. The West “loved” the Shah. Few asked why Iran needed nuclear power with all that oil to use as energy.

Everything was going well in this typical Western Fairy Tale of love and alliances until 1979, when the first “Middle East Spring” erupted. Iran is not Arab, of course, but if advocates of today’s “Arab Spring” want to know what the future might hold, all they have to do is take a look at ayatollahinfested Iran, where backwards religious fanatics now dictate life, mixing the unavoidable fruits of the modern technological world with their desire for a return to the year that the Shia religion took real form, sometime around the Western year 666.

The “Iranian Spring” directed its anger at the United States, which protected the Shah even though the Shah had murdered more civilians than Saddam Hussein and the Assad family put together (not for lack of effort on their part, of course).

The West tried wars, through their “friend,” Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. The West tried embargoes, over and over again. The West even had Iranian nuclear facilities bombed.

Yet here we are again.

The West has tried everything but reason. The West has no answer to Iranian complaints such as: Why is Israel allowed to have 250 nuclear weapons? That, coupled with the injustices against the Palestinians, makes for a powerful argument that fuels Iranian “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hysteria.

Ahmadinejad continues to use the suffering of Arabs under Western and Israeli occupation as a smokescreen to cover up Iran’s own militarism. We could bomb Iran back to the stone age, where their thinking is already at. Or we could undermine them by doing the right thing ourselves. Why doesn’t the West, including Israel, just make peace with the Palestinians and let the Palestinians have a real state? Or push Israel to destroy its own weapons of mass destruction?

Is Israel really in danger? Despite Iran’s religious differences with the Sunni Arab World, they share one important thing. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Iran would never drop a bomb on Israel that would in any way destroy or damage the Dome of the Rock. It’s holy to not only the Arab Muslims but to Iranian Muslims, too.

That would change if the Dome of the Rock were destroyed and threats of right-wing Israelis became reality.

Of course, like I said, this is all just a fairy tale. One that is both grim and has deep roots in defining how events may turn out in the very near future. But it is a fairy tale that Israel and the West are helping to write as much as the Iranian ayatollahs.

The writer is a Palestinian American radio talk show host. www.YallaPeace.com.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com