Sunday, March 05, 2006

When Was the Turning Point?

One does not need to be a political analyst to see that climate of Middle East has changed drastically. When new millennium started there were signs of hope. In Iran there was a reformer President in place, for last few years there were talks of human rights and civil society in the region. That wave had given strength to local population in Egypt, Syria, GCC countries and other Middle Eastern countries that there was hope. All over the region radicalism was in retreat, here and there radicals had made a stand using their grip on power or intelligence services but Middle Easterns knew that the dark days would be over.

As an Iranian I was optimistic, we all were.

5 and half years later nothing is left from those days. Optimism and the excitement of the days of reform have given away to disappointment and despair. Iran is on the verge of confronting the global order in place by the USA over its nuclear policy, in Palestine HAMAS is in charge officially, Iraq is falling apart. In the region the support for human rights and democracy has given the way to the frustration of invasion of Iraq and the agony caused by an ever increasingly ignorant west. The values of Islam are considered to be in danger, while traditional societies and the rules of engagement of last half century are not in place any more. When was the turning point in last years when the events were set in motion to bring these days as the result of Spring of Tehran? Many might argue the 911 was the catastrophic event which has drawn the picture of the Middle East today, however I beg to differ. 911 although a magnificent event in its own place, could not possibly cause all of these. It might ignite an engine, but it did not build the road.

Thinking of past I could think of many moments when foresight and elaboration could have altered circumstances. Dividing the campaign against terrorism I would like to highlight pre Iraq and pro Iraq invasion phases. In first stage, when Afghanistan was on agenda, the global agreement over necessary actions was easily achieved. The illusions of White House neoconservative residents did not prevent State Department from seeking help and assistance from the all quarters. The second stage orchestrated on false information, wrong expectations and weak planning amidst global objections. USA did not acknowledge the role played by Iran in Afghanistan calling the country a member of axis of evil. Iran felt threatened thus she became defensive. Reformers lost momentum at home entirely, radicals united their support base using their patriotic emotions moved into offensive. Confused EU countries chose to press on nuclear agenda in Iran, one of meager importance in Iranians’ daily life leaving them to be alone in their struggle for a civil society. Iraq began to fall apart; the united front which had brought success in Afghanistan was absent here.

USA paranoia of a strong Iran becoming the real victor leads this country into an aggressive policy over Iran. Iran believing in her own rights to be a regional leader chose to make a stand over an absurd issue. Fact is American arrogance and Iranian paranoia of foreign intervention both have been passing opportunities for a long time now. The truth is there are moments when one wonder what would have had happened had the actions and the words were different. But there is not one single decisive one.

Today has come upon us, neither because of our sins nor a single event. It has come upon us because presidents failed to be greater than words, because politicians seek answers in short term and because here and there good men failed to do something, anything. Because a supreme power feels righteous in changing a world and a world feels righteous in defending itself. It is not because of events, it is simply because of nature of power and what it requires: Righteousness, I hate righteousness!