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“United States, Human Rights and the Discourse of Domination”

The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all sponsor terrorist groups which have attacked Iran’s scientists, its elected representatives and military leaders, as well as its sacred sites – inside Iran as well as abroad.

The United States and Iran: Two Tracks to Establishing Hegemon

By:  james Petras


US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations:

  • US Imperialism is the force of global domination
  • US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran’s allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi’a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran.
  • The return of Iran to the status of puppet regime will advance Washington’s ultimate goal of encircling and isolating Russia and China.
  • The US overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran will facilitate Israel’s final seizure of Palestine, including Jerusalem, and establish Tel Aviv as the dominant regional power in the Middle East.


Washington’s ‘Two Track’ Policy for Domination

US strategic planners rely on a two-track policy, combining and blending military and ideological weapons.

Its military strategy relies on slicing up the Middle East – ‘salami tactics’ – invading and conquering of each and every country and government, which shares the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy of national sovereignty and independence. US military success or failure depends on its alliances in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all sponsor terrorist groups which have attacked Iran’s scientists, its elected representatives and military leaders, as well as its sacred sites – inside Iran as well as abroad.

The political and ideological strategy involves the penetration and organization of domestic forces to destabilize and weaken Iran’s internal security, defense capability and overseas alliances.

Ideological warfare involves: (1) exploiting regional, ethnic, class and religious differences to undermine stability and fragment the country; and (2) converting legitimate social critics and political opposition parties into imperial collaborators.

Ideological attacks are designed to attract Iranian writers, academics, intellectuals and artists who choose to ignore the history of US imperialism in fomenting bloody coups (Mossadegh 1954), launching proxy wars via Saddam Hussain’s invasion (1980-

  • and the terrorist attacks by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as the terrorist backed by Iraq’s former dictator.

US propaganda intervention in Iran’s electoral process has been designed to promote a so-called “color revolution” regime change favored by neo-liberal, pro-West parties and candidates who seek US sponsorship in their ascent to power. The imperial collaborators and various Western ‘human rights’ NGOs hide the sordid history of Washington’s overt and proxy wars/coups and occupations in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Palestine.

Modern imperialist policies include: (1) diplomatic and cyber warfare against Iran’s defense and security systems; (2) economic sanctions and the assassination of highly skilled scientists and engineers to undermine economic growth; (3) political propaganda labeling Iran a ‘terrorist state’ in order to intimidate and weaken overseas and domestic allies; and the (4) financing and arming of terrorists from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to attack the Islamic Republic.

Linguistic and Conceptual Perversions

Imperial warfare depends on perverting political language and concepts. The US refers to invasion, which have killed, maimed and tens of millions of Muslims and Christians in Iraq (2003-2017) and Syria (2011-2017) as ‘humanitarian interventions’. In reality its policy described an ongoing ‘holocaust’ – the massive genocidal violation of the human rights of scores of millions of people to sovereignty, peace and security of home, life, limb, culture and faith.

The millions of victims of the West’s current holocaust in the Middle East reject and scorn Washington’s imperialist claim of defending ‘democratic values’ and its so-called ‘responsibility to protect (R2P)’ as pronounced by a series of US Administrations through their mouthpieces in the United Nations.

In contrast, US support for the Saudi monarch’s brutal bombing and blockade of Yemen has led to an entire population facing starvation and a massive, cholera epidemic, which now threatens over 26 million Yeminis. The campaign against Yemen by the brutal Saudis and their US-EU allies is the very definition of crimes against humanity and international law.

Sanctions: A Tool of Conquest

US sanctions against Iraq, Syria, Iran and Yemen have been designed to starve working people into submission while capturing the support of some middle class consumers. US policy of invading Libya and brutally murdering President Gadhafi and his family members was designed to systematically destroy a prosperous, independent republic and turn it into a backward, impoverished fiefdom of tribal warlords, exploited by Western oil companies. Saudi Arabia joined the European Union in financing terrorists, many trained in the destroyed remnants of Libya, who later killed innocent civilians in Paris, Nice, London, Manchester and other parts of Europe.

The strategic goal of the US invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen has been to violently divide these independent republics and turn them into ethnically cleansed, impoverished, mini-states – in the imperial tradition of ‘divide and conquer’. Such tribal fiefdoms are easily dominated by imperial powers.

Regional and Global Strategy

Washington’s imperial strategists have arrived at the conclusion that they cannot conquer independent states, like Iran, in a single attack, given its size, defense capability, internal cohesion and regional alliances.

Their strategy is to surround Iran by destroying its allies, one nation at a time.

The first phase of the US invasion, occupation and systematic destruction of Iraq and its entire governmental infrastructure was designed to overthrow the Baathist state, then neutralize the Shi’a militia and impose a servile client regime in Baghdad. The second step was to encourage Sunni tribal warlords to seize control of central Iraq. The third step was to arm the Kurds to form a mini-state in northern Iraq (so-called “Kurdistan”). This would entail large-scale ethnic cleansing, the total destruction of Iraq’s ancient Christian community, the extermination of its multiethnic modern educated, scientific, cultural and technocratic work force. In other words, the US strategy was to obliterate any remnant of the Iraqi Republic in its war to ‘remake the Middle East’.

After Iraq and Libya, the next target for US-EU aggression has been the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran’s ally. The EU, USA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey sponsored an invasion by mercenary Salafi forces under a network of Daesh-ISIS-al Queda terrorists. Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have provided military, logistical and financial support to the terrorists.

After Syria, the fourth target of Anglo-American-Saudi-Israeli military strategy would be to undermine the national sovereignty of Lebanon and destroy the armed political Hezbollah Party, the powerful Lebanese resistance organization (allied with Iran). It was consistent with this strategy for the West to support Israel’s brutal air and ground attacks against the civilian population and infrastructure of Beirut, Lebanese port cities and villages. Tens of thousands of Lebanese Christians were not spared the Israeli terror bombing campaign.

If a Lebanese campaign were successful and Hezbollah was destroyed, the ‘final’ Israeli conquest of Palestine, the fifth objective, could commence: US and world Zionism would unconditionally celebrate Israel’s massive ethnic purge of Palestine’s native peoples and finish off the total confiscation of the homes, mosques, churches, land and resources of millions of Muslim and Christian Palestinians and other peoples. This would create history’s first ‘pure Jewish’ state.

The sixth imperial objective would be to disarm Iran’s military and security structure and weaken its economy in order to isolate the Islamic Republic and undermine its Middle Eastern alliances. This strategic objective explains why Washington promotes its one-sided nuclear arms agreement with Iran, while the nuclear-armed Israel is excluded! Despite Iran’s abiding by the terms of the agreement, there have been no reciprocal lifting of economic sanctions or the normalization of trade and diplomatic relations.

Beyond Iran, the global strategy would be to weaken, encircle and isolate the US’s big power rivals, China and Russia and re-establish the US as the uncontested world imperial power.

Iran Counters the US Global Military Threat

Iran responded by developing economic, technical and military agreements with Russia and China in order to counter the US-Israeli-Saudi threats and sanctions. Russia provides advanced defensive weapons systems. China signs large-scale, long-term trade agreements while including Iran in its huge Central Asian infrastructure projects. Most importantly, Iran has succeeded in defending the legitimate government of Syria, while aiding Iraq and Yemen.

Iran undermined official US sanctions by signing multi-billion dollar agreements with the giant Boeing Corporation for the purchase of passenger airplanes as well as developing further agreements with US banks and agro-business exporters and oil companies. These profitable agreements with the US agro-business export sector can weaken the Pentagon-Zionist sanctions.

Iran has the diplomatic support of the Non-Aligned Movement opposing Israeli-US Zionist military threats.

Iran’s principled opposition to Saudi Arabia’s massive arms purchases, as well as the Kingdom’s vicious alliance with Israel and its genocidal assault against the Yemeni people, has gained the support of world public opinion – especially the masses of independent Muslims throughout the world.

Iran’s educational, scientific, military and political-electoral advances provide the basis for national security, economic growth, cultural enrichment, international alliances and the deepening of social democracy for its people. It provides an alternative independent vision for many millions of Muslims living under harsh monarchies, military dictators and imperial oppression.


Since the US and its allies launched their ‘hot war’ by surrounding, threatening and destabilizing Iran, Washington’s strategy has suffered serious military defeats and political retreats.

Iraq is no longer encircled by the US. Shia-based militias have regional control, especially south of Baghdad and beyond. Syria, Iran’s ally, has fought hard to finally liberate many towns, cities and territory taken by the terrorist mercenaries despite the EU-US-Saudi-Israel’s initial advances.

Rival rebel forces and mercenary gangsters besiege the US puppet governments in Libya, Somalia and South Sudan. The classic CIA term, ‘blowback’, means these terrorists are now turning their guns on the West.

Washington has lost control of Afghanistan. Over a third of the Afghan military and police recruits defect to the resistance fighters. The central ‘government’ in Kabul influences less than a quarter of the country

Despite spending trillions of dollars on wars and propaganda over the past two decades, US military strategy to encircle and conquer Iran has been a military, diplomatic and economic failure. The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Despite US congressional, Presidential and Pentagon support for Israel’s Jewish colonization of Palestine, more countries, trade unions and social movements, around the world, support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel than ever before. Manu are speaking up despite government threats to outlaw ‘criticism of Israel’ as a ‘hate crime’.

The turmoil and deep political divisions in the United States between the oligarchs allied to President Trump and the opposition oligarchs have created a profound institutional crisis, which has undermined domestic governance and disrupted US global alliances, US-EU relations and US-Asian trade links.

Despite the bizarre and often theatrical presentation by the US mass media, the American Congress and President Trump are fighting over fundamental issues, including control of the national security agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc.),

foreign and military policy, the economy and environmental agenda, the federal budget, judiciary and the Presidency.

The political crisis has paralyzed the capacity of the US to start new wars and negotiate international agreements. President Trump is facing a serious coup d’état involving the political-intelligence elite, with the military looking warily on the chaos. The masses are increasingly polarized or disgusted.

In an attempt to deflect from his domestic problems, President Trump deepened the US alliance with Saudi Arabia and reiterated threats against Iran. Nevertheless he declined pressure to move the US embassy to Israel. The inconsistent and ad hoc nature of current US policy alienates friends and foes – with no redeeming features.

The domestic opposition demands an end of President Trump’s diplomatic overtures to Russia. It uses the fake pretext of Russian interference in the US presidential election to move toward the president’s impeachment.

The US faces a CLANDESTINE CIVIL WAR among its elite!

A financial bubble accompanies the American domestic political crisis. The economic elite, the banks and stock market have benefited through speculation, despite or because of, the paralysis among rival political oligarchs!

The emergence of Trump’s so-called ‘national-capitalist ideology’ means a decline in US multi-lateral agreements, such as NATO, the EU, NAFTA and the Trans-

Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). This explains Trump’s effort to renegotiate bilateral agreements, which have failed

Trump’s stated policy objectives have fallen between two chairs: the multi-lateral agreements have not been replaced by lucrative bilateral deals. Trump relies on big business offerings and ‘nationalist’ ideology to minimize his diplomatic failures and ideological isolation. Trump wants to win contracts for greater US exports and investment. This has been weakened by the previous administration’s pursuit of economic sanctions and expanding wars, as well as his feckless propaganda.

The Trump regime is full of contradictions: It threatens to end the nuclear agreement with Iran but allows Boeing to sell billions of dollars of civilian aircraft to Teheran. It signs a $300 billion dollar arms sales agreement with Saudi Arabia (business for the for military industries) while losing political influence in the US, where the Saudis are widely despised.

At least, Trump does not blather on about humanitarian wars; he would prefer signing business deals. He mentions the need for ‘regime change’ in Syria and sending more troops to Afghanistan but does little to implement these goals.

President Trump is fighting for his own political (and personal) survival and to prevent his impeachment (via a Congressional coup). His strongest defense would be to strengthen the domestic economy and show some overseas economic successes.

Essentially, Trump’s economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation’s core electorate.

Trump would like to balkanize Syria, while avoiding new troop commitments to Afghanistan. He would prefer profitable trade relations with Russia and China and perhaps, Iran, over war.

The impediments to any Trump policy success are massive: Trump’s Administration includes zealous neo-conservative Russophobes and Zionist-Iranophobes. These are militarist who would provoke eventual armed conflict with Moscow and Teheran. Their current focus is on expanding the war in Syria, sending more US troops to Afghanistan and forging deeper ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The current internal political contradictions between the Trump regime and the

Deep’ State apparatus, and between the Trump-allied business elite and the Zionist-neo-

conservative warmongers, preclude the development of a consequential Trump foreign


In the meantime, domestic political warfare and the deepening divisions between the US and EU will create opportunities for Russia, China and Iran to join together in historic economic political and alliances, which might help re-balance a world on the brink of ‘world war’, economic collapse and environmental disaster.

The divisions among NATO countries undermine the establishment of a united front for greater imperial wars. The fragmentation of the European Union (Brexit, the

collapse of Greece, the EU-sponsored putsch in Ukraine) lessens its global economic influence. The division between the US Presidential regime and the Opposition Security State apparatus paralyzes the US push for new imperial wars.

Divisions and conflicts within the imperial camp presents favorable opportunities for anti-imperialist countries in the Middle East, like Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

This essay is dedicated to the memory of the innocent martyrs of the recent brutal terrorist attacks against the Iranian Parliament and the holy shrine and to honor the brave survivors and family members of the victims.


James Petras

Emeritus Professor of Sociology Binghamton University,  Adjunct Professor of Development Studies  “St. Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)”

Presented to the Conference: “United States, Human Rights and the Discourse of Domination”

Sponsored by Iranian World Studies Association “Tehran, July 2, 2017 ”

































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