Dr. Walid Phares
Is Petro Jihad Behind Western Abandoning of Iran's
August 12, 2009
What are the strategic reasons behind Western reluctance to support
Iran's opposition? One theory is that there are immense Oil interests in
partnership with the region's Jihadist regimes obstructing the advance
of democracy in the region. The reluctance by the Obama Administration
and other European Governments to extend their hand of support to Iran's
civil society during the June uprising can be explained through the
pressures applied by interest groups, including Oil producing regimes
not to "meddle" in Iran's affairs and let go of the democratic movement.
We've seen the Administration pressuring Israel, while talking gently to
the Iranian government. When staff of the British embassy and a French
researcher, were arrested in Tehran, there was only a lukewarm response
by the European Union to this humiliation of two of its member states.
How can we make sense of this bizarre situation?
It looks like Americans and Europeans have abandoned Iran's civil
society. There are strong political and financial interests which block
a significant support of democracy in Iran. Politically, the new US
Administration has made a massive change in American Foreign Policy
moving away from what was known as "spreading democracy” during the past
eight years to cutting "realistic” deals with sitting regimes, including
the present Jihadi regime in Tehran. If we don't understand the change
that took place in Washington this year we will fail in understanding
the a-historical US attitudes towards Iran's latest uprising.
But beyond the political equation, one can project the heavy pressure
mounted by economic and financial interests on US and European
Governments to desist from supporting the democratic uprising. For when
the "engagement” between the West and Iran's regime moves forward, as
planned, a tidal wave of investments and contracts will be unleashed
with the Mullahs and the Pasdaran controlled financial sectors in Iran,
including the Oil sectors. The real force behind "protecting" the
present regime in Iran, even as the world witnesses the violence against
demonstrators, are those interest groups awaiting impatiently the
reopening of business with the Islamic Republic. Since the deal was cut
with the elite in power in Tehran, do not expect a campaign to bring
down these elite, for now.
Even if not all figures of the opposition are liberal democrats, the
West must provide the popular movement with all possible assistance.
Remember that Gorbatchev and Yesltsin were members of the USSR Communist
Party before they caused the crumbling of totalitarianism. Musavi and
his companions have certainly been part of the Islamic Republic, but the
masses uprising in Tehran are heading towards a freer republic and
pluralism. If liberal democracies finally understand that a massive
change in Iran would create a positive new era in international
relations and give Peace a chance in many areas in the Middle East, they
should muster all efforts possible to seize the historic opportunity and
support the democracy movement in Iran:
1. Indict the regime for human rights abuse and suppression of freedoms.
2. Gradually isolate the oppressive elite economically and
3. Declare the Pasdaran and Basij as abusers of human rights
4. Provide the opposition with all broadcast capacities in Farsi and
other ethnic languages
5. Support the work of NGOs such as women, students, workers, artists,
6. Directly warn the military and militia commanders that any action
against the people of Iran will be tried in international courts.