Saturday, June 11, 2011
Saturday is the day this blog focuses on Iran. Recent events regarding Iran include the indications of a domestic political dispute between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and the recent announcement that Iran plans to activate the enrichment site at Fordo. Neither of these events has significant medium or long term strategic implications.
Last year at this time it was well known that Iran's domestic political system operates by balancing competing factions, usually with each side of the factional dispute being loyal to the Islamic Republic itself. It was also well known that Iran was expanding its nuclear program, and bringing itself closer to the day that its adversaries in Washington, Tel Aviv and European capitals wake up and find that nobody else is concerned by the idea that though it is an NPT non-weapons state, Iran could build a nuclear weapon if it was forced to leave the NPT about as quickly as Japan, Brazil, Germany, Canada or South Africa could.
There is no recent news of strategic consequence only or even mostly involving Iran. Iran did play a limited role though in the most important regional issue today, pressures on the US' colonial structure in the region.
The relationship in 2011 between the United States and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and several others in the region is not significantly different from the relationship in 1911 between the British Crown and the nominally independent Princely States of the British Raj. The United States maintains this colonial relationship with these popularly unaccountable dictatorships because if these states were ruled by accountable republics, Israel would not be viable.
For example, Saudi Arabia has oil revenues that are ten times as large as Israel's defense budget. With a small population and fewer available resources Israel could not win any regional war if the governments in the region reflected the sensibilities of the people ruled rather than the sensibilities of the US congress. Israel owes its ability to continue as a politically majority Jewish state - its ability to avoid the fate of politically majority White South Africa - to the continuation of what Eric Margolis describes as the American Raj in its region.
Barack Obama says that sometimes US policy will not be perfectly aligned with what he claims are US values because the US commitment to Israel requires the United States to be a colonial power over hundreds of millions of people just as much as a century ago Great Britain was the paramountcy over the same region and much more of Asia and Africa. Obama's willingness to rhetorically and materially defend this colonial structure, to play a modern black-skinned Cecil Rhodes is for me the single most disappointing aspect of his presidency.
But anyway, three US colonies, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE, are important members of OPEC and represent the interests of the United States in that organization. Barack Obama will win re-election if and only if the US economy has noticeably recovered by summer 2012. Low oil prices make that more likely. The civil war the US escalated in Libya for no strategic reason at all has taken much of Libya's oil supply out of the market and the colonies have been tasked with insulating Obama from political consequences for that by making up for any shortfall.
To the degree that they can, the colonies are going to follow their orders, but they will do so without the cover of an OPEC agreement to increase supplies. What this means is that by failing to spread their efforts to help Obama to independent countries, the colonies are using their own resources and coming closer to the day that they will not be able to make up for any shortfall.
Iran, along with Venezuela and others are leading OPEC away from the leadership of the US colonies and thereby slightly decreasing the legitimacy of moves taken by those colonies on behalf of the US. It is not much, but until Egypt's elections, there probably will not be much news that has significant strategic impact in the Middle East.
Posted by Arnold Evans at 10:24 AM