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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

U.S. foreign engagement—knowing wrong, committing it, getting away with it

Modern-day Iran (Tehran)Alborz Mountains in Background
Decades-long intervention, a Diplomat’s assessment
From an Op-ed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Excerpt, minor edits by Carolyn Bennett

Origins of violent extremism

Human values of “affection, love for fellow human beings, patience and forgiveness have always been fundamental components” of all religions’ messages but the past two 
centuries have seen “a small group of demagogues with suspicious backgrounds and with the pretext of reforming religion” begin “offering a distorted and unreal image of Islam.” With their “political goals” and advancement of a “short-sighted agenda”, they set out to “alter the message of Islam and distort religious teachings and attempted to take affection away from religion; thus the Takfiris and their followers took a harsh stance – more than before – toward those who refused to accept such an interpretation of religion; and the former regarded the latter as being ‘out of religion.’”
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Because of their “social and economic conditions,” individuals and groups were “susceptible” and “lured” to radical ideologies.…” While “the majority of those who believe in Takfiri interpretations have always refrained from resorting to force to spread and enforce their beliefs, some of them took up arms….” In some cases, they “even rebelled against their own masters.…” At this point, “violent extremism was born.”
Foreigners’ exploitation: a “vicious cycle of foreign intervention, radicalism, and regional instability”

Understanding the situation, the rise and spread of “existing extremist groups”, requires close attention to the critical role of bloody developments in Iraq over the past decade. “Political and military interventions in the Islamic world, particularly in the 2000s, caused many difficulties, provided fertile ground for extremist demagogues, allowed the most radical of them to dominate others; and thus the ground was paved for violent extremist groups to take shape.”

Deep Harm, Disregard for cultures, Illusory "democracy"

“Those who devised this plan were incapable of understanding that democracy cannot be imposed on a nation through brute force.” Democracy also cannot “take root in a society under the rule of an occupying military.”  While attempts were being made to enforce this illusory scheme (“democracy”), the damage done to Iraq and the region “has been so extensive and deep that years of endeavors to undo [the damage] have had little effect.

“The objective of these policies—that were formed based on utter ignorance toward the innate dynamism of the region—was to impose on it a model completely alien to the region and in contradiction to the traditions, cultures and ways of life of native societies.”

Cycle of suffering feeding on one another

“The continual instability that befell a number of societies in the region as a result of this process [of foreign intervention, exploitation, violence, provocation] paved the ground for the empowerment of violent extremists, and caused a vicious cycle in which foreign occupation and radicalism fed one another, in such a way that extremists were enabled to exploit the social and cultural gaps that have been caused.”

Though ignored, “predicting such a scenario was not very difficult.”

ohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari is an Iranian diplomat, academic, and currently Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In 1982, he was a member of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations and was involved in negotiations to win release of U.S. hostages held by pro-Iranian gunmen in Lebanon.  From 2002 to 2007, he was Iran’s representative at the United Nations and in 2003 “was closely linked with developing the so-called ‘Grand Bargain,’ a plan to resolve outstanding issues between the United States and Iran.”

In 2000, Zarif served as chairman of the Asian preparatory meeting of the World Conference on Racism and as the chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Commission and was also professor of international law at the University of Tehran. From 2010 to 2012 under Abdollah Jasbi, he was vice president of Islamic Azad University in charge of foreign affairs; and served on the board of editors of a number of scholarly journals, including the Iranian Journal of International Affairs and Iranian Foreign Policy. He has written extensively on disarmament, human rights, international law, and regional conflicts.

This distinguished foreign minister and veteran diplomat has held many domestic and international positions, including adviser and senior adviser to the Iran's Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister in Legal and International affairs, member of the prominent personalities of the Dialogue Among Civilizations, Head of the UN Disarmament Committee in New York, member of the prominent personalities of global governance, and Deputy in International Affairs of the Islamic Azad University.

Sources and notes

“‘Occupying armies bring no democracy’”, Op-ed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, published in the Tuesday edition of the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily, posted at Press TV August 11, 2015,

Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari bio notes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Javad_Zarif


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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