One day, quite a few years ago, I was having lunch with my Iranian friend, Rudy Alam, who was attending the University of Pennsylvania, and who was the daughter of the then Prime Minster of Iran. It was a student hangout, and a waitress recognized her.
“Well, I guess youâ€™ll be going home to
To which the waitress replied: “Oh well, whatever.”
Oh well, indeed. Rudyâ€™s father was prime minister of Iran because the Shah was on the Peacock throne thanks to Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA station chief in Teheran, who engineered the coup that deposed Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh, who had headed a secular, fledgling democracy that had the temerity to nationalize the oil fields that, up to that point, had been exploited by BP. Having sued in the
This was the first great “regime change,” which ultimately begat the fundamentalist Islamic revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who promptly re-nationalized the oil fields and took a whole bunch of Americans hostage. To free them, Jimmy Carter sent in troops in a stupid action that failed and which led Cyrus Vance to resign as Secretary of State, one of the few noble acts by an American cabinet member in the nationâ€™s history.
Fear of the fundamentalist revolution spread to oil rich nations such as
Enter Saddam Hussein, Baathist dictator of Iraq, who was part of the movement that overthrew the British-backed puppet monarchy that came originally from Saudi Arabia, but which lost out to the House of Saud, which won because of its alliance with the fierce Ikhwan, or “Brotherhood,” the military arm of Wahhabism, that swept down on the royal opposition and decapitated them. The CIA had given its approval to Saddamâ€™s coup against his Baathist allies, without knowing, until much later, that his hero was Joseph Stalin. Oh, well, whatever. I was sitting in the rooms of a prominent
Years later, I am attending a breakfast at the River Club, a swank bastion of
So we do, and Saddam Hussein stops the Iranians, until Oliver North gets the bright idea from the Israelis to sell arms to
But Saddam starts to lose, so we ship him the ingredients to make chemical and biological weapons, which he uses on the Iranians, who back off. Saddam, who has figured out by now how
So he does it, and we get Desert Storm. But Bush Pear (as in Pere, but some sort of exotic desert fruit) decides to let Sadam stay in power, out of fear that
Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan (I used to have dinner, when the Afghan royal family still ruled, at the Afghan embassy in London, with the son of the ambassador and an Englishman who was a descendant of Lord North, the first architect of stupid colonial escapades), where the Evil Empire had installed a secular puppet regime that let girls go to school. The US of A unleashed the fundamentalist Moslem mujahadeen from Pakistan to drive out the infidels, after a pep talk by Zbignew Brezinski, who, with a towel wrapped around his head, yelled at them to launch a “Jihad,” a term Moslems had not used for centuries. But, boy, do they remember how to use it now.
A young, enormously wealthy religious zealot from
And after we win and allow the Taliban to take power because they approve of the big pipeline project, Sheik Omar welcomes bin Laden and his army as honored guests in
So now, eminent Arabist, Bernard Lewis, says the problem with Islam is a lack of democracy. His solution? A regime change in
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author The Pied Piper â€“ Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell, and the forthcoming novel, The Immortalists. He holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from