Mr. Malley’s Iran Policies
Mr. Malley’s Iran Policies
Fortunately, for us, the United States and the world, Robert Malley is not the only voice representing the Biden administration and is just one among many who speak for it.
Three days ago, Malley made two appearances. In an interview with Voice of America, he said that the strikes by Iran’s allies targeting US forces in Iraq will complicate the Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran. According to Malley, the Biden administration is seeking to rally domestic support behind a new diplomatic initiative that would end US-Iranian tensions. It is well known that the American forces and bases in Iraq, over the past few weeks, have been repeatedly targeted by rocket attacks, which killed and wounded Americans, one of whom was a civilian contractor.
The second time, Malley spoke to BBC Persia, saying that the two countries, the US and Iran, could negotiate through an intermediary if Iran were to decide against direct negotiations with Washington. It seems that the interview with Voice of America presented the introduction. The BBC Persia interview summed up the practical steps.
What the US Special Envoy to Iran is saying, once one disregards the details, he comes down to the following: since you are bombing and insulting us, it would be better if we talked. If you don’t want to talk to us, we can hold negotiations through an intermediary. Please, talk to us.
However, while Mr. Malley was pleading and groveling, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General was analyzing the scourges that the Lebanese are currently suffering from, and he blamed most of them on the “Great Satan.”
As for the key figures of the Iranian regime, one after the other, they issued successive threats, which began with that of Quds Force Esmail Qaani, who mixed an eloquent rhetoric with poetic delicacy while saying: “at the right time, we will hear the bones of the Americans break… it would not be surprising if we took our revenge inside your own homes.”
The language adopted by the US special envoy, when compared to the language of the Iranian regime suggests that he is struggling with one of two things or both simultaneously: Loathing the US itself or loathing himself because he is an American. This sentiment resembles an inverted form of the neoconservative that flourished during George W. Bush’s term. Heavily influenced by the totalitarian experience of the Soviet Union and the threat they pose to Western democracy, those neoconservatives saw the US as the world’s victim. On the other hand, Robert Malley and those who resemble him, influenced by previous US experiences in the Middle East, particularly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, see the world as the victim of the US.
The resemblance between Malley and the neoconservatives stems from the fact that they both summarize extremely complex and uneven relationships into a dichotomy of an eternal oppressor and oppressed, or as the famous and overused phrase goes: a victim and a victimizer.
Since we are discussing Iran, the first thing that comes to mind is the crime committed by the United States in 1953, when it supported General Fazlollah Zahedi’s coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh. However, Khomeini’s Iran, by taking hostages at the US embassy in Tehran shortly after the 1979 revolution, committed a crime that is of no lesser magnitude than the first in its profound impact on the relations between the West and the Islamic world, the history of diplomacy and international relations and its effect on reinforcing despotism in the political life of Iran itself.
Nevertheless, there are at least three points that should alleviate the apparent feelings of guilt towards Kohmeini’s regime that Malley, as an American, might feel. If he thinks that he is atoning for the coup against Mosaddegh, the current Iranian regime distanced Mosaddeghists (Mahdi Bazarkan, Karim Sanjabi, Ebrahim Yazdi ...), exiling and imprisoning them or assassinating them while they are in exile (Shapour Bakhtiar).
As for some of the US policies that may invoke legitimate disgust, whether, in Malley or others, many other countries have committed similar crimes without arousing any disgust. In other words, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China were not busy playing the piano and watching the stars during the cold war. They were committing, with greater severity, the same crimes as those of the United States.
Finally, and this is most important, Malley’s sympathy for Tehran is a sympathy for a despotic and theocratic regime, one whose expansionism and aggression comes at the expense of the people of the region and erodes the sovereignty of their countries. Here, left-wing populists are caught actively impoverishing the poor and killing victims, not to mention sowing the seeds of an internal discord that threatens regional security as much as it does every nation’s security.
In fact, the Iranian regime does not deserve Malley’s sympathy. Malley, however, might deserve Iran’s sympathy.