Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Sins of the Shah

Continuing with reading notes from Dreyfuss' Hostage to Khomeini:

The Khomeini Revolution began in Nov 1976. It was that month that Amnesty International issued reports charging brutality and torture of political prisoners by the Shah of Iran.

The Rostow-Kissinger Policy

The groundwork for the Revolution had been laid several years earlier by the Colorado-based Aspen Institute. The project itself was rooted in more than a century of Iranian history, during which British intelligence specialists had cultivated the Iranian clergy, secret societies and religious brotherhoods as assets of the British Empire. But the Amnesty International Report was the gunshot that started the war: one of Washington's staunchest allies had been declared to be expendable.

In 1960s and 1970s, the Shah (under the direction of Eugene Rostow at the State Department, and then Kissinger at the NSC) had set his country on a course toward militarization, equipped to be the protectors of British and Anglo-American interests in the Persian Gulf region. London and Washington also intended to prevent Iran from engaging in policies that in any way might threaten the exclusive hegemony of the Anglo-American oil and financial interests. During the 1950s and 1960s, for instance, he involved himself in petroleum deals outside the Anglo-American oil cartel headed by British Petroleum. The Shah had struck an alliance with Italy's Enrico Mattei in the late 1950s, the head of the state-owned ENI corporation, enraging London. Shah ahd also made approaches to the Soviet Union for economic agreements.

Rostow-Kissinger policy had the full cooperation of Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad.

Other people involved w/ this planning includfed Robert W. Komer, Undersec of Defense for Policy for Carter. Komer, who had been a specialist in the Indian Ocean since the Kennedy administration, was workig on a joint task force with the British government to plan Anglo-American strategy in the wake of British military withdrawl from the Arabian Gulf countries between 1968 and 1971. Today, Komer is the man behind the so-called Rapid Deployment Force, the special 110,000 man strike force whose primary mission is the seize areas in the Gulf.

Playing upon his psychological profile, the Kissinger state department convinced the Shah that he had a great need for immense amounts of military hardware. With the hardware came unlimited amounts of US and British intelligence personnel; scores of Iranian officers arrived in the United States, Britain and even Israel for training.

After 1973, however, w/ the sudden rise of oil prices, the Shah began to see an opportunity for independent action. The 1973-74 oil hoax was the work of Henry Kissinger. During December 1973 OPEC meeting in Tehran, the secretary of state had told the Shah to demand an astronomial price increase. Kissinger was acting on behalf of the 7 Sisters oil cartel and the City of London banks, who desired high prices, but Shah saw the price increases as a way to begin to pull his country out of backwardness. He began to talk about making Iran an "industrial power".

The Shah's first open challenge to Kissinger came in 1975, w/ President Houari Boumedienne of Algeria and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Iran signed a pact w/ Iraq that ended a war of attrition waged by the Kurdish minority of Iraq. The Kurdish rebellion was a prized project of the CIA -- whose former director, Richard Helms, was ambassador to Iran - the British Secret Intelligence Service and the Mossad. According to Arab sources, Khomeini in 1975 was in exile in Iraq and supported the Kurdish rebellion against his Iraqi hosts. When the Shah closed the door on the Kurds, Kissinger hit the ceiling. Millions of dollars in logistical support and arms went down the drain in Kurdistan, as the Iraqi armed forces lost no time in mopping up the remnants of the rebellion. Killing the remaining Kurdish leaders, Iraq moved into Kurdistan with a number of economic development projects, and today Kurdistan is one of the fastest developing sectors .

In 1977, things took a more serious turn. The Shah began to distance Iran from close identification w/ Israel and Mossad. Steered towards a closer partnership w/ Arabs, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia, cemented at OPEC meetings in 1977 and 1978. Then Iran dropped its longstanding demand for higher prices. In 1977, at a press conference, the Shah startled the world by stating his intention to work for oil price stability. Together, Saudi Arabia and Iran produced nearly 50% of OPEC's output.

The Shah had supported for years the dropping of the US dollar in favor of a "basket of currencies" -- announced that henceforth he would support the continued use of the dollar as a means of payment and pricing for oil exports in OPEC. For several years Kissinger had been trying to convince OPEC to switch to IMF Special Drawing Rights or a similar unit of account. Saudi Arabia had resisted the policy (until now), and Iran had supported it. Saudi King Khalid paid a visit to Tehran, where he arranged Saudi financial support for the Iranians.

Iran was also working closer with the French and West Germans on the eve of the EMS. If the Saudi-Iran-Iraq axis established a solid working relationship w/ the EMS, it would have assembled an unstoppable combination against London. One deal that was especially angering was a three-way deal in which Iran agreed to supply the Soviet Union w/ huge quantities of natural gas, while the USSR supplied an equal amount of its own gas to West Germany. The Shah visited Moscow to discuss an expansion of Iran-Soviet economic cooperation.


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