Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Jul 202004
Authors: Joe Marshall

Remember the old adage about keeping friends close and enemies


The Islamic Republic of Iran has been the sworn enemy of the

United States and Israel for a generation. A sponsor of

anti-American, anti-Israeli “terrorist” organizations throughout

the world, Iran is a perpetual target of American aggression.

As the American quest to stamp out terrorism worldwide unfolds,

Iran’s position in the conflict is becoming ever more precarious;

while the United States seems to be waiting for a reason to attack

Iran, an alliance with the Islamic Republic may be the only way to

achieve long-term stability in the region.

In his 2000 State of the Union address, President Bush branded

Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an “Axis of Evil.” While Iraq and

North Korea are definitely not friends of the United States, the

only proof linking either to terrorists was Saddam Hussein’s

monetary gifts to families of deceased Palestinian suicide


Of the three states, only Iran is an active sponsor of

terrorism. And now that the axis has become an axle with one hub

surrounded and the other in perpetual need of grease, the War on

Terror’s next turn will likely be toward the adversary that is not

corroding from within.

Iran and the United States have, for all intents and purposes,

been in a state of war since severing diplomatic relations in 1979.

Over the past 25 years, Iran has been a sponsor of Hezbollah, the

Palestine Liberation Organization and other militant groups. At the

same time, the United States has been continuously funding

anti-government factions within Iran.

After the Islamic revolution of 1979, the United States froze

all Iranian assets it had control over, approximately $12 billion,

and began funding anti-government insurgents in Iran.

Iranian-backed terrorists in Lebanon bombed a U.S. Marines

barracks in 1983, killing 241. In 1988 the United States shot down

an Iranian Airlines passenger jet over the Persian Gulf, killing

all 259 aboard. During the Iran-Iraq War, a conflict that literally

wiped out a generation of men on both sides, the United States

backed Saddam Hussein.

The conquest of Iraq, forged in the name of freedom and founded

by fears of terrorism, turned up no weapons of mass destruction and

only one Al-Qaeda member who has yet to be captured. Opponents of

the war claim the conflict is about oil, not defeating terrorists.

This may be somewhat true, but the occupation of Iraq also has

other benefits for the United States.

Perhaps the most subtle geo-strategic advantage America gained

in its quasi-tyrannical quest to rid Iraq of “tyranny” is the

United States now has control over the eastern and western borders

of Iran. The planet’s primary state sponsor of terrorism has been

surrounded by the United States.

The next logical step in the terror war would then be, at least

when viewed through the lens of the Bush doctrine, the destruction

of the Iranian government. Unfortunately for Bush, an invasion of

Iran is not politically possible because of the less-than-total

success of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both countries are only being kept from anarchy by the presence

of U.S. forces, something the Bush administration is trying to

remedy. The governments currently in control of Afghanistan and

Iraq are seen as puppets of Washington, and their legitimacy is

totally dependent on the U.S. military.

What is needed to maintain the stability of both states is the

influence of a regional government not viewed as an American crony.

The government itself would have to be stable and legitimate, with

an Islamic tradition and a history of maintaining independence from

imperial bodies.


Iran is an Islamic republic, predominantly Shiite and blessed

with a tradition of independence, even from the Ottomans. These

attributes are at least partially attractive to both Iraqis and

Afghanis, as is the recent Iranian tradition of opposing the United

States and Israel.

Any partnership between the United States and Iran would

certainly involve conciliations on both sides, a fact that would

bring stability not only to the Middle East, but also to the rest

of the world.

At the center of these negotiations would be Israel. If Iran

could be persuaded to stop funding terrorist activities within

Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, so too could the United States be

persuaded to be more objective in its dealings with Israel.

While this may upset Israel in the short-term, especially

economically, the state’s long-term stability could be fortified

because of the pacification of its main rival.

While the recent U.S. military activities in the countries

bordering Iran have warmed U.S.-Iran relations from absolute zero

to merely freezing, the nations are still hostile. While there is a

growing movement within Iran to embrace the United States, the fact

remains that the building formerly used to house the U.S. Embassy

is now an anti-American museum.

Iraq and Afghanistan will never become fully autonomous if only

the United States controls their destinies. What is needed is a

political partner not viewed as imperialistic or opportunistic to

help guide the fledgling governments.

If Iran were tapped for such a task, its involvement could be

made conditional. Eager to expand its influence, Iran would

certainly accept at least some of these conditions, including a

public cessation of terrorist activities.

Not only would a geo-political partnership between the United

States and Iran stabilize the entire Middle East, it would end the

global war on terror.

Today, such peace may only be a fantasy, but it is something to

strive for nonetheless. Peace is possible.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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