The US governments in the past few decades, although always resorting to the tools of war – either by the democratic parties (led by Carter, Clinton and Obama) or warmonger republicans (Reagan, Bush the father and son), have practically applied the properties of modern war using the shortages present in the International rules and conventions and the weaknesses of international institutions (including the UN and Security Council). Both parties have constantly viewed foreign policy and international relations based on pragmatic approach, namely focusing on administration and power.
Although the appearance has change, the essence is intact. Democrats have changed the battlefield, moving it from classic “hardware war” to a new “soft war”.
They pretend to oppose terrorism, war and violence and claim to be defending human rights; however, their policies remain to be focused on wars, violence, threat, suppressing basic human rights and spreading modern terrorism. They seek counterattack in the modern form of “Sanctions”, which yields the same results of war and terrorism. Efforts to refrain the Iranian society and government from a better future have the same results of terrorism. Expanding the scale of sanctions to medical equipment, medicine, food and …is in contradiction with claims of supporting human rights. Consequences of such policies are exactly the same as those resulted from terrorism.
Current paper reviews the policies implemented by the US and the West in order to prepare and execute sanctions against Iran, exposing the contradictions between their acclaimed support for human rights and opposition to terrorism with what is happening in real.
The new chapter in the political history of Iran and the US and its attack on Iran started with the dictatorship of Mohammed Reza Shah. When the Iranians started efforts in order to get rid of British colonialism, particularly by nationalizing the oil industry, and were getting prepared to move through this path, Americans (assisted by the British) planned and executed the coup on 20 August 1959 in order to suppress both the government and the people of Iran to restore Pahlavi dictatorship and their own colonialism. Therefore we can say that, upon the revolution of 1959, Iranians toppled the Pahlavi regime and at the same time destabilized the pillars of US security and strategy in the region and the world. Iranians hated the Shah and the US equally; Iran disrupted the “strategic equation” in the region by setting “support for the poor against the dictators” up in its foreign policy. So, they decided to control the Iranian revolution and prevent it from spreading to other countries in the regions in the first step and then in case of succeeding, “change of strategy by the leaders” and even “toppling of the regime” should be sought.
In recent decades, the US and the West have devised and applied different tactics in order to achieve the goals including sanctions, coup, creating tribal differences, terror and the imposed war….
It should be noted that mentioned tactics have been influenced by two primary variables: mental variable which have been norms and beliefs, and objective variable which is the state obligations. Players are limited in the region and international level due to restrictions as well as strategies and tactics.
The main strategies include “control, isolation, regime and approach change” and more importantly “soft and hard wars”. By putting the strategies and tactics, one can draw the charter of relationship between Iran and the West. Considering the time and environmental conditions, and in order to get to their goals, politicians and statesmen consider either the governments as the main players in the international relations field or the attitude to the regional and international organizations as key factor in the world order.
Recognition of the mental and objective factors could enhance the levels of our governmental (minor) and international (major) analysis of comparative policies with respect to internal/external issues, nationalism, and regional/international attitudes in each country.
In order to have a systematic study about the international relations and its significant turning points, we should definitely mention a number of important historical events:
Westfalia Peace Treaty (signed in 1648); an agreement which led to the formation of important factor ruling over the relations in international and state-nation level.
Two world wars; 1st World War (1914 to 1918) and 2nd World War (1939 to 1945) and the establishment of the most important political institution governing the international society: the United Nations;
Dividing the world into two blocks (East and West) and the beginning of the Cold War (1945); followed, a decade later, by the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (1961);
Falling of dictatorship, and victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran (1979);
The end of Cold War and collapse of USSR (1990);
Terrorist attacks on September 11 (2001);
Islamic awakening and new serious political, economic and cultural challenges for the Liberal Democrat governments and the West in general;
You might be able to add some other turning points to the above mentioned list, but these are specifically selected with a certain reason: the fundamental role of all analyses included in current study is comprised of these very (independent, semi-independents, and dependent) variables.
Since the beginning of life on this earth and particularly after the Westfalia Treaty up to this date, all governments, rulers and … have always, even more than their ancestors, claimed to have condemned “war and violence”, tried to create a world barren of “violence” and improve human life by promoting “peaceful coexistence”.
During the final years of World War Two, triumphant countries established the pillars of modern colonialism. They called themselves “the defenders of human rights, liberty, peace and fighters against war and terrorism”; however, under beautiful titles and names, they were attacking all ideas and opinions which challenged these modern colonial methods.
There have been numerous papers which have been authored, translated and published in order to define and analyze the history of human beings and international relations; however, in this paper, we have tried to view the theoretical and practical foreign policies of the US and its allies- which have always been claiming to be fighting against war, terrorism, proliferation of nuclear and biological arms, and defending human rights, liberty, democracy and …- from a new angle. Whether defending realism or being idealists, they are directly or indirectly trying to achieve utmost power. In the meantime, they have modernized their methods as per the factors mentioned earlier. They have changed the classic war into covert sanction confrontation. Terrorism and sanctions are the same with similar consequences. Hence, war and power could be the key to all mentioned analyses.
Keyword: Realism, Idealism, power, human rights, modern terrorism, sanctions, war.
Method of material collection: using descriptive and analytical method as well as reference to successful research and valid citing in order to be able to prove that tactic is the new war method and is a kind of modern terrorism.
Traditional and Modern Terrorism
Terrorism is a concept rooted in the western culture, coming from the word “Terreur” which means “political killing by gun” and in French literature, it means creation and inception of fear and dread by illegal methods to effect political power.
Terror and terrorism are of those concepts for which there’s no consensus among elites and theoreticians. Hence, before providing any definitions, below properties should be considered:
Terror and Terrorism find different meaning and definition based on application for specific topics or certain people. One person is considered by some as terrorist while is called freedom fighter (appraised positively) by some others!
Some consider this as an organized movement in order to establish their own values and some others consider it as desperate effort to get to evil objectives.
Therefore, terror and terrorism are not peremptory and it depends on the values governing the social conditions. In addition, these two terms are not assigned to fixed and certain references and there’s no permanent, natural, characteristic and stable relationship between the “sign” and “reference”; but, establishing or imagining any kind of relations between these two and its value (whether positive or negative) is only conventional. The US and the West have resorted to this very relativity in order to justify and legalize their terrorist actions.
B. The extent of the domain and the field
Terror and terrorism are concepts which, in the course of human development, have been appraised or condemned in different and various areas and fields. Politicians use them rhetorically to influence the public opinion and strategists utilize them to define and describe a person or a group of people with specific strategy, policy or ideology and consider them as an organism comprised of processes, roles, structures, norms and conditional rules and the players.
C. Instability in identifying friends and foes
In order to define such concepts, we should first draw a paradigm or definition of “insider” (friend) and “outsider” (foe) as well as identification borders between them. Whether a person or a country is supporting terror and terrorism or not, in other words is an insider or outsider, is defined by fluid area of the international relations.
Afghan fighters were praised when fighting against the Soviet Union occupiers, but they were later called terrorists when the Soviet Union fell and the international conditions changed. Today, terrorists active in Syria, killing people and military personnel of the country, will not have any future in the Syrian developments- whatever the results of the conflicts could be- and one cannot imagine that they will be accompanying people and the government of Syria.
D. Being Mental and Psychological
Since having roots in fear and dread, terror and terrorism have basically mental and psychological nature. In other words, more than being emotional and cognitive phenomena, they are psychological and have impact on the minds of the public members.
The masses of people, statesmen and decision makers should consider a mental situation for the society which is totally free of terror. For instance, assassination of a person in a society may not be comparable to an airplane crash, but it has a vast mental and psychological impact on the whole society.
So, terror and terrorism are prioritized based on the values they affect, and have close relationship with a number of basic variables including
- For who?
- For which society, country or location?
- For what time?
When looking at terror and terrorism from traditional point of view, the instant images coming to mind will include suicide bombing (by a person or a group), sabotage by using military equipment, poisoning and etc. Recent decades’ developments in all areas of science and human knowledge, and particularly in information and communication sciences, have had significant impacts on such concepts (terrorism).
Today and with Informatics, computer and internet, people of a society could be terrorized indirectly and covertly; but those committing this are never condemned or even tried as a terrorist and such actions are never called terrorism. Putting sanctions on a country and hindering the people from getting to basic living requirements- including food, medicine, medical equipment, upstream and downstream industries which assist the production of such items- endanger the health and lives of people and also refrain the society itself from their basic human rights. Terror in its traditional form suppressed such rights overtly and directly, but modern terrorism does this in an indirect and overt way.
Sanction is essentially a terrorist operation, but is never condemned as a terrorist act in the media or legal centers as it is conducted in a modern method. Hence, considering the new modern formats, terror and terrorism should be redefined with respect to factors like environment, time and location.
Sanction as Modern Terrorism
Resorting to economic sanctions in order to achieve political goals is not something new. Governments throughout the history have utilized this for various purposes (economical, political, and commercial …).
Commercial and economical sanctions were first imposed on Iran by Russians during the Qajar ruling. When Mosadeq was the prime minister and Iranian Oil industry was nationalized, governments of Britain and the US imposed sanctions on Iran.
However, what is specially drawing the attentions is the quality and quantity of sanctions after the turning points of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the fall of Soviet Union in 1990. Iranian assets in the US were ceased on 14/11/1979 only 10 days after the US’s espionage den (embassy) was taken [by students]. In January 1984, the US called Iran a “state sponsoring terrorism” and imposed sanctions. Since then, all US presidents including Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama and other Western countries have unilaterally or multilaterally (along with the Security Council, European Union and ….) have imposed different sanctions on Iran and have extended the scales of such sanctions.
The main purpose of these sanctions is to oppose the Islamic Republic of Iran and put (economical, psychological and …) pressures on the people. They have expanded the scale of sanctions from “transferring the capital and technology” to “the purchase of basic and urgent products” which are related to human norms and rights. With a review of Human Rights criteria, included in the UN human rights charter (1945), Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Children’s’ Rights Convention (1989) and other universally accepted documents, one can challenge the justification of such sanctions from the international legislation point of view.
These sanctions by the US and the West violate the basic internationally accepted rights including “peaceful coexistence, equality of states’ rights, no interference in governments’ internal affairs, and respect for independence, development rights, economic activities rights, and territorial integrity”. When the sanctions target the society and social, cultural, economical rights as well primary health and medical requirements and …, the results are same as those of modern terrorism.
To counteract this modern terrorism, Iranian politicians and statesmen should fully control its instances and try to get the rights of Iranian people by taking the documents to the international communities and by enhancing the awareness of the world public opinion about such acts.
The reason why they are expanding the scale of sanctions against Iran is rooted in a historical record and history that in their analyses of (economic, political and cultural) developments in societies in the current world order, they still define Iran as a marginal country with a “dependent development” system. The fact is that such a definition belongs to the former regime; in the past few decades after the revolution, the Iranian society has achieved lots of parameters pertaining to developing countries despite all restrictions and sanctions, and it has been referred to as an independent model in several countries and societies. A clear example is its advancement in science and the development of various products which are now being used in the country and even being exported to other nations. Cultural, economical and social developments based on Islam have created deep challenges for the West (so-called theoreticians and conductors of the New [World] Order). To confront Iran, Western theoreticians prefer soft warfare and economical sanctions (Economic Terror) to classic war; therefore, sanctions could lead to the same results which could be assumed for war and terror.
Considering the fall of bipolar system and the fundamental changes in the international order, US statesmen introduced their political, economical and cultural system as the “utmost” of all systems already founded; and even Francis Fokoyama has gone further to claim that Liberal Democracy is the end of what the humanity will get to. In the field of international relations, he called the US with titles like “universal cop”, “unwilling sheriff” or “planner and conductor of the world order”. Studying the obstacles and challenges ahead of such claims, they consider the rich Islamic culture and civilization as the main barrier, with Iran and its resistance against dictators in the center. Sanction, is one of the strategies of the US and the West in order to suppress the government and people of Iran.
Today, as the living basic requirements become dependent to the science and technology on one hand and the expansion of sanctions to such fields, we can claim that sanctions are terrorist acts of modern kind. Terror and terrorism need to be redefined with respect to the developments of science and regarding conditions of time and location. What has made the Westerners bold in applying their [evil] plans is the weakness of the international laws in modern fields. Hence, updating and reviewing the international laws and conventions could lead to identification of developed sanctions against Iran as the clear examples of terror and terrorism.