Donald Trump: “The Iranians called us and said, 'Look, we have no choice. We have to hit you. Because we have self-respect”, or how Iran 'protects' the Palestinians

08.11.23 14:30

The war in the Middle East has been going on for a month now and Israel continues to "demolish" the Gaza Strip, where the number of civilian victims has exceeded 10,000, including more than 4,000 children. This does not include the wounded and maimed, who number in the tens of thousands. All the while, many Palestinians continue to hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran will intervene and protect the Palestinian Muslims.


They do not ask themselves how it came about that the leader of the Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, arrived in Tehran by plane in 1979 from France, which a few years earlier had carried out a real genocide against Algerian Muslims. Palestinians, unfortunately, have no questions about how their "last hope" Iran not only allowed the expulsion of over 1 million Muslims from Armenian-occupied Karabakh and organized the genocide in Khojaly near its northern border, but also supported the occupation regime and the "Artsakh" separatists in every possible way. It was even prepared to intervene militarily on the side of the aggressors to prevent the complete liberation of Karabakh and the return of the refugees to their homes.


What the "shaking of the air" from Tehran and its promises to "come, avenge, and protect" are really worth was recently told very clearly by former US President Donald Trump. He began by recounting the sordid, hypocritical history of the US game with Iran, which took place after the US eliminated General Qassem Suleimani:


"The Iranians called us and said: 'Look, we have no choice. We have to beat you because we have self-respect.


And I understood them. If we hit them, they'll do something.


They said we're going to fire 18 missiles at a certain military base that you have. You remember that night. It was an interesting night.


I was the only one who wasn't nervous because I knew what would happen.


They told us: "Don't worry. We will fire 18 missiles at your military base, but none of them will hit the base.


These are very accurate missiles. These are missiles that never miss. They're very reliable, they're very accurate".


In other words, Donald Trump is explicitly saying that all of Iran's threats are nothing more than a bluff. That Iran can very easily make "deals" with its supposedly "implacable enemies", and that it often just plays around with "retaliatory strikes" and other such actions. With zero consequences for its "opponents".


So now, for example, "retaliatory strikes against Israel" are for some reason being carried out by Iranian proxies - the Houthis - with primitive missiles from distant Yemen. Of course, all these missiles are intercepted or shot down on their way over the Red Sea. For some reason, Iran itself, whose Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is very close to the Israeli border in Syria, does not dare to take military action against the Israeli army, or at least to retaliate (Israel regularly fires missiles at IRGC bases in Syria).


Nevertheless, many in the Muslim world continue to believe that sooner or later Iran will "come to the aid" of Palestine. However, such 'help' will most likely be aimed not at saving the peaceful Palestinian population from destruction and expulsion from their homeland, but at achieving Iran's geopolitical goals. At the same time, the Palestinians themselves could easily be sacrificed by Tehran.


Such a conclusion can be drawn, especially by those who are well informed about the real situation in the Middle East, from an article in Foreign Affairs entitled "Why Iran is betting on Hamas" by Mohammed Ayatollahi Tabaar, a researcher at Harvard's Kennedy School and a professor at Texas A&M University and the Bush School of Government.


The author espouses Western stereotypes about the confrontation in the Middle East and clearly exaggerates Iran's "power" and its "implacable enmity" towards the West. For obvious reasons, it also fails to mention Tehran's real dependence on France. Nevertheless, the article's main thesis allows us to draw a conclusion about Tehran's real interests in the Middle East conflict.


The article points out that "...after the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Iranian authorities became ardent allies of the Palestinian liberation movement. The works of Palestinian writers and activists inspired many of the Iranian revolutionaries who overthrew the Shah. And some even trained in Palestinian paramilitary camps in the 1960s and 1970s.


Over time, with Iranian support, anti-Israeli groups have increased their capabilities and grown stronger. "Hezbollah became a serious military force and was able to push Israel out of Lebanon in 2000. Israel's war against Hezbollah in 2006 was devastating for Lebanon, but it did significant damage to the Israeli army and deterred it from further incursions into Lebanese territory.


The partnership between Iran and Hamas is a paradox. Hamas is a Sunni group that emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood after the first intifada in 1987. It has oppressed the Shia minority in Gaza, closed down its charities, received support from Sunni countries including Qatar, and fought against Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Nevertheless, Iran is quite pragmatic in choosing its allies in the region to achieve its goals.


Iran's first interest in the current war is to inflict enough damage on Israel to deter it from similar mass attacks on the Palestinians in the future.


Iran's second interest is to increase the popularity of militant radicalism among Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem through support for Hamas, in order to further deter Israeli settler attacks on local Arabs by marginalizing the PA authorities.


Iran's third interest is to provoke an uprising in other Palestinian territories by destabilizing the situation and threatening to open other "fronts". It is not certain that Iran will actually get involved in the war, but threats will help to influence it, as well as strengthen Iran's position and image in the eyes of the "Arab street" as opposed to the "weak" Arab rulers. However, it is unlikely that Iran will seek to extend the war beyond Palestine and Israel.


Iran's fourth interest is to accelerate the acquisition of nuclear weapons if the war goes beyond Gaza and Israel. The Iranians will justify the need to defend themselves against US and Israeli attacks by accelerating the acquisition of a nuclear bomb.


There is also Iran's global interest. The war in Gaza strengthens the solidarity of countries in the "global south" who see the actions of the US and Israel as hypocritical. Even in the West, there are supporters of this view. Thus, by supporting the Palestinians, Iran is seeking a position of moral and political superiority over the West in the non-Western world.


Israel's war in Gaza gives Iran an opportunity to compensate for its isolation as a Shia state in a predominantly Sunni region. This strategy is weak as long as the Palestinian question remains on the periphery of the world's attention...". - These are the main points of Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar's article.


Thus, the Palestinians themselves cannot expect anything good from Iran's "interest" in the war in Palestine. Except more suffering, death, and destruction.


Iran will score "geopolitical points" and increasingly position itself as the "defender of Muslims", while Palestinians will continue to die. Moreover, Iran's plans to marginalize the Palestinian Authority authorities (as corrupt and imperfect as they are, but there are no other authorities there) will not lead to anything good for Palestinians in the West Bank.


Israel's chaos and destruction of Palestinians in Gaza will simply shift to other Palestinian areas, the West Bank, and the Muslim part of Jerusalem - that's all. Without much chance of a military victory for the Palestinians, because, let's remember, apart from the semi-guerrilla formations of the same Hamas, they don't even have a regular army. But the "pogrom" of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its final closure in such a scenario becomes very likely - i.e. here Iran even "plays along" with the current Israeli authorities.


The sad reality of the fate of the Palestinians "hoping for Iran's help" should give pause to the Khai nationalists hoping for Iran's help. In particular, Iran does not want the opening of the Zangezur corridor so much that it is ready to intervene militarily, allegedly "for the sake of preserving the territorial integrity of Armenia". This is despite the fact that Iran has been "unaware" of the violations of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity for decades.


Undoubtedly, a show of force and "air shaking" on the part of Iran is possible. But if the Hayn nationalists take the matter to war, they and they alone will have to fight. Russia will not come to the aid of Armenia, which has in fact betrayed it, France is far away and Iran will confine itself to "formidable warnings".  After that, it is unlikely that the Khai army will last much longer than the "Artsakh" separatists did on 19-20 September 2023.



Varden Tsulukidze


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