[A-List] The Question of Iran at the Cairo Conference
critical.montages at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 18:35:06 MDT 2007
Here's another report on the convergence of Islamists and socialists
at the Cairo Conference. What adds to a similar report by Al-Ahram
Weekly (Eric Walberg, "Anti-globalists Reach Out to Islamists,"
Al-Ahram Weekly 839, 5 - 11 April 2007,
<http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/839/sc1.htm>) among others is that it
gives us a glimpse of the problem that still needs to be worked out,
on which delegates apparently couldn't agree: Iran and Iraq.
Tehran is crucial to the project of checking US hegemony, thus
invaluable to struggles elsewhere, especially in the Middle East and
Latin America; at the same time, what Tehran does in pursuit of its
perceived national interest creates various problems, above all in
Iraq. (In this respect as in many others, Tehran is just like Moscow
of Soviet days.) Tehran wants to prevent, at all costs, the rise of
an anti-Iranian government that answers only to Washington, and it
sees its support of all major Iraqi Shi'i factions and Kurdish leaders
such as Jalal Talabani as the necessary means to that end. Now, that
wouldn't be a problem if those whom it supports were made of better
stuff, but it's clear that nearly all of them are of the sort who
would not survive in power after the US withdrawal. Worse, their
dirty deeds will be eventually understood by Iraqis and other Arabs as
Tehran's own as much as Washington's.
Socialists in the West who are seeking a united front with populist
Islamists in the Middle East understand Iran's Iraq problem, but they
have less than zero leverage in Iran, and so do their Arab socialist
comrades. If there is to be any behavior change on Tehran's part at
all, it has to come from behind-the-scenes criticisms of its Sunni
Arab friends, from mass organizations that Tehran loathes to lose. --
Cairo Conference Calls for World Resistance against Imperialism
by John Riddell
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The conference declaration paid homage to "the fierce resistance
against the American occupation" of Iraq that "has pushed the U.S.
administration into a hopeless swamp." Yet the resistance is menaced
by an "ugly sectarian conflict" promoted by the occupying forces.
"The resistance will not be able to liberate Iraq except through . . .
turning the resistance into a unified national one that unites Shiites
and Sunnis against the American occupant."
In this regard, several delegates criticized the role of the Iranian
government in Iraq. One Lebanese delegate called on Iran to "cut
relations with the Iraqi Shiite puppets, support the resistance, and
really make things tough for the Americans."
However, a Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary representative cautioned
that Iran's interest in Iraq is "legitimate." Iran is "a free
country, taking orders from no one," he said, while the Arab regimes
"simply carry out orders from the U.S." Still, in his view, "Iran
could induce a shift toward unity in Iraq."
A Hizbullah leader said that "we must hold the Arab leaders
responsible for the religious dispute in Iraq and not blame Iran."
The conflict in Iraq is "more complicated than what has been said," he
added. "I think Iran is trying to help the resistance -- that, at
least, is what the U.S. is saying.
This issue was held over for further discussion.
All delegates agreed, however, on the urgent efforts to defend Iran's
right to nuclear energy and oppose U.S.-led threats against Iran. The
declaration declared that "we have to join our efforts to stop this
crazy war by organizing protests, demonstrations, and campaigns all
over the world."
More information about the A-List