My thoughts on Iran and on the week just passed:
Persia, where Iran is now located and near where I’m currently located, is one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known. It is #1 in natural gas reserves in the world, #4 in oil reserves. Its people are diverse. In fact, Iran has the largest concentration of refugees as a percentage of the population on Earth.
Iran is a theocracy, meaning church and state are essentially one. By contrast, 30% of Iranian people believe religious leaders should have little or no control in government, and 4 in 10 believe that control should be limited. I imagine this figure is higher because there is a great degree of pressure from the government to go along and not make any waves. Imagine that level of conflict brewing beneath the surface.
Iran is the global epicenter of Shia Islam. Almost all of the conflict in the Middle East revolves around tensions and power struggles within the sects of Islam, particulary between Sunni and Shia but it's way more complicated than even that or than I can discuss adequately here.
Soleimani was a very clever man, able to cajole, charm, threaten, finesse and order a mass murder all in a day’s work. His job was to expand Iranian Shia power in the region. Over two decades, he has been the senior architect of all Iran’s external strategic gains. He is widely known to have orchestrated and was proud to take credit for attacks in Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Bulgaria and even the USA. He was forbidden by sanctions to enter Iraq, which is why targeting him there sent a particularly pointed message to the Iranian regime that nobody was fooled about what he was up to or where. He was known as “The King of the Combat Selfie” because he enjoyed taking selfies standing over his latest military conquest. He is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iranians, Iraqis and even Americans.
Parenthetically, nobody’s talking about the other guy who was killed, Abu Mahdi (the engineer) al-Muhandis, Secretary-General of the Kataib Hezbollah militia. He was a fugitive from justice who had been sentenced to death in Kuwait for his involvement in the 1983 Kuwait bombings. Muhandis was also high on the most wanted list and Soleimani’s right hand man. The blood on the hands of these two men is incalculable. These men were very effective in their jobs. They were men of action, focused on a Shia revolution which has changed the world, particularly Iran and her regional neighbors.
If you believe NATO and Western military should not be present in the Middle East, you must immediately get rid of everything you own which has been made with or is powered by fossil fuels. No more laptops, mobile phones, gas stoves, cars, even make-up, clothes, shoes, tires, deodorant, refrigerators, telephones and of course gasoline. Stability in the Middle East is essential to life, not just because of the military ramifications of a theocracy like Iran having nuclear weapons and a permanent obsession to wipe certain other countries off the map including the USA, but because the products made from the oil exported from here are in a full 96% of everything you touch, wear, drive and use everyday. If you’re ready to live off the grid in a pre-industrial revolutionary state, then you will have the right to say the rest of the world has no place in the Middle East. You’ll have to say it using smoke signals or going town to town on a horse, but you’ll have the right to say it.