War, anti-war movement, and
consequences of war
Interview with Koorosh Modaresi and Hamid Taghvaie
Koorosh Modaresi, could you briefly state your analyses on the war against Iraq and its aims?
Koorosh Modaresi: The USA has provided several justifications for its attack on Iraq; they are all false and cannot withstand the simplest scrutiny. The US administration claims they are attacking Iraq because Iraq possesses 'weapons of mass destruction'. If this is the case why are the USA, Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan and China, among others, not under such attacks? They possess larger stockpiles of more dangerous weapons. Another justification provided for this war is that the Iraqi government has used these weapons, namely chemical weapons, against the people. Firstly, when the Iraqi government was actually using these weapons [under which we were also targeted], the US and British governments were its allies; these governments and the 'mainstream' media refused to transmit the news of the atrocities we were providing them with. Secondly, the 'weapons of mass destruction' were manufactured with the assistance of the US and Britain. Thirdly, if we want the disarmament of such weapons, which everyone does, then we should start with the US, the only country that has used nuclear weapons and the biggest user of chemical and biological weapons against people. Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime are criminal, but assigning the US government to the role of its prosecutor, judge and executioner of law is like giving Al Capone the same role in Chicago. Would you entrust the public purse to a pickpocket? The US is currently and openly engaged in massacring the Iraqi people in their thousands. The US military is fighting like Genghis Khan, i.e., placing Iraqi cities under siege and killing until they surrender. Who is really using weapons of mass destruction? Another 'reason' they put forward is that the Iraqi regime is despotic. Of course it is. But so are the darlings of the US such as Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Are these countries and others like Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt really free countries? They say Iraq is not obeying UN resolutions and Bush has lost his patience with them. Will anyone with a conscience take this argument seriously? More than anyone else, the US and its allies are themselves guilty of the same charge of ignoring UN resolutions; among others, Israel, which is maintained by US support, has ignored all of the UN resolutions throughout its existence. This very war itself has been launched despite the UN. Other so-called reasons are likewise false.
The real reason behind this war is exactly the same as the 1991 war against Iraq for the so-called liberation of Kuwait: the new world order and the US' role after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the balance of power among the major capitalist countries changed. The struggle for the establishment of a new order in the world in favour of the US started immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. Iraq and indeed Kuwait were not the real issues then as Iraq is not the real issue now. The issue is the world. With the disappearance of the Eastern bloc, the Western bloc became meaningless. The grouping of the European and Western governments around the US had its roots in their common interests against the Soviet bloc. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Western alliance lost its merit. The collapse of the Eastern bloc has left many countries and regions, or 'markets' as they are called under capitalism, unclaimed. Who will be in command of these countries? What role does the US have in this new world and how will it protect its interests now against its former allies? The 'new world order' is the US' response to these questions: the world must come together and unite around a single superpower. This unity of competitors, however, can only be created by shear US force, its bullying and intimidation. US strategists have explicitly acknowledged this. The US will not tolerate another multi-polar world, e.g. a European bloc, nor essentially let any pole or threat against its interests take shape. Iraq is being crucified to pass on this message and teach others a lesson. This war has nothing to do with 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' and its use by the Iraqi government. It is has nothing to do with the 'Shiites' in the southern part of Iraq either. The US is settling a score with the world and European governments in particular. It is sending the message that you either agree with the USA or it will go ahead anyway and use force to 'prosecute' anyone it chooses and change regimes. This is the true meaning of 'regime change' in the new US policy on Iraq. The war is about US domination of the world. The US is imposing itself on the world. We discussed this fact in detail in 1991. Those were the dark days of the jubilation of right-wing hypocrisy and the victory of free-market capitalism. In those days our voice did not have much of an echo in the world. Today however, humanity is reopening its eyes on the realities of the capitalist world. The world is repeating Mansoor Hekmat's words in the 'Gory Dawn of the New World Order' written in 1991. Modern humanity is standing up against this US domination of the world. This is the main difference between today and the period that Mansoor Hekmat penned that piece.
Hamid Taghvaie, in your opinion, what is the basis for the attack on Iraq and what could its consequences be?
Hamid Taghvaie: In general, the basis for this war is the new political situation after the collapse of the Eastern bloc. With its collapse, the opposing pole lost its meaning and raison d'etre. The Warsaw Pact, NATO, the Geneva Convention, international laws pertaining to refugees, the Security Council to the entire UN had all become obsolete from a political standpoint. Or they had to be set aside or redefined.
On the other hand, and contrary to the deafening propaganda provided at the time, the end of the Cold War and the 'victory' of the free market did not only not improve the situation of the people of the world but instead it was the beginning of a period of conflicts and the rise of the most reactionary political forces and the most brutal regional wars in many parts of the world. The entire world had joined the camp of democracy and free-competition capitalism but the lives of the people in the West and even those living in the 'liberated' countries of the former Eastern bloc were regressing economically and socially. The expectations that Western governments had raised as the consequences of the collapse of the 'evil empire' in public opinion was catching up with them and showing the contradiction of the free market with the most basic needs of human beings for all to see.
Vis-à-vis this dissatisfied and chaotic world, US strategists came to the fore with a prescription of a 'New World Order'. The basis of this strategy was to revamp the world with the aim of restoring and expanding the US bourgeoisie's hegemony on it. It had to be proven to the people of the world and all governments, particularly the Western world, that the USA is the uni-polar leader of the new world and this had to be imposed.
Clearly, the USA could not reach its aim within the existing framework of international organisations and relations that had to in any case be redefined. These were a little too 'civilised' for the USA to attain its new world order. Force is an integral part of the new world order; a leadership and hegemony that is not guaranteed by economic, social and cultural power is only possible via reliance on force and military might. The strategists of the new world order understand this more than anyone.
The first Gulf war was precisely based on this very strategy and was in reality, as stated by Mansoor Hekmat, 'the gory dawn of the new world order'. And today also the US attack on Iraq has the same aim. When you look at this general basis as an attack to impose the USA's domination over the world, then it becomes very clear why the US government has no inclination to solve the political crisis in Iraq, a crisis it has created itself, why it had no need for the confirmation of the UN to start the war, and even why this war must be brought to the world's people 24/7 on television screens. The basis of this issue is a show of military might. What serve the USA are the war itself and the might with which it starts and ends it, and not the baseless excuses that have been put forth.
The consequences of the war cannot be precisely noted from right now. We must see how the war unfolds and how it ends. Militarily, the victory of the USA and its allies are relatively definite but the USA's political victory is in no way certain. From the point of view of the new world order strategists, this war must revamp the Middle East in lieu of the foreign policy aims and interests of the USA in the region. The USA is hopeful to bring an ethnic-religious government in Iraq like that of Karzai's in Afghanistan, to check the Islamic regime in Iran and eventually to settle the Palestinian question from a position of power and as it chooses. Redefining international organisations, regulations and relations in the framework of US policies is in the agenda of a USA victorious in the war. These are the aims and conclusions that the USA wants and is hopeful for in the current war.
But the consequences of the war will not remain confined to these. The dominance of force over the relations between countries is the beginning of a new arms race throughout the world. Efforts of weaker governments in the old third world to obtain weapons that can guarantee their survival in the jungle of the new order, contraventions of international laws and relations on the part of any country that has the might to do so and generally a world more chaotic, distressed and barbaric than the world during the Cold War period will be another consequence of the current war.
But none of these consequences are inevitable. The people of the world, the civilised world that has now come to the fore in an unprecedented manner against the war can stand up to this barbarity and turn it around. The world's workers and decent people can transform the war - independent of what military result it might have - into a political defeat for the USA. In any case, what can be seen as of this very day is the awakening public opinion on a global scale and their stand against the war. We must strive and be hopeful that this movement will continue as an extensive and lasting movement against the new order of global capitalism and will neutralise and make ineffective the dark aims and consequences of the war.
You have rightly pointed to the West's loss of its raison d'etre with the collapse of the Eastern bloc as a factor in the US war on Iraq. One important and new factor is the September 11 atrocities and the confrontation between Islamic terrorism and US state terrorism and the questioning of its domination. Should we not include this new factor in our assessment of this US war? What is your view on the future of political Islam after this war?
Hamid Taghvaie: The US is striving to present the war on Iraq as a form of response to September 11 and as part of its campaign against terrorism. This is nothing more than war propaganda and an attempt to justify the war via engineering public opinion in the US and Western countries. September 11 was a blow to US power and authority and weakened the US position in the post Cold War world but the basis of the new world order and even the 'pre-emptive strike' doctrine are not September 11 or the confrontation with political Islam. September 11 gave the US an excuse to revive the failed and unsuccessful strategy of the new world order, this time from a more hypocritical and self-assured position. As I explained earlier the current war is the continuation of the Gulf war and not a continuation of the war on Afghanistan.
Regarding the second part of your question, I can say that one of the consequences of this war could be the strengthening of political Islam in the region and particularly in Arab countries, which are allied of the US. This war is not directed against Islamic terrorism but political Islam will benefit from the USA's barbarity and will use it as a basis for its own savagery. In this case too, old and new reaction will strengthen each other and provide each other with political opportunities and justifications. What can arrest this vicious cycle is of course the growth of people's protests from a left and humanist standpoint against the entirety of this reactionary scene that the capitalist new world order has established in the world.
If the war ends with the downfall of Saddam's regime, what will be the status of Islamic groups and Arab nationalism in the region? Will the anti-American movement of people living in Arab countries whose governments are pro USA not rise, and if so, will this not lead to political upheavals in these countries?
Hamid Taghvaie: Most probably. The governments and people in Arabic countries will not be pleased at Saddam Hussein's downfall, no matter how much they oppose him. In this war, the people of the region will rightly see the hypocrisy, discrimination and bullying which has been the hallmark of US foreign policy in the Middle East. The main basis and point is the Palestinian question. The US has always dealt with Arabs and Israel differently and with double standards. Today also people's questions are not on the attack of Saddam's regime but on why Israel, no matter how much it uses weapons of mass destruction against the Palestinians or ignores UN resolutions, is supported by the US and the West, while Iraq is smashed for the same reasons. Here, as in the first Gulf war and many other occasions, the US support for Israel's atrocities against the Palestinians is the focus and reason for people's objection to the inhumane policies of the US and West in general in relation to the question of Palestine.
The anti-war protests that we are witnessing in Arab countries will undoubtedly provide Arab nationalism and political Islamic with an opportunity for growth. How far they can grow and how influential they will become in Middle Eastern politics is an open question that depends on the growth of the Left and left- leaning protests and resistance against US policies in the Middle East and the world. In light of the huge anti-war protests that have taken place all over the world, one can be optimistic that nationalist and Islamic reaction will not gain much influence amongst people and can be marginalized.
What will be the effects of the war on the Palestinian question? What will be Israel's role in the Middle East within the context of the US presence in Iraq and the attempt to put together a pro-US regime in Iraq?
Koorosh Modaresi: I think, essentially, the US and Israel will be in a less favourable position in justifying their occupation of Palestine and their humiliation, oppression and killing of the Palestinians. The US cannot claim to drag its military across the world to defend the rights of the people of Iraq and at the same time support Israeli atrocities in Palestine. It will be more difficult to keep up the double standards on the question of Palestine. Consequently the formation of the state of Palestine seems inevitable. However, the type of Palestinian state and whether it will resemble a real state will depend on how the US will come out of this war overall. A politically and militarily victorious USA will be unlikely to pay any serious attention to this issue for some time. However, people's presence in the forefront and the wresting of the Palestinian movement from the control of political Islam and nationalism can help to resolve the Palestinian question.
As far as the US puppet government in Iraq is concerned, such a government does not represent the people of Iraq and within the context of the political situation in Iraq it will not have the power to establish itself. Therefore Iraq will be faced with a period of deep and bloody political instability. Iraq will be turned into an occupied country with a puppet regime and every part of it will be under the rule gangs and groups. Iraqi society could experience a serious disintegration of its civil foundations. Compared to the future consequences of the war, the current war casualties would seem insignificant. But one thing is clear. Resistance against occupation and people's struggle to save themselves from the miserable situation will unfold quickly. Political movements will attempt to lead these protests. Both Arab nationalists, particularly the Baathists, and Islamic groups similar to HAMAS will step forward. Worker-communism too will face a historical challenge to lead the people of Iraq. Alongside the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, we will attempt to lead the people' struggle and not only lead Iraq out of this situation but also prevent Islamic and nationalist tendencies from imposing a different kind of darkness and misery upon the people of Iraq.
What is your stance on the American mass media, such as CNN, their role in reflecting the realities of the war and their relationship with the Pentagon?
Koorosh Modaresi: These are war propaganda machines. Pay attention to the words they use. 'Our forces', 'enemy', 'people are getting killed' [whereby they mean their 'own' forces and not the people of Iraq]. Today, the relationship between official journalism and the state is the same as the role the church played in the Middle Ages. It is an apparatus of ignorance whose role is to bring people under the yoke of the system. The BBC and CNN are only a part of this huge octopus. And the role they play is not limited to this war. The image of the world and its problems that they portray for their audiences is an upside down one. It is the image that they want people to see. As far as the war is concerned they are nothing but the continuation of the Pentagon and war propaganda machinery of the military.
Contrary to the first Gulf war, some Western countries as well as the UN and the NATO did not line up behind the US. In particular Germany, France, China and Russia were against the war. What will be the effect of the US disregard for these oppositions in the UN, NATO and the relationship between bourgeois states?
Hamid Taghvaie: In the first Gulf war, the balance of forces between countries had not yet collapsed and the tradition of the Cold War was still in operation. That is why the Western bloc supported the US and international institutions backed the US attack on Iraq. Today, however, the situation is different. Russia has left behind the shock and the difficulties of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin era and Russian nationalism is looking for a new role in the world. China too has overcome the impact of the political crisis of the fall of the Berlin wall and at least in the economic sphere sees a fairly strong future for itself as a superpower. More importantly, Western Europe, the old US ally during the Cold War, has united with its Eastern half and a European Union has become a serious political and economic rival for the US. These factors, in a world where there is no longer a threat from the Soviet Union, will question the US leadership. The military invasion of Iraq is essentially the US response to this dilemma. Had the EU continued to accept US leadership and Russia and China had not opposed US foreign policy, there would be no reason for raising the issue of the 'Axis of Evil' and military intervention in Iraq. Even if the current war ends in complete military and political victory for the US, it is unlikely to help bridge or reduce the divisions between the US and the EU. The basic harsh facts that have caused the divisions, that is the economic and the political rivalry between the states that believe they should have a bigger share of the world after the Cold War will continue to endure. The US show of force will be unable to resolve the issue. As far as the opponents are concerned, the current war is part of the problem not the solution. Regarding international institutions and relations, as I said earlier, they belong to the bygone era of the Cold War and their usefulness has expired. Whatever the outcome of the war, international rules and institutions must be re-drawn.
The opposition of France, Germany, Russia and China to US policy regarding this war means that these countries are unwilling to line up behind the US leadership in a unipolar world. Do you think that the US victory in this war will establish a 'new world order' led by the US? If this is not the case, what will be the future shape of the rivalries?
Koorosh Modaresi: As you said the opposition by the French and Germany is because of their capitalist economic interests. Therefore if they receive a bigger share of the world, they would then go along with the policy. These very governments are important sources of some of the current problems. If the first Gulf war, where they were going to have a bigger share, they were adding fuel to the fire. In the 12 years after the Gulf war, it became clear that French and German companies were not receiving enough of the war trophies, so they began to challenge this.
But will the US victory turn the world into a uni-polar world? I think not. Of course a US military victory is an important step in this direction, but this is far from the final resolution of the problem. The differences between the capitalist states and their rivalry to divide the world are far more real for it to be sorted out this easily. The balance of forces is not so much in favour of the US either. US policy has created a very deep ideological crisis in the European Union, which I believe will redefine the EU. This war and the British policy have created a deep division within the EU, a division which goes to the heart of the EU. The future of the EU cannot be saved just by reconciliation and a simple handshake. The very idea is in crisis. At least some European states, under the old and familiar excuse of a 'two speed Europe', will oppose the US. The divisions within the capitalist world have deepened. The end result of this war and the conflict is not clear yet.
More importantly, a new force has come to the stage which will have a tremendous effect on the outcome of this situation, i.e. the establishment of the new world order: people all around the world, and especially in Europe are shaking off the numbness of the '90s and once more are opening their eyes on the realities of the capitalist world and are opposing it. Once again civilised humanity has arrived onto the stage. Socialism and socialist ideas are advancing again. The era is not the era of the '90s. This era can in its first step turn the US military victory into a political defeat. The future of the world is not yet sealed. The move against the new world order and essentially the world order has just begun. We are at the forefront of this movement and for our part will endeavour to turn the world in favour of humanity and socialism.
What do you think of the post Saddam government in Iraq? Do you think that the post-war political situation will allow a US puppet government to take charge of the administration in Iraq?
Hamid Taghvaie: Most probably Iraq after Saddam will not be any better than during the Saddam dictatorship. The consequences of the war will not be limited to the downfall of Saddam. Millions of people who have lost their loved ones and their homes, refugees, and generally a smashed and disintegrated society will be the other outcomes of this war. The US has named its war 'Iraqi Freedom' but this freedom can only be in the minds of those who have any illusions about this war. A society which is beaten and smashed cannot be freed by the forces that have brought about its destruction. Neither is the US aim to free and liberate Iraq nor do the Iraqi people have any such expectations or illusions after the end of the war. With the end of the US war, the real problems will only just begin. The people will not accept a government put together by the US nor will Arab nationalism in the region accept such a government; any US puppet government will not be able to rule. If Islamic tribal-clan groups that are the candidates at the disposal of the US have any expertise, it is only in the Balkanisation of Iraqi society. I believe that the Iraqi experience, not because of the war, but because of the consequences of the war will amply show that the new world order strategy is fundamentally and principally condemned to defeat.
The anti-war movement in its breadth and international dimension has become an influential pole in international politics. Being mindful of its incompatible constituent parts, in your view what are the factors that could influence the development and progress of this movement in stopping this war and furthermore generally strengthening the humane and radical movement in politics?
Hamid Taghvaie: In terms of the dimensions, mass participation as well as its humane and progressive nature, this movement has been unrivalled in world history. Even at the height of the Vietnam War in the sixties, we did not witness such a movement. Undoubtedly, there are various political tendencies in this movement and some, such as Arab nationalism and political Islam, are completely reactionary. The foundations of this mass movement, those millions of people all over the world who have come to the streets in opposition to this war, however, have genuine humane intentions. Nationalism and religion do not characterise this movement. This fact therefore provides the left and communists with an opportunity to organise, develop and lead this movement.
The growth and victory of this movement, before anything else, depends on the influence and growth of the left and socialists within it. In case of a drawn-out war, which all indications point to this, the anti-war movement will become more widespread, radical and left and it is very much probable that like the Vietnam War experience, it could force the US to end the war. Even if the war ends in a military victory for the US, this movement could turn it into a political defeat for the US and its allies. This, to some extent, has been done. Because of the street protests by millions, the US could not go into this war with the moral high ground and it should not be allowed to come out of it victorious. The political defeat of the US in this war must be the minimum objective of the anti-war movement.
With the end of the war, will the anti war movement cease to exist? If not, what will be the defining characteristics of this movement, and what will be the future of this movement and the tendencies emerging from it?
Koorosh Modaresi: With the official end of the war, this movement will lose its meaning. One, however, must note that: firstly with the official end of the war i.e. the collapse or surrender of the Iraqi regime, the war will not end. But the war will enter another phase. For a period, Iraq, as I mentioned earlier, will become an occupied country with a puppet government without any real power. The very fabric of civil society will collapse and anarchy and disintegration of social and civil life will become the rule. The resistance to occupation and this disintegration of the social structure will be the most basic and initial reaction of the people of Iraq, which could take political, social and even military forms. Therefore with the 'end' of the war, war will not end. The second factor is the foundation of the anti-war movement. This movement is today protesting against this war. But in fact it is the protest of the people against the realities of the capitalist world. This movement will take action on other issues and in other forms including on this very issue of Iraq.
There are various tendencies within this movement. Capitalism always inspires progressive as well as backward and even reactionary opposition to itself. We see this in the main trends within this movement. But let's deal with this issue on some other occasion.
Currently the WPI is actively working against the US war on Iraq, What are the main activities that the WPI is planning for the future?
Koorosh Modaresi: The Worker-communist party of Iran will continue with its current policies. We have been and will be at the forefront of the protest against the war and US militarism and new world order. In Iran, the Worker-communist Party of Iran is proud to be the most prominent defender and representative of the anti-war movement in Iranian politics and will continue to be so. I believe we have discredited the perception and prospect that the US and the right-wing nationalists are presenting to society. People are today witnessing the realities that we have long pointed out. Thanks to the general and local activities or our Party as well as the activities of Communist Youth Organisation we are about to see a definite turn to the left in society, which means the emergence of the Worker-communist Party as the main alternative for political power in Iran. I believe a free, equal and prosperous Iran will be a socialist one which will work against the misery and darkness of the new world order. The Worker-communist Party of Iran, alongside civilised humanity in the world, is participating in building a new front against the new world order.
On an international level, we will, in a more extensive and intense manner, engage with the anti-war movement and its practical and political organisers. We will strive to be the humane and socialist voice of this movement. In this period we have done so alongside the Worker Communist Party of Iraq. As I said, the near future will be extremely difficult and complicated for the people of Iraq. In this period we and particularly the Worker Communist Party of Iraq will face defining and new challenges. The Worker- communist Party of Iran will be alongside the Worker Communist Party of Iraq, politically and practically, and will work for our movement to lead the people of Iraq towards liberation, freedom, equality and prosperity. An exciting future could await humanity. Socialist revolutions in Iran and Iraq could alter the feature of the world forever. This is our guiding light. Overthrowing the Islamic regime of Iran, organising the Iraqi people's struggle to rebuild their lives and clear the society from all these political, tribal and ethnic bandits, and an active involvement and engagement in the protests against the capitalist system for socialist ideas and politics have all offered our movement an incredible opportunity. The Worker-communist Parties of Iran and Iraq must both practically and politically rise to this challenge.
How will the war on Iraq affect the politics in Iran, the situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its factions?
Koorosh Modaresi: In the long run, the ouster of the Iraqi regime by the USA and the establishment of US forces in Iraq will not be in the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In political Islam's system, the US is supposed to be the 'Great Satan'. Political Islam defines the US as its nemesis. The unrivalled domination of the US in the world is a defeat for this Islamic Ideology and its government. Even the whisper that Iran might be the next US target could contribute to the further instability of the Islamic regime. Incidentally, this instability and weakening are not necessarily in the interests of the freedom-seeking movement in Iran. The notion that the US, like in Iraq, will come and 'liberate' Iran is a view, which is publicly entertained and in fact capitalized on by the conservative right-wing opposition in Iran that are loosely collaborating under the Monarchist umbrella. The people of Iran desire freedom, equality and emancipation. The US is after its own business of establishing its uni-polar world order that has nothing to do with people's freedom. The outcome of the 'shock and awe' policy for the people in Iraq has shown what the US has in mind. These facts as well as the influence and the active role of the Worker-communist Party of Iran in Iranian politics will defiantly restrict the tendency to look up to US militarism in Iran. We are a part of the civilized world rising up against this new world order. We will replace the Islamic Republic with freedom, equality and prosperity.
With regards to the various factions of the Islamic Republic it is clear that the right-wing opposes the war. The so-called Islamic reformist (2nd Khordad) faction, however, is more diverse and includes anti-Americans such as the 'Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution' and those that are less allergic to the US like the 'Mosharekat' (Participation group). For the moment, the general policy is not to trigger any confrontation with the US but keep 'Islamic hands' in Iraq through pro-Iranian Islamic groups. I believe the policy of the Islamic Republic regarding the war lacks any significance and is not an important issue in its relation to the people in Iran.
Like in the first Gulf war, Kurdish nationalist parties in Iraq are at the service of the US military and support US policy. On the other hand, the other US ally in this war, Turkey, has moved its troops into Iraqi Kurdistan, which is troubling Kurdish nationalists. What is the future for these Kurdish nationalists; why are they working with the US and what role will they play in the future of Iraqi Kurdistan? Finally what will be the outcome of their possible dispute with the Turkish military?
Koorosh Modaresi: It is interesting that the position taken by the Kurdish and right-wing Iranian nationalists regarding this war is similar. Both are on their knees in front of St. GW Bush. Apparently, the US is to fulfil antagonistic Iranian and Kurdish nationalist aspirations. For the Kurdish nationalist, like all other branches of this ideology, humanity does not have any meaning as such. Either you are a Kurd or not. If disaster befalls those who are not Kurds it is none of Kurdish nationalists' business. Their only concern is whether this disaster benefits them as the self proclaimed guardians of 'Kurdishness' or not. They would support it if they believed it serves their interest, even if it does not necessarily have anything to do with the interests of the people in Kurdistan. Their stand in the USA war on Iraq is set by the same law - no principle is involved; it is simply business. In this respect they do not want to miss the train of fortune in this US adventure. They do not care about the people getting slaughtered in Iraq. People in other parts of Iraq are not Kurds; therefore, their plight is irrelevant to them. Yesterday they were busy kissing the hands of Khomeini and Saddam; today they are on their knees for Bush. One particular characteristic of Kurdish nationalism is their pathetic servitude. Living in the gaps between regional states their entire their lives has turned this servitude into inherent characteristics. Nationalists always do deplorable things but Kurdish nationalism does it in the most appalling way. They are so short-sighted that they do not see that Turkish intervention is part of the future of Iraq. The only force, which can change this tragedy of the people in Kurdistan, is the Worker Communist Party of Iraq. If the scene were left to the Kurdish nationalists, they would continue with the same old tactics of accommodating any creature to stay in power. They became mercenaries and scouts of the Shah of Iran and the Islamic Republic's guards; they acted as Iraqi military front battalion against each other. They worked with the Turkish army to fight the PKK and a thousand other such treacheries. They will continue to do the same with the US, Turkey and any powerful beast in the region. But one thing is for sure: whatever they do will have a devastating effect for the people of Kurdistan. It is 12 years now that they have been in power in Iraqi Kurdistan; and as soon as the borders are open, everyone tries to escape. The only way to save the people in Iranian or Iraqi Kurdistan is for the people to push nationalism aside and take control of their own destiny.
Despite the opposition of millions across the world to the US war against Iraq, Iranian nationalists and in particular the Monarchists supported the war on Iraq and the killing of the people of Iraq. What is the reason behind such a position and will their disregard for the life and the future of the people of Iraq not show the nature of their aim and policies in Iran?
Hamid Taghvaie: Humanity has never meant anything for the nationalists. They have always been for the 'nation' and the 'compatriot' and that only to hide their class interests behind such notions. The Monarchists' position towards this war is a typical and revolting example of such a nationalist stance.
Their support for the US criminal war is essentially because they believe that this will help them gain power in Iran. Irrespective of how surreal this notion is, the fact that a political movement or a party sees the destruction, which is currently taking place in Iraq, as a means of gaining power, is deeply reactionary and only shows their bankruptcy.
Those who until recently were full of enthusiasm for 'non-violence' and were warning the people of Iran to refrain from violence and not go beyond civil disobedience, today have no objection to the dropping of thousands of bombs on the people of Baghdad and other cities in Iraq. They cannot hide their excitement and their satisfaction. This shows the inhumane nature of nationalism and the essence of democracy and the new world order of the free market, which the Monarchists always advocate. The example of this new world order and the democracy that the US is promising the world and the Monarchists are hoping to represent in the Post-Islamic regime in Iran is taking shape by the killing of people and crimes committed in Iraq. Do the Monarchists want to come to power in such a way? Is the 'regime change' that is taking place in Iraq not the same policy that the non-violent Iranian nationalists are hanging onto? Is this the 'civil' and 'non-violent' means that the Monarchists are advocating to get rid of the regime? Wasn't all that hue and cry against people's violence and praise for civil disobedience and a referendum just a means to push the people aside and prepare the road for a US-style regime change? The answers to all these questions are clear. We have always said that the Monarchists' aim, objective and means are different from that of the people and today their stance on the war exposes them even further.
Let me finally add that the scenario that the Monarchists are hoping for is not possible in Iran. The powerful and popular movement for the Islamic regime's overthrow, the influence of the left in this movement and particularly the role of our party in the politics of Iran will not allow similar scenarios of regime change to take place in Iran.
The above is a translation of an interview in International Weekly 152, dated 28 March 2003. The first English is from WPI Briefing.