Viewing conflicts through the eye of Counterinsurgency COIN – Since 2007
Many people have asked me about or have expressed fear of Iran. So here is a little of my thoughts for your consideration.
Iran is very interesting. Here is currently the main problem… Bush calling Iran part of the “axis of evil” is really a big part of the problem. So it is silly when Americans wonder, why we hear Iran’s leaders saying America is evil? Makes sense eh? Truth is most citizens of Iran are moderate Muslims. In fact radical Muslim groups like al Qaeda are hated and feared by 99.97% of Iran’s citizens and government [well ok maybe the governemnt is a little more radical the the citizens. But one has to understand fear is the factor here. For those in power they thrive and feed off it. But also they fear losing power. This is where a problem exists. Maybe 90& of clerics the basis of Irans government and legal system there exists more radical view. Also another point but there is so many I wish I could list is Fear of Radical reprisals. I think any country could be a friend of Iran if they want to be. There are many mutual interests that have yet to be explored and perhaps even discovered. Recently Iran invited religious leaders from America to Iran in a show of solidarity. The religious leaders from America included Episcopal, Benedictine, Christian and a few others. Over 10 in all.
The representatives of all these different faiths were met by Muslim religious leaders, toured areas of importance, and met with the president of Iran. They were treated with dignity and their safety was at times an issue. But overall Iran assured these people that Iran’s aims in nuclear energy are peaceful, but publicly they continue to leave the issue of nuclear weapons open (note below with link on related article by abc blog news about Iran’s current uranium enrichment program).
One of the Main issues is most nations won’t accept a government that is ruled by religion and they don’t want to help such a nation. This is Iran’s biggest handicap from an international perspective. I saw this special about the American religious leaders visiting Iran on PBS recently. It also showed young children in Iran who wanted to speak to the Americans and you could see they were excited. All religions seem to look at other religions and talk about all the differences but there is more similarities than differences and these go over looked way to often.
Currently I see Islam going through a period in its religion much like during and after the Holy Roman Crusades were Christians invaded Hebrew and other Nationalitys lands. Something that happened around that time was the divisions in Christianity. There was born so many different styles of the Christian faith such as Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. It may be that the Muslim faith may undergo future separations and variations on the interoperation of the Quran. Note: I was born a Catholic (of south German decent with heavy Latin influence in my forefather’s history). I still pray to God, but I do not attend any church. I was a big surfer, bicyclist, hiker, and nature lover. I feel closer to God when I am out in nature then I do in any church. I also lived with Mormons for 3 years. I have friends of all religions, yet we seldom discuss religion. I do have a respect for religious dedication and feel it is a force that can propel many people to accomplish what they can’t on their own.
The PBS link this one I recommend most: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/312/index.html
As reported on PBS:
“President Bush has declared Iran to be part of the “Axis of Evil” and administration officials have said no options — including military options — are off the table in the effort to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. In the midst of this standoff between Washington and Tehran, some U.S. religious leaders are trying to succeed where politicians and diplomats cannot. ”
“Producer Jamila Paksima revisits her birth country of Iran with American spiritual leaders hoping to promote dialogue on such explosive issues as nuclear proliferation, the Iraq war, and the holocaust. ”
“When political leaders mess up, religious leaders ought to be here to go and build up the people, build up relationships, and bring the conversation up the high moral ground,” said one of the U.S. delegates, Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, who represented Episcopalians, Methodists, Evangelicals and dozens of other denominations.”
Other sources for more info and details about the visit to Iran….
http://www.abpnews.com/1774.article – Reported by Associated Baptist Press
Here is a portion on one artile I found about the US religious leaders visiting Iran.
“We are a diverse group of Christian leaders that include United Methodists, Episcopal, Baptists, Catholics, Evangelicals, Quakers, and Mennonites who have 17 years of on the ground experience in Iran. We were warmly welcomed by the Iranian people, and our time in Iran convinced us that religious leaders from both countries can help pave the way for mutual respect and peaceful relations between our nations.”
“During our visit we met with Muslim and Christian leaders, government officials, and other Iranian people.”
“Our final day included a meeting with former President Khatami and current President Ahmadinejad. The meeting with President Ahmadinejad was the first time an American delegation had met in Iran with an Iranian president since the Islamic revolution in 1979. The meeting lasted two-and-a-half hours and covered a range of topics, including the role of religion in transforming conflict, Iraq, nuclear proliferation, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
http://www.afsc.org/news/2007/hope-in-iran.htm – As reported by the American Friends Service Committee
“Michael Jacobson writes an interesting piece today about the status of FIUs in Iran and the greater Middle East:
An Iranian Financial Intelligence Unit: Less than Meets the Eye
By Michael Jacobson
April 2, 2007
The State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, released on March 1, offers a little-noted reference to a dubious claim: an Iranian government statement (made to the UN) that Tehran has established a Financial Intelligence Uni
t (FIU). The report notes that Iran has provided no further details. Even if the Iranian claim were true, the creation of an FIU would do little to combat terrorism financing in the nation, given Tehran’s official support for terrorist groups. In other countries, FIUs are an important element of effective counterterrorism policy — though the record of key Middle Eastern nations is somewhat mixed in this regard.
FIUs are centralized, national agencies responsible for detecting and fighting terrorism financing and money laundering. Most national units operate under the umbrella of the global FIU network, the Egmont Group (named after the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels, where the group’s first meeting took place). Established in 1995, Egmont has grown rapidly, from fourteen participating countries to more than 100; the number of FIUs worldwide is even larger when one considers units that do not, or have not yet, qualified for Egmont membership. In the United States, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Treasury Department, serves as Washington’s representative in the group.
The full article is available here.”