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The Myth of the CIA’s Meddling in Iran’s 1953 Coup

July 17 2017

In 1953, a failed coup in Persia, aimed at ousting Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq, was launched with the support of U.S. and British intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the Iranian military deposed Mossadeq successfully. According to the version of events later cited by Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Barack Obama, as well as by propagandists of the Islamic Republic, the coup was an Anglo-American plot that overthrew the duly elected government of Persia. But, writes Ray Takeyh, this version mainly from a self-aggrandizing memoir by the CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt. Newly released documents—whose declassification was delayed by John Kerry—tell a very different story:

Even before Western intelligence services devised plots against Mossadeq, his party [had] started to crumble. . . . [T]he armed forces, which had stayed quiet despite Mossadeq’s purges, grew vocal and began to participate in political intrigues.

Among Iran’s factions, the clergy would play the most curious role. As it has with most historical events, the [post-1979] Islamic Republic has whitewashed the role that the mullahs played in Mossadeq’s downfall. . . . [The Mossadeq government’s] liberal disposition . . . had unsettled the clerical order. . . . As large landowners, the mullahs distrusted governments prone to carving out their property. As reactionaries, they disdained female equality in all its forms. And as guardians of tradition, they were averse to modernization of Iran’s educational sector. . . . Far from being a passive observer, the priestly class seemed to have made its preferences clear. . . .

[Furthermore], it was hard to see how then-President Eisenhower could take advantage of Mossadeq’s mishaps . . . when he was informed by his intelligence services that the “CIA presently has no group which would be effective in spreading anti-Mossadeq mass propaganda.” . . .

In August 1953, the Iranians reclaimed their nation and ousted a premier who had generated too many crises that he could not resolve. . . . Mossadeq’s unpopularity and penchant toward arbitrary rule had left him isolated and vulnerable to a popular revolt. America might have been involved in the first coup attempt that failed, but it was largely a bystander in the more consequential second one.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: CIA, History & Ideas, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy, United Kingdom

Why Israeli Arabs Should Drop Their Political Parties

Sept. 20 2017

Even as Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy rights, freedoms, and economic opportunities unrivaled in the Arab world, their political leadership is more intent on undermining the Jewish state than on serving their actual interests. Moshe Arens, a former Israeli defense minister, comments. (Free registration may be required.)

[T]he Knesset members of the [Arab] Joint List have nothing but criticism for Israel and praise for its enemies, be they Iran, President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, or Palestinian terrorists. . . . Although spanning the ideological spectrum from Communism (aside from the North Koreans, the only Communists still around), the Muslim Brotherhood (called the Islamic Movement in Israel), and Baathists (the Balad party), they are united in their hatred of Israel. Naturally, they do not call for Arab integration into Israeli society.

Those who oppose the polygamy rampant in the Arab community oppose Israeli measures to curb it. Those who are against the abuse of women and so-called honor killings think these are “local problems” that should be handled by the Arabs themselves. Nor do they want the Israel police to handle the crime running wild in Israel’s Arab towns. Keep Israel out of your lives, is their common motto. They oppose young Arabs volunteering for either military or civilian national service. . . .

Within Israel’s Arab community there is a struggle between those who insist on rejecting everything Israel stands for while supporting its enemies and those who want to integrate into Israeli society and take advantage of the opportunities it offers. . . . Can Israel’s Arabs become a beacon of democracy and modernity for the Arab world, or will they provide proof that Arabs are not yet prepared to enter the 21st century? . . .

[E]ach year, growing numbers of young Arabs volunteer for national service and join the ranks of Israel’s military and police. At the moment, the only way this trend can express itself politically is for these individuals to drop their support for the Joint List in favor of Israel’s existing political parties, and for these parties to welcome Arabs into their ranks.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli politics, Joint List