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

The Temple Mount Terrorist Attack Exposes the Real Reasons behind Palestinian “Rage”

July 20 2017

After the terrorist attack at the Temple Mount last week, Israeli police found a large cache of weapons hidden in the al-Aqsa complex. Eli Lake comments on Palestinian reactions, and what they suggest about the persistent canard that “al-Aqsa is in danger” from alleged Jewish infiltration:

The real threat to the mosque on Friday did not come from Jewish settlers, [as Palestinian propaganda would have it], but from the Israeli Arabs [who did the shooting]. So it’s important to examine the response from Palestinian leaders. Let’s start with Abbas. He was forceful in his condemnation of the act, noting that there is no room for violence in such a holy place. . . . But by Monday the old patterns emerged. [His] Fatah party called this week for a “day of rage.” Was this to protest the gunmen who entered the “noble sanctuary,” or those mourning their deaths? No. This protest is aimed at Israel for erecting metal detectors at the entrance of the Temple Mount compound after the shootings.

The most telling response, however, came from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group that rules Gaza. A spokesman for the group, Sami Abu Zuhi, said on Friday the attack “was a natural response to Israeli terrorism and their defilement of the al-Aqsa mosque.” . . . [But] how can any thinking person take the professed pieties of Hamas leaders seriously if they rail against “defilement” of the site yet praise gunmen who fled to it in a shooting spree?

As Martin Kramer, a historian at Shalem College in Jerusalem, told me this week, the attack at the Temple Mount broke a taboo. “The usual Islamist claim is that the danger to the mosque and the shrine is from Jews,” he said. “Here there was an actual conspiracy to smuggle weapons into this holy place and Hamas does not condemn it, they praise it. Who poses the greater danger to al-Aqsa?”

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Temple Mount, Terrorism