Speaking in Mashhad on March 23, the Rahbar of Islamic Iran, IMAM SAYYID ALI KHAMENEI, gave a detailed analysis of the reasons for America’s war on Iraq. Here we reprint an abridged extract from that speech.
In the Name of God, The Merciful, the Compassionate. . .
Our dear people should realize that the dimensions of the American attack on Iraq are greater than Iraq. Under any circumstance, an attack on any country, be it Iraq or another, by a distant and powerful country on the basis of false and fabricated grounds is wrong. World public opinion has condemned this action. You can see it on television. You see their huge anti-war rallies in all corners of the world, even in America itself. But the issue is even more dangerous for the Islamic world. It has even greater implications. You shouldn’t just think that a certain regime with a certain motivation is attacking a certain other country.
The Americans want to portray the situation in a different light. They pretend that their objective is to dispose Saddam because he has weapons of mass-destruction, or because he supports terrorism, or because the Americans want to help the Iraqi people. This is what the Americans are pretending, but this is deceit. Many people around the world know this.
The fact is that a new, shameless and very dangerous Hitlerism has emerged in history. America is now creating a situation like what Hitler created at the start of World War II. Hitler attacked his European neighbours with the justification that Germany needs a vital space, "Lebensraum". He said Germany is too small for the German people; they need greater space to survive. It was a matter of vital national interest. This was the justification to his people and the world public opinion, but it was a false and ridiculous justification.
Today, the American justification for attacking Iraq—and before that for attacking Afghanistan—is that "we want to safeguard our own national interests, we want to remove threats against us". This is their justification today. But how far is Iraq from America? What sort of threat can Iraq pose? What are American interests which require and allow the American regime to use arms against another country?
The American definition of national interests is similar to what the ancient landowners and the old bullies did in the old villages and neighbourhoods. If a village girl weaves a pretty carpet and the landowner likes it, the girl’s father has to take the carpet to him. The justification is that he needs the carpet. If there is a valuable item, they have to give it to him. This was the culture of the landowners, the culture of the bullies. "I like what you have and you should give it me whether you like it or not." This is precisely how Americans are interpreting their national interests now.
First they define something as being in their interests. These things could be in the possession of another nation in a distant part of the world. But because America has power and weapons, it considers itself entitled to achieve those interests in any way necessary. It does not matter how much suffering is caused, it does not matter how much destruction is brought about, or how lives are trampled on. This is how the Americans define their national interests.
Let me briefly define the general objectives of the Americans in this region. The fact of the matter is that this region, i.e. the Arab and then the Muslim world, is rich in terms of oil—a valuable commodity—and America wants this oil. There are also other mineral resources, under the ground and under the sea. There are also geo-strategic considerations—anyone who controls this region has access to other parts of the world. America wants all these things. It is the same story as the pretty carpet that the landowner wanted, and had to secure.
The other thing that the Americans want from the region is the consumer market. They want to sell their own products there. The region is well populated. The population must use American products, so that American and Zionist capitalists can fill their pockets.
If they want to achieve these things and if they want to keep the region for themselves, they need a type of regime which is totally subservient to them, which accepts their policies, which produces oil at a price which it is told, which consumes certain goods, which cuts its ties with American rivals, which establishes ties with the friends of America, and so on. In order to keep their rule in the region they need totally subservient and dependent regimes which don’t resist the pursuit of American interests. Of course, already there are regimes like that in the region. But there is another phenomenon which they have to take into account.
Today reactionary regimes, monarchical regimes or despotic regimes are of little use to America even though they serve American interests. They now need regimes which have a facade of democracy. So the danger of America is not limited to Iraq. Many regimes in the region, which have good ties with America but are not popular or dependent on people’s votes, are going to be challenged by America soon. These types of regimes are of no use for the Americans: they don’t want regimes like the Pahlavi taghut that provoked people into revolution. The Pahlavi regime was a reactionary regime and a stooge of America. The Americans failed to reform it, so the people rebelled and destroyed it in order to establish their desired Islamic system. The Americans are worried that the same thing is going to happen in other Arab and Islamic countries.
They realize this and they have said so. One of their senior politicians, a member of the Senate, said recently in the American Senate that if democracy is created quickly in any of the Arab countries and people are given the vote, Islamic regimes will come to power. They know these things. They want to bring in a type of regime which has a facade of populism and has come to power by popular vote. This is their next requirement.
But in order for people to elect individuals who serve American interests they also need another thing. And what is that? It is a promiscuous culture which is careless of social and moral values. They want people to grow with an American culture, so when they vote, they vote for an individual favored by the American regime.
The sum of all these factors requires an extensive effort in the domains of politics, culture, propaganda and, as a last resort, military action by America. Today you witness the military phase in Iraq. Saddam Hussain cooperated with America. If America and its allies had not supported Saddam Hussain, he would not have survived against our brave and steadfast people. Then they helped Saddam, but now he is no longer required. They realize that Saddam is a dictator and if he remains in power there could be a popular revolt that would leave America totally out of the picture. Then it will be like the system of the Islamic Republic in Iran. It is here that the true nature of war against Iraq becomes clear.
This war, therefore, is a most foul war which is under way in Iraq. It will become more intense. This is only the beginning. The objective is totally devoid of humanity. The Americans say they are fighting for democracy, but they are lying. They are fighting for oil. They are fighting to bring another subservient regime to power. They want to occupy Iraq. They want to control this ancient country and nation, this sensitive region, and its rich resources, completely. They want to loot it without difficulty. This is the reality of the situation in Iraq.
What is more, this plan is not limited to Iraq. All Arab countries, even those who are helping America today and who are allowing America to use their airports, soil, airspace or other resources will be challenged by the Americans soon. We understand this from evidence provided by the Americans themselves. What I am telling you is not what we believe; it is what the Americans have said themselves, which reveals their aims and objectives. This is the reral situation. In the first stage, Arab countries, and in the later stage, Muslim counties are to be challenged.
Is there any obstacle on the path of their plan? Yes. The main obstacle in the way of the Americans is the awakening of the Muslim world. The Muslim world is wakening up. Don’t look at the false propaganda of the radios which are managed by the arrogant powers. The culture of Islamic Revolution has infiltrated the Islamic world. They know that they cannot do anything as long as the Islamic world and Muslim peoples believe in Islam, as long as the Qur’anic culture dominates our minds, and as long as the pure Muhammadi Islam is an ideal for us.
That is why they have tried to degrade Islam in the public mind. They realize that Islam is the main obstacle in their path. Islam and the Qur’an teach us that it is possible to live independently, courageously and powerfully free of the superpowers. This is what we have to learn from Islam.