[Marxism] The rivalries that are tearing the Middle East apart

Saman Sepehri p70volkl at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 3 09:28:21 MDT 2015

Slight problem-- While the article is facing the reality of the difficulties in the region, because of the weakness of left/revolutionary forces; rather that promoting the up and up celebration of revolt en vogue for a while (in SW and elsewhere), I think there is a problem in passage below.
1)There is a problem with putting US and its allies (i.e.Saudi Arabia) on the same plane as Iran; a regional player- one with its ambitions-but hardly on the same plane as U.S. which is still the biggest imperialist power (however "weakened") in the world, and which has been forcing sanctions on Iran:

However the nuclear negotiations end up, it's not too early to say this: The U.S. and Iran are both allies and rivals, and in these unprecedented times, every player appears prepared to place big bets--despite the risks--in the hopes of a quick victory, but they are more likely to produce violence and humanitarian disaster on a horrific scale.What's more, with the relative decline of U.S. military and diplomatic influence in the region--the consequence of earlier imperialist failures and the unpredictable currents unleashed by the Arab revolutions--the region is passing into a more unstable war of all against all, as every power tries to position itself to fill whatever parts of the vacuum it can.With revolutionary forces on the defensive, the dominant logic--at least so far--of the conflict is a terrifying spiral of sectarian violence and the specter of a Sunni-Shia civil war that could upend the entire region. It has already created millions of refugees, and there could be millions more before it's over.
It may be my misread but doesn't this put U.S.(and allies) and Iran on the same plane as "likely producers of violence and humanitarian disaster on a horrific scale?"

2) On a more minor note, what may be adding to this is the idea that "The U.S. and Iran are both allies and rivals".  It think this is an inaccurate way of describing the relationship.  Iran And the U.S. are not allies; they are just rivals. They may be on the same side of the fight in Iraq  (vs. ISIS now), but that does not make them allies. It makes them rivals on the same side of the fight with a common enemy, each trying to jokey for position to minimize the  other's influence and carve out more space for themselves. They each are trying to use their tactical and strategic advantages to gain a stronger position  at the expense of the other- Iran having the advantage of influence and boots on the ground, U.S. having the advantage of superior air and fire power, money, regional allies, world stature, etc..... pretty much everything else. And U.S. will be happy to let Iranian side and their supporters  take the ground casualties and then swoop in. It may even give intelligence support to Iran vis-a-vis ISIS and promote relations behind the scenes with certain individuals in Iranian forces for future use, but they are not allies.
Calling the relationship an alliance of sorts risks putting Iran and relationship with Iran on same plane as real regional allies like Israel and Saudis.



     From: John Passant via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
 To: Saman Sepehri <p70volkl at yahoo.com> 
 Sent: Friday, April 3, 2015 4:44 AM
 Subject: [Marxism] The rivalries that are tearing the Middle East apart
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Eric Ruder in Socialist Worker US untangles the crisscrossing web of 
antagonisms in the Middle East and argues that 'the latest military 
escalations by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia threaten to further destabilize 
a Middle East in which open hostilities and humanitarian disasters have 
multiplied, from Libya to Yemen, and Syria to Iraq.'


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