Tehran to America: ‘Thank you Great Satan!’

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lifts his hands in prayer following his address at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo: AFP-John Moore)

By: Elie Chalhoub

Published Friday, September 26, 2014

“Transforming a threat into an opportunity,” is a simple six-word principle that summarizes Iran’s approach toward the recent developments in the region. The US “aerial return” as described by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has no doubt raised an alarm among the Resistance axis, which is now seeking to invest in the results [of the airstrikes on ISIS] in a way that suits its interests.

The US-led international coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) opened the door to intense discussions in Iran about the operation’s ultimate goal and results. While analysts, military and security bodies, and the political leadership tried to approach this new offensive on the region from their own perspectives, they all agreed on a common question: Are the Americans this stupid to do us such a favor?

The answer is, “no, of course not.” Hence, there must be some other motives that have yet to reach the surface, and which need to be revealed.

This question is justified based on the following concept: If ISIS and its affiliated groups consider Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrian regime as their main enemy, then any strike against the terrorist group, in any shape or form, will no doubt benefit these parties. What happened that made the United States take such an action?

Iranian sources attributed the US decision to events that started about a year and a half ago. At the time, the West complained about the increase of extremist elements within the Syrian opposition. After communication increased between the Americans and their regional allies, a solution was finally reached, taking the shape of a so-called “moderate” Islamic front that would strike both extremist groups and the Syrian regime. But the plan was not destined to succeed. This was followed by drastic developments that led to the fall of Mosul in the hands of ISIS.

Washington wagered on blackmailing Iran and the Iraqi regime, under the threat of ISIS which captured Samarra and advanced to the outskirts of Baghdad, Najaf, and Karbala. However, US hopes floundered after the fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani who called for defensive jihad and following the major advances made by paramilitary Iraqi groups.

The sources believe that US President Barack Obama formed the anti-ISIS coalition because he lacked other alternatives and not because he had reached a conviction based on thorough consideration. He had to take this decision after ISIS got out of control and began to pose an imminent threat to US interests in the region, as it advanced toward Erbil and the Saudi borders.

This could explain why the United States estimated that the operation would take three years, which means that Washington launched a military process, not a military operation per say, and is seeking to invest its military efforts in politics, even though it does not actually have a clear perspective on how to accomplish that.

For its part, Iran was quick to take two measures. The first was precautionary, as it reinforced its influence in the region extending from Baghdad to the Saudi borders, including the holy places in Samarra, and increased the deployment of the Revolutionary Guards at the Iranian-Iraqi borders.

Tehran also demonstrated its ability to protect its own interests, proven by the Amerli battle (the town’s name is originally Emir Ali) with the important significance of al-Quds Brigade commander, Iranian General Qassem Suleimani being personally on the ground. The liberation of the town by Iraqis under Iranian command, and refusing all US offers for aerial support, was a clear message to Washington that “Iran is capable to protect its allies.”

The second measure was cautionary, as Iran drew a number of red lines, threatening to turn the table on everyone in Iraq and Syria if they are crossed. This includes refraining from targeting the Syrian regime and getting the latter’s approval before launching any strikes inside Syria.

Today, Iran is putting its hand on the trigger as it observes the surrounding developments and considers a range of complicated calculations. Tehran is well aware that the Americans will not be doing any favors to the Resistance axis, and they will try to put the regions targeted in the military operation, under the control of pro-American groups.

While it does not appear that the Americans are capable to realize any of their plans in Iraq, they have constantly been trying, along with their allies, to take such steps in Syria, but without success. So what has now changed?

Iran is aware that the battles are taking place in regions beyond its control and against parties that are unaffiliated to it, so the losses borne in that war will not be at its expense.

Meanwhile, the top command in Iran decided not to take part in the international coalition for multiple reasons, including the fact that its participation would contradict with the image that Tehran tries to promote about itself as an adversary to the United States. In addition, although Iran and the coalition have a common interest in targeting ISIS, Tehran views this intersection of interests as temporary, because the ultimate goals of the coalition contradict with the Iranian plans for the region.

Another theory suggests that by not joining the coalition, Iran maintains a larger margin to maneuver, and remains capable to invest in the results of the coalition’s strikes. Most importantly, Iran’s abstention would prove that this is not a Sunni- Shia conflict, but a conflict of plans and interests, since the disputing parties are of the same racial and sectarian background (ISIS, al-Nusra Front, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, and Qatar).

The third aspect of the Iranian approach is based on the belief that the international coalition contains so many contradictions that will eventually lead to its downfall, or at least its unraveling. The coalition includes parties like Saudi Arabia, the founder and promoter of ISIS, the group now threatening the house of Saud, and Turkey, the regional security, logistic, and military sponsor of ISIS, which after the many Turkish defeats in the region, constitutes the most important card that Ankara possesses in the region.

Then comes Egypt which is insisting on adding the Muslim Brotherhood to the list of targets as a terrorist organization, and believes that priority should be given to Sinai, Libya, and Sudan. The coalition also includes Qatar, the official sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, now under twice the pressure from the Gulf and the United States. Meanwhile, Jordan is acting as an advance defense line for Israel. The country had to throw itself in this conflict after receiving a public promise by the occupation army to take immediate actions to defend Jordan in case ISIS reaches its territory.

What would happen if the international coalition takes advantage of the airstrikes on Syria to deal a severe blow to the regime? Iranian sources said this question emanates from the fact that the United States had in the past taken a decision to strike the Syrian regime, and it was only waiting for a pretext that ISIS could provide it with.

The sources, however, deemed this assumption as “wrong” because they do not think America needs a pretext to bomb the Syrian regime if it wanted to, explaining that although chemical arms offered a stronger pretext in the past, war did not happen. In addition, Washington does not lack the force to strike the Syrian regime, but what held it back was, according to the sources, the deterrent power of the Resistance axis that continues “to grow.”

Up until now, the American operation is going according to “restrictions” that Iran deems “safe and unthreatening.” Besides, US actions further uncovered an American political knot preventing it from putting boots on the ground, which is actually weighing in on the United States and tying its hands.

An observer recalled the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2002, explaining that, “While US bombs were falling on Kabul and Baghdad, Iranians were saying “Thank you, Great Satan!” The regimes of Taliban and Saddam have both fallen after they were originally set to block the expansion of Iranian hegemony.” Will this be happening again?

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


pres O has refused to provide serious assistance to the syrian

revolution for. ?3 plus years. He's proved much more interested in romancing the IRI, than in removing their Dog,Assad
Pres O won't do much to ISIS,and he won't attack Assad : too bad!
The IRI will have two more years of Obambi
But I think we'll be back in 2017
And our objective has not changed
Regime Change in the IRI

Who is "we"? Are you Hillary Clinton You should first introduce yourself before returning in 2017 to do your regime change.

The article in Al-Akhbar, "Iran to America: Thank you Great Satan" is another maligned, superficial and distorted pseudo-analysis exuding the same anti-Iran venom as that of the regional dictatorships and their fanatical constituencies, as well as their sponsors and masters in the US, the UK and other western stooges.
Apart from the reference to the inherent contradictions within the "Coalition", the rest is anti-Iran propaganda, without any substance. In fact even those contradictions are not insurmountable since they are pre-existing and secondary to the main common objective of regime change in Syria and further isolating Iran. What the author attributes to the "thinking" and "calculations" of the Iranians - even if Iranian political establishment were one static and unitary body without any conflict!! - are the reflection of her own and her sponsors distorted thinking and fantasies.
Firstly, there is no evidence of any "confusion" in Iran about the "Coalition"'s ultimate goals and whether the US is "stupid enough" to put resources into fighting Iran's enemy, in the form of ISIS. There have been numerous comments and analyses from Iranian politicians and analysts indicating the clear awareness that despite the APPARENT "common interest in targeting ISIS", Iran's and US's interests are diametrically opposite. This collision of interests is not, as the author claims, "because the ultimate goals of the coalition contradict with the Iranian plans for the region" - not elaborating what the "ultimate goal of the coalition" might be! The collision of interests - which Iranians are fully aware of - centres around the US/Israeli/western hegemonic ambitions in the region targeting the Axis of Resistance (Iran, Syria, Hezbullah) on the one hand, and the Resistance confronting these attacks to their independence and survival, at great human and economic cost to their respective populations, on the other. This is not, as claimed in this article and in repeated claims from anti-Iran fanatics, due to Iran's 'regional hegemonic ambitions'. The article ends by referring to the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, bringing in the "explanation" of "an observer" that, “While US bombs were falling on Kabul and Baghdad, Iranians were saying “Thank you, Great Satan!” The regimes of Taliban and Saddam have both fallen after they were originally set to block the expansion of Iranian hegemony.” The author asks "Will this be happening again?"
Although, both Taliban and the regime of Saddam Hussain in Iraq were avowed enemies of Iran with a bloody history of aggression and threats from both towards Iran, Iran's interests then and now remains in defending its independence and territorial integrity from real and chronic threats, and not the "expansion of Iranian hegemony".

I dispute the contentions of this article.

US didn't bomb Syria due to the staged chemical attack because the specific pretext was removed by the Russians in the deal they brokered regarding Syria's chemical deterrent. Further complications appeared when Russia threatened to deploy S-300 systems on the ground in Syria.

Make no mistake; in order to accumulate the necessary political support for military activity, the US requires both a pretext and a minimum of military obstacles. The pretext disappeared with the Russian deal, and the obstacle of the S-300s -- while possible to deal with -- would have required mission creep (combined arms campaign, as opposed to just an air campaign) that the US didn't have the political capital to embark on.

Now, it is different. First, the chemical deterrent is gone forever, and the Russians cancelled the S-300 deal for good and began dismantling the undelivered equipment a month or two ago (thanks a lot, Putin). Second, the US has an ironclad pretext and sufficient political capital to wage a campaign in Syria. They have already invaded Syrian airspace, and have already gone beyond the original parameters of the operation (bombing al-Nusra, bombing further west, in the Homs and Aleppo governorates). Now the original plan to train 5,000 "vetted" fighters is experiencing mission creep as US generals have suggested expanding it to 10,000 or 15,000.

On top of this, two more ominous proposals are circulating. The US has proposed a no-fly zone in Eastern Syria, ostensibly to protect "vetted" fighters and keep the Syrian Arab Army from advancing into areas where the Islamic State has been degraded. As well, Turkey is being pressured to join the coalition to play a role in a buffer zone on the Syrian side of its border, which would most assuredly host "vetted" fighters.

Now, ask yourself, what stops the US from expanding the campaign even further? They've used this pretext to establish even more pretexts sufficient to justify eventually toppling the Syrian Arab Republic altogether, and they're already in the air over Syria. Unless concrete steps are taken by sympathetic outside powers to check US moves, the sky is the limit for the US, pardon the pun.

the pun is no fun for syrians who are about to be iraqed above knee.
what delayed us airpower was russia but since the ukrainian civil war combined with sanctions has pushed putin back the west can now complete the mission.
the iranians suffered a serious blow at parchin,a warning of what lies in store if they interfere.
hezb and assad are about to come under serious attack

The U.S. is no great Satan, you flatter them undeservedly.
On day, the U.S. defense forces will be occupied else where, in the mean time someone will come a calling.
The U.S are beating their proverbially hairy chest at all in sundry - advertising their might but the U.S. defense forces are depleted in a big way.
It is highly likely that at the present time, they cannot defend U.S. soil if an attack were eminent.
And yet they rattle the cage of their enemies ...
Can this be construed as a death wish.

Iran need to invite a Russian presence to its shores.
Perhaps an extensive training exercise in war fare, with a massive ground presence of Iranian & Russian defense forces.
Let me think - who else could they invite ?

This Israel/US operation is done with the only purpose to take Assad out of the picture for the benefit of Israel. Then it will be Iran, then it will be Russia or China and in the end the complete globalization of the International Banking System ran by the Rothschilds.

As Is said, If stupidity was a painful disease ,you'd be In a cast. It Is politically and strategically to Israel's benefit ,for Assad to remain In power.As long as the Assads are In power, the border with Israel will remain quiet.Only a simpleton who Is educated by the wrong web sites, will mention the "Rothschild" and other fantasies..

Yigal, save your neocon Hasbara for the idiots who imbibe the NYT, Washington Post and the Lebanese "14 March" propaganda mills. If it weren't for Assad -the lynchpin in the resistance axis- Hizbollah wouldn't have the capability to keep Zionists like you awake at night.

Consider the fact that conducting guerrilla warfare on the Syrian border is difficult given the strategic advantage the Israelis have from the Golan heights.

This guy must be a Zionist.

This guy must be an ignoramus.

Excellent analysis. I can see that as usual the Iranians think logically and clearly. They are very smart. The Arab regimes continue to behave contrary to the interests of the Arabs and despicably with it. I was also thinking after they bomb ISIS what would stop them bombing the Syrian regime unless their Zionist paymasters have other ideas.

“The US was never characterized by the Islamic Republic as Great Satan but simply as big Satan. When Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, referred to the US as “big Satan”, the usual fawning corporate media in the West mistranslated it purposely as “Great Satan” in order to bestow some sort of greatness to the US. Actually Great Satan is an oxymoron. Muslims who shout “Allah-o-Akbar”, meaning God is Great, will never ever say Satan is great, least of all someone like Ayatollah Khomeini who coined the phrase.

Greatness is for character, bigness is for size. Khomeini called the US big Satan, and a few others, like Israel, smaller Satans. There are two words in Farsi, just like in English. The words ‘KABIR’ and ‘BOZORG’ respectively correspond to GREAT and BIG. Khomeini said “Sheytan-e-Bozorg” which is big Satan, not Great Satan”.
During the Islamic Revolution I was in Iran, and was considered a top-notch Farsi-English, English-Farsi translator.

All this mumbo jumbo of analysis is not conclusive . How about if the ultimate goal is just internal destruction of Syria through standoff situations that keep it going for years. This what needs to be attended to not playing the game of continuous war.

This article is total BS.

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