Friday, June 8, 2018

US Iran

Alex Finley has a good four-part series on how Iran and Americans got on each others bad-boy-list.  

Alex is a former CIA op who served in West Africa, and is now a satirist publishing on Politico, the Cipher Brief, Slate, her own blog and several others.

Her historical snapshots of the Tehran-DC relationship is full of insights and worth a read.

One snivel on my part though.  She calls Kermit Roosevelt the quiet, hidden force behind the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat.  Maybe she has better background info than I, but my view was always that Kermit and the US were minor players and that the coup was primarily engineered by the Brits.

Here is her twitter account:


  1. My understanding is that more recently released documents suggest that the SIS handed off much, or most, of the financial and organizational heavy lifting to the CIA.

    The biggest question still open on the '53 coup - to me, anyway - is to what degree the whole thing was really driven by fear of a Soviet-backed revolution versus pure "kick their ass/take their gas" greed.

    I mean, yeah, either "reason" turned out to be pretty damn stupid in the long term. But it's easy for us to forget what Eurasia must have looked like in the early 50's; commies everywhere! Korea, civil wars in Greece, Malaya, several places in Africa...the Comintern must have looked like a real Thing. IF Iran was part of all that, well...

    The counter to that seems to be the documentary evidence of CIA assessment of the actual strength of the local Reds as pretty minimal. I understand the coupsters even funded some local commies to help cause mayhem and sow "productive" trouble for the Mossadegh government.

    So the strong probability is that the US "intelligence" arm helped contribute a huge slug of political instability and trouble for its own employer for the betterment of friggin' Texaco and Shell.

    Good work, numbnuts.

  2. @FDC - "...for the betterment of friggin' Texaco and Shell."

    Make that for the betterment of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 53 percent of which was owned by the British Government. So you gotta ask: "Cui bono?" BTW the British Government share was not sold, it was for fuel for the Royal Navy.

    Kermit and the CIA did the work in-country because MI-6 had been banned from Iran and British visitors were closely monitored. But the Brits masterminded the overthrow of Mosaddegh and did the planning. The originators were Clement Atlee, Anthony Eden, and a certain former wartime PM who was also a former First Lord of the Admiralty [and whose initials are the same as for a latrine]. They boondoggled Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his baby brother at CIA into doing their dirty work. Not that the Dulles brothers needed much prodding. Seeing how successful it was, the following year they engineered another coup in Guatemala for the 'betterment' of UFC and the Banana Kings.

  3. BTW, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company changed their name just after the coup to 'British Petroleum'. Which is now known as BP of Deepwater Horizon fame. And I should also mention BP's 2006 Prudhoe Bay oil spill; BP's 2005 Texas City Refinery explosion; BP's 1967 wreck of SS Torrey Canyon; and several others:

  4. What has always struck me as foolish about the U.S.' approach to this is that 1) given it's location and size Iran will always be a regional power in the Middle East, but 2) it's Persian demographic and Shiite faith will always put it on the perimeter of the Sunni umma. So ISTM that a sensible U.S. policy would be to find ways of working with Iran to help cut down on the religious loonies that have nothing to lose by "shaking things up".

    Unfortunately, the U.S. had gone all-in on Israel, meaning that there will always be something to fight about with the Muslim nations, and we have our own religious loonies that are fine with that along with a current administration that considers shaking things up an actual foreign and domestic policy.

    So, in effect, WASF.

  5. FDC -

    We have for years been been 'all-in'. The Suez Crisis in 1956 was the last year we slapped their hand, wasn't it? But now, with the blowing up of JCPOA we have become an instrument of Israeli foreign policy. Trump's 'exit' speech of 8 May may as well have been written by a Likud party apparatchik. Israel is no longer the 51st state, instead the US now appears to be one of their subdistricts.

    1. My opinion has always been that if Truman wanted to give away someone's land for a Jewish state he had Utah; let the Mormons and Zionists fight it out, may the best God-pesterers win!

      Kidding aside, Israel is a great cautionary tale for "why defining your country by your religion is a Bad Idea". Because once that happens you're always going to end up losing that country to the nuttiest religious nuts; the original secular, socialist Zionists would be appalled by Likud's theocratic, oligarchic ethos. But if you're gonna make the bottom line for your country your religion you should expect to get owned by the people who are most intensely invested in that religion.

      It'd be grimly comical if it wasn't so grim.

  6. Iran has been offered Israeli technical aid to overcome water shortages to the current drought:,7340,L-3740019,00.html

    Is this a bonafide offer, or a ploy to turn some of the Iranian public against the current government? Or a bit of both?

    In any case, my view is that Netanyahu should use their technology to address the water problems in Gaza. It has been reported that 97 percent of available water in Gaza is contaminated by sewage. The entire Gaza Strip is a ticking cholera time bomb.