Monday, February 27, 2012

My Blood Cries Out (Poem)

On the ground
Dripping slowly from my chest
Gunshots ringing in my ears
I lived in a quite live
In remote part of the country
I followed the rules
Was inside by curfew
Didn’t protest
And went to pro-government rallies
But my heart began to ache
After living a lifetime under this ruler
Having my voice silenced, my protests dispersed by tear gas
Being subject to random searches
Having friends disappear in the middle of the night
I hear America talking of freedom and democracy, of peace and justice
Yet they are the very ones supporting this government
My heart began to ache and I began to take action
No more random searches!
No more crushing of dissent!
No more ‘disappeared’ friends!
I will march, even if it is just me alone
I will fight for the freedom of my country
For the freedom to talk with friends openly
For the freedom express my opinion
For the freedom from constant fear
But here I am now
Blood dripping from my chest
Yet my blood cries out
For freedom
For justice
For democracy
I am the son in Tunisia
The daughter in Egypt
The father in Palestine
The mother in Bahrain
My blood cries out
To live a normal life
And until that occurs
My blood will cry out

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Empire of Poverty

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall 

NOTE: The following is a brief sampling of some of the concepts, ideas, issues, and events that are to be thoroughly researched and written about in two chapters of The People’s Book Project which will be funded through The People’s Grant, of which the objective is to raise $1,600 from readers and supporters. If you find the information in the following sampling of interest, please donate to the People’s Book Project and help facilitate expanded research on these and other related subjects into constructing two significant chapters for the book. For a look at what other information will be included in these chapters, see the latest information on The People’s Grant.

Slavery and the Social Construction of Race
Between 1619 and 1860, the American legal system, from that imposed by the British Empire to that constructed following the American Revolution, “expanded and protected the liberties of white Americans – while at the same time the legal process became increasingly more harsh as to the masses of blacks, with a steady contraction of their liberties.” This process marked the ‘social construction’ of race and with it, racial superiority and inferiority, delegated to whites and blacks, respectively.[1] Interesting to note was that between 1619 and the 1660s, the American colonial legal system was “far more supportive for blacks; or, phrased differently, the early legal process was less harsh.” Georgia’s original charter, in fact, had three prohibitions: no alcohol, no free land titles, “and no Negro slaves.” In Virginia, as late as 1672 and 1673, there were legal records of some slaves “serving limited terms as indentured servants rather than being sentenced to the eternity of slavery.”[2]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Punishing the Population

Punishing the Population: The American Occupations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

A brief glance at the early 20th century American occupation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic tell us a great deal about America’s role in the world today. The Dominican Republic is the Western nation on the island that was named Hispaniola by Christopher Columbus, and was later split between Spanish and French rule: Santo Domingo in the west and Saint Domingue in the east. The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 took place in Saint Domingue, where black slaves successfully revolted against the white French slave-owners and established the first black republic in history. The country was ruled by a military dictatorship which annexed Santo Domingo in 1822. In 1844, the residents of Santo Domingo expelled the Haitians, proclaiming independence as the Dominican Republic. Thereafter, the Dominican Republic became a major sugar producer in the world, and in the latter 19th century, American financial and business interests established extensive investments in the Dominican sugar plantations. At this time, Morgan and Rockefeller corporate and financial interests had established dominance in Cuba, following the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898, in which the United States achieved its three main goals: expel the Spanish imperialists, crush the Cuban liberation movement, and establish absolute economic dominance of the nation. This was achieved most especially during the 1920s and 1950s, with a transition from a Morgan-dominated Cuba to a Rockefeller-dominated Cuba, leading right up to the Cuban Revolution in 1959. [1]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Establishment of the Prison

The Establishment of the Prison: Humane Alternative or A Tool of Social Control?

In researching and examining the reasons for the existence of prisons, one may find an array of answers. There are many of those who would state that the creation of prisons is the common sense argument that it was a response to criminal activity and whose purpose was to rehabilitate those deemed “criminals” by society. Yet, the creation of prisons was actually a product of the Enlightenment Period, as can be seen in Cesare Beccaria’s book On Crimes and Punishment, where he applies Enlightenment concepts to punishment and imprisonment. However, prisons can also be viewed in a much different light, as Michel Foucault does in his book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, where he extols the idea that prisons were created as a tool of social control. The arguments of both Beccaria and Foucalt should be examined and applied into how they fit into the creation of prisons in early 19th century America.

The logical reasons for imprisonment were first conceived by Cesare Beccaria, an Italian philosopher of the Enlightenment age. In his book On Crime and Punishment he stated that people, wanting to live in relative peace and security, willingly gave up some of their liberty to establish laws which were enforced by an administrator or judge. However, having a judge is not enough due to the fact that it is “necessary to defend [liberty] from the usurpation of each individual, who will always endeavour to take away from the mass, not only his own portion, but to encroach on that of others.” [1] Thus, in order to ensure that people do not attempt to limit the freedom of others, punishments must be established for those who break the law. Imprisonment came into play as Beccaria thought that prison was the most rational of punishments as it was based in solid evidence due to the law determining “the crime, the presumption, and the evidence sufficient to subject the accused to imprisonment and examination.” [2] This manner of thinking not only established a logical basis for prisons, but it also represented a humane alternative to other punishments such as death and flogging. This would have a major impact on Quakers in 19th century Pennsylvania.

In colonial America, there existed buildings which were there mainly to lock up vagrants and those whose crimes didn’t warrant capital punishment. While these were called prisons, they were little more than holding cells and were not used to reform prisoners. That changed, however, with the state of Pennsylvania. After the Revolutionary War, in 1786, the penal system was revised and allowed for the death penalty in all but two major crimes. (This was in the spirit of Beccaria as he argued that swift punishments aided in the deterrence of crime.) In this revisement, a provision was included which allowed for public hard labor by prisoners. While this may have seemed like a good idea, it backfired as it only led to more crimes being committed and an overall increase in the number of prisoners. This caused widespread fear and panic, resulting in Quakers coming together to form prison reform groups such as The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Misery of Public Prisons. In addition to this, many Quakers also wanted a more humane system of punishment. Groups such as these pressured the Pennsylvanian government to create a state-run prison because due to “the severity of the laws, with the disgraceful mode of carrying them into effect” [3] such a prison was warranted. These demands resulted in the creation of the Walnut Street prison, which made Pennsylvania the first state to use prison to rehabilitate criminals.

Yet, one must ask the question: What is rehabilitation? Does it simply mean that the criminal no longer breaks laws or can it mean that in prison, he is socialized to become more compliant with the status quo? While the latter idea may seem far-fetched, it is exactly what Michel Foucault argues in his book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

As was previously stated, the want for a more humane system of punishment is why many Pennsylvanians argued for a prison system. The creation of the prison system was the most humane of punishments, not only due to its lack of barbarity when compared to other means of punishment, but also was the fairest means of punishment as prisons “[make] it possible to quantify the penalty exactly according to the variable of time” thus creating “wages-form of imprisonment that constitutes, in industrial societies, its economic ‘self-evidence’- and enables it to appear as a repartition.” [4]

The creation of the Walnut Street prison was also due to fear and panic on the part of Quakers. This fear, spurred by the increase in crime due to prisoners being out in public, would logically lead to the creation of prisons as “How could the prison not be immediately accepted when, by locking up, retraining and rendering docile, it merely reproduces, with a little more emphasis, all the mechanisms that are to be found in the social body?” [5] Essentially, what prisons do, are to take those who are deemed “criminals” by society (who are in reality social deviants) and funnel them into a system that reinforces societal norms on larger scale, with the hopes that the “criminals” will come out of prison being more compliant to status quo.

Examples of using punishment to force the behavior of criminals can be seen in 18th century Pennsylvania, in the form of the use of solitary confinement to force individuals to conform themselves to what was deemed “acceptable behavior.” Caleb Lownes, an active manager of the Walnut Street prison’s work program, tells such a story of one man who was put in solitary confinement for refusing to work and after several weeks of having little to no social interaction and unbearable living conditions, caved into the pressure and decided to work in the prison. It was noted that “The utmost propriety of conduct has been observed by this man ever since.” [6] Lownes noted earlier that “a change of conduct was early visible” when prisoners were informed “that their treatment would depend upon their conduct.” [7]

Thus, the establishment of prisons in the early United States was not only a more humane method of punishment, but was also used a tool of social control. This manner of thinking persisted for quite some time and manifested itself in such things as prison reform, in order to make the prisoners more compliant with greater societal norms. It is a manner of thinking that continues to affect prisons and prisoners to this very day.

1: Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment (United States of America: Seven Treasures Publications, 2009) pg 10
2: Ibid, pg 82
Caleb Lownes “An Account of the Alteration and Present State of the Penal Laws of Pennsylvania,” in William Roscoe Observations on Penal Jurisprudence and The Reformation of Criminals (London, England: Black Horse Court, Year Unknown) pg 6 [Please note that this book was retrieved from Google Books]
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. by Alan Sheridan (New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1977) pg 232
5: Ibid, pg 233
6: Lownes, pg 16
7: Lownes, pg 11

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Letter To Chris Christie

Author's Note: This letter was sent to Governor Chris Christie. He can be contacted here. File the letter under Requesting Proclamations/Special Letter.

Dear Mr. Governor,

You have recently stated your opposition to the legalization of gay marriage, stating that if such a law came to your desk, you would veto it. I greatly implore you to rethink this decision for it is one that facilitates a continuation of a system of inequality against the LGBT+ community.

The LGBT+ community is already having serious problems as not only have there been a considerable amount of suicides last year due to bullying, but we don’t even have the prospects of getting a marriage bill passed on the federal level as President Obama himself has stated quite explicitly in the past that he was not in favor of gay marriage. While these tragedies are currently being addressed, there are still strong pockets of harassment and attacks on those who identify as LGBT+. These issues are not far away; this bullying hit quite close to home recently as just recently anti-gay messages were found at Montclair State University, with one the messages promising that gays would be killed on February 7th. While no violence may have occurred last week, it still serves as an example that there are individuals who wish to harm people for no reason other than their sexual orientation.

There are many arguments against the legalization of gay marriage; however, one that persists is the argument that it goes against the religious beliefs of certain individuals. While these people have a right to their beliefs, this country was founded on laws to ensure that the rights of everyone have to be respected. They may have the right to be against gay marriage, but they do not have the right to curb on my civil liberties or that of other individuals. In this country we have the separation of church and state to ensure that laws favoring a certain religion and that any legislation passed remains free of any religious influence. This is not because religion is negative, but rather this is done to ensure that we do not evolve into a theocracy.  The fact that everyone has their freedoms respected is a part of what makes this nation great.

Other states have moved to give equality to all of their citizens with the latest state being Washington. The populations of these states have decided that gay marriage is not a major issue and want equality for all of their citizens. I am already a proud New Jerseyan and having New Jersey be among the few states that have legalized gay marriage will only make me have even more pride and love for my state.

LGBT+ people are not arguing to be treated differently than anyone else. Rather, we are asking to be treated the same as the rest of the population, given the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Thus, when you see the bill upon your desk, I do hope that you will first think of the ideals that this nation was built upon and the ideals that the citizens of this state believe in, before you veto a bill that would be a veto of equality for a group of people who want nothing more than to marry the person that they love.


Devon DB

Monday, February 13, 2012

Liberty, Anarchy, Property, Democracy and Power

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

I have had a number of debates and discussions recently, largely through various social media networks and similar avenues, on some issues that are of major concern to those who seek to confront the challenges of the present and construct a better path for the future. So I thought I would take this opportunity, with ideas fresh in my mind, to simply share some thoughts on these subjects and issues. There is also a relevance between these thoughts and The People's Book Project, for it is the research for the book which has shaped the conclusions and/or directions of these ideas, and which will be supported with historical facts throughout the book(s).

As the title indicates, the subject of this article is: Liberty, Anarchy, Property, Democracy and Power. What are these concepts? What are their historical and present manifestations? How do they interact, inter-twine, counteract, or confront each other? Is it possible to ground these concepts in a wider understanding?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Launching the Prison Project

Author's Note: I would like to announce the launching of The Prison Project. I have made a new website for the project which can be seen here. I would greatly appreciate your support for this endeavor. Thank you.

- Devon DB

“Prison Industrial Complex” It’s a term that many of us have come across in our lives, rather watching television or reading a book. However, there is only an understanding of the prison industrial complex in a modern-day context. The term was first coined in 1998 by either Eric Schlosser or Angela Davis and is has evolved to the point where it is defined today as “the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to what are, in actuality, economic, social, and political ‘problems.’”

However, these “overlapping interests of government and industry” existed before the 1990s. The problem that comes from viewing the PIC as having originated in the past two decades is that it does not look give a full and comprehensive view as to how a prison industrial complex even came to exist. Furthermore, it doesn’t ask the deeper question: Why do prisons even exist? We have become so use to the existence of prisons that we don’t even question why they exist and how they came into being. These are important questions to ask if one wants to have an in-depth examination of the prison industrial complex. As a follow up to the previous question, one must also ask what the original purpose of prisons was. However, in searching for the answer, all points of view must be considered. We must examine the everyday common sense arguments such as “To punish those who have committed crimes” to more intriguing ones such as Michel Foucault’s argument that prisons were being used as a tool of social control.

In addition to this, an examination needs to take place of how prisons have changed over time. Not only in the sense of prison structure, but also in the layout of prisons, guards, the treatment of prisoners, punishment of prisoners, and the change in prisons from rehabilitation to punishment, just to name a few topics. Asking these questions add a greater depth to our knowledge and understanding of the prison system works and thus may gives us clues on how to fight it. It will also allow for us to see who and/or what shaped and is currently shaping the minds of those who find themselves within the framework of the prison industrial complex.

Going back to the definition of the prison industrial complex, it mentions that there are economic, social, and political problems that prisons attempt to sweep under the rug by caging those who are victims of the current framework of power that favors those individuals with large amounts of wealth. The victims of the complex are usually those lower class individuals and usually people of color and, while usually male, are increasing female. Thus there is a socio-economic, racial, and gender lens to the situation, especially when one factors in the fact that many of those people who are the CEOs of privatized prisons are white upper-class men. There is also a labor aspect to the complex, as those inmates in private prisons are often used as a source of cheap labor by corporations.

Finally, there is the resistance to private prisons. Many people have realized the negative effects of private prisons and are fighting against them. This must also be examined as from there we can begin to conceptualize and articulate a world in which private prisons are not needed and the manner in which prisons are radically different than they are today.

This is what The Prison Project attempts to explain. It is an examination of the history of prisons, how they have changed over time, how they became privatized, the effect of privatized prisons on the US economically, socially, and politically, and the resistance to privatized prisons. It will conclude with an explanation of what it tells about American society that such institutions are allowed to exist. The entire goal is to give a detailed and in-depth view of how the prison industrial complex came to be and its effect on the society at large. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Government Uses Anti-Terror Laws to Crush Dissent and Big Business

When the Powers-That-Be Can Label All Americans Terrorists, They Can Arbitrarily Harass Anyone They Dislike

By: Washington's Blog

This article was originally published on Washington's Blog on February 9, 2012

For years, the government has been using anti-terror laws to crush dissent and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and see this ).
This trend is getting worse by the day.
On January 31, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security’s Behavioral Science Division pointed to the following as indicators of potential terrorism (please note – as you review the list – that some indicators are conservative, some are liberal and some are bipartisan):
  • “Reverent of individual liberty”
  • “Anti-nuclear”
  • “Believe in conspiracy theories”
  • “A belief that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack”
  • “Impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”
  • “Insert religion into the political sphere”
  • “Those who seek to politicize religion”
  • “Supported political movements for autonomy”
  • “Anti-abortion”
  • “Anti-Catholic”
  • “Anti-global”
  • “Suspicious of centralized federal authority”
  • “Fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”
  • “A belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in … survivalism”
Given that most Americans fall into one or more of these categories, the powers-that-be can brand virtually anyone they dislike as being a terrorist.
Indeed,  judges and  prosecutors discuss conspiracies every day,  and federal and all 50 state’s codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy , and specifying punishment for people who commit conspiracies.  (But surely judges, prosecutors and legislators are not terrorists.)
And Public Intelligence notes :
A flyer from a series created by the FBI and Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting states that espousing conspiracy theories or anti-US rhetoric should be considered a potential indicator of terrorist activity. The document, part of a collection published yesterday by Public Intelligence, indicates that individuals who discuss “conspiracy theories about Westerners” or display “fury at the West for reasons ranging from personal problems to global policies of the U.S.” are to be considered as potentially engaging in terrorist activity. For an example of the kinds of conspiracy theories that are to be considered suspicious, the flyer specifically lists the belief that the “CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”
I have verified the authenticity of the flyer: here it is posted on the Columbus Police Department’s website . (Take screenshots; it might soon be moved from the public section of the website.) [Editor's Note: I have taken the liberty of uploading the pdf file to Scribd.)
A number of PhD economists say that idiotic government policies and ruthless behavior by the big banks have led to Depression-level unemployment . Many patriotic Americans believe the same thing. Does that make them terrorists?
Many high-level military and intelligence officials say that the never-ending wars in the Middle East and North Africa are reducing our national security and causing unnecessary misery (and see this ). Many patriotic Americans believe the same thing. Does that make them terrorists?
Many 9/11 Commissioners, congressmen and high-level military and intelligence leaders believe that there was a cover up regarding 9/11 and that the full story has never been told . Many patriotic Americans believe the same thing. Does that make them terrorists?
The list of activities or attitudes which may get an American citizen labeled as a terrorist grows longer by the day. Indeed, the “terrorist” label in modern America is no different from the label during the Stalinist era of “traitor to the Communist party”. It can be used by those in the halls of power to arbitrarily punish any of the commoners
Even if some of these characteristics don’t get one labeled as a terrorist, they may very well get one labeled as crazy. Specifically, government apologists are eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a Stalinist trip to the insane asylum.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Israel and Iran Part 2: Shattered Friendship

Part 1 can be seen here

It is important to realize that while the alliance with the Shah was used to further US and Israeli interests and Iran was relatively close to Israel, it did not change the fact that overall, Iran wanted to become a regional hegemon. This had always been Tehran's true goal and it had never changed. The Shah as well as the general population believed in Iranian greatness and that conflict in the region would cease only when it was under Iranian supremacy.

The Shah's economic reforms and increased military spending were all focused on realizing this goal. During the late '60s and into the '70s, Iran quickly surpassed the economic and military might of its neighbors, thus establishing itself as the major regional power. This was all due to the jump in oil prices that occurred at the time. This increase in revenue not only allowed for Tehran to become the regional power but to also spread its influence throughout the region via giving loans to Arab neighbors.

During this time, Iran's military grew greatly and was modernized as the Shah "went on an arms shopping spree," doubling Iran's military expenditures from 1973 to 1974 and by 1976, "Iran's military expenditures had tripled, reaching an astounding $18.07 billion." [1] However, this was a regional phenomenon as (with the exception of Israel, whose military spending remained constant) all Arab nations went and increased their defense spending. In addition to this, Iran was using its booming economy to gain leverage over the Arab states, with Tehran giving loans totaling approximately $1.4 billion to countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Morocco in 1974 alone.

Yet, this increase in military spending didn't aid Iran very much in its quest for regional supremacy as the Shah was now in a situation where Iran's foreign policy had to be changed in order to win recognition from states that weren't on good terms with Iran as without this recognition, Iran would be unable to enjoy the benefits of its newly found regional position. Gaining recognition from its neighbors would enable Tehran to gain leadership positions in regional forums such as OPEC. Such a course of action would ensure that the Arab states took Iran's opinion into account and make sure that there was no challenge to Iran's regional authority. The economic aid also failed to greatly increased Iran's influence as those same countries could seek out assistance from oil-rich sheikdoms in the Persian Gulf.

This focus on influencing Arab states had a negative side effect: it created a situation where the Persian-Jewish alliance was put at risk due to the fact that as the Shah became more and more interested in making good friends with the Arab, he considered Israeli interests and concerns less and less. While such acts may have somewhat alienated Iran from Israel, the 1973 Yom Kippur war put the entire strategic alliance into question.

While Israel did win the 1973 war, the very fact that Israel was nearly defeated "prompted Middle Eastern nations to reassess their perceptions of the balance of power. The war damaged the perception of Israel's strength, which had significant impact on the political map of the region." [2] The Yom Kippur war itself worried Iran. They did not want an Arab victory as such an event would make Iran the only "outsider" in the region, leaving them isolated and subject to possible attacks from an Arab coalition. Israel recognized this as they attempted to undermine the improvement of Arab-Persian relations and that Iran benefitted from the existence of animosity between Israel and the Arab states.

There were other factors at play as well. If there was an Israeli victory, it could potentially lead to the fall of Sadat's government and the return of a pro-Soviet Union Egypt. In regards to the USSR, Tehran was concerned that the Soviets would take advantage of America's preoccupation with Vietnam to challenge Iran's regional supremacy. Such an action would put into question Iran's ability to control of flow of oil and subsequently its ability to determine internal and external economic growth. Tehran also did not want US involvement in the region either as the Shah "'wanted no restraints on his ambition to dominate the [Persian] Gulf, and he saw the U.S. Navy base in Bahrain as a rival to his own suzerainty.'" [3] Overall, the Shah wanted to maintain Iranian regional hegemony by playing virtually all sides.

With these interests in mind, Iran maintained neutrality during the war; however this was false as Iran played both sides during the entire war. In regards to the Arabs, the Shah gave oil to the Arabs during the war, thus weakening Israeli-Iranian relations further. The Shah further aided the Arabs in the form of medical aid, providing Saudi Arabia with Iranian pilots, helping Arab planes to resolve logistical problems, and at one point even sending planes to transport a Saudi battalion to the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in order to rescue wounded Syrian soldiers and bring them to Iran for treatment. Iran also allowed for the Soviets to aid the Arabs and refused to allow Australian Jewish volunteers to get to Israel via Tehran. In regards to Israel, the Shah continued to sell oil and weapons to the Jewish state.

This deceit and treachery caused Israel to feel betrayed by Iran and greatly strained the relationship between the two nations. The relationship was strained further following the war as Iran began trying to locate opportunities to reduce their reliance on the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline as due to the rise of a pro-US government in Egypt, the pipeline had lost its strategic significance as there was no longer any reason to circumvent Egyptian-held territory. Additionally, when Washington started up disengagement talks between Egypt and Israel, Tehran consistently sided with the Arabs, arguing that Israel should return all conquered land in exchange for peace and pressured Tel Aviv by freezing all military cooperation and ceasing the purchase of Israeli weaponry.

During the war, Israeli officials urged Iran to end its aid to the Arabs, telling the Shah that he didn't know who Iran's real friends were. However, what Israel did not realize was that the foreign policies of both countries were very different. While there was no formal alliance between the two, Israel expected Iran to act as their ally due to their common geo-political interests and intelligence cooperation. Iran, on the other hand, was quite cold in regards to foreign policy, having no time to think of such concepts as 'friendship.'

The Yom Kippur war forced Israel to rethink its relationship with Iran as the Shah had not come to Israel's aid, rather they used to war as an opportunity to solidify their position in the region. There was a problem, though: due to Iraq's newfound military might (they had the ability to overrun Jordan and be at Israel's eastern front in 48 hours), Israel was in need of an alliance with Iran even more than before the war. In an attempt to restart relations with Iran, Israel sent over Ambassador Uri Lubrani to Iran in 1973. Lubrani had a deep respect for Iranian culture and national cohesiveness, which Israel attempted to use to bring Israel back into the Shah's view. This attempt failed as Lubrani was regularly ignored by the Shah. While this situation was dismal and caused the alliance to be in a state of near disrepair, the final break between the two regional outsiders occurred in 1979 with the Iranian revolution.

At the outset of the Iranian revolution, the Israelis were not as surprised as the rest of the world when it occurred due to their intelligence network in Iran. Iranian officials indirectly revealed that discontent with the Shah was high when they turned to Mossad to aid them with the interrogation of more and more opposition members.

Somewhat prior to the Revolution, Israel had become aware that the Shah was politically paralyzed and unable to make decisions. Thus, the Israelis began to think about how they could save the situation and secure the Shah's reign. A split developed within the Israeli government. There were those who favored persuading the Iranian military to launch a coup and "those who believed that the new regime would soon collapse and be replaced by a leadership that would adapt to Iran's geopolitical realities and recognize its need for Israel." [4] Leading the former group was Ariel Sharon who proposed sending in Israeli paratroopers to Tehran with the objective of saving the Shah. This was voted down.

Eventually the Israelis began to talk to high-ranking Iranian military officials, arguing that they a coup to save the regime. This failed, though, as the Iranian generals were too afraid to challenge the Shah's authority, much less tell him how hated he had become. While the generals did take action in 1979, it was only after the Shah had fled to the US, and even then after the Carter administration signaled that they wanted a democratic Iran, most generals saw no choice but to flee the country.

When the new Islamist regime was finally in power, it dealt a major strategic blow to Israel. Tel Aviv had been continuously guided by the periphery doctrine even after they had made peace with Egypt and

within that strategic framework, Iran's location at the perimeter of the Arab world, its economic and military ties to Israel, its oil, and its traditional enmity with Iraq and the Soviet Union made it next to irreplaceable. After twenty-five years of Israeli political investments in Iran, the ties to Tehran had become a crucial element of Israel's regional strategy. [5]

While the issues of nuclear proliferation and Islamic radicalism fuel the problems between the countries today, at the heart of the situation lays the fact that Israel wants Iran back, wants the Shah back. They no longer want to be to "outsider" in the region, they no longer want a shattered friendship.


1: Trita Parsi, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007), pg 40
2: Ibid, pg 44
3: Ibid, pg 46
4: Ibid, pg 91
5: Ibid, pg 90