By Ramin Parham
The boldness with which the Islamic Republic of Iran has planned and carried out two series of maritime acts of piracy in just a month suggests only one thing, something that, to the knowledge of this writer and as this writing comes to edition, no US or European commentator has grasped or in any way even considered, not even in a transient style, not even as a variation among others! These blatant acts of piracy in international waterways against commercial targets, clearly deliver one single message: that the major stake in the battle of Iran, a major battle in this early 21st century, is the very survival of Shi’ism, conceived as a hegemonic and total system in Persia.
Theorized in Iraq in late 1960s, published in Lebanon in early 1970s, diffused throughout western campuses via Muslim Students Associations in the following years, and implemented in Iran in 1979, i. e., “in a capital where it was least expected” (H. Kissinger, World Order, 2014), Shi’ism faces the very survival of its existence as the spiritual, ideological, cultural, economic and political centurial Hegemon on the Persian Plateau. A hegemonic status that has patiently been manufactured over five centuries, systematically pursued since the second half of the nineteenth, opportunistically attempted at in the first half of the twentieth, revolutionary achieved and decisively implemented since the last quarter of the latter.
Analyzed as an ideology and culture, Shi’ism is nothing less than a hegemonic politico-theological system antithetical to intellectual liberty, the latter being the backbone of Western civilization with its unsurpassable artistic and scientific achievements since the Renaissance of ancient Greek creativity.
Analyzed as a State, with an ecclesiastic order no older than a century-and-a-half making the backbone of its 40-year long jurisprudential and governmental record, Shi’ism is a Hegemon which has parasitically outgrown over all spheres of public and private life: the Shia Lebensraum is boundless.
What is at stake in the battle of Iran, in this first quarter of the twenty-first century, is the survival of the Hegemon in one of the most sensitive crossroads of History and Geography in the heartland of the world island, in Iran that, “of all the countries of the region, has perhaps the most coherent sense of nationhood and the most elaborated tradition of national-interest-based statecraft” (H. Kissinger)
It is the ideological and political break from that “national interest-based statecraft” and the perversion of it into sectarian interest-based statecraft that has turned upside down the Westphalian system in the heartland of the world island, a system and an order repeatedly challenged by the Shia State over 40 years. Without a doubt, the Shia State born on the Persian Plateau in 1979 is the historic vanguard of the global Muslim radicalism in modern times.
For in its 40-year long jurisprudence, there isn’t a single piece of evidence that the Islamic Republic has acted in the national interest of Iran. Sectarian in the true and etymological sense of the word, the Shia Hegemon is disconnected outwardly in terms of its adaptability, and reclusive inwardly into emulation, its basic principle of cohesiveness, with the latter being historically a function of dissimulation. In fact, every single act in this 40-year parenthesis in Persian history is evidence, not to national concerns, but to sectarian survival instinct: there was no national interest whatsoever in taking over the US embassy in 1979, a unique act of piracy in diplomatic archives; no national interest whatsoever in pursuing a devastating war, following the quasi-total defeat of Arab armies at Khorramshahr in May of 1982; no national interest whatsoever in breaking internationally agreed-upon laws, in the pursuit of a nationally ruinous nuclear project, while sitting on the largest energy reserves; no national interest in building a curriculum vitae of State felony with the proven track record of an international gangster whose talents and governmental expertise range from hostage-taking and money laundering to drug trafficking and maritime piracy.
There is only one rationale that could serve as an analytical grid in profiling the Sick Man of West Asia: the Shia takeover of the oldest statecraft know-how and means in late 1979 AD in the “least expected” country, could paradoxically become its suicidal act in Persian history, should its State fail:
“If the System* is hurt, nothing will remain of Islam [in Iran] and its return will not be allowed.”
As expected, this time around, no one has better understood what is really at stake in the battle of Iran than Qassem Suleimani, the head of the al-Quds Force of the Shia Hegemon. Suleimani is fighting for the survival of his System.
It is up to the Persian national polity to reconstitute itself and fight for the only thing that is at stake for what has ensured so far its historic existence: the survival of an ancient, old and exhausted country in a fast-and-furious century where disruptors are in charge and disruption is a way of life and survival.
Dr. Ramin Parham is a writer, intellectual, scientist, and political activist based in France and the United States.
*Nezâm in Persian indicating, in official jargon, the Islamic Republic of Iran