The Mistake of Rushing to End Diplomatic Ties With Iran
Monday, April 30, 2012
Shock waves were sent across the world last year when a shipment of 13 containers loaded with arms and ammunition was impounded at Nigeria’s Lagos port from Iran, a country banned by UN from trading in arms with any UN-member country. Iran’s confirmation that the shipment was bound for Gambia was greeted well by Gambian government, who suddenly severed ties with her hitherto friendly country. This, as Prince Sankanu writes, is a mistake on the part of The Gambia government.
My Brother President Jammeh, you can see the strategic error you made in rushing to cut diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with Iran.
We have lost a lot of free money and development aid for nothing.
The weapons that are stranded in Nigeria, if they were truly destined for The Gambia, could have been forwarded to our Malian brothers and sisters in line with Pan African solidarity to defend their country against the humiliating attacks of religious fanatics.
The squirrel hunting rifles of the Malian national soldiers cannot not match the heavy weaponry those terrorists looted from the leftovers of Colonel Ghaddafi’s arsenal. So they need all the help they can get to keep Mali united, secular and African.
The Gambia, as a Sovereign Nation, has the right to maintain diplomatic ties with any other nation for mutual interest. Be careful of all those who are telling you to issue statements of “The Gambian Government condemns” on global issues loaded with anti-American undertones. They just want you to be on the enemy list of USA and when the going gets tough, they will be the first to denounce you.
Remember that Charles Taylor of Liberia was enjoying his term in office as a democratically-elected president, but that did not stop the USA from uprooting him.
So please do not force yourself into the bad books of the USA until they consider you a “pariah leader of a rogue state operating against US interests in West Africa” and must be removed.
Your fellow ECOWAS and other African leaders will only offer you asylum but will not risk their relationships with USA to fight sincerely on your side.
Those Arab and Muslim countries that clap for your written or verbal anti-American and anti-Zonist statements are hypocrites. They will be the first to dump you.
General Al Bashir of Sudan was making a lot of noise when the ICC (International Criminal Court) slapped him with that arrest warrant. The moment he realized that the Arab and Muslim countries he can visit will not hesitate to hand him over to the ICC with just a phone call from The White House of USA, he started watching his steps.
Even the leading Arab or Muslim nations are fighting to be in the good books of the USA. The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran centres on who should be the better friend of USA.
When President Obama tried to improve relations with Iran, the Saudis felt threatened and jealous. They did everything they could to undermine that process, as they consider themselves the main partner of the USA in the Gulf, through their pact of oil-for-protection of monarchy. Without the USA, the Saudi monarchs would have long been removed by their subjects.
Iran has no expansionist geopolitical ambitions. It has just a legitimate self-defense plan in a volatile region. Of all the terrorists and religious fanatics caught so far worldwide not a single one has Iranian citizenship.
The main problem with Iran is the serious internal power struggle between the Mullah religious classes that are using religion to block inevitable reforms, and the military, that wants to correct the birth defects of the Islamic theocratic state form. This rivalry is affecting its foreign policy, with each side sending conflicting reports on, for example, the atomic energy programme to confuse the other.
They are not mad to wipe Israel out of the map as President Ahmadinejad once said, just to provoke his in-fighting rivals. The right wing Israeli politicians are making noises about it just to distract attention from the huge domestic problems they are failing to tackle inside Israel.
The Iranian atomic programme was started during the time of Shah Pahlavi with the help of the West and with the knowledge of Israel.
It is not a new thing that just came out of the blue. We should look beyond the sound bites and politics. The women in Iran enjoy more civil liberties than their sisters in Saudi Arabia. The internet penetration rate in Iran is the highest in the Middle East.
The Mullahs supported the internet and mobile infrastructure with massive funding as they wanted to us them for religious propaganda but the young digital-savvy Iranians are using them to fight for change, less religious control and more civil liberties.
The Sunni-Shiite rivalry is a matter between the Arabs and the Persians, just like the Palestinian-Israeli issue is a matter between the Jews and the Arabs.
We as Black Africans should put our interests first by getting non-religious development cooperation to build our economies.
Arab Muslims will never fight for Black Muslims. While Gambian, Senegalese, Nigerian and Sudanese Muslims are emptying their lungs to show solidarity with the Palestinians, Saudis, Pakistanis and Afghans, I am yet to hear that Arab/Afghan/Pakistani/Saudi Muslims stood up to fight for the rights of suppressed black africans in the North African countries and African domestic sex slaves in Lebanon and the Gulf States or for the final end to the slavery of black people in Mauritania. We still have fair-skinned “naar” Mauritanians in Gambia who are keeping black-skinned people as slaves.
I have yet to hear that one can build an economic superpower on empty stomachs and religious propaganda. If I were you Mr. President I would restore full diplomatic ties with Iran and bring back the huge development projects that were frozen.
Author: Abubacarr Sankanu