In glorious defiance of state sexual terror and patriarchal theocracy, the women of Iran have seized the streets in mass protests throughout the nation and challenged the fearsome and brutal Revolutionary Guards and morality police in several direct actions, a protest movement which may become a general revolt.
Iran is still shaken and destabilized by the echoes and reflections of the near-revolution in its vassal state of Iraq, and as in the chaos of the Battle of Shiraz in December of 2019 in which I fought, mass action provides windows of opportunity in which to bring a reckoning to police and other enforcers of tyranny and to the hegemonic elites whose wealth, power, and privilege they serve, but while we failed to cast those who would enslave us down from their thrones on that occasion three years ago, this time may be different.
For this time we have a martyr, and one who was a member of the Kurdish people, a semi-autonomous nation with vast oil wealth, American and other international support, a dream of independence and a modern army to win it with, and famous for her women warriors and the social equality of genders.
I hope this will be enough to tip the balance; from the moment of Mahsa Amini’s death, the democracy movement against theocracy and patriarchy in Iran has become linked with the independence struggle of Kurdistan as parallel and interdependent forms of liberation struggle.
Patriarchy cannot survive if half of humankind refuses to be unequal to and subjugated by the other half.
The secret of force and control is that it is hollow and brittle; authority loses its legitimacy simply by being disbelieved, and force finds its limit in disobedience and refusal to submit.
As written by Martin Chulov in The Guardian, in an article entitled Mahsa Amini’s brutal death may be moment of reckoning for Iran, Signs of groundswell taking shape against state that routinely commits extreme acts of violence against men and women; “Mahsa Amini’s death in custody is fast becoming another moment of reckoning for the Iranian regime that fears a popular revolt more than it fears staring down the rest of the world.
Four days after Amini died in a Tehran hospital, protests in the Iranian capital show little sign of slowing. Most protests appear peaceful, but some in Kurdish areas of Iran have turned violent.
There are some signs that a groundswell could be taking shape: the first of its kind since 2009, when the death of another young woman sparked days of widespread unrest not seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Even now, Neda Agha Soltan’s slow demise from a gunshot to the chest remains a testament to how Iran deals with dissent, and with women. Soltan was shot by a sniper as she attended an anti-government protest in June 2009, in a moment that galvanized a revolt and, for a time, exposed the fragility of one of the region’s staunchest police states.
Images of Amini being dragged last Thursday into a van by morality police unhappy that she chose not to wear a head scarf have stirred memories of Soltan’s death, and once again raised the spectre of a state that routinely commits extreme acts of violence against women and men who defy it.
The decade plus between both events has been an era of increasing oppression in Iran, where activists have been confined to the shadows and the state itself has crushed all trace of the Green Revolution that followed the disputed 2009 presidential elections.
The state’s henchmen, known as basiji, whose members were responsible for killing Soltan, and the Revolutionary Guards, who enforce the values of the Islamic Revolution, have had the run of the streets, especially since the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president.
A hardliner with deeply conservative views, Raisi has further narrowed the margin for dissent, empowering the morality police and entrenching an inflexible interpretation of Shia Islam across all corners of the country.
Iran’s leaders have so far blamed “conspirators” for Amini’s death even thought it took place in one of the regime’s own cells, and also claimed that riots and protests were the work of foes, such as Saudi Arabia. The playbook is familiar, and so too are platitudes.
At the same time, semi-official state media has flagged an inquiry and claimed that senior officials, such as Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, were likely to have felt sympathy for Amini’s death, which had been earlier blamed on a heart condition, or epilepsy, neither of which the 22-year-old Kurd suffered from, according to her parents.
Iran’s hardliners have learned lessons from 2009, when a broad uprising nearly escaped the state’s control. The country now has some of the best and most pervasive digital security in the region and a firm hold over communities it has terrified into silence.
But it also finds itself up against a formidable expatriate network who want different things for the country and its people, and a strong homegrown activist push that knows how to organise. Whether Amini’s death will become another seminal moment in the pursuit of self determination by so many Iranians, or an ember that eventually cools, remains to be seen.
However, Iranian leaders fear a street they can no longer contain. The brutal death of another young woman is the recipe for more unrest. The regime has found itself in tricky waters.”
As written in Huffpost; “Iran faced international criticism on Tuesday over the death of a woman held by its morality police, which ignited three days of protests, including clashes with security forces in the capital and other unrest that claimed at least three lives.
The U.N. human rights office called for an investigation. The United States, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, called on the Islamic Republic to end its “systemic persecution” of women. Italy also condemned her death.
Separately, an Iranian official said three people had been killed by unnamed armed groups in the Kurdish region of the country where the protests began, the first official confirmation of deaths linked to the unrest.
Later on Monday, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported that small groups of protesters had again gathered in downtown Tehran, chanting “Death to the dictator.” It said the crowd numbered around 300 and that the protesters damaged street signs.
The governor of Tehran province, Mohsen Mansouri, accused foreign embassies of fanning the protests and said three foreign nationals had been arrested. He did not specify the nationality of the embassies or the detainees.
The U.N. body said Iran’s morality police have expanded their patrols in recent months, targeting women for not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab. It said verified videos show women being slapped in the face, struck with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing the hijab too loosely.
A similar patrol detained 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last Tuesday, taking her to a police station where she collapsed. She died three days later. Iranian police have denied mistreating Amini and say she died of a heart attack. Authorities say they are investigating the incident.
“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” said Nada Al-Nashif, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Amini “should be alive today.”
“Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest,” he tweeted.
Italy’s Foreign Ministry called for “the perpetrators of this cowardly act” to be held to account, saying “violence against innocent people, especially women and girls, can never be tolerated.”
Iranian police released closed-circuit video footage last week purportedly showing the moment Amini collapsed. But her family says she had no history of heart trouble.
Amjad Amini, her father, told an Iranian news website that witnesses saw her being shoved into a police car.
“I asked for access to (videos) from cameras inside the car as well as courtyard of the police station, but they gave no answer,” he said. He also accused the police of not transferring her to the hospital promptly enough, saying she could have been resuscitated.
He said that when he arrived at the hospital he was not allowed to view the body, but managed to get a glimpse of bruising on her foot.
Authorities then pressured him to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the likelihood of protests, but Amini said the family convinced them to let them bury her at 8 a.m. instead.
Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried Saturday in her home city of Saqez in western Iran. Protests erupted there after her funeral and police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday. Several protesters were arrested.
The governor of Iran’s Kurdistan province, Esmail Zarei Kousha, told Fars that three people were killed by unnamed armed groups, linking the violence to the unrest.
He did not identify the victims, but said one was killed in the town of Divandarreh by a weapon not used by Iranian security forces. He said the second body was found in a car near Saqez and that the third killing was “completely” suspicious.
The province has seen past violence between Iranian security forces and Kurdish separatists.
The protests spread to Tehran and other cities on Monday. A news website affiliated with state TV said 22 people were arrested at a protest in the northern city of Rasht.
State TV showed footage of protests on Monday, including images of two police cars with their windows smashed. It said the protesters torched two motorbikes as well, and that they burned Iranian flags in Kurdish areas and Tehran.
The state-run broadcaster blamed the unrest on foreign countries and exiled opposition groups, accusing them of using Amini’s death as a pretext for more economic sanctions.
Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mainly over a long-running economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions linked to the country’s nuclear program. Authorities have managed to quash the protests by force.”
As I wrote on the occasion of a previous visit to Iran to make mischief for tyrants in my post of December 2 2019, Battle of Shiraz: the democratic revolution against theocracy in Iran is now an open war; For two weeks beginning Friday November 15 through Monday December 2, Iran’s major city of Shiraz was engulfed in open war as the democracy revolution against the theocratic rule of the mullahs moves into the stage of direct challenge of its military and other tools of state control.
As reported in The Guardian by Michael Safi, “The petrol-price hike would trigger what may have been the largest-scale unrest in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic. Iranian officials this week estimated 200,000 people were involved in the protests and riots which led to 7,000 arrests and, by some estimates, the regime’s deadliest-ever response to demonstrations. Amnesty International have confirmed 15 deaths in Shiraz; those on the ground say the toll is much higher.”
By the count of the neighborhood militia leaders who have now organized themselves into a kind of rebel government, there are 52 or 53 dead among the citizens killed by the police and military throughout Shiraz, plus nine killed in the intense fighting in the Sadra district in which an elite revolutionary unit directly attacked the fortress of the region’s chief mullah on Sunday November 17.
What began as a peaceful protest and a shutdown of the city by abandoning cars in the streets turned quickly to open battle after police shot and killed Mehdi Nekouyee, a 20 year old activist, without cause. Soon armed bands of laborers stormed the police station he was killed in front of, leaving it in flames and marching on other government strongpoints as their ranks swelled.
Throughout the next three days the luxury shopping district on Maliabad Boulevard was largely destroyed, some 80 bank branches and several gas stations set on fire. The Qashqai minority of Turkic nomads and weavers who in Shiraz are an important mercantile polity declared independence and repelled successive waves of attacks by heavy weapons units and helicopter assault cavalry against their outlying district of Golshan. As they are a people virtually unknown to the outside world, I’ve included some pictures.
But the most important revolutionary action of November in Iran was the seizure of the chief mullah of Shiraz and his palace-fortress. An action whose meaning is central to the motives and binding purpose of the secularists who are fighting for democracy and to liberate Iran from the autocratic regime of the mullahs, this was a glorious victory which exposes the hollowness of theocratic rule.
Widely regarded as corrupt, nepotistic, and xenophobic patriarchs, the mullahs, like Catholic priests, were once sacrosanct from personal responsibility and protected by a perceived mantle of piety; so the primary mission of the revolution is to expose their venality and the perversion and injustice of their rule. A task made hideously easy in this case by the pervasive network of pedophile sex trafficking authorized by the mullahs and a major source of trackable income in the form of licenses they sell for temporary “pleasure marriages” in which consent is an imprecise concept. And that’s just one visible part of the vast iceberg of greed and immorality of their regime.
In Iran, the fight for democracy and freedom is also a fight against the patriarchy.
Notes and References
Iran, a reading list
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi
Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran, Fatemeh Keshavarz
City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran, Ramita Navai
Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, Shirin Ebadi
Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran, Shirin Ebadi
The Golden Cage: Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny, Shirin Ebadi
Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran, Shahrnush Parsipur
My Life as a Traitor: An Iranian Memoir, Zarah Ghahramani
Daughter of Persia: A Woman’s Journey from Her Father’s Harem Through the Islamic Revolution, Sattareh Farman Farmaian
Savushun: A Novel About Modern Iran, Simin Daneshvar
Rooftops of Tehran, Sholeh Wolpé
Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths: Poems, Sholeh Wolpé
Children of the Jacaranda Tree, Sahar Delijani
Prisoner of Tehran, Marina Nemat
Marriage On the Street Corners of Tehran: A Novel Based On the True Stories of Temporary Marriage, Nadia Shahram
Other Modern Literature
Then the Fish Swallowed Him, Amir Ahmadi Arian
My Father’s Notebook: A Novel of Iran, Kader Abdolah, Susan Massotty (Translator)
The Immortals of Tehran, Alireza Taheri Araghi
The Colonel, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Tom Patterdale (Translator)
Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran, Elaine Sciolino
Garden of the Brave in War: Recollections of Iran, Terence O’Donnell
Waking Up in Tehran: Love & Intrigue in Revolutionary Iran, M. Lachlan White
Shah of Shahs, Ryszard Kapuściński
Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup,
Christopher de Bellaigue
The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran, Roy Mottahedeh
God and Man in Tehran: Contending Visions of the Divine from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic, Hossein Kamaly
The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, Vali Nasr
Iran: A Modern History, Abbas Amanat
In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran, Christopher De Bellaigue
Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran, Jason Elliot
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East, Kim Ghatta
Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin Before Nationalism, Mana Kia
The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant,
Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan, Rudi Matthee
Classical Persian Literature
The Arabian Nights, Anonymous, Husain Haddawy (Translator), Muhsin Mahdi
Stranger Magic: Charmed States & The Arabian Nights, Marina Warner
Scheherazade’s Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights,
Philip F. Kennedy, Marina Warner (Editors)
Layla and Majnun, Nizami Ganjavi, Colin Turner (Translator)
Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings, Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Azar Nafisi
(Foreword) Dick Davis (Translator)
Epic and Sedition: The Case of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Dick Davis
Rostam: Tales of Love & War from Persia’s Book of Kings, Abolqasem Ferdowsi
The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr
The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy, Henry Corbin
The Essential Rumi – New Expanded Edition 2020: Translations By Coleman Barks with John Moyne, Jalal Al-Din Rumi
The Big Red Book, Rumi, Coleman Barks (Translator)
The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, Andrew Harvey
Light Upon Light: Inspirations from RUMI, Andrew Harvey, Eryk Hanut
Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom, Andrew Harvey,
Eryk Hanut (Photographer)
The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalāloddin Rumi, Annemarie Schimmel
I Am Wind, You Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi, Annemarie Schimmel
The Divan, Hafez (illustrated Gertrude Bell translation)
Divan of Hafez Shirazi, Hafez, Paul Smith (Translation)
The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez, Hafez,
Leonard Lewisohn, Robert Bly (Translator)
Diwan Al Hallaj, Mansur al-Hallaj, Louis Massignon (Translator), Arini Hidajati
Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr – Abridged Edition, Louis Massignon, Herbert Mason
The Book of Mansur Hallaj: Selected Poems & The Tawasin, Mansur al-Hallaj,
Paul Smith (Translator)
Iraqi: Selected Poems, Iraqi, Paul Smith (Translator)
Divan of Sadi, Saadi, Paul Smith (Translator)
Anthology of the Ghazal in Persian Sufi Poetry, Paul Smith Translator
The Persian Masnavi: An Anthology, Paul Smith Translator
Sweet Sorrows: Selected Poems of Sheikh Farideddin Attar Neyshaboori,
Attar of Nishapur, Vraje Abramian (Translation)
The Conference of the Birds, Attar of Nishapur, Sholeh Wolpé
Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation,
Omar Khayyám, Paramahansa Yogananda
Omar Khayyam: Poet, Rebel, Astronomer, Omar Khayyám, Hazhir Teimourian
Here are some of my previous posts on Iran:
January 12 2020 A re energized democracy revolution throughout Iran brings the theocracy of the mullahs near its fall in the wake of the government’s mistaken destruction of a civilian aircraft and its lies about its responsibility for the tragedy
After more than two months of massive protests in Iran against the rule of the mullahs, larger than anything seen since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah over forty years ago which brought the Shiite theocracy into power and includes massacres of hundreds of protestors but also open battle in Shiraz and other major cities between the government’s forces of repression and the people of Iran united in the cause of liberty, that no government may stand between man and God nor enforce compulsion in matters of faith, a re-energized democracy revolution brings the theocracy near its fall in the wake of the government’s scandal of murder and failed coverup.
The Islamic Republic’s mistaken destruction of a civilian airliner bearing 82 Iranian citizens among its dead, and the subsequent lies the government told its people regarding its responsibility for the tragedy, has redirected public outrage from America over the assassination of its national hero Qassem Suleimani back to the government and its tyranny of faith and global provocations, shattering a temporary alliance of pro and anti government forces which had aligned to resist American imperialism and the invasion expected to follow Trump’s unprovoked attack.
There has been much speculation regarding Trump’s motive for the Suleimani assassination, both a war crime and an act of war. Sadly, the motives are obvious; Trump ordered the murder of Suleimani from personal jealousy, as well as a diversion from his impeachment for his treasonous and criminal subversion of America and a ploy for the support of the Republican politicians in the pay of plutocrats of war.
As Trump concedes the defeat of America by the Taliban and begs peace after 18 years of pointless war in Afghanistan, he sought to inflate his ego by killing a military genius who was victorious in battle against both the Taliban and ISIS, keeping Iran free from foreign influences and who acted as an important American ally against two of our most implacable enemies.
Telling friend from foe was never a long suit for the Republican party of war, nor the disambiguation of self-aggrandizement from our national interest for our President.
January 1 2020 Chaos in Iraq as the regional democracy/nonsectarian revolution becomes a US-Iran proxy war
The scales of justice herein balance American support of a nonsectarian and democratic revolution throughout the region against the theocracy of Iran, including that of the people of Iran against the patriarchy of the mullahs, with the dangers of uniting shia and other militias in patriotic resistance against foreign influence and the devolution of an autonomous struggle for freedom to a destructive proxy war.
The Revolution needs all the help we can get against Iran and its pervasive influence and military forces in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Arabian Peninsula, but only when the people ask for America’s help, as they have done in Hong Kong against the Chinese Communist Party, should be send troops. Otherwise we look like an imperial invasion of their sovereignty, which plays to the enemy’s advantage.
America intervenes readily to protect oil as a strategic asset, but sidelines the delicate and precise task of nation-building and the long term goal of cultivating nations in partnership for the defense of liberty.
Addendum to discussions on strategic policy:
Assassinating enemy leaders in retaliation for the death of a contractor who failed to pay the usual tribute seems to me out of proportion and very like the Missing Man gambit Japan used as a pretext for the invasion of Manchuria; let hundreds of soldiers or civilian contractors run amok and pounce when one vanishes, having provoked a legitimate causus belli.
The main problem here is that the Shia militia is part of the Iraqi government, an alliance of competing independent generals much like the Chinese KMT during the warlord period of the 1920’s & 1930’s. This means America has struck against Iraq as well as Iran, and may unite the same people who have been protesting for nonsectarian democracy against the theocracy of Iran with the Iranian Shia armies, whom they see as a malign foreign influence, in the name of patriotism and national solidarity against us.
A proxy war fought in Iraq between the US and Iran will complicate the democracy revolution, which has become a major counterforce to the mullahs of Iran throughout Lebanon, Iraq, and within Iran itself, and will require skillful handling in many arenas to preserve from the taint of foreign imperialism.
By this I mean that the democracy forces who are our natural allies against Iran and would normally celebrate in the streets over military victories against their Iranian oppressors may be forced to lead the resistance to American occupation to preserve our legitimacy. So, whereas American support of Iraqi indigenous forces to preserve national sovereignty against Iran would be welcome, an invasion by an historically blind and destructive giant must be resisted.
January 4 2020 Cry Havoc: Consequences of the American Assassination of the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Military Leaders
As the consequences of this event ripple outward through the medium of time, multiplying possibilities. alternate futures, transforms of ourselves and our shapings of one another, the true magnitude of the American assassination of the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite military leaders will unfold.
It is a seed of destruction, but of who?
Trump has cried havoc and loosed the dogs of war; but such agents of death, once free of their leash, know no master and may devour us all.
An age of Chaos dawns, and we are abandoned to its whims and to its wantonness as it seizes and swallows the mighty, disrupts and changes power relations and structures of social form, bringer of death as an aspect of Time but also of transformation and rebirth.
Chaos which I celebrate as a principle, but which must be wielded as a dangerous and multidimensional force with great forethought and caution as we play the Great and Secret Game, for action and reaction always strike in both directions.
The magnificent Guillermo del Toro, in his gorgeous work Carnival Row which explores themes of racism and inequality among war refugees in the nation which failed to defend them from their conquerors and in harboring them finds itself confronted with an alien people as neighbors amid squalor, poverty, and social destabilization, much like many nations in our world today, depicts the formation of an alliance between two leaders of rival factions:
“Who is chaos good for?”
“Chaos is good for us. Chaos is the great hope of those in the shadows.”
Yet I cannot overstate its peril.
September 19 2019 Our Strange Relationship With Iran
It’s hard to see our strange relationship with Iran as anything other than one of patronage and covert alliance, as Ali Demirdas argues in the National Interest; “”More than seven thousand American servicemen have been killed, over 53,000 have been wounded, and more than $5.9 trillion in American taxpayer money has been spent since 2001, only to serve Iraq and Afghanistan to Iran on a silver platter”.
Without the extraordinary support of America since the 1979 revolution, the theocracy of the Shiite mullahs would have been overrun by their Sunni enemies long ago, and recently Trump’s provocations and diplomacy of bluff-and-fold ensured the resilience of the government of Ali Khamanei and stopped a democratic revolution dead in its tracks.
Once again, Trump has strengthened our enemies and weakened our allies; a pattern beyond coincidence which I regard as yet another proof not only of the blundering idiocy of an ignorant blowhard, but also of a policy of sabotage of American interests. Indeed, Trump is the greatest agent of influence the Soviet KGB and its successor state ever ran against us.
But I digress, for my subject today is Iran as an example of things which are not as they seem. In the wilderness of mirrors, illusions, false images, diversions and lies which is the funhouse of American history and our imperialist plutocracy and global hegemony of power and privilege, the law of unintended consequences, often of the second or third order of effect, has had free reign in the Middle East; but so has subterfuge and the obfuscation of motives and intent.
We created ISIS by invading Iraq, which was a blatant seizure of oil wells under the absurd pretext of stopping global nuclear war by overthrowing Saddam’s Sunni regime of anti-Shia terror; in effect this was a brilliant redirection of rage and anti-Islamic hysteria generated by the 911 bombing against a nation which had nothing to do with it in order to steal a strategic asset and enrich the oil barons of Texas. Also, this eliminated a major threat to Iran.
And created an enormous problem for us, as the Iraqi generals and their armies exiled by our de-Baathification campaign reformed as ISIS/Daesh, and we all know how well that went. Following the Shia Genocide conducted by ISIS, we once again did Iran, its asset Hezbollah, and the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria the enormous favor of annihilating another iteration of ISIS two years ago in Operation Inherent Resolve. Yet no cookies were offered, no hosannas sung in our praise by our pet regimes.
We also managed to unite the Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan and the Shia state of Iran in common cause against our invasion, an impossible dream of holy war which is the only historical motive force greater than the riven sectarian conflict within Islam.
And so today, after our many efforts in the region which have cost us much in both blood and treasure, the Taliban is far stronger than when we invaded Afghanistan, and a resurgent Iran is moving into the power vacuum as we abandon the region in defeat.
We have spent American lives to no purpose or advantage; and this is why the war faction of the Republicans embodied by Bolton have tried to stop Trump from running with his tail between his legs at the first sign that his intimidation tactics have failed like the coward and bully he has always been; some people seem to have never learned the Sunk Cost fallacy, and just keep throwing good money after bad.
So, what is the best course of action for America regarding Iran and Afghanistan, now both resolved to stand against us as a united front?
Why not walk away, and leave them to find their own best destiny?