Amidst the backdrop of the fifth anniversary of September 11 and the recent developments surrounding Iran and Iraq, I decided to conduct a research on the Iran-Iraq War in the hopes of finding a parallelism between the current events and those of two decades ago. Interestingly enough, I came across some startling facts which for some strange reason had previously eluded me.
While it is no secret that the United States and Israel were the main arm suppliers to Iran during Reza Pahlavi's era, what struck me as extremely odd was the fact that the two "love birds" managed to maintain a similar relationship with Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. In spite of its open "marriage" with Iraq, the United States and its sidekick (read: Israel) secretly kept a mistress (read: Iran) while supplying her with jet fighters, ammunitions and air-to-air missiles just to name a few.
Imagine Batman (and Robin) being in a relationship with Batwoman, who is feuding with Catwoman, who in turn is having a secret affair with Batman. While the two femme fatale neighbors are too busy being in a catfight, Batman and Robin break into their houses, steal their belongings, escape undetected and finally laugh their collective butt off. Now if you think that would make a stupid Batman installment, think again.
Iran and Iraq cumulatively spent an estimated US$1.2 trillion during the whole course of the war. And what was the return on invesment (ROI) you may ask? Close to two million people dead, thousands of war survivors suffering from the "Gulf War Syndrome" caused by the widespread use of chemical weapons, extremely devastated economies and totally indescribable mutually assured destruction, either infrastructurally, psychologically or physiologically. Oh, did I mention that at the same time, the West had an extra US$1.2 trillion bonanza to add to their already bulging coffers?
Now imagine what both nations could have achieved with US$1.2 trillion if they were to work with each other. For starters, they could have launched the Muslim version of the War on Terror against the ultimate terrorist state, Israel. Or they could have bought all the gold bars in the world and start exclusively trading in it, effectively kicking the American dollar and economy in the butt once and for all. Or they could have flooded Hollywood with countless movies depicting the atrocities committed by Christian, Jewish and godless infidels alike in which Muslims were the victims (read: the Crusade, the Bosnian War and some made up massacre horrifying enough to rival the Holocaust).
So much could have been achieved with US$1.2 trillion, but instead they chose to kill each other, in their own backyard nonetheless.
Interestingly enough, three of Israel's most high ranking Israeli officials are of Persian descent. They are Moshe Katsav (the current President of Israel), Shaul Mofaz (the current Deputy Prime Minister of Israel) and Dan Halutz (the current Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff). While their origin may have just been a pure coincidence (Persia is one of the Diasporas), it is still an interesting fact to note, especially since they have a lot in common. All of them were born into Iranian-Jewish families in Iran. All of them emigrated to Israel in the 1950's. All are directly involved in the Middle East conflict, either through the military or the government.
Now bring on the conspiracy theories.
Although not directly related to the Iran-Iraq War, this last fact concerns all of us Muslims. As if we have not learned from the stupidity of the Iraqis and Iranians, we Muslims are still carrying on their fine tradition of stupidity up to this day. In Malaysia, PAS and UMNO are still bent on each other's destruction with no end in sight. In Pakistan and Iraq, Sunnis are still slaughtering Shiites for breakfast. While in Sudan, Arab Janjaweed are still slaughtering black Muslims for lunch, dinner and supper.
If there is one thing I have learned from the Iran-Iraq War, it is this; if we Muslims really want to stop being the whipping boys of the West, we should start by putting an end to all the infightings that are beleaguring the Muslim world once and for all. Imagine the amount of money and time we can save, the number of innocent lives we can spare and the amount of progress we can achieve, if only we all try to get along with each other.