In researching my February 2nd post (Unintended consequences: Like Vietnam which triggered the Six Day War, is the present day Mideast crisis an unintended consequence of U.S. policy regarding Iran?), the details surrounding Operation Ajax came to light, when for the first time in history and, at the prompting of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the United States openly overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran led by Mohammad Mossadegh.
In an excerpt from a website that is dedicated to the former Iranian Prime Minister, who is quoted as saying “If I sit silently, I have sinned” the following concerning his vision for the country was shared:
Mossadegh envisioned an Iran that was independent, free and democratic. He believed no country could be politically independent and free unless it first achieved economic independence. As he put it, “The moral aspect of oil nationalization is more important than its economic aspect.” He sought to renegotiate and reach an equitable and fair restitution of rights of Iran but was faced with intransigence by the company. To put an end to 150 years of British political interference, economic exploitation and plundering of Iran’s national resources, Mossadegh engineered the nationalization of the oil industry.
In reading the above, one cannot help but be reminded of the American Revolution in which the forefathers of the greatest country on earth also sought to free themselves from British rule and the unwelcome involvement in an emerging nation’s affairs. Where would the country be today, if that patriotic revolution had been quashed?
What are even more compelling and complex questions center on the fact that with the success of Operation Ajax in 1952, did America forever undermine it’s ability to legitimately champion democracy in the Middle East and as an unintended consequence set into motion the events that eventually led to 9/11 and the current crisis in Egypt?
While these as well as other questions will be posed on the February 16th, 2011 49th Parallel Forum, the following series of videos from multiple sources including a 1987 PBS Special titled The Secret Government, creates if you will a sequential flow of events through time. Starting with the the fear of the threat posed by Communism in the 1950s (remember the McCarthy era), through to the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadegh government in Iran, and finally the PBS special which purportedly uncovered for the first time the existence of a covert government in America, the videos appear to tell a compelling story both individually and collectively.
The reason I laid down my pen so to speak (which is hard for a writer to do), and opted for the videos is that the images you are about to see truly reflect the the times in which these events occurred, creating or perhaps recreating an historic context that is important when assessing their impact on our world today – including the crisis in Egypt.
The Fear of Communism:
The Overthrow of Mossadegh (Operation Ajax):
The Secret Government: