There is no more available hotel room in Tehran!
The Iranian capital seems to have suddenly transformed into the umbilicus Mundi, “the place to be” – more crowded even than Bethlehem on the evening of the birth of the Messiah.
Emissaries from all governments in the world, heads of state from every corner of the Earth, French, Italian, Swiss, South-Korean… academic researchers, tourists and, in even greater numbers, representatives of multinationals from around the globe all push each other around in Iran, like the pilgrims around the Kaaba on the ninth day of Dhu al-Hijja.
Iran is no longer the “bandit state” that Washington and Brussels sanctioned hand-in-hand only few months ago: since the quick and sudden signing of the Iranian nuclear agreements on the 14th of July 2015, the country regained its honour within a couple of days, hours even, and finds itself most-desired as of then. These agreements happen after twelve years of Western to and fro, and whose suddenness can probably only be explained within the context of the struggle against the Islamic State – knowing that Tehran is the only regional power ready to deploy ground troops. De facto, Iran imposed itself as “the” partner of the international coalition against the IS led by the United States.
Beyond its active and determined participation in the war that proceeds against the Islamic State (a war, which the old Western allies in the Gulf do not wish to be a part of, the very Sunni Kingdom of Saudi Arabia being amongst the most reticent petrol monarchies to fight what they contributed to create, precisely to counter the growing influence of Shiites in Iraq and their Alawi ally in Syria), the new Iran of Hassan Rohani shows itself ready for all commercial and financial compromises that may heighten the appetite of the Atlantic capitalism, whose leaders, since then, have promptly put aside the numerous and diverse doubts that not long ago came across the lips of their diplomats when the aim was to stigmatise the (military) use of nuclear power of Persia. Now a contract is being negotiated about the purchase of 118 Airbuses, the big travel agencies already fight over the market shares of an already revived tourism, the Iranian petrol will inundate the European market with 700.000 barrels per day… and Federica Mogherini, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union has hastily travelled to Tehran, veiled, to discuss the modalities of the opening of a permanent representation of the EU in the “country of Ayatollahs” (as it was still called not long ago).
The exiled Iranians, the opposition of the Islamic Republic and other defenders of the Human Rights that until recently had been invited to television shows for ritual-like Iran-bashing sessions, are having a tough time trying to appear on the media: nobody wants to hear them anymore!
Because Iran is now a market of more than 80 million people who only want one thing: Western-style consumption.
Washington is even snobbing the protestations in Tel-Aviv! Very revealing…
And in the meantime…
In the meantime, the human rights defence NGOs are being frontally attacked by the Egyptian regime and their militants are put into prison by the truckload under the most made-up and false pretences, notably that of “foreign complot”, an old recipe of domestic politics, used without rest since more than forty years in all the post-colonial dictatorships of the Arab world. The “saviour of Egypt”, the Marshal who, from time to time, dresses as a civilian, al-Sissi, dares everything! Courted without any sign of shame by Paris and a new friend of Moscow, why should he not accept? And so, business has taken up its routine again; invariably the world stutters… A popular revolt, a false democratic uprising of a civil society, incapable of transforming the test that gave birth to a dictatorship without pity and of a worrying ferocity that (nearly) awakes regrets about the Mafioso oligarchy overthrown during the winter of 2011.
“To preserve their balance in Africa, totalitarian regimes have often proceeded to a selective or mass slaughtering”, wrote, about a year ago, one of our correspondents in Tunis. “Did the Egyptian people understand this? This people that leaves the upper hand to an arbitrary and selective penal justice. Al-Sissi is apparently idolised by a majority of Egyptians! The flocks of protesters, often assassinated, should therefore not count; for the millions of dazed Egyptians, they are only some parasites that are to be eliminated. Africa always loved its dictators in such a way (and the bank accounts in Switzerland); and the question of how many terms a President may remain in office, on the continent of Nelson Mandela, remains the good joke that is told in the anterooms of the palace, laughing out loud.”
At the same time, in Tunisia, Beji Caïd Essebsi, the former torturer of the days of the Bourguiba regime has become the democratically elected president of the country and (already) projects a reform of the constitution that would grant him more… power… yet another stutter of history. Talking about Tunisia, one can not speak of a “dictatorship” anymore, but certainly, as it is increasingly being called on the terraces of the Bourguiba avenue, of a “false democracy”.
At the same time, dictatorship (yet again!) is a project and also seems to be getting more concrete in Turkey (amongst other countries): the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also seems not to have to answer to anyone, ordered the arrest of about 140 citizens, of which 88 had already been incarcerated. Arrested, why? Because they are suspected of having links with an old political ally of Erdogan’s: Fethullah Gülen, who turned his back on the AKP and has found refuge in the United States after having denounced the corruption of the regime and the dirty financial affairs of the president’s family.
At the same time, the tribal clans of Libya desperately try to inspire the country with at least the illusion of being a nation, so as to limit the expansion of the Islamic State that eats away at the centre of Libya’s territory; and at the same time, Yemen carries on its descent into hell -an atrocious war of which nobody in the “free” world seems to hear.
At the same time, then, the “Arab spring”, born from the imagination of Western newspapers, continues not to keep the promises, which the analysts and journalists of all kinds had invented, comfortably seated behind their desks of Paris, London or Brussels. They saw images on the television; but all those who have the habit of researching a topic on the ground know that the reality is an entirely different one.
“The Arab spring”… The expression has eventually disappeared completely from the vocabulary of the editorial teams who have been wrong about everything: loyal to their methods, they avoid so come back on their waffling and prohibit themselves from pointing out to a distracted and forgetful audience what the current state is; so as to preserve their “credibility”… full stop.
At the same time… Thank you, Russia! And thank you too, Ayatollah!
The Russian air strikes (which, as it has been heard, have not ended with the announcement of the “partial” retreat of Moscow’s forces from Syria) did indeed allow the re-conquest of Palmyra by the regime forces of Bashar al-Assad and the retreat of Jabhet al-Nosra (al-Qaeda in Syria) in the governorates of Idlib and Aleppo; no one still speaks of the revolution and of the abandoned Free Syrian Army.
Iran and the Shiites of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria are today the spearhead of the re-conquest of those territories that the Islamic State has invaded, whilst the Kurds of Erbil, called the “heroes of the West” for a while, are about to leave the coalition, satisfied with having constituted their own free living space.
So, what is it you say to Vladimir and to Hassan?