A little known fact that many in the “anti-imperialist” crowd would rather ignore is that Iran and Hezbollah both supported the rebel uprising in Libya and welcomed Gaddafi’s demise.
An August 2011 report from the International Business Times noted Iran’s embrace of the “National Transitional Council,” the rebel government seeking to oust Gaddafi:
Iran is now supporting the National Transitional Council, Libya’s rebel-lead interim government, severing its final ties with Moammar Gadhafi.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi spoke with N.T.C. Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil over the phone on Tuesday, congratulating the rebels on their victory over dictatorship. He also invited Abdul-Jalil to Teheran on a state visit in order to deepen bilateral ties.
Earlier in the campaign, Iran sent aid and humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people. The country has been supporting the rebels since March and called the fight against Gadhafi an Islamic Awakening. However, Iran is wary of the West’s involvement in the revolution, and thinks that NATO’s presence in Libya may come with the cost of colonization.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took a particularly strident anti-Gaddafi stance, praising the Libyan rebels as “revolutionaries” and wishing them victory over the “arrogant tyrant” Gaddafi. After Gaddafi was ousted and lynched in the streets by rebels, Nasrallah praised Gaddafi’s killers as “revolutionary fighters” and congratulated them on their “huge victory over the dictatorial regime of tyrant Muammar Gaddafi.”
Iran’s PressTV took an anti-Gaddafi, pro-rebel editorial line throughout the Libyan war in 2011. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, reflecting the position of his Iranian backers, praised Gaddafi’s killers as revolutionary heroes, as reported by PTV. Archived HERE.
Iran and Hezbollah’s beef with Gaddafi seems to all revolve around the 1978 disappearance of the popular Lebanese Shiite religious leader Moussa Sadr, which they blame on Gaddafi.
This article tells us:
“The one constant tension between Iran and Libya has been the mysterious disappearance of Lebanese Shiite leader Musa al Sadr, who was born in Iran. In 1978, Sadr disappeared during an official visit to Libya, which created tensions in relations between Tehran and Tripoli. Sadr’s niece is married to former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.”
Nasrallah allegedly said: “we are looking forward to the day when Sadr can be liberated from this dictatorial tyrant [Gaddafi].”
So the ostensibly non-sectarian Hezbollah and Iran have in fact played into the sectarian game themselves, and have revealed their two-faced stance on rebellion. According to our Iranian and Hezbollah friends, the rebellion in Libya was “good”, the one in Yemen led by the Houthis is also “good” (because the Houthis are a branch of Shiites), but the one in Syria is “bad.” Ironically, many of the Libyan rebels (which Iran and Hezbollah supported) jumped ship to Syria to join the “jihad” against Assad (who Iran and Hezbollah are fighting with against anti-regime insurgents), and many of the rebel groups that unseated Gaddafi were later subsumed into ISIS.
It seems the Iranians play the “good rebellion” / “bad rebellion” cards as they please. Ostensibly the Iranians would support any uprising so long as those leading it are pro-Iranian Shiites, hence their backing of opposition forces in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Sunni Gulf dictatorships, and their support of the Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad, which is the same one installed by the Americans as their puppet after ousting the Sunni-led regime of Saddam Hussein.
The Iranians hated Hussein because he invaded Iran in 1980, and were quite happy to see the Americans overthrow him. Iran also overtly supported and assisted the US invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. Iran was also mostly supportive of Russia in its brutal wars against the Muslim Chechens in the 1990s. We also can’t forget that the Iranians were covertly aided by Israel during the Iran-Iraq war.
So at the end of the day, our Iranian friends are looking out for their own sectarian Shiite interests, and have collaborated with the Zio-American empire when it has suited those interests. As has Assad in Syria who tortured innocent people at the behest of the CIA during the early stages of the ‘war on terror’ when he naively thought the empire would make him a partner instead of a target. Bashar al-Assad’s father Hafez al-Assad, who came to power in Syria in a Baathist coup in the 1960s, aided the US in the First Gulf War with more than 15,000 Syrian troops.
Gaddafi made the mistake of opening up to the West in the later 2000s in the hope of concessions and economic investment. In the end it came back to bite him, as it did with Hussein, Noriega and all of the other former Empire henchmen.
The point here is that it is foolish to look for heroes and saviours in politics. There are none. There are only different players with competing interests, all looking to get an “edge” over their opponents.
Some are better and more principled than others, but ultimately none of these regimes or groups – Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, etc. – truly live up to or stand by their alleged principles of self-determination, non-intervention, anti-imperialism, etc., and abandon them as soon as it is expedient to do so.
A truly non-aligned, non-interventionist, pro-self determination approach is the best and most consistent stance to take; one that should be adopted by all free thinkers not shackled by hero worship or partisan politics.