Thursday, September 07, 2006

September 1978: Egypt, Iran, and Jimmy Carter

September 1978 was a turning point in the modern history of the Middle East.
5 September 1978: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat begin the peace process at Camp David, Maryland

7 September 1978: Protests that began in 1977 culminate in a massive demonstration of millions in Tehran -- the Shah responds by laying down martial law

8 September 1978 - Black Friday: Iranian Army troops open fire on protesters in Tehran, killing hundreds and wounding thousands

17 September 1978: Egypt and Israel sign the Camp David Accords
Jimmy Carter, a born-again Southern gentleman farmer of the Democratic Party, dealt a coup de grâce to secular nationalism and pan-Arabism in the Middle East and served as a midwife* to the Iranian Revolution, which "will owe its importance to the potential that it will have to overturn the existing political situation in the Middle East and thus the global strategic equilibrium. . . . [A]s an 'Islamic' movement, it can set the entire region afire, overturn the most unstable regimes, and disturb the most solid" (Michel Foucault, "A Powder Keg Called Islam," Corriere della sera, February 1979).

* See Yoshie Furuhashi, "Class Power vs. Profit Maximization," LBO-talk, 12 August 2006.