Should Western Powers Intervene Militarily in Iran?
Debate Rounds (5)
I would like to state here that I am against the notion that western powers should start a potential third Gulf War.
I am looking for an articulate opponent and I am keen to see his/her counter argument. I would obviously like to win the debate, though I would like a good debate and I will be graceful in defeat to a superior opponent.
I wish my opponent the very best of luck and anticipate a great argument :)
I accept this debate with the assumption that this is the resolution, "Resolved: Western Powers should not intervene militarily in Iran."
We are both clearly articulate and intelligent people.
This shall be a good debate, and I wish you luck, but I have Allah on my side; he will show me the path to rhetorical superiority.
I will offer the following definitions:
Western Powers: the political countries in Europe and North America, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Argentina 
Should: must (highly recommended) 
Intervene: get involved, so as to alter or hinder an action, or through force or threat of force 
Militarily: with respect to the military 
 This is what most people agree are the Western Powers
I hope you will argue this next round with sound logic, sir.
Now, I'd like to state my case and explain why I am against western intervention.
AP 1: First of all, I'd like to point out economic interests supporting western intervention in the region. It's no secret that there is a vast amount of oil in the middle-east. Equally, it is no secret that the world's #1 superpower needs a lot of oil. Some of you may believe that conflict over oil is a relatively modern phenomenon. This is not so, as demonstrated by the quote below:
 "Persian oil...is yours. We share the oil of Iraq and Kuwait. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it's ours" Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944, speaking to Lord Halifax (British Ambassador).
This demonstrates that imperial powers were dissecting the middle-east to supply themselves with oil as long as 67 years ago. Now, let's have a look at the result of western intervention in the region in more recent times.
 Mohammad Mosaddegh, democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran (1951-53) was removed from power by the CIA and SIS after he stated his opposition to the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in favour of nationalisation. He wanted to nationalise the oil industry because of the poor deal Iranians got (Britain siphoned off the majority of the profits).
 The US supported the regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, that forced westernisation upon the Iranian people. It could be argued that the Shah was a puppet for the west because of his support for westernisation and his trade agreements with the USA. He was later ousted by a popular revolution.
AP 2: The first Gulf War. Here are some facts/figures for the impact of the first Gulf War.
-In a 1999 a UN report claimed that Iraq "has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty."
-Iraq's GDP fell by 2/3 in 1991, owing to an 85% decline in oil production and the devastation of the
industrial and services sectors of the economy. Per capita income fell from $US3416 in 1984 to less than
$US1036 in 1998. Other sources estimate a per capita decrease as low as $US450 in 1995. [IMF and
March 1999 UN Report]
-"Alarming food shortages are causing irreparable damage to an entire generation of Iraqi children."
[September 1995 UN Report] One-fifth of Iraqi children under the age of five are malnourished. [UNICEF
2000] Child malnutrition in rural areas is increasing. [UNSC 2001]
-The sanctions have contributed to the death of over 1.5 million Iraqis (MECC 1999). UNICEF estimates
that an additional half a million children died between 1991 and 1998 compared to the case if mortality
rates had continued to decline on the same trend as in the 1980s [UNICEF 1999].
- The civilian death toll in 1991—after the massive bombing campaign was stopped— rose to 111,000 people. Shortages of medicine and damaged health facilities contributed to this high rate of "delayed mortality.
These are largely deaths of innocent people caused directly by western intervention in the region. Despite Saddam Hussein being an evil man, western military intervention led to many more civilian deaths than his regime and had a larger impact on the citizens of Iraq. The same thing would happen in Iran if the west got involved. How do we know? Look at 'shock and awe'. Coalition forces would no doubt employ the same force concentration tactics in Iran as they did in the second Gulf War. The reason for this is simple: the Coalition have enormous military muscle, so to speak, and they want to flex these muscles to show Tehran what they can do. This is a definition of shock and awe, actually named 'rapid dominance' by it's authors.
'Rapid dominance is defined by its authors, Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, as attempting "to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary to fight or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe." Further, rapid dominance will impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on . . . [to] seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary's perceptions and understanding of events that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at the tactical and strategic levels."
Which would be well and good, only trigger happy Coalition forces don't always discriminate between military targets and civilians, as can be seen by the death tolls in past conflicts in the middle-east.
AP 3: The potential intervention would largely be down to the amount of oil in the region. As mentioned in AP 1, the USA needs a lot of oil. Oil has a lot of value. Iran owns some of the largest oilfields in the world. So would it not make sense to remove the anti-western leader and install a puppet government that would supply the west with oil at a lower price? But that's generally considered foul play. So rather than simply do that, just claim that mad Iranian scientists are creating weapons of mass destruction and show some angry mobs on the news, burning US/British flags to get people stirred up. Seriously, the weapons of mass destruction card? How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? And even if nuclear weapons were being created, Russia - a western power according to 'pro' - aren't too far away with a cache of 8,000 nuclear weapons. Even Ahmedinejad knows that if he ever used a nuclear weapon that he would be vapourised. Speaking of Russia, weren't the Soviets going to destroy the world according to the western propaganda machine? See how fear of the people gains support for war? When people feel threatened they naturally want to support the people they perceive as their protectors. But their 'protectors' systematically lie to them in order to support their own interests.
AP 4: Intervention in Iran could be argued to be based on ideological differences. It's the quintessential east vs west dichotomy. This sort of conflict has been going on since the middle ages. It's the white European Christians vs the olive Middle-Easterners. Christianity vs Islam. Private enterprise vs state enterprise. However you look at it this tension, it's partially caused by difference in belief systems. When a country has a different belief system to the USA, it faces their aggression until they admit they are 'wrong' and come round to their way of thinking.
The similarities between the crusades and modern western intervention in the region could be argued to be these:
-Spreading of western capitalist influence. This is particularly apparent today. The removal of the Ba'ath Socialist Party in Iraq, the removal of the Islamic theocracy in Iran. This is similar to the killing of Muslims and building of churches in the holy land during the middle ages.
-The acquisition of an object of desire held by the east, but wanted by the west. This in the medieval period was Jerusalem and the holy land. Nowadays it's oil. Is there no similarity here?
-Demonising the enemy. This occured during the middle ages too, claiming that the enemy soldiers were heathens, enemies of God etc. Now Iranians are demonised in the same way in the western media.
AP 5: Coalition intervention involves the spreading of 'Democracy'. Now, we in the west like to think that we are free. However, are we actually? Arguably, we DO have MORE freedoms than some countries, but essentially the west is not a free place. It is just that the power lies in the hands of private firms and not the state (the real power anyway). Western powers wish to spread their kind of democracy to Iran, but this is not what the people of Iran appear to want. They have had a popular revolution before and proven they have the strength and courage to overthrow a regime they disagree with so they are capable of doing it themselves if they wish.
I thank my opponent for giving a list of reasons why Western military intervention is dangerous and detrimental to the West; however, he sees only through the unbelieving eyes of a Westerner. I have seen both perspectives.
The resolution does not state, "Would the Intervening of Western Military Powers in Iran be harmful to the West?" It states "Should." I think the West should intervene, because it contributes to the West's downfall. This appeases Allah.
Contention 1: The use of nuclear warheads against the United States will be justified because of self-defense. The use of unjustified force against one person provides the necessary requisite for force used in self-defense retaliation. Therefore, if the United States attacked my brothers and sisters in Iran, they would have the ethical and logical obligation to use force (e.g. guerilla fighting, bombings, and nuclear warheads against the United States and their allies/enablers). The United States has been involved in my homeland and in the Middle East for many many years, murdering and bombing mercilously. If the United States launches a military occupation of Iran, it will pay for its grievous offense to the people of Iran. The Qur'an states that we should, "Torture those who insult Islam." It's our duty to "fight against the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) collectively as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).' If you attack my brothers in their homeland, they will have every reason to take down the United States or Western Nation who provokes. They should intervene militarily in Iran, so they finally get what they deserve. To follow Allah, but with a clean conscience, requires the intervention of Western military powers in Iran for Allah, the people, and I to agree to use nuclear weapons.
Contention 2: The West (whichever nation(s)) will sink into a debt crisis during the war ensuring a victory for Allah. Most of Europe is battling with high debt-to-GDP ratios right now. America is in worse shape, but the rest of the world doesn't notice, because their interest rates on bonds hasn't risen due to America's ability to seemingly keep their Ponzi-scheme of increased borrowing up. America has become a veritable Bernie Madoff. Hypothetically, if they were to engage militarily in Iran, their facade of cheap borrowing will be revealed for what it truly is: a Ponzi-scheme. America will be in dire economic straits, the war will further be bankrupting them, then because of the reasons described in Contention 1, we (my brothers and sisters in Iran) will be able to launch nuclear weapons against them. However, this contention is primarily focused on the economic failure that will be caused due to military involvement.
Contention 3: The West will receive fewer oil shipments. This is true, and my opponent has already provided a great list of reasons why. [See his AP 3] As he stated, the West is very reliant on foreign oil, and with decreased shipments theiry economies and people would suffer.
The Western power that invades will suffer economic, social, and political losses and instability. That is exactly why they should invade, because Allah wills it. "And when We desire to destroy a city, WE COMMAND its men who live at ease, AND THEY COMMIT UNGODLINESS therein, then the Word is realized against it, and We destroy it utterly." S. 17:16
And I like to thank my opponent for the response, though I do not believe this response is particularly useful on his/her part.
1) A reason the west shouldn't get involved.
2) A reason the west shouldn't get involved.
3) A reason the west shouldn't get involved.
I look forward to your response.
Thank you to those who are judging :)
My opponent blatantly disregarded my arguments, then used them as strawman-turn arguments. This is a complete disregard for all of the rule of sound rhetoric. He has presented no further evidence and has not contradicted my arguments except in the feeble attempt to persuade in a grossly petty way.
In my subjective view, all of the reasons Con proposed and all of the reasons I proposed support my side of this case.
Nuclear Weapons can destroy a nation; Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons capabilities; Iran will soon have the ability to destroy a nation or nations that invade.
The incentive to develop this capability will be increased with Western military involvement in Iran; Iran's primary religion in Islam which calls for us to "destroy [a city] utterly" which "commit[s] ungodliness therein;" thus, the incentive to destroy the West will be not only theologically and morally premissible, but theologically and morally required.
Duty to country + Kant's Duty to self + Duty to Allah > Inaction
The West should get involved, because it incentivizes Iran to destroy the West which appeases Allah as stated in Surat al-Isra' 17:16.
"The downfall of the west will come from the People's Republic of China when it becomes #1 global superpower."
Foolishness. The People's Republic of China would not destroy the West. The West, particularly the United States, is the number one buyer of Chinese-made goods. They will exist in peaceful diplomacy and beneficial trade. Why would a country invade those countries which have made it the economic super-power it has become? It's a non-sequitur, sir.
If my opponent has no arguments as to why the West shouldn't militarily intervene in Iran, I will graciously accept his forfeiture.
Thank you, and Masha'Allah
Secondly, regarding my comments on the shift of global power from west to east, this is evident. What I mean by the downfall of the west is the loss of the stranglehold that the United States and the European Union have on global economies. The true power in the world will shift to the east, to Russia/China/India, and then it will be us who are jumping to their tune. I did not mention any war or invasion as this will not be necessary for a power shift to occur.
My apologies if you thought that my dismissal of your arguments were somewhat flippant, but I genuinely did not believe your arguments were serious. My suspicions were furthered by reading the comments section as other users of this site also apparently believed that I had fallen foul of a 'troll'. Whether this is the case or not, allow me to counter your arguments.
"Nuclear Weapons can destroy a nation; Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons capabilities; Iran will soon have the ability to destroy a nation or nations that invade." I do not believe that Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons, I believe that this is a trumped up accusation made by the west as a precursor to a possible invasion. I do believe however that Iran is a country with heavy dependency on fossil fuels, as are most countries in the world. However, this is particularly apparent in Iran as their economy relies heavily on the sales of oil and gas. Once these sources of income have expired they will not be in the position to purchase fossil fuels and their own resources will have been exhausted. So there is a genuine need for an alternative, and nuclear energy is by far the most efficient way to generate power.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is often portrayed in the western media as a villain, but as we must understand the picture that we have been painted of him is not a depiction of the truth. However you choose to view him though, it is worth noting that the Iranian nuclear programme is nothing new. In fact, it has been around since the 1950's. Guess who started the Iranian nuclear programme? The United States. What a coincidence! The programme that THEY started is now what they are citing as a key factor in possible intervention!
Also, if Iran completes it's nuclear programme and it can prove nuclear energy to be a viable source, then it could set a precedent in the region for the use of nuclear fuel. This would greatly aid the middle-east and allow Gulf nations to become free of fossil fuels. Military intervention would only serve to stop this from happening and hold the region back from modernisation and development.
"One kilogram of uranium-235 can theoretically produce about 80 terajoules of energy (8�1013 joules), assuming complete fission; as much energy as 3000 tonnes of coal."
The above quote demonstrates how much more efficient nuclear energy can be than fossil fuels. If Iran is using nuclear energy for the benefit of it's citizens there is no reason they should be denied their programme. Especially given the fact that Pakistan, also an Islamic Republic, has nuclear weaponry/the ability to produce nuclear weapons. If it was the will of Allah to the destroy the west, this could have already been achieved.
Also, I would like to highlight to my opponent that if the west chose to, not just Iran but the entire middle-east could be erased. Advocating the use of nuclear weapons against the west is absurd. The types of nuclear armaments Iran *could* develop would be simplistic at best because they would be relying on their own nuclear science experimentation and Russian/Korean/Chinese/Pakistani assistance. AND EVEN IF Iran did manage to create a single nuclear weapon, if they so much as dreamt of using it Tehran would be reduced to a shadow. This is why the west should not intervene because as I see it, Ahmadinejad is playing the role of a disobedient child and the USA are playing the role of authoritarian parents. As in the US are saying do as we say or there will be consequences and Ahmadinejad is being the insolent, hard faced little boy deliberately ignoring the power figure thus infuriating them and showing to his friends that it can be done.
This is why I believe that military intervention is best avoided. If the US allow him to do what he wants and gives him a chance to prove himself as a peaceful man then the horrors and bloodshed of the previous Gulf conflicts can be evaded.
I would like to thank my opponent for mentioning the cost of a potential conflict. This is a crucial element for why military intervention should be avoided. It is no secret that the western world is in serious economic trouble. Money is THE pillar on which the west survives and without it, it would quickly collapse. It would make absolutely no sense to intervene in Iran right now. The first Gulf war cost $60bn in 1990, which with inflation equals $103bn. Brown university claim that the total combined cost of the latest conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is around $4,000,000,000,000. That's nearly 1/3 of total US GDP. Granted, the expense was not solely paid by the USA but this clearly demonstrates how expensive war actually is. Right now, with failing economies and recession, military intervention in Iran MUST be avoided. It would be far too expensive to get involved.
Finally, a message to my opponent. Could you please make some points why western powers should intervene militarily in Iran that aren't centred around religious dogma? As much as I appreciate the time you're taking to formulate counter arguments, I would like some argument that I can actually argue against rather than run of the mill anti-western Islamic vitriol.
"Torture those who insult Islam." It's our duty to "fight against the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah)"
Do you genuinely believe in torturing people who insult Islam? Do you genuinely believe in fighting polytheists or pagans who have done you no harm? I challenge you or any Muslim to categorically prove Allah exists, with actual evidence. Islam, like any other religion, is just the vehicle for the interests of a group of people given sanctity due to it's supernatural nature. You try criticising Islam and radical preachers/Imams threaten you with a fatwa? You cannot say anything against it for fear of execution or torture? What sort of belief system is this?
I surely do NOT believe this is Islam. I have Muslim friends and I have visited the middle-east (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait) and this is NOT the attitude toward westerners or their religion. The view I believe you have is of radical Islam created in the west against the west in an outrage against NATO involvement in the middle east.
Islam_Forever forfeited this round.
Franq_W forfeited this round.
Islam_Forever forfeited this round.
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