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NJIA

Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

Religious Minorities in Iran: Bahai’s, Jews, Addressing Electoral Violence Through and the Islamic State Stuctural Solutions by Sarah Oliai by Kathryn Salucka


Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

Editors-In-Chief Katherine Jacobsen and Aleksandr Sverdlik Content Editors Christina Alexander and Jordan Helton Director of Public Relations Caroline Dzeba Design Editor Matt McDonald

Founded in 1997, the Northwestern Journal of International Affairs (NJIA) is an endowed, undergraduate research journal that seeks to expand knowledge and raise awareness of contemporary topics in international affairs through publishing and campus programming. The Journal publishes exceptional articles, papers and theses submitted by scholars, experts, and students of relevant disciplines for an international audience. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs Winter/ Spring 2011

©Northwestern Journal of International Affairs Roberta Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies Northwestern University 1902 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL, 60201 Cover Image “IRAN-REVOLUTION-ANNIVERSARY” Courtesy of Flickr User Winder West


Editor’s Note

In 1997, a dedicated group of students founded the Northwestern Journal of International Affairs with the goal of expanding knowledge and raising awareness of contemporary topics in international affairs. Over a decade later, the Journal continues on this mission and attracts submissions from scholars around the world. At the same time, the Journal has evolved with the ever-changing world, integrating the online medium to increase awareness about global issues. Although media outlets like facebook and twitter demand compact news blurbs, there is still a need for publications like the Journal. Without scholarly work on the conceptual, ideological, and historical components of international issues, the context of daily news and modern day events is easily lost or forgotten. In this edition, we hope to provide a handful of articles that reach into various corners of the world. Kathryn Salucka writes about election-related violence in African states while Caleb Gayle explores the politics of neoliberal reform in Mexico. Sarah Oliai and Elham Seyedsayamdost focus their studies on Iran, investigating religious minorities and nuclear dialectics, respectively, and Nathan McAlone examines narcoterrorism in Columbia. We hope that leafing through the pages of the journal, whether on your laptop, or in hardcopy, will offer a thought-provoking look at issues in the world today.

Sincerely, Katherine Jacobsen and Aleksandr Sverdlik Editors-in-Chief

Table of Contents

Editor’s Note

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Framing Narcoterrorism Nathan McAlone Senior, Columbia University

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Addressing Electoral Violence Through Stuctural Solutions Kathryn Salucka M.A. Seton Woods University B.A. Lake Forest College Paying the Price: The Politics of Neoliberal Reform Caleb Gayle B.A University of Oklahoma M.Sc, University of Oxford (expected) Religious Minorities in Iran: Bahai’s, Jews, and the Islamic State Sarah Oliai B.A. Michigan State University Technologies of Ambiguity: The Dialectics of Iran’s Nuclear Power Elham Seyedsayamdost PhD Candidate at Columbia University M.A. Columbia University B.A. American School in Paris

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59

87

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Framing Narcoterrorism by Nathan McAlone Nathan McAlone is a senior at Columbia University studying comparative politics, political theory, and creative writing. Terminology The term narcoterrorism in its basic linguistic makeup combines two powerful and contentious concepts, narcotics and terrorism, into one ambiguous term. As is the case with its parent term terrorism, narcoterrorism dose not have a single canonical definition, and has been used in reference to a variety of relationships between narcotics and terrorism. These usages and definitions tend to cluster around two overarching relationships. The first is when a criminal organization involved in the narcotics business engages in actions characterized as “terrorism.” For clarity, I will refer to this subset of narcoterrorism as narco-violence. The second relationship occurs when a terrorist group with political, ideological, or religious goals that are not related to narcotics, uses the narcotics business to finance their activities. I will call this subset narco-funded terrorism. These two important relationships carry with them their own controversies in relation to their inclusion in the term narcoterrorism, both of which I will seek to address. In reference to narco-violence, the question arises as to whether, in any case, the violent actions of a criminal organization truly constitute “terrorism.” Moving to narco-funded terrorism, there has been doubt as to whether an actual connection between established terrorist groups and the sale of narcotics exists beyond the rhetoric of opposing governments. I will examine these two relationships and controversies and try to orient them with respect to narcotics and terrorism. 6

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorim

The first use of the term narcoterrorism is credited to former Peruvian President Fernando Belaúnde Terry who, in 1983, used it to describe terrorist-type attacks on Peru’s anti-narcotics police. This indicates that in its primary form, narcoterrorism as a concept was most related to narco-violence. Since this time, however, narcoterrorism has come to imply a relationship within the realm of narco-funded terrorism. The DEA defines a narco-terrorist organization as “an organized group that is complicit in the activities of drug trafficking in order to further, or fund, premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets with the intention to influence (that is, influence a government or group of people).”1 From these two examples, it seems that there has been a divergence in opinion amongst those in government as to what the term narcoterrorism should mean. It has also been suggested that the term has become “politically contaminated”2 and is useful only to politicians who wish to rouse the emotions of their constituents. The overarching goal of this investigation is to attempt to integrate the two major usages of the term narcoterrorism, in reference to narco-funded terrorism and narco-violence, into a single framework for understanding both the relationship between terrorist groups and narcotics, and the line between a terrorist group and a criminal organization. Narco-funded Terrorism In pursuit of this, I will begin with an examination of narcofunded terrorism. It is first important to understand the appeal of the narcotics business for an established terrorist group. With the fall of the Soviet Union, there came a considerable drop in funding for certain terrorist groups, some of whom used “the financial windfall that the narcotics industry guarantees” to fill “the void left by state sponsors.”3 Frank J. Cilluffo, Director of the Counterterrorism Task Force at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, claimed in 2000 “involvement in the drug business is almost a guarantee of financial 1 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 1. 2 Reha Cakir, An Unholy Alliance: Case Studies in Narco-Terrorism, MS Thesis, University of North Texas, August 2002, University of North Texas Site, Web, 2 December, 2010, 30. 3 Frank J. Cilluffo, Quote from: U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, “The Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism,” 13 December, 2000, Web, 17 November, 2010, 1. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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independence from a state sponsor.”4 This essentially means that the terrorist group would no longer be “beholden to outsiders.”5 Indeed, the three terrorist groups I will use as case studies for narco-funded terrorist groups all espouse Leftist ideologies and have been in operation since before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since Cilluffo’s statements in 2000, the economic advantages of the narcotics business for terrorist groups have only become more apparent. With the advent of the War on Terror, “The United States has exerted considerable pressure on states to prevents charities from funding terrorists, and has cracked down on both governments and charitable organizations that have yet to stop such activities.”6 The ability of a terrorist group to generate funds in-house, without state sponsorship or the assistance of donors, makes narcotics trafficking very attractive. Levels of Involvement There are various levels of involvement an established terrorist group can have with narcotics trafficking. In a study prepared by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan claim that there are three basic types of relationships, or patterns of association, that an established terrorist group can have with organized criminal activity.7 The first pattern is an alliance for mutual benefit, in which the terrorist group enters into an agreement with an organized crime group solely to “gain funding,” and does not engage directly in “criminal activities” or compromise their “ideologically based mission.”8 The second pattern is direct involvement, where the terrorist group becomes directly involved in organized crime, but maintains the “ideological premise of their strategy.”9 The third pattern is replacement of ideology, where the terrorist group’s ideology is replaced by profit as the “main motive for operations.”10 In the context of narcoterrorism, and narco-funded terrorism in particular, it seems that the jump between the second and third patterns

4 Ibid, 2. 5 Ibid, 2. 6 Thomas M. Sanderson, “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines,” SAIS Review 24, 2004, Web, 10 November, 2010, 50. 7 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 22. 8 Ibid, 22. 9 Ibid, 22. 10 Ibid, 22. 8

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorism

of association signals a profound change in the group, from a terrorist group to a criminal organization. According to most definitions of “terrorism,” a central component of any terrorist group’s motivation is its ideology. Without this ideology, any acts of violence committed by the group could not accurately be characterized as “politically motivated,” a component of the Department of State’s own definition of terrorism, as put forth in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d).11 Therefore, it seems that any narco-funded terrorist group that has reached the replacement of ideology level of association with narcotics and organized crime, has in fact ceased to be, by definition, a terrorist group. I will now examine various established terrorist group’s relationships with narcotics in order to devise a more nuanced iteration of the three-level model proposed by Curtis and Karacan and place these narco-funded terrorist groups within this new framework. I will also probe the line between direct involvement and replacement of ideology to try and decide whether any prominent terrorist groups have truly abandoned their ideology and made the transition to pure criminal organization. Alliance for Mutual Benefit As explained by Curtis and Karacan, an alliance for mutual benefit between a criminal organization involved in narcotics and a terrorist group is the most tenuous connection a terrorist group could have to narcotics. The terrorist group itself never actually touches the narcotics, but rather, it receives money previously obtained by the criminal organization through the sale of it, in exchange for upholding some sort of agreement. What is unclear, however, is whether this “distance” from the narcotics is truly relevant. Any agreement a criminal organization would enter into with a terrorist group would necessarily be designed to benefit its business, in this case, the business of narcotics sales. Any task that the terrorist group would engage as part of this agreement could therefore easily be considered “a part of ” the narcotics trade. The case study of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, serves to further illuminate this point. FARC was founded 11 Brigitte L. Nacos, Terrorism and Counterterrorism, New York: Penguin Academics, 2010, Print, 22. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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in May 1966 as the armed wing of the Colombian Communist Party.12 Ideologically, the FARC advocates a Marxist-Leninist approach and calls for the creation of a “broad anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist front.”13 FARC has historically focused on rural guerrilla warfare, though they have been known to engage in urban operations as well.14 At its peak, FARC controlled and estimated 40 percent of Colombia’s territory.15 The first definitive connection between FARC and the narcotics trade was in 1984, when Colombian police forces conducted “a sting operation” on a cocaine production center that included seventeen laboratories.16 The sting netted 12,500 kilograms of cocaine worth approximately 1.2 billion US dollars.17 During the operation, police forces uncovered documents clearly linking FARC to the Medellin Cartel, and showed that FARC guerrillas had provided protection to this cocaine production center.18 The arrangement between the Medellin Cartel and FARC, uncovered by Colombian police forces in 1984, could be characterized as one of Curtis and Karacan’s alliances for mutual benefit. There is no evidence that FARC guerrillas protected the cocaine production center for any reason other than to “gain funding.” Similarly, FARC did not directly engage in the “criminal activities” of growing, refining, or selling narcotics. The problem with this framework, however, is that FARC does seem to have clearly been involved in the narcotics business, even if they never handled the narcotics at any point in the production or sale. Regardless of who was providing it, security—particularly armed security—would have always factored into the Medellin Cartel’s business model. Therefore, by entering into this arrangement, FARC 12 Reha Cakir, An Unholy Alliance: Case Studies in Narco-Terrorism, MS Thesis, University of North Texas, August 2002, University of North Texas Site, Web, 2 December, 2010, 51. 13 Ibid, 51. 14 Ibid, 52. 15 Frank J. Cilluffo, Quote from: U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, “The Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism,” 13 December, 2000, Web, 17 November, 2010, 4. 16 Reha Cakir, An Unholy Alliance: Case Studies in Narco-Terrorism, MS Thesis, University of North Texas, August 2002, University of North Texas Site, Web, 2 December, 2010, 55. 17 Ibid, 55. 18 Ibid, 55. 10

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorism

guerrillas became an integral part of the Medellin Cartel’s business. Though they did not touch the narcotics themselves, FARC was engaged in direct involvement in the business of narcotics production. If the first phase of FARC’s involvement with narcotics, its security arrangement with the Medellin Cartel, cannot logically be characterized as an alliance for mutual benefit, the question arises as to whether or not this type of relationship, described by Curtis and Karacan, is actually possible. Thomas M. Sanderson suggests, in his comparison of terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates, that criminal organizations primarily seek optimal business environments.19 If this is true, it follows that any agreement a criminal organization would enter into with a terrorist group would come into being to further that goal. If a terrorist group upholds its end of the bargain, and engages in any action to promote the optimal business environment for the criminal organization, that terrorist group is becoming a direct part of the criminal enterprise. Because the goals of the criminal organization are directly linked to its business, it is highly unlikely that an arrangement reached between a terrorist group and a criminal organization engaged in the narcotics trade could somehow keep the terrorist group from becoming involved in the general business model. During my research on narco-funded terrorism, I have come across no relationship between a terrorist group and a criminal organization that could truly be labeled an alliance for mutual benefit, as explained by Curtis and Karacan, and I believe it improbable that such a relationship could ever occur. Direct Involvement Though FARC’s first phase of involvement with narcotics cannot be characterized as an alliance for mutual benefit, it does fall under Curtis and Karacan’s second pattern of association: direct involvement of terrorist groups in organized crime (while maintaining the ideological premise of their strategy). In the course of my research, two basic categories began to emerge with regards to the Curtis and Karacan’s direct involvement of terrorist groups in the narcotics trade. The first I will label operational involvement, where agents of the terrorist group are physically carrying out the tasks associated with the 19 Thomas M. Sanderson, “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines,” SAIS Review 24, 2004, 49-61, Web, 10 November, 2010, 56. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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narcotics trade, such as farming, refining, and smuggling. I will define the second type of direct involvement as transactional involvement, where a terrorist group sells knowledge, logistics, or weapons to another terrorist group or criminal organization, and receives narcotics as type of commodity currency. In transactional involvement, agents of the terrorist group are providing value primarily as consultants or as sellers of non-narcotic goods related to the narcotics trade. Though a terrorist group with a transactional involvement in the narcotics trade may engage in smuggling, this smuggling is merely an incidental cost incurred by using narcotics as commodity money and is not the primary value that this terrorist group brings to the bargaining table. Of the established terrorist groups I have studied that have an operational involvement with the narcotics trade, two are substantially more involved than the rest, and will serve as case studies on the highest, multi-level involvement of a terrorist group with narcotics. These two terrorist groups are the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK, and FARC, which has previously been mentioned. It is important to keep in mind that to stay in Curtis and Karacan’s second (direct involvement) level of association, which I have split into two subsets, a terrorist group must maintain the “ideological premise of their strategy.”20 After describing the extent to which the PKK and FARC are involved in the narcotics trade, I will address whether or not their actions can still be seen as ideologically motivated. The PKK Abdullah Ocalan—a student at Ankara University, started the PKK in 1974.21 It was founded as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group made up mostly of Kurds living in Turkey, whose original goal was to establish a Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.22 The PKK 20 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 22. 21 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 5. 22 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 18. 12

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorism

began a violent campaign against Turkish security forces in 1984,23 and in the period from 1988 to 1998 moved from “rural insurgency” to “urban terrorism,” which included suicide bombings.24 They also moved from attacking only Turkish security forces, to targeting the civilian population.25 Ocalan was arrested in 1999 and declared a ceasefire; however, the armed wing of the PKK annulled the cessation of hostilities in 2004 when it gained control of the group.26 The PKK has also recently claimed to focus on securing a binational Turkish-Kurdish state in lieu of an independent Kurdish state.27 The principal narcotic the PKK is involved in trafficking is heroin. The PKK benefits from Turkey’s, and specifically southeastern Turkey’s, proximity to the “Golden Crescent region,” spanning Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, from which it secures “unprocessed morphine,” a main component in the manufacture of heroin.28 The PKK then refines the morphine into heroin in laboratories it operates in Turkey and Northern Iraq.29 It has been estimated that at least “thirty percent of the laboratories for refining heroin” in Turkey are run by “PKK Kurdish rebels.”30 Once the heroin is processed, the PKK transports it to Istanbul, where dealers smuggle the drugs “mainly via Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia, and Austria, to Germany” and other Western European countries.31 In the final step of the process, it has been alleged that the PKK employs “pushers” on the streets of Western 23 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 6. 24 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 19. 25 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 6. 26 Benjamin Freedman and Matthew Levitt, “Contending with the PKK’s Narco-Terrorism, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 8 December, 2009, 1 December, 2010, 1. 27 Ibid, 1. 28 Ibid, 2. 29 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 21. 30 Michele Steinberg, “PKK Terrorists Name ‘Drug Kingpins’; Nations Move Against Narcoterrorism,” Executive Intelligence Review, 1 August, 2008, Web, 1 December, 2010, 6. 31

Ibid, 5.

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Europe to handle their “retail distribution.”32 Furthermore, there is evidence that besides running their own operations, the PKK also “taxes ethic Kurdish drug traffickers in Western Europe.”33 This sketch of the PKK’s involvement in the heroin trade clearly shows that the PKK has operational involvement with narcotics trafficking. Although there is no evidence they are involved in farming the poppies and creating the crude, unprocessed morphine, their agents are physically involved in the refining and smuggling processes, and perhaps, the actual retail distribution. Beyond their vertical involvement in the process of heroin trafficking, it is also important to understand how involved the PKK is from a horizontal standpoint. In other words, the amount of heroin they are implicated with trafficking. Interpol data states that, in 1994, the PKK controlled between “60 and 70 percent” of the European drug market.34 By 1999, Turkish law enforcement had successfully proven the link between the PKK and 138 drug cases, in which more than 20 tons of illegal drugs were seized.35 In 2003, the Turkish press reported that the PKK was trafficking approximately 60 tons of heroin per year and receiving an estimated income of forty million dollars each year from drug trafficking proceeds.36 In 2005, it was claimed that 80 percent of the European drug market came from the “Turkish narcotics sector,” which is allegedly controlled by the PKK.37 PKK heroin is most prominent in Germany and France, and French law enforcement estimates that the PKK smuggles 80 percent of the heroin into Paris.38 32 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 21.

33

Ibid, 21.

34 Benjamin Freedman and Matthew Levitt, “Contending with the PKK’s Narco-Terrorism, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 8 December, 2009, 1 December, 2010, 2. 35 Reha Cakir, An Unholy Alliance: Case Studies in Narco-Terrorism, MS Thesis, University of North Texas, August 2002, University of North Texas Site, Web, 2 December, 2010, 90. 36 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 6. 37 Benjamin Freedman and Matthew Levitt, “Contending with the PKK’s NarcoTerrorism, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 8 December, 2009, 1 December, 2010, 2 38 Frank J. Cilluffo, Quote from: U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, “The Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, 14

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorism

It is clear that the PKK is a major player in the Western European heroin trade. As a result of their narcotics trafficking, in May 2008 the Treasury Department designated the PKK as a “significant foreign narcotics trafficker.”39 It seems that the PKK has always existed, since the start of its involvement in narcotics, as its own autonomous trafficking organization. The PKK always controlled at least one part of the process of heroin trafficking, if not multiple parts. This phenomenon is markedly different from the initial stage of FARC’s involvement: its alliance with the Medellin Cartel. Though in its early stages FARC had an operational involvement in the narcotics trade, this involvement was not autonomous. FARC could not run a narcotics operation independently of the Medellin Cartel. This distinction is significant because the transition from what I will call dependent operational involvement (when a terrorist group is involved in narcotics trafficking but does not fully control a stage of the process) to autonomous operational involvement (when a terrorist group contains within itself a fully functioning criminal organization) signals a greater immersion of the terrorist group in the drug trade. The group in essence becomes both an independent criminal organization and a terrorist group simultaneously. Because of this distinction, I have further subdivided operational involvement into two categories: dependent and autonomous. While the PKK’s involvement in narcotics seems to have always been autonomous, I will use the FARC’s move from dependent to autonomous involvement in cocaine trafficking as a case study of this shift. This escalation also seems the most likely path for a terrorist group to eventually reach Curtis and Karacan’s replacement of ideology phase.

Modified Hierarchy of Direct Involvement (reference) Curtis and Karacan’s Direct Involvement Operational involvement (subdivided) Autonomous operational involvement Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism,” 13 December, 2000, Web, 17 November, 2010, 3.

39 Benjamin Freedman and Matthew Levitt, “Contending with the PKK’s Narco-Terrorism, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 8 December, 2009, 1 December, 2010, 1. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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Dependent operational involvement

was substituted.”42 Here, Reyes is claiming that FARC’s relationship to narcotics and narcotics traffickers had remained fundamentally unchanged from 1984 to 2001.

Transactional involvement Dependent Operational Involvement The most easily recognizable type of dependent operational involvement is “taxation.” This type of relationship exists when a terrorist group taxes a criminal organization, or individual grower of narcotics, in return for allowing them to run their operation within territory “controlled” (in some way) by this terrorist group. Though it is perhaps more attractive for the terrorist group to conceive of themselves as a sort of government, “taxation” is really nothing more than a simple business transaction with the terrorist group providing security (even from themselves) in exchange for funds. “Taxation” can occur on top of a terrorist group’s own independent drug operation, or be the only means by which the group is involved with narcotics. FARC The relationship between FARC and the Medellin Cartel began as a “marriage of political convenience.”40 They had a general common goal, “to destabilize and undermine the government,” and were able to enter into a business arrangement whereby the drug traffickers would pay FARC to “provide them with security.”41 FARC chose to conceptualize this relationship as one of taxation. This allowed FARC to attempt to isolate their ideology and political struggle from their involvement in the drug trade. The fact that FARC themselves were not producing or refining the drugs afforded even further protection for their ideology. FARC realized the ideological significance of the shift from dependent to autonomous, from “taxers” to producers, and even when they deepened their involvement in the narcotics trade, they still attempted to maintain an artificial distance. In 2001, Raúl Reyes, a member of FARC’s secretariat said, “The FARC is present throughout the country and it needs resources to strengthen is political hold. Therefore it imposes taxes on whatever is grown, whether coca or cattle, soya or sorghum. If, tomorrow, coca was no longer grown, then the FARC would seek taxes on whatever

40 41 16

Rachel Ehrenfeld, Funding Evil, Chicago: Bonus Books, 2005, Print, 160. Ibid, 160.

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorism

There is, however, much evidence to the contrary. During this period, where Reyes claims FARC continued only to “tax,” FARC became involved in all levels of cocaine production. By 2000, FARC taxed an estimated 80 percent of all cocaine production in Colombia, grew their own coca, constructed landing strips in their territory, and ran their own coca paste refineries.43 Additionally, Michael A. Sheehan, Coordinator for Counterterrorism of the U.S. Department of State, testified before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, on December 13, 2000, that Colombian officials had discovered evidence that FARC provided cocaine to a Mexican drug cartel in exchange for funds and probably weapons.44 In 2000, it was estimated that FARC had an annual income of approximately $360 million dollars, 48 percent of which came from drug trafficking.45 Whatever Reyes claimed in 2001, it seems that in the time between 1984 and 2000, FARC had reached the autonomous operational level of involvement in the narcotics trade. Furthermore, in 2002, the DEA reported that the percentage of FARC’s operating budget secured by drug trafficking had risen to 70 percent.46 It is clear that FARC may have began its relationship with narcotics at a level of dependent operational involvement; but by the times of Reyes’ statements in 2001, it had long since reached the level of autonomous operational involvement. Once a terrorist group like FARC or the PPK has reached this autonomous stage where it can basically operate as its own independent criminal organization, the group gains the ability to link to other terrorist groups through narcotics in the same way a purely criminal organization would. This type of link is the most likely to create another terrorist group’s transactional involvement in narcotics, which I have designated as the lowest level of involvement a terrorist group could have with narcotics. As previously stated, transactional involvement is where agents of the terrorist group provide value primarily as 42 Reha Cakir, An Unholy Alliance: Case Studies in Narco-Terrorism, MS Thesis, University of North Texas, August 2002, University of North Texas Site, Web, 2 December, 2010, 62. 43 Ibid, 60. 44 Ibid, 57. 45 Ibid, 59. 46 Rachel Ehrenfeld, Funding Evil, Chicago: Bonus Books, 2005, Print, 160. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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consultants, or as sellers of non-narcotic goods, and receive narcotics as commodity currency. I have named it transactional involvement because it involves a transaction in which goods or knowledge is exchanged for narcotics. Transactional Involvement The difference between this type of transaction and operational involvement is that it can be conceived of as taking place in an instant, hand-to-hand, and therefore does not necessarily imply a more longterm relationship with the narcotics business. Though it could be argued that the difference between transactional involvement and dependent operational involvement is negligible, that in both cases the terrorist group has become equally part of the narcotics business, I think there is an important distinction between the selling of knowledge or goods and the physical carrying out of tasks, even tasks as removed as “security.” ETA In my research, the clearest example I found of a terrorist group that could be categorized as having a transactional involvement with narcotics was Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or ETA, whose name means “Basque Fatherland and Liberty” in the Basque language.47 ETA was formed in 1959 in protest of General Francisco Franco’s suppression of “Basque language and culture.”48 ETA espouses revolutionary Marxist ideology and is considered a Basque separatist group.49 Their attacks usually target government officials, however they have been known to target civilians as well, though they usually give warning of their attacks before they occur.50 ETA’s connection to the narcotics trade seems to have been initiated through a relationship with FARC. The first reports of a link between ETA and FARC began in 2002, when Colombian police forces claimed that ETA had trained FARC militants behind a failed assassination plot of President Alvaro Uribe Velez.51 In 2003, the Colombian Minister of Defense Marta 47 “Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) (Spain, separatists, Euskadi ta Askatasuna),” Council on Foreign Relations, 17 November, 2008, Web, 7 December, 2010, 1. 48 Ibid, 1. 49 Ibid, 1. 50 Ibid, 1. 51 Benedetta Berti, “Colombia’s FARC and the Basque ETA: Exploring the 18

McAlone- Framing Narcoterrorism

Lucia Ramirez alleged that ETA had provided FARC with training in explosives and logistical support, which had aided in the El Nogal nightclub bombing.52 Later reports indicated that the Spanish secret service had uncovered similar evidence of collaboration between FARC and ETA in that attack.53 Later, in 2008, a former FARC militant “Camacho” revealed in an interview that ETA members had taught a FARC cell how to “fabricate and deploy explosive devices.”54 These assertions were backed up by another former FARC militant, who claimed ETA had trained FARC cells in “explosives” and “urban guerrilla tactics.”55 This relationship, though alarming, would not have precisely entered the realm of narcoterrorism unless there had been a more direct connection between ETA and FARC-controlled cocaine or heroin. However, a former FARC gunman stated in 2008, that FARC compensated ETA for its training “with drugs.”56 It is known that ETA has made deals with the Camorra crime organization, which supplied ETA with “heavy weapons,” such as missile launchers, in exchange for “large amounts of cocaine and hashish.”57 It has also been reported that ETA “normally” paid Croatian arms dealers in “Colombian cocaine.”58 ETA is a clear example of the terrorist group with transactional involvement with narcotics. ETA sold its expertise in explosives and other urban guerrilla tactics to FARC in exchange for narcotics, which it then used to buy arms. Though ETA was technically involved in smuggling the narcotics in between FARC and their arms dealers, they were not truly being paid for their ability to smuggle. Their basic involvement was that of a middleman, of selling something they had in order to get something they wanted, and using narcotics as a form of commodity currency. I consider this type of involvement in narcotics the lowest level Tactical and Economic Partnership,” Terrorism Monitor Vol. 7 Issue 2, 2009, Web, 17 November, 2010, 1. 52 Ibid, 1. 53 Ibid, 1. 54 Ibid, 1. 55 Ibid, 1. 56 Ibid, 1. 57 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 9. 58 Ibid, 11. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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of involvement because it poses the least threat to the terrorist group’s ideology. If the terrorist group conceptualizes narcotics as just a type of commodity currency, really no different than cash, then it is easy to rationalize their involvement with it, and it does not pose a significant threat to their ideology. Similarly, their role as merely the middleman limits the amount of narcotics they can be involved with, and therefore limits the amount of economic incentive that can creep into their organization.

successive level, it becomes harder for the terrorist group to keep its ideology separate from the economic interests related to the narcotics trade. I have used the case studies of the PKK, FARC, and ETA to attempt to characterize the relationship of a terrorist group at each level. Though there are other terrorist groups that also fit into this framework, I believe that these three most clearly exemplify the different stages, and in the interest of clarity and brevity, I have focused on them.

Replacement of Ideology A New Framework In reinterpreting Curtis and Karacan’s framework in the specific context of narco-funded terrorism, I have thus far made several substantial changes. The first is the elimination of the alliance for mutual benefit, which implies a level of detachment I have not seen in my research, nor believe could exist in reality. The second basic change is the subdividing of direct involvement into three categories: transactional involvement, dependent operational involvement, and autonomous operational involvement. Hierarchy of Narco-funded Terrorist Groups Autonomous operational involvement PKK FARC, later stages Dependent operational involvement FARC, early stages Transactional involvement

I believe that a key to attempting to answer this question lies in Curtis and Karacan’s third pattern of association: “replacement of ideology by profit as the main motive for operations.”59 In this phase, it seems that the “terrorist group” has ceased to be a terrorist group at all and is instead just a criminal organization. Re-considering the State Department’s definition of terrorism, in which terrorism is considered “violence” that is “politically motivated” and perpetrated on “noncombatant targets,” I am reminded that a necessary element of terrorism is this link between the violent action and a “political,” or by other definitions, religious or ideological goal.60 Whether or not a terrorist group has become solely a criminal organization or not depends less on the amount of involvement the group has with narcotics in Curtis and Karacan’s nebulous concept of “operations,”61 and more 59 Ibid, 22. 60 Brigitte L. Nacos, Terrorism and Counterterrorism, New York: Penguin Academics, 2010, Print, 22.

ETA I believe these three levels signal an escalating involvement of a terrorist group with narcotics, specifically related to its ideology. At each 20

During the highest level, that of autonomous operational involvement, it is possible that the economic concerns of the terrorist group can begin to rival their political, religious, or ideological goals. Indeed, both the PKK and FARC have been accused of completely abandoning their political motives in favor of economic ones. In this stage, it seems that a terrorist group contains within itself both its terrorist element and a complete criminal organization. The question then remains at what point in its involvement with narcotics, if any, does a terrorist group cease to be a terrorist group?

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61 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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to do with the extent to which the violence the group perpetrates is politically or economically motivated. As previously stated, in his analysis of the differences between terrorist groups and criminal organizations, Thomas M. Sanderson notes that criminal organizations are motivated by economics and therefore usually seek “optimal business environments.”62 Since he also notes that criminal organizations are generally “rational actors,”63 it follows that acts of violence committed by criminal organizations should fundamentally occur in order to further that goal. To exist as purely a criminal organization, I contend that a terrorist group must have so abandoned its ideology, that all acts of violence it commits are primarily motivated by economic concerns and not its ideology. A terrorist group may contain within itself a criminal organization and perpetrate acts of violence to further the economic concerns of that criminal organization; but until the terrorist group ceases altogether to engage in violence that is primarily politically motivated, it can still be considered a terrorist group. It is speculative and ultimately futile to attempt to discern exactly what percentage of a narco-funded terrorist group’s motivation is economic and what percentage is political. However, it is a more relevant task to try and probe the line where a terrorist group’s acts of violence cease to be primarily politically motivated. I believe that this line can be characterized by a modified version of Curtis and Karacan’s third level of association. This new third level is defined by a “replacement of ideology by profit as the main motive for all acts of violence.” Though an act of violence can have multiple motivations, if a narco-funded terrorist group engages exclusively in acts of violence whose primary intent are economic, this group can be said to only exist as a criminal organization. I will now turn to the PKK and FARC, our two case studies in autonomous operational involvement, and attempt to discern whether either has reached the modified replacement of ideology level of involvement with narcotics. Though one Turkish security expert compared the relationship amongst the PKK and “other” Kurdish 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 22.

62 Thomas M. Sanderson, “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines,” SAIS Review 24, 2004, Web, 10 November, 2010, 7. 63 Ibid, 4. 22

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criminal clans” to the cooperation between “Sicilian mafia families,”64 it is less clear whether or not the PKK has truly become just a criminal organization. The PKK has continued to carry out violent attacks against the government and those related to it. On June 22, 2010, a roadside bomb set by agents of the PKK killed four Turkish sergeants and the 17-year-old daughter of an officer, while wounding eleven others.65 Revisiting Sanderson’s analysis, he claims that criminal organizations differ from terrorist groups in that they usually “loathe attracting unwanted attention.”66 While it is conceivable that a general weakening of the government’s power could potentially benefit the narcotics business, the killing of army personnel, and also a young woman, seems as if it would attract enough negative attention from the Turkish government to outweigh any economic gains. However, it is impossible to tell for sure. Perhaps a more reliable indicator is that though its involvement in the narcotics trade has surely deepened, many of the PKK’s violent acts have remained similar in nature, which suggests they are still primarily motivated by the PKK’s political ideology. In the case of FARC, it is even harder to separate political from economic motivations. Rachel Ehrenfeld states as fact that “the so-called ‘Marxist’ rebels,” of FARC, “have long since abandoned their ‘social’ agenda for the lucrative drug trade.”67 However, this does not seem to address the whole story. FARC is the only terrorist group I examined that physically controls a large portion of territory. The violent acts that FARC engages in seem designed to destabilize the government, an action that helps FARC hold its territory, and perhaps also helps move them toward their ultimate stated ideological goal of “overthrowing the Colombian government.”68 However, since it is through the control of this vast territory that FARC is able to involve itself so heavily in the narcotics business, the question then arises as to whether FARC’s violent acts are primarily motivated by economics or by political ideology. 64 Glenn E. Curtis and Tara Karacan, “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe,” Library of Congress December, 2002, Web, 10 November, 2010, 21. 65 “Turkish New Yorkers protest PKK’s terrorist attacks,” The Anatolia News Agency 23 June 2010, Web, 10 November, 2010, 1. 66 Thomas M. Sanderson, “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines,” SAIS Review 24, 2004, Web, 10 November, 2010, 6. 67 Rachel Ehrenfeld, Funding Evil, Chicago: Bonus Books, 2005, Print,160. 68 Frank J. Cilluffo, Quote from: U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, “The Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism,” 13 December, 2000, Web, 17 November, 2010, 4. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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Though I do not believe it is possible to fully and accurately answer this question at the moment, there have been interesting suggestions that the demise of FARC could end in the formation of different criminal organizations. The Economist postulates that the killings of many of FARC’s ideological leaders by the Colombian armed forces, such as aforementioned Raúl Reyes (in 2008), could eventually cause the group to “splinter into criminal bands long before it contemplates peace.”69 Though it may never be obvious whether or not FARC has become solely a criminal organization, it seems most likely that such a loss in ideology would progress from a loss in leadership. In the case of both FARC and the PKK, while the extent of their involvement in drug trafficking certainly provides a large economic motivation, there is no compelling evidence that either has completely stopped perpetrating acts of violence primarily motivated by their respective political ideologies. Therefore, it is most likely that both the PKK and FARC remain at the autonomous operational level of involvement with narcotics.

Narco-violence I will now move from narco-funded terrorism to narco-violence, in order to observe the line between a criminal organization and a terrorist group from the other side. At the start of this investigation, I contended that the typical usages of the term narcoterrorism tend to cluster around two situations: narco-funded terrorism and narcoviolence. Having looked at the ways in which established terrorist groups involve themselves in the business of narcotics (what I dubbed narco-funded terrorism), I will now examine the situation in which a criminal narcotics organization commits acts of violence that are labeled “terrorism” (narco-violence). Specifically, I will use the case studies of Pablo Escobar and the current Mexican narco-violence to attempt to understand whether the actions of narco-traffickers can ever become political. There is an undeniable connection between politics and the “optimal business environments”70 that criminal organizations seek. The 69 “The beginning of the end,” The Economist, 30 September, 2010, Web, 7 November, 2010, 1. 70 Thomas M. Sanderson, “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring 24

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actions a government takes, and the policies it enacts, can have a great effect on the bottom line of the narcotics business. Because of this, drug traffickers can commit violent acts that resemble terrorism in order to influence government policy and enforcement.

Pablo Escobar There is no better example of this than the case of Pablo Escobar. Escobar was the leader of the Medellin cocaine cartel in Colombia and was one of the wealthiest “and most feared” men in the world.71 One of Escobar’s main “political” goals was to persuade the Colombian government to change its extradition policy.72 While attempting to do this, he used tactics employed by many terrorist groups, and ordered “the assassinations of politicians, presidential candidates, Supreme Court justices, police officers, and civilians, as well as a number of bombings.”73 A change in the extradition policy in some sense clearly constitutes a “political” motive; however, this does not necessarily mean Pablo Escobar should be classified as a terrorist, or that his acts of violence should be labeled terrorism. The key to understanding the difference between a drug trafficker and a terrorist, I believe, is in underlying motivation. Pablo Escobar may have had specific policy goals, but these goals themselves were motivated by economics, by the want to keep an optimal business environment. A change in the extradition treaty was clearly in the interest of his narcotics business, as it protected him and his top associates from being tried in the United Sates, and his primary motivation appears to have been to continue to run this business in peace, without government interference. What should prevent Pablo Escobar from being labeled a terrorist is the fact that he was attempting to use a change in policy as a means to an economic end. The primary goal of his violent acts appears to have been to continue to traffic the Lines,” SAIS Review 24 (2004), 49-61, Web, 10 November, 2010, 7. 71 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 2. 72 Ibid, 2. 73 Ibid, 2. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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narcotics in the most optimal manner, and perhaps to increase his personal power. This issue of personal power raises another important question: whether the pursuit of personal power can be considered a political motive with regards to terrorism. Pablo Escobar did have “political aspirations”74 and was even elected to Congress,75 however his underlying political goal seems to have been the consolidation of personal political power, in other words, as Steven Casteel notes, “his cause was simply himself.”76 If Pablo Escobar ordered, or personally committed, acts of violence designed to increase his own personal power, does this constitute terrorism? This question is complicated and requires a full inquiry into whether or not the pure pursuit of power can be considered a political ideology. Though answering of this question is not feasible within the scope of my investigation, I think it has important implications for the concept of narcoterrorism not only in the case of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel, but also with regards to FARC, specifically in relation to whether their Marxist ideology has been replaced by a desire to maintain and maximize power. The Mexican Cartels In September 2010, Hilary Clinton compared the recent wave of drug-related violence in Mexico to an “insurgency” that resembled Colombia “a generation ago.”77 This comment evokes again the time of both Pablo Escobar and the narco-violence associated with the Medellin Cartel, and also the emergence of FARC. The question then arises as to whether or not some recent acts of violence by Mexican drug traffickers can characterized as acts of terrorism. The Los Angles Times reports that most of the current violence in Mexico is “a conflict between feuding cartel groups,”78 however there have been attacks against both the Mexican government and 74 Ibid, 2. 75 Carroll, Rory, “Hillary Clinton: Mexican drugs war is Colombia-style insurgency,” Guardian 9 September, 2010, Web, 17 November, 2010, 1. 76 Steven W. Casteel, Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix,” 20 May, 2003, Web, 2 December, 2010, 2. 77 Carroll, Rory, “Hillary Clinton: Mexican drugs war is Colombia-style insurgency,” Guardian 9 September, 2010, Web, 17 November, 2010, 1. 78 “Report: Mexico is not Colombia, here’s why,” Los Angeles Times 27 September, 2010, Web, 17 November, 2010, 1. 26

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civilians. While a turf war between narcotics traffickers should certainly not be classified as terrorism, the status of the violence against “noncombatants” in this “war” is less straightforward. First, let us consider violent acts against the Mexican government. On July 15, 2010, a car bomb attack that targeted federal police in Ciudad Juárez killed three people and wounded nine. Two of the dead were policemen.79 That attack was said to have been in retaliation for the capture of “Jesus Armando Acosta, a leader of La Linea gang.”80 Thomas M. Sanderson claims “no organized crime group is built around adherence to religious or ideological tenets,”81 however, this does not seem to be entirely correct. This attack in particular speaks to a sort of primitive, eye-for-an-eye ideology that seems to motivate the La Linea gang in their relations with government. At least a rudimentary form of ideology seems to exist, however, the relevant question is whether this ideology rests on itself, or whether it is fundamentally in service of an economic interest. Mexico’s attorney general claimed that the goal of this attack was to “frighten society.”82 But why frighten society? The Los Angeles Times claims that the basic motivation of the Mexican cartels is to stop “government interference” in order to collect “profits.”83 In a word: economics. Though there may be an ideological code that has arisen within the La Linea criminal organization, the basic element that should prevent their violence from being considered terrorism is the underlying profit motive. The targeting of civilians is another way in which Mexican narcotics traffickers can frighten society out of interfering with their business. In an attack in Morelia, Michoacán on September 15, 2008, “civilians were the object of what seems to be violence calculated to create alarm among the populace and pressure authorities to change their strategies against the traffickers.”84 The victims in the Moriela 79 “Attorney general says no ‘narcoterrorism’ in Mexico,” Inquirer 17 July, 2010, Web, 10 November, 2010, 1. 80 Ibid, 1. 81 Thomas M. Sanderson, “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines,” SAIS Review 24, 2004, Web, 10 November, 2010, 55. 82 “Attorney general says no ‘narcoterrorism’ in Mexico,” Inquirer 17 July, 2010, Web, 10 November, 2010, 1. 83 “Report: Mexico is not Colombia, here’s why,” Los Angeles Times 27 September, 2010, Web, 17 November, 2010, 1. 84 Astorga, Luis, “Mexico: Its democratic transition and narco-terrorism,” York University, Web, 10 November, 2010, 2. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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attacks were classified as the “targets of terrorists actions,”85 however, this classification does not seem to fit with most definitions of terrorism. While the killing of civilians not associated in any way with the government resembles acts of violence that have been labeled terrorism, the fact that these acts were at their core economically and not politically motivated, suggests that they should not have been classified this way. A Unified Framework Arturo Chavez, Mexico’s attorney general, insisted in July 2010 that there was no “evidence in the country of activities of narcoterrorism.”86 Chavez’s statement speaks to the larger issue of whether narco-violence of this type should ever be considered narcoterrorism. Though the term narcoterrorism was originally created in reference to just such attacks by narcotics traffickers, it seems that they lack the true “political” motivation required by the State Department’s definition of terrorism, and are instead, primarily motivated by economics. In this way, these acts of narco-violence most resemble the acts of violence committed by a (former) “terrorist group” that has reached the replacement of ideology level of involvement with narcotics. In both these instances, there has ceased to be a primary political, religious, or ideological motivation for the acts of violence the group commits, and these motivations have been replaced by economic concerns. Therefore, I believe that narco-violence, as a category, can be integrated into my framework for examining narco-funded terrorism to create a general model for understanding the usages of the term narcoterrorism. Groups associated with the term “Narcoterrorism” In a hierarchy of escalating involvement with narcotics trafficking Criminal Organization Level: Replacement of ideology (when profit exists above any ideology as the main motivation for a group’s acts of violence) 85 Astorga, Luis, “Mexico: Its democratic transition and narco-terrorism,” York University, Web, 10 November, 2010, 1. 86 Attorney general says no ‘narcoterrorism’ in Mexico,” Inquirer 17 July, 2010, Web, 10 November, 2010, 1. 28

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Acts of violence: criminal Case studies: Medellin Cartel, current Mexican Cartels Terrorist group (with fully functioning, in-house Criminal Organization) Level: Autonomous operational involvement (when a terrorist group fully controls one or more stages of the narcotics business) Acts of violence: criminal or terrorist Example: PKK, FARC (later stages) Terrorist group Level: Dependent operational involvement (when a terrorist group carries out actions involved in the narcotics business, but does not fully control any one stage of the process) Acts of violence: criminal or terrorist Case study: FARC (early stages) Terrorist group Level: Transactional involvement (when a terrorist group sells knowledge, logistics, or weapons to another terrorist group or criminal organization and receives narcotics as type of commodity currency) Acts of violence: criminal or terrorist Case study: ETA Having formulated this basic model, we can return to the controversies that sparked the start of this investigation. The first controversy lay with narco-violence, and centered on whether or not acts of violence by narcotics traffickers could ever be considered terrorism. In my research, I have seen no instances where I believe the terrorism classification is deserved, although I do allow that the development of a political ideology that motivates violence is possible. As to the second controversy, whether or not the link between Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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established terrorist groups and narcotics is real, I have come across ample evidence that deep connections exist between narcotics and terrorist groups such as the PKK, FARC, and ETA. Though it is clear that narcoterrorism is sometimes a nebulous term, I do not believe it should be too easily dismissed as a concept. In saying the term is too politically contaminated to be useful, one loses an opportunity to explore one of the most contentious and important parts of terrorism itself: motivation. Because terrorist groups and criminal organizations have strikingly different underlying motivations, the way governments effectively deal with them cannot be the same. I believe that in assessing the level of involvement a group (be it terrorist or criminal) has reached with narcotics, one can begin to unravel the potential ways to confront them. Though narcoterrorism has been applied in an extremely broad fashion, this application has provided a series of “narcoterrorist” relationships that can be used to probe the complex issue of terrorist motivation in order to reach a better understanding of the types of countermeasures that would be effective.

Carroll, Rory. “Hillary Clinton: Mexican drugs war is Colombia-style insurgency.” Guardian 9 September, 2010. Web. 17 November, 2010. Casteel, Steven W. Quote from: Senate Committee on the Judiciary. “NarcoTerrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism – A Dangerous Mix.” 20 May, 2003. Web. 2 December, 2010. Cilluffo, Frank J. Quote from: U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Crime. “The Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism.” 13 December, 2000. Web. 17 November, 2010. Curtis, Glenn E., and Tara Karacan. “The Nexus Among Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe.” Library of Congress December, 2002. Web. 10 November, 2010. 2010.

“Definition: narcoterrorism.” Webster’s Online Dictionary. Web. 17 November, Ehrenfeld, Rachel. Funding Evil. Chicago: Bonus Books, 2005. Print.

Freedman, Benjamin, and Matthew Levitt. “Contending with the PKK’s NarcoTerrorism. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 8 December, 2009. 1 December, 2010. Nacos, Brigitte L. Terrorism and Counterterrorism. New York: Penguin Academics, 2010. Print. 2010.

Works Cited Astorga, Luis. “Mexico: Its democratic transition and narco-terrorism.” York University. Web. 10 November, 2010. “Attorney general says no ‘narcoterrorism’ in Mexico.” Inquirer 17 July, 2010. Web. 10 November, 2010. “Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) (Spain, separatists, Euskadi ta Askatasuna).” Council on Foreign Relations. 17 November, 2008. Web. 7 December, 2010. Berti, Benedetta. “Colombia’s FARC and the Basque ETA: Exploring the Tactical and Economic Partnership.” Terrorism Monitor Vol. 7 Issue 2, 2009. Web. 17 November, 2010. Cakir, Reha. An Unholy Alliance: Case Studies in Narco-Terrorism. MS Thesis. University of North Texas, August 2002. University of North Texas Site. Web. 2 December, 2010.

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“Narcoterrorism.” HighTech Security Consultants. 2009. Web. 10 November,

“Report: Mexico is not Colombia, here’s why.” Los Angeles Times 27 September, 2010. Web. 17 November, 2010. Sanderson, Thomas M. “Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines.” SAIS Review 24, 2004. Web. 10 November, 2010. Steinberg, Michele. “PKK Terrorists Name ‘Drug Kingpins’; Nations Move Against Narcoterrorism.” Executive Intelligence Review. 1 August, 2008. Web. 1 December, 2010. “The beginning of the end.” The Economist. 30 September, 2010. Web. 7 November, 2010. Thompson, Barnard R. “The Mexican Drug War: Is it “Narcoterrorism?” OpenDemocracy. 17 August, 2010. Web. 10 November, 2010. “Turkish New Yorkers protest PKK’s terrorist attacks.” The Anatolia News Agency 23 June 2010. Web. 10 November, 2010.

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Addressing Electoral Violence Through Stuctural Solutions by Kathryn Salucka Kathryn Salucka is a recent graduate of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, where she received her Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations, specializing in Africa and International Law. She is the editor-in-chief of the Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations. Kathryn holds her Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Relations from Lake Forest College. She would like to thank Matt McMahon for his edits and support for this piece. Introduction Despite gaining independence in the 1950s and 1960s, many African states did not experience democracy in any form until the 1990s. By the 1990s, democratic institutions, such as elections, became increasingly popular across the continent. Elections quickly became prominent, yet even after the “third wave of democracy,”1 Many African states continue to experience elections that remain remarkably undemocratic. Often rigged by states and leaders, elections could hardly be deemed credible, questioning the quality of democracy across the continent. This trend has only grown. In fact, a recent Economist article claims that African leaders have become even better at rigging elections.2 The escalating manipulation of elections has raised concerns of the overall trajectory of democratic development and consolidation in African states. However, despite concerns, elections remain a central benchmark 1 This term was coined by Samuel Huntington in his book, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. 2 “The Power of the Angry Voter,” Economist, July 24, 2010, 14-15, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed October 20, 2010). 32 Salucka- Addressing Electoral Violence

for Western governments and organizations to gauge the success of democratic development and consolidation across the African continent. The same Economist article cited above concludes by stating that bad elections are better than no elections.3 The continued importance placed upon elections demonstrates the necessity to understand how flawed elections can be improved in such a way so that they embody and practice democratic principles. One obstacle many African elections face is the presence of election-related violence during the electoral process. Election-related violence results in elections that may not be considered legitimate or credible, and may stunt democratic progress. Thus, the question of how to encourage legitimate and violence-free elections has become of central concern to many African states and international actors. Though violence is not the only threat to the credibility of elections, its presence can be a large factor of the legitimacy of the institution. One attempt to prevent and address election-related violence has been the creation of electoral management bodies (EMBs). Often created by state governments, EMBs serve to manage elections and electoral disputes. Though the success of the EMB has been discussed in a theoretical context, its effectiveness has yet to be empirically tested. Thus, the question remains: has the implementation of an electoral management body succeeded in lowering instances of election-related violence? This study hypothesizes that incidents of violence and civil unrest during the electoral process will decrease after the implementation of an EMB, because the EMB will add legitimacy and provide venues for dissatisfied parties and patrons to take their disputes. This issue must be examined, as the need for credible and legitimate elections throughout Africa is great. The international community has recognized this need and has spent considerable energy and funding on attempts to engender stronger elections. International organizations such as the Carter Center, the European Union, and the United Nations have become very involved with monitoring elections in Africa to ensure that they are free and fair. Additionally, international funding for elections is considerable. The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network estimates that international funding for the 2004 elections in Afghanistan alone was over $55 million.4 Even in countries where wars 3 Ibid. 4 “Electoral Assistance from the International Community,” ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, available at: http://aceproject.org/ace-en/focus/core/crb/crbo6?toc Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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are not being fought and the United States’ immediate national security concerns are not at stake, financial contributions are great. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) states that the United States alone spent about $274.4 million on democracy and governance programs in Africa in 2008, a more than 300% increase of the level of funding for those same programs from 2000.5 Further, the same report states that U.S. funding for electoral assistance in Africa “quadrupled between 2000 and 2005.”6 The number of international organizations that focus solely, or predominately, on encouraging legitimate elections, as well as the high monetary contributions that have been put forth with the same end-goal, demonstrate the international community’s commitment to creating successful and sustainable elections in Africa. Given this commitment, it stands to reason that it is in all actors’ best interest to find the most effective means of encouraging credible elections. Though EMBs have been instated and embraced as a practical solution to illegitimate elections, as stated above, this has yet to be empirically tested in literature. By discovering if the EMB is effective in mitigating electoral violence, progressive policy prescriptions can be made. Should the implementation of an EMB result in decreased levels of violence, the international community can put its energies and resources into creating more EMBs. At the same time, should EMBs be found ineffective, the international community can search for different avenues to decrease levels of election-related violence. This study will first examine the literature surrounding elections in Africa. From the importance of elections in entrenching democracy to the negative impact of violence on the trajectory of democracy, to the role EMBs can play, the literature review will address the complex issues surrounding this topic, further demonstrating the importance of determining the effectiveness of EMBs in reducing electoral violence. This paper will then present the definitions, conceptualizations, and operationalization of the variables. Additionally, control variables used to ensure the validity of the study will also be discussed. From there, the data collected for this study will be presented and analyzed. The

(accessed October 23, 2010). 5 Joel Barkan, “Advancing Democratization in Africa,” in Africa Policy in the George W. Bush Years: Recommendations for the Obama Administration, January 2009, 9, Available at: http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/090122_csis_africa_review-democracy_prepub_draft.pdf. 6 Ibid. 34

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paper will then discuss areas for further research, and will conclude by presenting policy and academic prescriptions for the future of elections on the African continent. This study seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge on this topic by bridging the gap between theoretical literature and empirical study. By analyzing the trends in the level of violence before and after the implementation of the EMB, the actual effectiveness of the EMB in mitigating violence will be determined. Additionally, this study will examine the challenges in data collection and presentation concerning violence at African elections. For example, there is currently no comprehensive database that holds information on election-related violence in Africa. At the same time, none of the literature surrounding African elections, and violence at the elections contains quantitative data. As a result of this void, this researcher had to assemble all the quantitative data, and though specific numbers are presented, those numbers represent an estimation, given the inconsistent nature of the data. This study will further prescribe ways to improve data collection to aid in future studies.

Literature Review The study of democracy on the African continent has been vast and diverse. Beginning in the 1990s, debates and discourse over how best to implement, study, and analyze democracy in African countries have been prominent. Within the context of democracy in Africa, literature has arisen to argue and advance several different points. After Samuel Huntington noted a “third wave of democratization”7 had occurred in Africa, vast scores of literature concerning the nature of that democratization arose. The first greatly influential piece of work was Michael Bratton and Nicolas Van De Walle’s 1997 study, Democratic Experiments in Africa. This study analyzes the regime and attitude change in the African continent in the early 1990s, noting the peoples’ desire for democratic representation, and the rapid regime change to accommodate the change in attitude. The authors note that the quick transition did not allow for the democratic principles to become 7

Huntington, The Third Wave.

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entrenched in government and society, damaging the integrity of democratic consolidation. In discussing the transition to democracy in Africa, Bratton and Van De Walle note the different theoretical approaches one can take to understanding democracy in Africa. From discussing the theory that democracy is conditioned to the composition of society, to the debate of if democracy is best home-grown or externally imposed, to the economic incentives for transitioning to democracy, Bratton and Van De Walle discuss in depth these different approaches before advocating their own: a politico-institutional approach. In this approach, the authors stress the importance of domestic political considerations, as well as the importance of institutions in crafting and entrenching democracy. The importance of institutions remains central throughout Bratton and Van De Walle’s book. From the instances when weak elections help legitimize “bigman” rule and Presidentialism, Bratton and Van De Walle conclude that legitimate political competition, as encouraged by true elections, is one of the greatest determinants of the success of democratic transition in Africa. However, as Democratic Transitions in Africa was published in 1997, the only elections Bratton and Van De Walle were able to examine were the first round of elections in African states, which were often too foreign and isolated to give a true, comprehensive impression on the future of elections in Africa. Whereas Democratic Transitions in Africa suggests the importance of institutions in democratic consolidation, Patrick Chabal’s 1998 study, “A Few Considerations on Democracy in Africa,” questions the West’s reliance on institutions, specifically elections, as a marker of the progress democracy has made in Africa. However, Chabal cautions that the mere presence of elections does not guarantee the transition and/or consolidation of democracy, and stresses that elections cannot be the focus in the assessment of democracy. At the same time, however, in Chabal’s other suggestions of how best to approach understanding democracy, elections play a key role. In the instance of the cultural approach, Chabal comments on how elections can encourage accountability and trust necessary to the success of political culture. Even though Chabal remains skeptical, his study presents the importance elections can hold on the success of democracy, in many different contexts. However, Chabal fails to fully examine the dimensions of elections that can affect democracy. While Bratton and Van De Walle link the aspect of competition with elections, Chabal only 36

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looks at elections as a whole. Chabal’s study, does, however, give way to further discussion on the impact elections can have over democratic development and consolidation in Africa, as even with his skepticism, elections remain critical. Michael Bratton builds upon Chabal’s study in his 1998 work, “Second Elections in Africa.” Bratton furthers the study of elections, and the impact they can have on the consolidation of democracy. Bratton takes a similar stance as Chabal, noting that elections in themselves do not constitute a democracy, but one cannot have a democracy without elections. Bratton examines the specific qualities of elections, noting the importance of the “quality,” not just the presence of an election, in the consolidation of democracy. Bratton’s study focuses on the second round of elections that were held in the late 1990’s across Africa, how these elections evolved in both quantity and quality, and how the evolution correlated with democratic consolidation. Discovering a decrease in “acceptableness” since the founding elections, Bratton finds that the lack of democratic principles in elections themselves were often mirrored in the lack of democratic principles in the governments. As such, Bratton notes that the future of democracy in Africa may be bleak. Bratton’s study further demonstrates the importance of elections in assessing democracy in Africa, while at the same time provides more dimensions of the elections to study. The distinction between the quality and the quantity of elections adds dimension, yet, there is still room for study. Writing in 1998, Bratton’s data set is unable to fully assess the patterns of elections in Africa, and Bratton’s blanket variable of “quality” would benefit from further operationalization to understand in which ways the quality of elections can be increased, and which facets of quality have the greatest impact on democracy. Addressing the ability of elections to predict the trajectory of democracy in the 21st century is Leonardo Villalon and Peter VonDoepp’s The Fate of Africa’s Democratic Experiments. Picking up the discussions began by Bratton and Van De Walle, Villalon and VonDoepp assess the success of Africa’s democratic experiments a decade after Bratton and Van De Walle, The Fate of Africa’s Democratic Experiments echoes the thought that institutions, and specifically elections, cannot be the sole indicator of democracy. Villalon and VonDoepp state that in addition to institutions assessing the success of democratic transition and consolidation, the role of elites must Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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also be addressed. This study suggests the importance of institutions like electoral management bodies that help to constrain the roles of elites, which helps to pave the way for a more successful path to consolidated democracy. Further, the study cautions that even after a decade since this discourse began, there are still no concrete “successes” and “failures,” as the trajectory of democracy is very slow moving, highlighting the importance of continued study on these topics. When elections are free of manipulation by elites, they serve a much stronger chance at furthering democratic consolidation in a state. This concept is elaborated upon by Staffan Lindberg in his 2004 work, “The Democratic Qualities of Competitive Elections: Participation, Competition and Legitimacy in Africa.” Lindberg seeks to counter Bratton’s analysis that democratic elections, and consolidated democracy is bleak. To do so, Lindberg analyzes the “democratic quality” of elections held in Africa from 1981-2001. Lindberg further defines democratic quality as being made up of three components: participation, competition, and legitimacy. These operationalizations reflect the early ideas of Bratton and Van De Walle, and reflect a deeper development of Bratton’s variable of “quality” in elections. Lindberg further develops these concepts in the context of legitimacy by adding peacefulness during the elections and breakdown of the government after elections as key defining measures. Through his analysis, Lindberg finds that in many cases elections in Africa up to 2001 have improved, suggesting a more optimistic view of democratic consolidation in Africa. Yet, despite the overall improvement, Lindberg notes that among the success of democratic qualities in African elections, peacefulness remains elusive, with only 20% of the elections included in his study being considered “peaceful.” Further, Lindberg makes no comment on the low percentage of peaceful elections, and on the potential lasting affect this violence could have on the overall democratic qualities of elections, as well as on democratic consolidation itself. Lindberg’s lack of clarification is surprising, given his 2006 article, “The Surprising Significance of African Elections.” In this work, Lindberg clearly presents data suggesting that continuous, and free elections positively impact democratic principles and freedom within African states. Lindberg notes that free and successful elections encourage democratic principles by enabling citizens to become voters, 38

Salucka- Addressing Electoral Violence

encouraging civic organizations, and giving roles to state institutions, among other, all of which are essential for democratic consolidation. Given Lindberg’s demonstration that successful elections lend themselves to the consolidation of democracy, this furthers the need to understand how the most successful and legitimate elections can be accomplished. However, Lindberg’s other study also demonstrates the void in understanding violence in the context of elections, and the last effect that violence may have on the consolidation of democracy. The literature thus far has demonstrated that institutions play an important role in framing and analyzing democracy in Africa, and even more specifically, elections themselves can play a crucial role. However, it is important to clearly understand the different attributes of elections that can impact the consolidation of democracy. As discussed in the literature reviewed above, election-related violence is an aspect that should be studied in more detail. The literature has been touching on election-related violence since Timothy Sisk and Andrew Reynolds’ 1998 study Elections and Conflict Management in Africa. This work looks to the founding elections of Africa, and comments on the link between electoral structure and violence. This marks one of the first pieces of literature that noted the ability of the structural composition of elections and mitigating violence. However, the entire selection of works contained in this study focused on electoral systems alone, and did not include the affect other structural changes, such as EMBs may have. Again addressing the relationship between violence and elections is Andrew Reynolds in his 2009 study, “Elections, Electoral Systems, and Conflict in Africa.” Reynolds utilizes case studies in which an African state experienced a governmental breakdown after flawed elections. However, Reynolds predominately focuses on the effect of electoral systems on conflict, as opposed to electoral management. Reynolds is able to demonstrate that proportional representation systems are more effective in mitigating violence. This finding establishes the effect that the structure of institutions can have on maintaining peace, and if that structure can have such an effect, it is likely that other forms of electoral institutions, such as EMBs, may have a strong effect as well. Building on the relationship of violence at elections and democratization is Timothy Addai-Balag’kutu Adivilah’s 2009 study, Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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“Running to Vote and Voting to Run: The Impact of Competitive Multiparty Elections on Human Rights and Democratization in Africa.” In this study, Adivilah attributes the presence of post-electoral violence to a deteriorating culture of human rights and democratization in Africa. Adivilah employs case studies to highlight this correlation, and demonstrates that though institutions such as elections can advance democracy, they can also encourage violence and conflict by further polarizing pre-existing tensions. Adivilah comments on the need for structural reform of these institutions to address these issues. Given Adivilah’s recommendations, one such reform could be the implementation of electoral management bodies. Tying in the impact electoral management bodies may have on electoral violence is Gabrielle Bardall’s 2010 work “A Conflict Cycle Perspective on Electoral Violence.” In this article, Bardall places election-related violence in a cycle, and comments that electoral management bodies may be the best structural adaptation to address this violence. From conflict prevention to conflict management to conflict resolution, Bardall states the electoral management bodies are the best way to approach mitigating election-related violence. Bardall demonstrates that EMBs provide election education, election monitoring, and other tasks that help result in elections that are viewed as more “legitimate.” Bardall’s theoretical analysis would suggest that EMBs have helped encourage democratic consolidation in African states. However, Bardall only discusses these issues in a theoretical framework, without providing supporting empirical data. It has only been in 2010 that works concerning EMBs have entered the foray of literature, but while this concept has been discussed theoretically, its effects have not been proven empirically.

Definitions and Operationalizations This study discusses concepts that can have several definitions and meanings, and as such, will be utilizing specific definitions, demonstrated below. The dependent variable of election-related violence and civil unrest will be defined as: recorded instances of acts of violence that are related to, or in response to elections. The numbers presented represent individuals – for example, though the number may read “19,” it could be 19 individuals that were injured or killed in 40

Salucka- Addressing Electoral Violence

one riot, one isolated event, etc. The independent variable will be the implementation of an independent electoral management body. Though there are two predominant types of electoral management bodies, one that is considered “independent” and one that is “governmental,” this study will focus only on the effects of independent EMBs, because more African states have implemented independent EMBs than governmental EMBs. The independent electoral management body will be defined using the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network’s definition: the EMB is “institutionally independent and autonomous from the executive branch of government, and which has and manages its own budget.”8 The states with independent EMBs that have been selected for this study were selected from the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network compilation of independent EMBs. In addition to the necessity of clearly defining election-related violence and independent electoral management bodies, it is also necessary to ensure that the study selects countries to study that are as similar as possible, to maintain the validity of the study. As such, several control variables were identified to ensure that the data would be reliable. First of all, the states selected were all in Africa and have independent electoral management bodies. Additionally, the states must be considered electoral democracies. At the same time, the states have to hold Presidential elections, as the only elections studied within these states will be elections held at the national level for President. This was chosen because many African states have a strong Presidency, so the importance of the Presidential election is great. Further, by focusing on the Presidential election, the electoral style (proportional representation, first-past-the-post) is controlled for, as the outcomes are the same in the Presidential election, as opposed to Parliamentary elections. At the same time, the candidate and platform are uniform throughout the whole country, so people are voting for the same person state-wide, which adds validity to assessing the data on a state-wide basis. Additionally, the states chosen must have had multi-party elections that were accepted by the international community before the implementation of the independent electoral management body, as well as elections held after the implementation of the EMB, so the data can accurately reflect the effect the EMB may have on the data. This control 8 “Independent Model EMBs,” ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, available at: http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/em/ema/ema02, (accessed April 4, 2010). Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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variable ruled out many states, as EMBs are a recent phenomenon, and there have not been many states that have yet held elections after the implementation of the EMB. At the same time, states cannot be considered “de-facto” one party states. In many instances, African states hold elections, but there is only one party in the government. These elections are more likely to encourage violence, as there are absolutely no other means for voices to be heard. Finally, during the time period studied for each of the states, a civilian government must be in place. If a state has experienced a coup d’état or is under the rule of a military government, the reliability of the data will also be compromised. Given the criteria discussed, the following states have arisen to lend themselves to this study: Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Sierra Leone.

Methodology To empirically test the potential effect of the independent EMB on violence in elections, a one-shot observation will be utilized in each of the four cases studied. By examining the levels of electionrelated violence in each country in elections before and after the implementation of an independent EMB, this study will not only be able to determine if an individual state situation is improved by the EMB, but if there is a likewise effect across the countries. This will further the research by establishing how universal the impact of the EMB may be. To collect the data on election-related violence, news reports, reports from international election observers, and historical accounts were consulted. To date, there is no all-encompassing collection of this data for African states, and as such, this information had to be assembled. Further, none of the literature surrounding levels of violence in African elections contains quantitative information on elections, so the responsibility fell to this researcher to create a dataset. It is important to note that although quantitative data is presented, these numbers represent an estimation of violent incidents. The limitations of the data will be further discussed below.

Case-Studies Four specific states will be examined within this study. The 42

Salucka- Addressing Electoral Violence

states of Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Sierra Leone met all the qualifications to be considered in this study, and their specific individual cases are examined below. Each case-study presents a visual depiction in the format of a bar graph to represent levels of violence at elections. In the case where there is no visible bar for the given year in the graph, there were no reported incidents of violence for that year. Ghana Gaining independence from its British colonizers in March 1957, Ghana was the first African colony to gain independence.9 However, although Ghana achieved independence in 1957, the state was run by dictators, experienced military coups, and undemocratic governance until the early 1990s.10 In 1992, a new constitution was proposed to reflect the “winds of change [that] were blowing irresistibly in the direction of political pluralism.”11 With the acceptance of the 1992 constitution and the democratic governance it brought, Ghana’s first true experience with Presidential elections in a democratic setting came in November 1992.12 Since 1992, Presidential elections have been held in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. The Electoral Commission of Ghana was created in 1993.13 As such, the elections of 1992 were held before the inception of the EMB, with the remaining held after. According to news reports, the election of 1992 saw about 40 instances of electoral violence.14 In the 1996 election, news reports and international accounts alike all commented that the elections passed peacefully without incident—as no report provides any instance of violence, this study will cite zero instances of electoral violence.15 During the 2000 Presidential elections, Ghana saw an isolated instance of violent riots, which resulted in 68 cases of death or injury.16 In 2004, nearly 50 incidents of violence were recorded by the 9 Roger Gocking, The History of Ghana (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005), 1. 10 Ibid., 208. 11 Ibid., 207. 12 Ibid., 209. 13 “The Electoral Commission,” Electoral Commission of Ghana, available at: http://www.ec.gov.gh/ (accessed October 9, 2010). 14 Cindy Shiner, “Africa Votes,” Africa News Service, Nov. 23, 1992. 15 Gocking, History of Ghana, 233; “Rawlings Declared Winner in Ghana Elections,” Deutsche Presse Agenteur, December 11, 1996. 16 Daniel Smith, “Ghana’s 2000 Elections: Consolidating Multi-Party Democracy,” Electoral Studies 21 (2002): 521; Christian Lund, “Bawku is Still Volatile’: Ethno-PoNorthwestern Journal of International Affairs

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Ghana Center for Democratic Development and the Institute for Policy Alternatives.17 Finally, in 2008, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers cited 43 cases of violence.18 As such, Ghana’s experience with violence at elections can be illustrated as: Figure 1

was host to a United Nations peacekeeping mission as a result.20 As such, Mozambique did not experience elections until 1994. Since 1994, Mozambique has seen Presidential elections in 1999, 2004, and 2009. The data of violent incidents for Mozambique’s 1994 election remains unavailable at this time, so the dataset will begin with the 1999 election. Mozambique’s independent EMB was instated in 2007, so this data set still stands to demonstrate the effect of the EMB.21 The 1999 election saw over 100 instances of violence.22 In 2004, the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa (EISA) reported 60 instances of electoral-related violence.23 In the most recent 2009 elections, zero instances of violence were recorded.24 Given this data, the graph below illustrates Mozambique’s history with election-related violence: Figure 2

The graph above illustrates the trajectory violence in Ghanaian elections has taken, before and after the implementation of an EMB. In the graph, the vertical line denotes the year the EMB was put in place. As one can see, Ghana’s experience with violence has fluctuoated seemingly unaffected by the EMB. However, the reports cited above demonstrate that after the implementation of an EMB, violence became more isolated, suggesting a positive effect of the EMB. Mozambique Mozambique did not realize independence until 1975, many years after other African states.19 Mozambique saw a more tumultuous path to democratic elections than Ghana. Between independence and democratic governance, Mozambique was plagued with a civil war, and litical Conflict and State Recognition in Northern Ghana,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 41 no. 4 (Dec 2003): 600. 17 Ghana Center for Democratic Development and the Institute for Policy Alternatives, “Election Violence Monitoring of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, Ghana, 2004,” submitted to International Foundation for Election Systems, Feb 15, 2005, 6. 18 Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, “Final Report on Ghana’s 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections,” June 2009, 34. 19 “Background Note: Mozambique,” US Department of State, available at: http:// www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/7035.htm accessed October 10, 2010. 44

Salucka- Addressing Electoral Violence

20 Ibid. 21 “Mozambique: National Electoral Commission,” Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, July 2009 available at: http://www.eisa.org.za/WEP/ moznec.htm (accessed October 10, 2010). 22 Wondwosen Teshome, “Electoral Violence in Africa: Experience from Ethiopia,” International Journal of Human and Social Sciences 4 no. 6 (2009): 464; Anne Gloor, “Electoral Conflicts: Conflict Triggers and Approaches for Conflict Management – Case Study Mozambique: General Elections 2004,” Peace, Conflict and Development: An Interdisciplinary Journal 7 (July 2005): 283. 23 EISA, “Mozambique Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: 1-2 December 2004,” EISA Regional Observer Mission, 2005, 28. 24 “General Elections Proceed Peacefully in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2009,” Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, December 21, 2009 available at: http://www.focac.org/eng/ fzsz/zqzz/t646700.htm (accessed October 14, 2010); Eustarckio Kazonga, “SADC Electoral Observation Mission to the Republic of Mozambique,” available at: www.eisa.org.za/PDF/ moz2009sadc.pdf (accessed October 14, 2010). Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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As one can see from this graph, Mozambique has seen a considerable decrease in elections, and the greatest decrease came after the implementation of the EMB.

Figure 3

Namibia Namibia saw a different path to independence than many other African states. Originally under German rule, Namibia was freed from European domination after Germany’s loss in World War I.25 However, Namibia was then put under the trusteeship of South Africa, and eventually got its true independence in 1990.26 Upon gaining independence, Namibia has held Presidential elections in the years 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009. Though there was an interim EMB established in 1992, it was not until 1998 that it was amended and given the true powers of an EMB.27 As such, it will be the impact of the 1998 EMB that will be examined in this study. In 1994, news statements reported Namibia only saw 1 instance of violence.28 In 1999, EISA election observers recorded 14 instances of violence, however, all instances occurred in one isolated riot.29 In 2004, news reports and observation reports stated that Namibia saw zero incidents of violence.30 In 2009, Namibia saw “some instances” of violence.31 Several news reports alluded to the low number of violent incidents the country saw, so “1” was chosen for 2009 to show that violent acts did occur, but they were very low in number, and not quantitatively stated in any report.32 Namibia’s levels of violence in elections can then be expressed in the figure below: 25 “Background Note: Namibia,” United States Department of State, Available at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5472.htm. 26 Ibid. 27 “Electoral Commission of Namibia,” Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, Available at: http://www.eisa.org.za/WEP/namec.htm. 28 Jonathon Reece, “One injured in clash of SWAPO and DTA supporters in Caprivi Region,” BBC, LexisNexis, November 28, 1994. 29 Tom Lodge, The Namibia Elections Report: December 1999, (Auckland, South Africa: EISA, 1999) 10. 30 EISA Election Observer Report, “Namibia,” (Johannesburg, South Africa: EISA, 2005) 47. 31 The Namibian, “Elections Free and Fair – SADC Observers,” Dec. 1, 2009 Available at: http://www.lexisnexis.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/?; Francisco Madeira, “SADC Electoral Observer Mission: Preliminary Statement,” SADC Available at: http://www.sadc.int/index/browse/page/631. 32 Ibid. 46

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As the above graph demonstrates, Namibia has seen very low levels of election-related violence, even before the implementation of an EMB. Namibia’s low levels of violence present the state as a strong case to study on how to minimize election-related violence. However, the difficulty in gathering numbers, as demonstrated above with the inability to specifically quantify the number of violent incidents in 2009 will be further discussed below. Sierra Leone Sierra Leone gained independence from British rule in April 1961.33 After independence, Sierra Leone was under a dictatorship and one-party rule through 1985.34 Sierra Leone then experienced insurgency and an eventual coup in the 1990s.35 The high level of intra state conflict that dominated the country led to United Nations peacekeeping missions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.36 However, a cease-fire was implemented and a democratic government was put in place.37 By 2002, Sierra Leone was more stable, and though elections were held prior 2002, this study will examine the period of 2002 to the present. Elections were held in 2002, 2007, and are scheduled to be held in 2011. The electoral management body was implemented in 2002, 33 “Background Note: Sierra Leone,” US Department of State, Available at: http:// www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5475.htm. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid.

37

Ibid.

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but after the 2002 elections.38 In 2002, Sierra Leone saw 19 instances of violence.39 In 2007, the country witnessed 24 incidents of violence.40 The figure below depicts the visual representation of this data: Figure 4

implementation of an EMB and electoral violence, proving this study’s hypothesis wrong. Rather, the results suggest that there are other more important factors, factors that perhaps when combined with EMBs, are more effective in mitigating election-related violence. These findings also demonstrate weaknesses of the current literature. Though many scholars are beginning to look at EMBs as sufficient means of addressing electoral violence, the uneven showing illustrated in this study suggests that perhaps such a strong emphasis should not be put on EMBs. These other, undefined factors can be seen in the comparison of Mozambique and Namibia with Ghana and Sierra Leone. Mozambique and Namibia have seen a decreasing, or lower level of violence than Ghana or Sierra Leone. Given this, similarities of Mozambique and Namibia share should be examined in attempt to determine factors that have a stronger causational relationship to low electoral violence. Some potential factors are elucidated below.

The graph above demonstrates an increase in violence after the implementation of the EMB, suggesting that the EMB has not been incredibly effective in the context of Sierra Leone.

Assessment The results of this study suggest that the effects of the EMB are not universal. Mozambique saw a decrease of violence, but Ghana and Sierra Leone did not. At the same time, Namibia had very low levels of violence before the EMB, and while the election immediately following the implementation of the EMB saw a small surge in violence, it quickly returned to its standard lows. The results from these four states demonstrate that there is not a causal relationship between the 38 “The National Electoral Commission,” Feb 7, 2002, available at: http://www. sierra-leone.org/Laws/2002-1.pdf; UNDP “Elections and Conflict Prevention,” Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy, 87. 39 The Carter Center, Observing the 2002 Sierra Leone Elections, (Atlanta: The Carter Center, 2003) 24. 40 Al-Jazeera, “Election Violence Hits Sierra Leone,” Sept 1, 2007, Available at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2007/09/2008525135028542267.html 48

Salucka- Addressing Electoral Violence

Further Research As the results of the tests demonstrate, the effect of the EMB is inconsistent. Though EMBs may encourage violence-free elections, their uneven showing suggests that there may be more important variables to study. For instance, the creation and stipulation of responsibilities and rule of conduct for EMBs in the states studies are predominately found in the laws of the countries. The strength of rule of law, or the effectiveness of a judiciary system that could punish those that act contrary to these laws, may in fact see a higher correlation with the levels of election-related violence than EMBs. As culture and attitude modified to allow for the creation and acquiescence to an EMB, levels of violence may have decreased as a result of a cultural and attitude shift, rather than as a result of the implementation of an EMB. However, the Mo Ibrahim Index suggests that the strength of rule of law in Mozambique is not as strong as one would think, giving Mozambique a score of 63 out of 100.41 At the same time, Namibia is given a score of 80 and ranks within the top 10 African states for the strength of rule of 41 Mo Ibrahim Foundation, “Mo Ibrahim Index,” 2010, 19 available at: http:// www.moibrahimfoundation.org/en/media/get/20101108_eng-summary-iiag2010-revweb-2.pdf. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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law.42 Perhaps Namibia’s strong entrenchment of respect of rule of law accounts for the incredibly low level of violence it sees. However, this does not account for Mozambique’s progress. Yet, this is the measure of just one data source, and a future study chronicling the trends of the strength of rule of law and the levels of election-related violence is suggested. A closer examination of the electoral management bodies themselves is also encouraged. Though all the electoral management bodies in this study were independent, this categorization is quite broad. By studying the similarities and differences of EMBs in these four states, successful aspects, structural arrangements, and other factors may be identified. For instance, it was noted that civil society played a large role in Mozambique in the crafting of the electoral law. If civil society also played a large role in determining the details of the EMB, it may have more successful attributes than the EMBs of Ghana or Sierra Leone. A first look suggests that there may be some weight to this claim. A recent study on the ability of African states to conduct free and fair elections specifically touches on the heavy involvement of Parliament and civil society in the creation and governance of the EMBs in Namibia and Mozambique, respectively, and the successes that have arisen due to this involvement.43 Given this, it is suggested that the individual EMBs are also studied, to see if one structural makeup, objective, involvement, or program of an EMB is more effective in mitigating electoral related violence than another. Additionally, this study was undertaken with the knowledge of the vast amount of literature concerning the negative effects of violence on democratic consolidation in Africa, and the lack of empirical evidence to compliment the literature. However, as the data collection process began, the disconnect between the literature and the quantitative data became even more clear. Though international organizations, such as the United Nations’ ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) have all identified the importance of free and fair elections, and have created several databases to track elections, levels of violence have been left out of these initiatives. The lack of data does not only stem from the unwillingness 42 Ibid. 43 Edwin Odhiambo Abuya, “Can African States Conduct Free and Fair Elections,” Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, 8 no. 2 (Spring 2010): 130. 50

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of international organizations to incorporate levels of violence in their databases. International observers do not even quantitatively record instances of violence in the field.44 Staffan Lindberg, a leading scholar on the relationship of elections and democracy in Africa is one of the few academics to attempt to bridge the gap of literature and empirical data, and created a comprehensive dataset on African elections. Most variables Lindberg uses to assess the legitimacy of elections, such as voter turn out, number of parties participating, if the losing parties immediately accept the results, etc., are easily counted and presented in a quantitative manner. However, in his variable “Peaceful” he is only able to categorize elections as “yes,” “isolated incidents,” or “no.”45 There is never any presentation of quantitative data on instances of violence that disrupts the peace during elections. Lindberg also comments that election-related violence is “by far the most difficult indicator to code,” and though it is reported by a wide number of sources, it is “difficult to establish the extent and nature of its occurrences.”46 Lindberg accurately characterizes the trouble facing quantifying election-related violence. Until international observers start counting specific instances of violence, and an organization, or group of organizations, comes together to create a comprehensive database with this information, the level of violence will not be able to be accurately judged. Further, without this specific information, the effectiveness of measures aimed at mitigating violence, such as electoral management bodies, will not be able to be definitively assessed.

Recommendations As was discussed earlier in this study, the international community has spent considerable amounts of resources, both financial and otherwise, in the pursuit of elections that embody democratic principles on the African continent. Additionally, it has been demonstrated through the literature review that violence at the 44 European Commission, “Handbook for European Union Election Observation,” 2008, Annex II, Available at: http://eeas.europa.eu/_human_rights/election_observation/docs/handbook_en.pdf 45 Staffan Lindberg, Democracy and Elections in Africa, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006): 175. 46 Ibid., 47. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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elections hurts the democratic aspects of elections, and the trajectory of democratic consolidation as a whole. In attempts to lower violence, EMBs were implemented in several countries. However, it is difficult to see the impact EMBs have had, as the data collected does not reflect verifiable levels of violence. As such, states should focus policy on encouraging their international election observer missions and other international organizations to begin properly, and uniformly collecting data regarding the levels of election-related violence, in order to assess the programs that have been instated. By doing so, initiatives such as EMBs will be able to be quantitatively, as well as theoretically defended.

Conclusion This study sought to assess the effectiveness of independent electoral management bodies in mitigating levels of election-related violence in African states. Though the literature suggesting the value of the EMB is vast, this researcher sought to close the gap between the theoretical literature and the quantitative, empirical data. However, in attempt to do so, it became clear that until data is more accurately, comprehensively, and cohesively collected, such a study will not yield conclusive and verifiable results. In the cases presented in this study, the effects of the EMB have not been consistent across states. Mozambique saw a decrease of election related violence after the implementation of an EMB, but the trend of decreasing violence had already been established before the EMB. At the same time, neither Ghana or Sierra Leone saw a decrease of violence after the implementation of an EMB. Finally, Namibia began with such low levels of violence, that the implementation of an EMB would not have had that great of an impact mitigating violence. However, all elections have been considered “free and fair” by international observers, even with the incidents of violence. Though the literature looked favorably on the positive effects of the implementation of an EMB, and looked to this structural solution in addressing electoral violence, the results suggest that perhaps too much importance may be placed on the mere presence of the EMB. Additionally, while this study first sought to bridge the gap between theoretical literature and empirical study, it now also seeks to highlight the difficulties in this endeavor. At the same time, this study now also hopes to encourage the applicable international bodies to take the steps necessary to collect the necessary data. 52

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As the inconclusive empirical data demonstrates, the implementation of the EMB may not be the greatest defining factor in the success of elections, but it may aid in the pursuit of free and fair elections. However, more conclusive results will not be found until an international organization or some other capable body takes the lead in collecting the data. To do so, this study suggests that international observer missions for elections begin to include quantifying incidents of violence as part of their observations. Until this is done, the true level of violence at elections in Africa will remain unknown, allowing for fallacy of statement and judgment regarding the credibility of elections in Africa. It is incredibly important to understand the devastating effect election-related violence can have on the trajectory of democratic consolidation in Africa, and work to mitigate instances of violence. The EMB has been lauded as a way to prevent and address violence, but the study suggests it may not be the most important factor, encouraging further research to discover other factors that may hold a higher correlation. Yet, until issues and inconsistencies surrounding data collection are addressed, it is this researcher’s opinion that studies will remain inconclusive.

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Edozie, Rita Kiki. Reconstructing the Third Wave of Democracy. Lanham, MD: University Press, 2009.

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Press, 2006. Ghana Center for Democratic Development and the Institute for Policy Alternatives. “Election Violence Monitoring of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, Ghana, 2004.” submitted to International Foundation for Election Systems. Feb 15, 2005, 6.

Lodge, Tom. The Namibia Elections Report: December 1999. Auckland, South Africa: EISA, 1999.

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Lund, Christian.“Bawku is Still Volatile’: Ethno-Political Conflict and State Recognition in Northern Ghana.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 41 no 4 (Dec 2003): 587-610.

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Huntington, Samuel. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

“Independent Model EMBs.” ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. Available at: http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/em/ema/ema02 (accessed April 4, 2010).

Kazonga, Eustarckio. “SADC Electoral Observation Mission to the Republic of Mozambique.” available at: www.eisa.org.za/PDF/moz2009sadc.pdf (accessed October 14, 2010).

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Madeira, Francisco. “SADC Electoral Observer Mission: Preliminary Statement.” SADC Available at: http://www.sadc.int/index/browse/page/631 (accessed Nov 20, 2010).

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Shiner, Cindy. “Africa Votes.” Africa News Service. November 23, 1992.

Smith, Daniel. “Ghana’s 2000 Elections: Consolidating Multi-Party Democracy.” Electoral Studies. 21 (2002): 473-533.

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Villalon, Leonardo and Peter VonDoepp, ed. The Fate of Africa’s Democratic Experiments. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005.

Paying the Price: The Politics of Neoliberal Reform by Caleb Gayle Caleb Gayle, an International Security Studies major, has worked for the Mayor of Tulsa, the Joint Center, and Carl Albert Center as a Civic Education and Research Fellow, consecutively. Caleb also started both the GreenwoodPAC and the Gayle Foundation. Caleb has been a Scholar at the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and a PPIA Law Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. A Truman Scholar, Caleb is currently a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute-Campus Network, co-authoring Think 2040, Blueprint for a Millennial America. Upon graduation in May, Caleb will attend Oxford University as Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Introduction “We are willing to pay the price of a multi-party system” in order to ensure the successful implementation of neoliberal reform. This statement from Juan Elek, former Managing Director of the National Bank of Mexico, demonstrates the commitment of the Mexican government to economic change. Any political change occurring as the result of these economic transformations and political reform may not have been a part of the motivation for neoliberalism but was nonetheless a result of it. From 1976 to 2000, Mexico implemented many types of economic change. Did this economic change, specifically neoliberal reform, help bring about regime change? Normally, we assume neoliberal reforms transfer economic governance from the responsibility of the government to the hands of ordinary citizens and private business. However, this was not the case in Mexico. Due

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to the corporatist nature of the Mexican state, elites from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) continued to manage the economy at the highest levels as technocrats. As a result, when managing the economy became a task too difficult for the PRI elites, they began to lose their monopoly on the political system as well. The introduction of neoliberal reform was somewhat foreign to Mexican economic policy, adding divisive ideology to the PRI. Historically, the PRI maintained a certain distance from ideology. Before the introduction of neoliberal reforms, PRI leaders primarily heralded “order and progress” as the overriding principles in political and economic decisions, specifically through the promotion of state capitalism. This allowed the PRI to appear as guarantors of economic progress through political order. Further, import substitution industrialization (ISI), the protection of domestic industries through tariffs and subsidies, was fueled by a serious distaste for dependency on the US and Europe. ISI focused primarily on the increased support of domestic industry and the close relationships between business, labor, and the government to bolster the economy. However, as state capitalism through ISI began to fail and the PRI implemented painful neoliberal approaches, economic success remained elusive. The PRI began to decline in popularity and the Mexican corporate state increasingly worked to absorb the declining support for painful economic reforms. To better understand neoliberalism’s role in the transition of power in Mexico over this 24 year period, I will detail the history of the democratic process in Mexico, attitudes toward governance in Mexico, the party system, and the political economy of democratic transition and economic change. Moreover, I will discuss the business community’s role in the process of neoliberal reform. This will aid in demonstrating that neoliberal reform was accompanied by the decline of the PRI’s popularity in many cases because of the socioeconomic pains associated with neoliberal reform. These reforms came at an opportune time when the PRI opposition had grown and concessions had been created for greater participation by other political parties. Specific agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did enhance economic liberalization and increased transparency as well as shared US-Mexico responsibility in the Mexican

democratic process; however, it was not to the degree that many believe. Literature Review Much of the literature on the political economy of neoliberal reform in Mexico focuses on the political climate and the political impact of key economic liberalization programs. However, there is not sufficient discussion of the political difficulty that ensued as a result of introducing neoliberal reform and inadequate analysis of whether this difficulty sparked political change and reform in Mexico. In 1976, neoliberal reform was a completely new set of economic principles that aligned the hopes of a one-party dominated political system with a foreign economic ideology. The risks for division were great. Theoretically, scholars have argued that international economic change can bring about regime change12. Their research asks whether democratic change is normally a matter of domestic economic changes or if democratic change occurs as a result of international agreements, organizations, and economic activity. Specifically, Pevehouse’s work on democratic change both qualitatively and quantitatively demonstrates that democracy is not a product of the domestic political process but rather an effect of international pressures. Moreover, he emphasizes that democratization has become a major foreign policy goal of multiple Western democracies. Trade-focused agreements and organizations, therefore, have been formed through efforts to promote further democratization3. In this research, I argue that there is not much evidence that NAFTA fit into the theoretical link between International Organizations and democracy. Other authors have discussed the topic of neoliberal reform

1 Pevehouse, J. (2002). Democracy from the Outside-In? International Organizations and Democratization. (T. I. Technology, Ed.) Cambridge Journal of International Organization , 56 (3), 515-549 2 Milner, H. (1999, August 12). The New Wave of Regionalism. (T. I. Technology, Ed.) Cambridge Journal of International Organizations , 589-627 3

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(Pevehouse)

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in the political context of trade liberalization456. Battles for influence between coalitions, including the plebiscite, politicians, labor, and business have become the focus of Thacker’s research. He organizes his commentary around the political impact of neoliberal reform by separating the timeline of economic reform in Mexico into three parts. First, from 1968-1982, the narrative of Mexican economic change is ISI and populism championed by Luis Echeverria and Jose Lopez Portillo. During the waning years of state capitalism (1982-1990), President Miguel de la Madrid initiated a number of reforms that relinquished the government’s hold on the economy. The presidency of Carlos Salinas in 1988 introduced more drastic neoliberal reforms and oversaw the signing of NAFTA. These neoliberal reforms were clarified and continued through the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo. Essentially, Thacker states that the viability of neoliberalism was dependent upon the strength of the coalition composed of “free trade policy makers and market-oriented business elites.” By 1994, these coalitions lost its influence during the devastating peso crisis as the decisions of marketoriented business elites and free trade policy makers were the primary causes of the crisis7. This research aligns with Thacker’s conclusions by arguing that the PRI proved unable to keep up with the changing winds of economic and political reform. In her explanation of the economic crisis and the reforms, Karen Remmer drew a strong correlation between drastic electoral changes and economic crises in the 1980s8. Remer countered the predominant view that democratic change had something to do with age of Latin American societies. Haggard and Kaufman attributed the political change in Mexico to the inability of the “one-party dominant” Mexican system to manage the economy in a favorable way9. 4 Thacker, S. C. (1999). NAFTA Coalitions and the Political Viability of Neoliberalism in Mexico. Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs , 41 (2), 5789. 5 Wise, Carol. “State policy, distribution and neoliberal reform in Mexico.” 29.2 (1997): 419-456 . 6 Wise, Carol”The Origins and Sustainability of Mexico’s Free Trade Policy.” International Organization 48 (1994): 459-489. 7

(S. C. Thacker)

8 9

(Remmer) (Haggard and Kaufman)

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These reforms help explain Mexican politics as a reaction to growing discontent within Mexican society at all levels with inequality. The political change that was based on inequality, according to some authors, is paramount to understanding economic reforms101112. There were instances of high concentrations of wealth and large disparities; and coalitions formed as they promised improvements on these fronts1314. Steffan states that the implementation of NAFTA occurred as a result of political stalemate15. It is here that more research is needed. Was it the introduction of economic reforms such as NAFTA that produced the political stalemates referred to in Steffan’s article? Or was it the political conditions that produced the economic reforms throughout the implementation of ISI, the introduction of austerity programs by the international community, banking reform, or the implementation of NAFTA? Even more, we can investigate further whether regime change was strictly a political change or a democratizing change. In this paper I will clarify the chicken and egg argument by arguing that economic change, specifically neoliberal reform, brought about political change resulting in regime change in Mexico. Mexico: Democracy or Dictatorship? The uniqueness of the Mexican political system made it more difficult to decipher the eventual impact of neoliberalism on politics. The changes in the Mexican political system due to neoliberal reforms were subtle before 2000 because of the apparent immutability of the system. In fact, noticeable regime change in Mexico had occurred since the 1970s. Carol Wise and Max Cameron describe Mexican democracy in two phases: pre-2000 and post-2000. We refer to Mexico pre-2000 as an electoral authoritarian regime, a characterization compatible with a literature emphasizing the existence of regimes that have some features of electoral democracy— regular multiparty elections—coupled with authoritarian traits that 10 11 12 13 14 15

(S. C. Thacker) (S. Thacker) (Harrison) (Steffan) (Wise & Pastor) (Steffan)

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ensure such elections are not fully free, fair, and inclusive16. For Wise and Cameron, Mexico was a quasi or semi-democracy. There were numerous elements of a democracy, such as multiparty elections, but several authoritarian traits remained. Moreover, Mexico never experienced democratic breakdowns followed by periods of “re-democratization,”17 in contrast to many other countries. For those reasons, studying the Mexican political system must include an in-depth analysis of the PRI. Until 2000, the PRI enjoyed over 65 years of dominance. The Mexican system of governance was designed to be the “perfect dictatorship”18. Mexican political leaders were able to maintain the guise of democratic governance while maintaining a firm stranglehold on the actual political process. To global spectators, Mexico seemed to have a better functioning democracy than many other Latin American or even Third World/Global South countries. There were always competitors in national, state, local and municipal elections. Dissenters emerged. Civil society groups were firmly opposed to the actions of the PRI, and PRI leaders provided the political and social space for those groups to demonstrate. However, the organizational structure of these groups supported the Mexican government. What Joseph Klesner called the “corporatist state structure” enabled the system to appear democratic but remain authoritarian. The structure, wrote Klesner, Channeled the electoral and other political participation of Mexico’s peasantry and unionized workers and to a vast clientelistic network through which the ruling elite materially rewarded those ambitious politicians who sought social mobility through politics and those social groups the same politicians claimed to represent.19 16 Cameron, Maxwell and Carol Wise. “The Political Impact of NAFTA on Mexico: Reflections on the Political Economy of Democratization.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 37.2 (2004): 301-323. 17 18 2009.

(Cameron & Wise) Kenney, Charles. “Mexican Presidentialism & the Dedazo.” Norman, October

19 Klesner, Joseph L. “Electoral Competition and the New Party System in Mexico.” Latin American Politics and Society 47.2 (2005): 103-142. 64

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To perpetuate its dominance, the PRI created groups for the working poor, women, indigenous peoples, steelworkers, manufacturers, and more. It also distanced its platforms from strong ideological positions, to avoid excluding potential PRI members. The party was not limited to poor or rich, Indigenous or Spanish, capitalist or socialist. However, in order to receive the benefits of this organization, it behooved party members to act in a way amenable to the PRI. For instance, CANACINTRA was an organization that organized small business interests on behalf of the PRI. When small businesses were divided on whether they would support neoliberal reforms, CANACINTRA marshaled their support for these reforms by promising political influence20. Alas, the system was designed only for the full participation of the PRI, not other parties. The government ignored dissent from opposition parties. This evidenced itself through the structure of elections. The PRI had a monopoly on federal, state, and local elected positions, allowing the PRI to reward those that supported them. Opposition parties, without access to political offices, never had the chance to reward their followers. Different from the United States, the PRI ensured political loyalty by organizing various sectors of Mexican society under the large umbrella of the party. On December 1st, 2000, Vicente Fox, member of Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), became the first person in over 65 years to assume the presidency from beyond the PRI. How did this happen? First, political succession and power transition must be discussed. The “dedazo” or “fingering/pointing,” a central element of Mexican politics for decades, changed in the 1980s as a direct consequence of neoliberal reform. The dedazo was a political tactic used by the executive to manipulate, officiate, or designate political successors. The dedazo’s influence could be seen in the selection of presidents, governors and even mayors, giving the executive an immense amount of power. The dedazo was also labeled “presidential discretion.” There were numerous instances when electoral fraud took place, as in any election. However, unique to the Mexican case, the president, not an independent electoral review panel or committee, would decide the outcome of a gubernatorial or 20 Shalden, Kenneth C. “Neoliberalism, Corporatism, and Small Business Political Activism in Contemporary Mexico.” Latin American Research Review 35.2 (2000): 73-106. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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mayoral race. This was done to maintain the power of the presidency and to ensure that the desires of PRI elites were carried out. So again, how could someone like Vicente Fox get elected President without membership in the PRI? The dedazo had its imperfections and these imperfections became manifest in the presidential transition in 1988 from Miguel De la Madrid to Carlos Salinas.

it demonstrated the political savvy of the PRI elite. As can be seen above, the normal swaying (the pendulum effect) of political ideology represented in the presidential election outcomes came to a screeching halt with the transition from De la Madrid to Salinas, when rightleaning presidents occupied the executive office in successive terms.

Miguel de la Madrid: Beginnings of Neoliberal Reform During the early 1970s, under the presidencies of Luis Echeverria and Jose Lopez Portillo, Mexican society witnessed the damaging effects of the energy crisis on the US economy, causing the United States to become more protectionist in nature. Mexico’s largest trading partner began to limit the amount of Mexican goods flowing into the United States21. In addition, Mexico borrowed heavily during this period to finance its oil production. Starting at the end of 1979, interest rates in the United States rose, making those loans suddenly more expensive22. These compounded factors forced the Mexican government to either default on its debt repayment or reschedule its debt. Mexico’s tendency of defaulting on loans, its inability to properly manage its budget, and its lack of discernment in borrowing disheartened investors, commercial banks, and central banks. As a result, Mexico had to turn to the lender of last resort, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose aid packages came with tough austerity programs23. The IMF also strongly encouraged economic liberalization. Some of the specifics included “tax cuts, greater reliance on market, deregulation, and a weakening of trade regulations”24.

Figure 1: Lecture by Charles Kenney entitled “Mexican Presidencialism & the Dedazo.”

From the election of Lázaro Cárdenas, the dedazo selected members of different political ideologies and philosophies, all from the PRI, to perpetuate the image of Mexico as a democracy. The shifting of political placements (Left-Center-Right) appeared to demonstrate the changing viewpoints of the Mexican electorate, when in actuality 66

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Prior to these changes, the prevailing economic management plan was ISI, which, from 1970 to 1976, produced 65% of Mexican 21 Teichman, Judith A. The Politics of Freeing Markets in Latin America: Chile, Argentina,and Mexico. UNC Press, 2001. 22 Sachs, Jeffrey and John Williamson. “External Debt and Macroeconomic Performance in Latin America and East Asia.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2 (1985): 523-573. 23

(Teichman)

24

(Ibid.)

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budgeted revenues2526. Booming success was characteristic of the Mexican state capitalism, but the economic gains were not sustainable. Essentially, Mexico, like many other Latin American countries, tried to reduce its dependence on more industrialized countries by manufacturing its own products, imposing high tariffs and protecting industries, and subsidizing the growth of public/state enterprises. Regularly funding these enterprises proved to be very costly to the Mexican economy. The state’s success grew dependent upon the success or failure of many of these enterprises. The PRI-dominated government demonstrated that it was not capable of producing consistent economic success. Consequently, the IMF in partnership with the Mexican political elite began to introduce changes. Just before the end of the Jose Lopez Portillo government, the president selected the manager of the budget, Miguel de la Madrid, to be the next PRI candidate and eventual president. In 1982, at the very beginning of his term, De la Madrid defaulted on Mexico’s debt. This started the true transformation of Mexico’s economy. During the De la Madrid administration, several economic events hindered the progress of the country. The overall GDP of Mexico shrank drastically in 1983 by 4.8% percent27, an unprecedented occurrence during a presidential administration. Although there was a slight recovery in 1984 and 1985, a massive earthquake hit the capital of Mexico on September 19, 1985, further injuring the Mexican economy as well as the electorate’s confidence in the ability of Mexican government to manage and deal with catastrophe. The loss of billions in property and the more than 300,000 left homeless were part of another drop, this time of 4% in overall GDP28. Usually, PRI elites would respond to an economic downturn by tightening up government restrictions on the economy, similar to the nationalization of the banking system in 1982 before De la Madrid’s presidency. However, this time the PRI implemented more 25 Edwards, Sebastian. Crisis and Reform in Latin America: from Despair to Hope. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 1995. 26 Looney, Robert E. Economic Policymaking in Mexico: Factors Underlying the 1982 Crisis. Duke University Press, 1985. 27

Blake, Charles H. Politics in Latin America. 1. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005.

28

Ibid.

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market-oriented reforms during this economic crisis, for instance reducing tariff barriers29. The application for membership in the GATT further demonstrated just how committed the PRI was to reforming its economic policies. De la Madrid was the key player in applying neoliberal reform. He sold off state-owned enterprises and slowly but surely departed from the principles of the state capitalist model30. These and other economic changes created disgruntlement within the PRI. Center-left PRI members began a discussion about maintaining some of the original economic policies of the PRI. Coalitions formed. Past chairmen of the PRI protested, creating a faction within the party known as the Democratic Current, which attempted to ensure that the next presidential round produced a PRI candidate in favor of state-capitalism31. This faction hoped that the Mexican government would maintain its firm hold on the economy while keeping its image as a democracy by shifting from the right back to the left. However, De la Madrid remained determined to appoint another neoliberal PRI presidential candidate. This created extreme dissent among the party’s ranks. Ultimately, the Democratic Current split from the PRI under the direction of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. Cárdenas’ was chosen as the presidential candidate for the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática)32. This was a very strategic move by this sect of the PRI because Cárdenas was the son of the famous Lázaro Cárdenas, who helped establish the PRI as Mexico’s premier political institution. Lázaro was viewed by many as a political and civil hero; naming Cuauhtémoc as the leader of this new movement evoked the Lázaro legacy. “Cuauhtémoc is the son of a President who cared about the common folk of Mexico and actually did something for us,” said a small business owner33. Not only was the pattern of political succession problematic, but so was the biographical background of those within the informal line of 29 30 31 32

Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. (Blake, 341)

33 Rothers, Larry. “In the Footsteps of Cardenas, Cardenas Campaigns.” New York Times (1923-Current File) 27 April 1988: A4. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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succession. Five presidents, including Ernesto Zedillo, were technocrats who never held an elected position prior to becoming president. Zedillo and Salinas were described as housing “antipolitical” governing style34. De la Madrid, Salinas, and Zedillo were all members of the financial and economic apparatus of the executive. They were not hand-selected from a pool of formerly elected officials such as former governors or members of the Chamber of Deputies or Senate. Rather, PRI candidates for president tended to be shielded from the Mexican public. They shared a common educational pedigree. De la Madrid and Salinas both attend Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Zedillo trained as an economist at Yale University. Executive transitions included not only the handpicking of presidential successors but also a collection of fellow technocrats. After being selected as the PRI candidate, Salinas’s camarilla (policy network) joined him in high ranking positions in the executive. These included Jamie Serra Puche, Ernesto Zedillo, Pedro Aspe, and José Cordoba, all Ivy League-type technocrats who had served previous neoliberal administrations35. They advocated for each other’s positions and provided support for career advancement. These individuals were not fully engrained members of the Mexican electoral process, making them foreign to the political concerns of the majority of the electorate. However, the outside status of the neoliberals allowed leaders like De la Madrid to maintain a severe level of control over the political system. One PRI tradition that De la Madrid did perpetuate was that of political order and control. As he tried to maintain his hold on the Mexican political system, he had to wrangle regularly with maintaining economic stability while withstanding pressures to reform from the international lending community. The international context of the 1970s and 1980s played an important role in the neoliberal reforms of Mexico36. Specifically, lending institutions like the IMF and the World Bank heavily influenced economic change by requiring the implementation of economic policies amenable to neoliberal reform (austerity programs, increasing tax base, etc.) prior to the provision of 34 Preston, Julia. “Zedillo Promises a Cleaner Presidential Election Next Year; A free vote would be an enormous step after 70 years of one-party dominance.” New York Times 2 September 1999: A3.

assistance. Throughout the 1980s, the story of Mexican neoliberal reform was one of constant negotiation to introduce corrective measures to a deteriorating economy37. De la Madrid introduced strict austerity programs to restrain Mexican spending. When Mexico decided to tackle the problem of inflation that had reached 159% by 1987, it did so, interestingly, by using its corporatist structure38. That year De la Madrid implemented the Pact for Economic Solidarity (PSE), which among other things, such as fiscal adjustments and fixed exchange rates, introduced unprecedented wage controls agreed to in meetings between the labor and business communities39. The PSE reduced the adversarial nature of the relationship between the business and political communities. De la Madrid incorporated the interests of the business and labor sectors, but did so at the most elite levels and often strictly within the confines of the PRI. De la Madrid’s focus on bringing the budget under control resulted in the decrease of public enterprises from 1,135 to 412, eliminating less crucial state enterprises40. However, in reducing the amount of the budget dedicated to public enterprises, De la Madrid also ensured that consensus could be developed between the PRI elite and those that supported the corporatist state model. This limited the fallout that could have occurred in the massive selling of private enterprises. However, these decisions were not made with the consent of the mass Mexican public, but rather at an elite level. De la Madrid’s neoliberal reforms were met with incredible economic challenges. For instance, the average real wages during this difficult time of reform declined severely41.

37 Edwards, Sebastian. Crisis and Reform in Latin America: from Despair to Hope. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 1995. 38

(Edwards 39)

39 Haggard, Stephen and Robert Kaufman. The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

35 Teichman, Judith A. The Politics of Freeing Markets in Latin America: Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. UNC Press, 2001.

40 Hoshino, Taeko. “The Privatization of Mexico’s Public Enterprises and the Restructuring of the Public Sector.” The Developing Economies 34.1 (1996): 28-60.

36

41

70

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(Edwards 263)

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Average Real Wages in Selected Countries of Latin America Country

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

(Indexed: 1980=100) Argentina

116.9

106.1

102.0

93.5

92.7

84.6

80.3

76.2

75.6

Brazil

105.1

111.8

121.5

105.4

103.2

102.3

87.6

87.8

105.5

97.2

93.5

95.1

94.7

101.0

102.9

104.8

109.9

114.9

Colombia

Chile

118.1

114.6

120.1

119.2

117.7

119.4

113.4

115.3

116.7

Costa Rica

84.7

92.2

97.8

89.2

85.2

85.7

87.2

83.1

--

Mexico

74.8

75.9

71.5

71.3

71.7

75.2

77.9

83.0

85.0

Peru

87.2

77.6

97.5

101.3

76.4

41.5

36.2

41.8

42.5

Uruguay

72.2

67.3

71.9

75.2

76.3

76.1

70.6

73.2

75.1

263)

Source: CEPAL, Economic Survey of Latin America (Edwards

The Mexican economy suffered a 25.2% drop in real wages from 1980-1984. Neoliberal reforms did not bring about the rise in real wages and reduction in poverty rates that were experienced under ISI. Herein lay the political problem. The decline in real wages as seen in the above data, made it more difficult for De la Madrid to sell economic changes. Privatized enterprises usually went to a few monopolistic interests (unlike in Chile, where ownership of public enterprises was shared amongst workers, common citizens’ pension plans, and private investors), leading to higher levels of concentrated wealth42. There were even real wage decreases in urban areas. Minimum Urban Real Wages in Selected Countries of Mexico, 1984-1992 (Indexed at 100) Country Mexico

1984 72.3

1985 71.1

1986 64.9

1987 61.5

1988 54.2

1989 50.8

1990 45.5

1991

1992 43.6

42.0

Source: CEPAL Economic Survey of Latin America (1984-1992) Unlike the United States, many Latin American countries, like Mexico, lacked unemployment insurance. In addition, in Mexico, there 42 72

(Thacker 1997) Gayle-Paying The Price

is a 3-month allowance given to workers who have been dismissed on “just” causes. Those just causes do not include increased competition from foreign companies due in part to a more open Mexican economy or an overall declining economy which was the case for many Mexicans. Mexican law was not accommodating to the changing nature of its economy43. Disgruntlement regarding unemployment grew. The De la Madrid administration made the crucial decisions in the transition from state capitalism to neoliberalism. The governing Mexican regime began to falter long before the implementation of NAFTA or any other trade agreements. Also, trade relations in no way influenced intra-PRI disgruntlement. The erosion of the PRI’s power in Mexico occurred as the result of PRI elites abandoning state capitalism for neoliberalism. Salinas & Zedillo: Solidifying Neoliberal Reform Carlos Salinas became president within a rapidly changing political system. As a result of the growing split within the PRI, Mexico had a real presidential contest on its hands in 1988. Cuauhtémoc’s platform proposed a return to the principles of the Mexican Revolution (a state capitalist model), while Salinas advocated additional neoliberalism in order to help Mexico develop a distinct, comparative advantage within the global market44. Cárdenas and Salinas both had a good chance of winning the election45. However, the announcement of a winner was held in suspense as the interior minister, Manuel Bartlett, announced that fraud compromised the counting of the votes46. The exit polls and projected polling statistics had indicated a very close race, with Cárdenas leading in some and Salinas leading in others. After a week of tallying and re-tallying, however, Salinas was declared the winner with 51% percent of the vote, while Cárdenas only had 31%. These inconsistencies caused many Mexican and international observers to declare the results as fraudulent. They identified 3 million votes as stolen from Cárdenas and 3.5 million non-existent votes awarded to Salinas. Despite Salinas’ victory, election results also demonstrated that the PRI was not invincible at the ballot box. Cárdenas’ effect on 43 (Edwards 279) 44 (Edwards 341) 45 Rothers, Larry. “In the Footsteps of Cardenas, Cardenas Campaigns.” New York Times (1923-Current File) 27 April 1988: A4. 46 Hillman, Richard. Understanding Contemporary Latin America. 3rd Edition. Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers, 2005. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

73


the Mexican electorate did not end there. Cárdenas later won what is considered to be the second most important and coveted position in Mexico, Mayor of Mexico City47. Until 1988, the PRI always held large majorities in the legislative branch. Now the PRI barely maintained 52% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies48. By 1997 the PRI lost its majority in the Chamber49. Mexican Chamber of Deputies (1988-2003)

use this terminology would not have been beneficial had the Mexican people not been as receptive to regime change.

: Percentage of Seats Won, by Party

PARTY PRI PAN PRD Others

1988 52 20 15 12

1991 64 18 13 5

1994 60 24 14 2

1997 2000 48 42 24 41 25 11 3 6

2003 45 31 19 6

Source: For the years 1988-2000, data are from the Political Database of the Americas http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Elecdata/ Mexico/mexico.html (accessed December 14th, 2003). For 2003, data are from the Elections Around the World website http://www. electionworld.org/mexico.htm (accessed on November 14th, 2003 by Charles H. Blake) The election of 1988 also changed the attitudes of the Mexican people. This can be seen in data provided by the World Values Survey. The first question analyzed is phrased like this: “If there was a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for?” (World Values Survey 1996, Mexico). In 1996, there were almost equal spreads for the two main parties. The PRI held 27.7%, while the National Action Party (PAN) held 28.9%. The PRI no longer had pure dominance. The electorate’s interest in other parties can be seen in the change in the gubernatorial composition of the country (see Figure 2). These statistics guided the campaign language of people like Vicente Fox. He used slang and sometimes vulgar language to describe himself and what he hoped to do while in office. For instance, El Cambio was a phrase that exemplified the movement to end one-party rule50. A decision to 47 Preston, Julia. “In Mexico City, Elected Mayor Opens New Political Era.” New York Times (1923-Current File) 1997 йил 6-December: A3. 48 49 50 74

(Hillman 348) (Ibid.) Puig, C. “Cordoba fue clave para amrrar a Mexico a los designios de Gayle-Paying The Price

Figure 2- PRI Decline in Office Holdings-Source: IFE 1995 Electoral fraud also marred the reputation of some PRI officials, for instance, gubernatorial races during 1996 in some of the northern states. This put enormous pressure on Salinas, who at that time was trying to 1) demonstrate the effectiveness and legitimacy of democracy in Mexico; and 2) maintain the dominance of the PRI. As a result, contested and fraudulent gubernatorial elections had to be thrown out, and the opposition candidates from a different party had to be installed51. This badly injured the reputation of the PRI. To be sure, these reforms began long before the ascent of political leaders like Salinas. José Lopez Portillo in 1976 began to relax certain legal limitations and regulations that had previously barred opposition groups from fully partaking in the political process. Even more, he mandated that 100 of 400 seats in the Chamber of Deputies had to be reserved for opposition candidates52. While this was far from a majority, reforms like this set in motion change within the broader political system. Further, Mexico during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s became more

Washington.” Proceso 4 April 1994. 51 (Klesner 10) 52 (Klesner 8)

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industrialized and urbanized, and this too diminished the PRI. People flooded the cities in hopes of better job and educational opportunity. Due to the increase in urban residence, Mexicans grew more aware of the outside world53. Complexities of the Mexican social structure also grew, and with that growth came the seeking of alternatives to the corporatist inclusion of civil society groups within the political system. Partly in response to these broad social changes, Salinas implemented an even more extreme neoliberal policy agenda than De la Madrid. His sexenio can be characterized by more aggressive liberalization due in part to the administration’s strong relationship with the business community. Passionate about implementing neoliberal reform, Salinas pushed for the amendment of the Mexican constitution to ensure that reversals of the 1982 bank nationalization became permanent54. Along with privatization, free trade moved apace. During the De la Madrid presidency, the Mexican government implemented structural adjustments in its trade policy, resulting in the decrease of tariffs by 50%55. Then came NAFTA, in several phases. For instance, NAFTA language on agriculture had timelines for the elimination of tariffs on soy beans, wheat, and barley; further solidifying Salinas’ efforts open the Mexican economy. The Mexican government had to eliminate tariffs on agriculture within 15 years, which demonstrated Mexico’s long term commitment to liberalization56. The government’s role in managing the economy was further reduced with the elimination of non-tariff barriers such as licenses. Not only did the government have tariffs of 128% on products like barley, but producers were obligated to obtain licenses to sell products, which limited the amount of people who could produce goods or provide services57. Freer trade policies resulted in even further reductions in the size of the government, liberating it from the obligation to protect and subsidize these businesses. Before NAFTA, the United States and Mexico had already established a more free-flowing relationship of goods and services. This was done by the reduction in tariffs from “24 to 11 percent” that had 53 Ridings, Alan. “Mexicans, Hurt in the Oil Crisis, Turn Their Anger on de la Madrid.” New York Times (1923-Current File) 1986 йил 25-July: A1. 54

(Haggard and Kaufman 1995)

55 56 57

(Edwards 158) (159) (160)

76

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occurred before the signing of NAFTA in 199258. Actions like this made the Mexican economy the United States’ third largest trading partner59. As a result of NAFTA, investment increased, exports skyrocketed, and workers benefited by increases in wages in export-led industries. There were, of course, some concerns. Small scale agriculture workers feared that NAFTA would displace them with “larger, more efficient competitors”60. These competitors would have massive subsidies to allow them to sell their goods at lower costs. When their cheaper goods entered the Mexican market, they would unfairly compete with the domestic Mexican market. This is not to say that the consequences of NAFTA were apolitical. Rather, there were numerous unintended political consequences, specifically those that enhanced regime change. In the Mexican newspaper, Proceso, Cordoba, Chief of Staff and the second most powerful man in Mexico, informed Samuel Berger, then-US Deputy National Security Advisor, about the extreme political importance of passing NAFTA as soon as possible. The early passage of this agreement took on a particular significance as the selection of a presidential successor was nearing. Analysts said that the fact of the Salinas government became linked to the successful passage and effects of NAFTA61. Negotiations over NAFTA garnered a great deal of international attention. Discussions were being held between congressmen, ambassadors, trade representatives, and foreign ministers. This discussion brought more attention to the democratic process. According to Geri Smith and Cristina Lindblad, the international attention compelled Mexico to have “government transparency, equal treatment for domestic and foreign investors, and international mediation” on matters of protection of human rights62. Democracy became a greater expectation under the negotiations and implementation of NAFTA. Inquiries were made “into Mexican 58 McPherson, Alan. Intimate Ties, Bitter Struggles: The United States and Latin America since 1945. Dulles: Potomac Books, Inc., 2006. 59

(Ibid.)

60 61

(Hillman 146) (Puig)

62 2003.

Lindblad, G.S. “Mexico: Was NAFTA Worth It?” Business Week 23 December

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democratization, the 1993 final debate over NAFTA, and the early 1994 eruption of armed insurrection in Chiapas”63. However, it must be understood that neither Canada nor the United States pressed democracy as necessary to the implementation of NAFTA64. However, there were some non-political groups such as Americas Watch, a human rights NGO, that voiced concern about the condition of democracy and human rights in Mexico: While we take no position for or against NAFTA’s approval, we strongly believe that sustainable development can only be built on a foundation of respect for human rights and the principles of democracy and the rule of law. If Mexico is going to reap the full benefits of free trade, it must have a vibrant, unfettered civil society able to participate freely and effectively in the nation’s political life, monitor and criticize government actions without fear of intimidation or reprisal, and hold its public officials accountable65. Democracy was not a central element of NAFTA or other examples of neoliberal reform. Yet many believed that economic integration needed to be accompanied by widespread enhancement of the democratic process. The US government did take actions to ensure that the democratic practices of Mexico stayed above board. For instance, The US Agency for International Development under Clinton allocated more than $500,000 to deploy a team of observers to monitor the 1994 election of Zedillo. The United States invested time, money, and political capital to guarantee that the Mexican government had fair and free elections66. The reinforcement of democracy, due in part to NAFTA, compelled Zedillo to announce his intention to implement a primary electoral system imitative of the United States on March 4, 199967. 63 Eisenstadt, TA. Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions. . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 64 (Cameron and Wise 304) 65 Americas Watch. “Americas Watch writes to President Clinton urging NAFTA Summit on Human Rights.” Washington: Human Rights Watch, 26 October 1993.

Throughout that year Zedillo had “expressed admiration in the United States primary system” and on several occasions declared that, unlike the previous Mexican system of the Dedazo, he would “not pick the next president of Mexico”68. In a statement before the press, Zedillo stated, “I will not designate the PRI candidate. Our selection process should use the popular secret vote of our active members and of all citizens who lean toward our party”69. While he was not advocating for the complete overhaul of the Mexican electoral system, Zedillo did desire greater inclusion in the primary electoral cycle. However, in doing so, members of the PRI alleged that Zedillo would just gain greater power. While he would not designate a candidate, he as the then-President set the ground rules for how the PRI would select one70. The concerns of the everyday citizen also came into play as many politicians were careful not to make a move that would drastically alter or affect the sentiments of either the Mexican or American electorate. Not only were politics partly responsible for NAFTA, but NAFTA caused further political change. The adoption of NAFTA included the efforts of many interest groups, ranging from social activists to business and government leaders and more. For Mexicans, this agreement not only meant drastic alterations to Mexican culture and society but reorganized and reshaped the way Mexico was governed. Several business interests that stood to benefit from the passage of NAFTA enjoyed close ties to the political elite, again demonstrating the impact of neoliberalism on regime change and vice versa. Some scholars see the Mexico-US Business Committee (MEXUS) as the catalyst for the design of NAFTA71. George Grayson details the relationship between the United States and Mexican business communities and how this relationship influenced NAFTA. At the core of Grayson’s book is the discussion of the “rules of the game” that govern the operation of Mexico’s international economic relationships72.

free vote would be an enormous step after 70 years of one-party dominance.” New York Times 1999 йил 2-September: A3. 68 69

(Ibid.) (Ibid.)

66 Hunter, K. “The United States and Mexico.” Crandall, Russell. The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 213-243.

70 (Ibid.) 71 Grayson, George W. The Mexico-US Business Committee: Catalyst for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Rockville: Montrose Press, 2007.

67

72

78

Preston, Julia. “Zedillo Promises a Cleaner Presidential Election Next Year; A Gayle-Paying The Price

(Grayson 28)

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The rules are as follows: Respect each other’s spheres of influence—with the state confining itself largely to petroleum, electricity, steel, and transportation. Accept a growing role for the private sector in the mixed economy Recognize that business would furnish political and financial support to the executive and his party in return for low taxes, generous subsidies, protection from foreign competition, labor tranquility and inflation control Scratch each other’s back by the government’s providing moneymaking opportunities to the private sector, which, in return, would tolerate featherbedding and grant regular pay and benefit increases to officially recognized unions Maintain a separation of functions that found few businessmen enter government, and even fewer politicians moving to private-sector posts Conduct consultations and negotiations between the business and the regime via state-sanctioned chambers of commerce, mixed commissions, or private discussions between business magnates and officialdom—NEVER through public wrangling73.

These rules set the tone and stage for a more influential role of business in Mexican governance. The Business Forum of the Americas, now the Council of the Americas, facilitated the operations of MEXUS, now the North American Business Committee. The Business Forum of the Americas was a working group under the umbrella of the Council of the Americas, which included business leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere. Dialogues facilitated at this level led to other meetings like the North American Forum. Participants included ambassadors, CEOs, and equivalents of cabinet secretaries from Canada, Mexico, and the United States with the goal of integrating their economies. It was the Business Forum of the Americas and MEXUS

73 80

(Grayson 29)

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that began to design trade and economic liberalization in favor for big business. A great demonstration was the implementation of the trade investment facilitation talks (TIFTS), which brought business and political leaders together to discuss liberalization74. This was done in October 1989, three years before NAFTA was even signed. The goal of MEXUS was to pressure the US and Mexican governments to reduce barriers to trade in goods and services and to open up both economies to increase business interests. According to Carla A. Hills, United States Trade Representative during the presidency of George H. W. Bush and principal negotiator of NAFTA, MEXUS’s push to continue TIFTS was integral to continuing the dialogue on trade negotiations between the political and business leaders of the US and Mexico75. Members of this committee from both Mexico and the United States began to issue policy proposals and reports in favor of liberalization. For instance, four members of this committee, Americans Charles Barber and Robert Herzstein and Mexicans Cesareo Frias and Fausto Miranda, issued a paper titled “Options for Liberalizing US-Mexico Trade and Investment”76. It attempted to demonstrate how much neoliberal progress Mexico had indeed made due to the involvement in dialogues and negotiations in the Business Forum, moving from ISI to an export-led, privatized economy77. Business interests were heavily influential. For instance, Carlos Salinas, a neoliberal, initially had no intention of joining a trade agreement with the United States. He sought to establish good trade relations with the Western Europe and Japan instead. To his dismay, Margaret Thatcher informed Salinas at the World Economic Forum in 1990 that “we admire your [Salinas’] pledge to open and modernize Mexico’s hidebound economy, but East Europe will be the target of our capital investment, finance, and commercial activities”78. While disheartening, Thatcher’s denial compelled Salinas to realize the necessity of establishing a trade bloc with the United States and Canada 74

(Grayson 99)

75

(Grayson 100)

76

(Grayson 101)

77 78

(Ibid.) (Grayson 107)

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as other regions of the world consolidated into their own blocs. From another angle, US and Mexican business interests pushed intensely for a trade agreement. In a joint statement by Rodman Rockefeller, the American chairman of the US-Mexico Committee and Juan Elek, its Mexican chairman, both men stressed the importance of the relationship by “demonstrating to the peoples of the United States and Mexico the high priority of strengthening our nations’ tradition of friendship and cooperation”79. While Mexico pushed for further economic development, the bilateral committee chairmen set forth their guidelines for Mexican economic recovery: Diminish legal and regulatory obstacles to expand the flow of technology and private direct investment required to create jobs and modern Mexico’s economy; Seek solutions to Mexico’s debt conundrum to restore the nation’s credit worthiness; and Move toward a comprehensive agreement to liberalize—and even—totally remove—barriers to bilateral trade and investment80.

Not only did individuals like Elek provide guidelines for economic recovery in Mexico, but his former political and economic positions also gave him access to the revolving door between the political and business community. Elek served as an unofficial advisor to Salinas. He was also Managing Director and International Banking Director at the Banco Nacional de Mexico. His career trajectory serves as evidence of the revolving door characteristic of political leaders and business community81. Elek always demonstrated his preference for economic reform and progress versus political change and reform. He stated in an interview with the Carter Center that “we are willing to pay the price of a multi-party system” in order to ensure the successful 79 (Grayson 106) 80 (Ibid.) 81 Business Week Staff Writer. “Capital Markets: Elek Moreno Valle y Asociados S.A. | Executive Profile.” 7 April 2006. Bloomberg Business Week. 18 January 2011 <http:// investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId= 558158&privcapId=13412681&previousCapId=266017&previousTitle=Dell%20Inc.>. 82

Gayle-Paying The Price

implementation of financial and economic reform82. This implied threat may have moved Salinas to push for NAFTA in order to save the PRI as part of his economic development and modernization plan. Two years into his presidency Salinas realized the significance of the impending trade agreement and moved with all haste to make it a reality. He did so with the help and advice of the Mexico-US Business Committee. Conclusion Earlier and in a more complex dynamic than most scholars have observed, Mexican neoliberal reform provided an important impetus for reforming the Mexican political system. Presidents Echeverria and Portillo maintained strong state capitalist agendas, which inflated budgets but survived because of steady GDPs. However, on August 1st, 1982, De la Madrid defaulted on Mexico’s debt forcing drastic reforms on the economy. De la Madrid’s presidency saw the introduction of strong austerity programs that reduced foreign debt, inflated budgets, and began neoliberal reforms. Persistent economic problems made it more difficult for De la Madrid to sell his economic policies. These policies created division within the PRI evident in the electoral contest between Salinas and Cárdenas. Salinas’ push for neoliberal reform resulted in among other things, the enhancement of business-government relations, resulting in NAFTA. Due to the increased strength in the relationship between the United States and Mexico through NAFTA, Zedillo implemented electoral reforms that mimicked the more liberal democracy in the United States. Political change in Mexico is sourced in the changes that occurred in the economy and whether or not the political, business, and labor elite favored the changes. So in review, did neoliberal reform help bring about regime change in Mexico? Yes. Neoliberalism added ideological grounding to a political system that previously avoided matters that could be ideologically divisive. Neoliberal reform proved to be too painful of a process for the one-party dominant system to bear.

82 Pastor, Robert A. “Post-Revolutionary Mexico: The Salinas Opening.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 32.3 (1990): 1-22. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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1982 Crisis. Duke University Press, 1985. Looney, Robert. Economic policymaking in Mexico: factors underlying the 1982 crisis . Durham: Duke University Press, 1985.

Bibliography Americas Watch. “Americas Watch writes to President Clinton urging NAFTA Summit on Human Rights.” Washington: Human Rights Watch, 26 October 1993. Blake, Charles H. Politics in Latin America. 1. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005. Business Week Staff Writer. “Capital Markets: Elek Moreno Valle y Asociados S.A. | Executive Profile.” 7 April 2006. Bloomberg Business Week. 18 January 2011 <http:// investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId= 558158&privcapId=13412681&previousCapId=266017&previousTitle=Dell%20Inc.>.

Milner, Helen. “The New Wave of Regionalism.” Cambridge Journal of International Organizations (1999): 589-627. Pastor, Manuel and Carol Wise. “State Policy, Distribution and Neoliberal Reform in Mexico.” Journal of Latin American Studies 29.2 (1997): 419-456. —. “The Origins and Sustainability of Mexico’s Free Trade Policy.” International Organizations 48.3 (1994): 459-489. Pastor, Robert A. “Post-Revolutionary Mexico: The Salinas Opening.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 32.3 (1990): 1-22.

Cameron, Maxwell and Carol Wise. “The Political Impact of NAFTA on Mexico: Reflections on the Political Economy of Democratization.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 37.2 (2004): 301-323.

Pevehouse, Jon. “Democracy from the Outside-In? International Organizations and Democratization.” Cambridge Journal of International Organization 56.3 (2002): 515-549.

Edwards, Sebastian. Crisis and Reform in Latin America: from Despair to Hope. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 1995.

Preston, Julia. “In Mexico City, Elected Mayor Opens New Political Era.” New York Times (1923-Current File) 6 December 1997: A3.

Eisenstadt, TA. Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions. . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

—. “Zedillo Promises a Cleaner Presidential Election Next Year; A free vote would be an enormous step after 70 years of one-party dominance.” New York Times 2 September 1999: A3.

Harrison, Gordon H. Hanson and Ann. “Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 52.2 (1999): 271-288. Hillman, Richard. Understanding Contemporary Latin America. 3rd Edition. Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers, 2005.

Remmer, Karen. “The Political Impact of Economic Crisis in Latin America in the 1980s.” The American Political Science Review 85.3 (1991): 777-800.

Hunter, K. “The United States and Mexico.” Crandall, Russell. The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 213243.

Riding, Alan. “Mexicans, Hurt in the Oil Crisis, Turn Their Anger on de la Madrid.” 25 June 1986. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Database: The New York Times. New York Times Company. 22 December 2010 <http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy. lib.ou.edu/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/110914752/12C70685D627E6BED31/3?account id=44289>.

Kaufman, Stephen Haggard and Robert. The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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Rothers, Larry. “In the Footsteps of Cardenas, Cardenas Campaigns.” New York Times (1923-Current File) 27 April 1988: A4.

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Rubio, Gloria and Rawlings, Laura. “Evaluating the Impact of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs.” The World Bank Research Observer 20.1 (Spring 2005): 29-55.

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Shalden, Kenneth C. “Neoliberalism, Corporatism, and Small Business Political Activism in Contemporary Mexico.” Latin American Research Review 35.2 (2000): 73106. Steffan, Mara. “The Political Impact of NAFTA on the Mexican Transition to Democracy, 1988-2000.” The Bologna Center of International Affairs (2007). Teichman, Judith A. The Politics of Freeing Markets in Latin America: Chile, Argentina,and Mexico. UNC Press, 2001.

Religious Minorities in Iran: Bahai’s, Jews, and the Islamic State

Thacker, Strom. Big business, the State, and Free Trade: Constructing Coalitions in Mexico. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Thacker, Strom C. “NAFTA Coalitions and the Political Viability of Neoliberalism in Mexico.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 41.2 (1999): 57-89.

by Sarah Oliali Sarah Oliai is a recent graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University, where she holds a Bachelors of Art degree in International Relations and Comparative Cultures & Politics, with a Muslim Studies specialization. She also studies Spanish and Farsi (Persian) languages. While at Michigan State University, she was active in several campus organizations and a volunteer coordinator at the Refugee Development Center of Lansing, Michigan. She will be attending law school in the fall of 2011 and plans to pursue a career in international law and transnational legal services. Introduction The 1979 Islamic Revolution ushered in a new way of constructing the Iranian nation-state. The state was no longer defined in terms of its connections to its ancient empires and monarchical past; rather the new regime sought to define Iran as a national community united under Shi’a Islamic principles. In this new national construction, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini and the leading clerics’ understanding of Shi’ism was incorporated within a new government structure to form the Islamic Republic of Iran and establish Islam as the state’s official religion. While the vast majority (89%) of Iran’s population is Shi’a,1 the institutionalization of Islam has significantly affected Iran’s religious minority communities. The Iranian constitution recognizes Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism as the only protected minority religions, but the experiences of the Baha’i and Jewish communities have been unique considering their relationships to the Islamic state. The discrimination faced by these specific groups is best 1 “The World Factbook: Ian.” November 2010. Central Intelligence Agency. 15 November 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ ir.html>.

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understood in terms of the challenges that they pose to the authenticity of the Islamic state and its vision of the Islamic Iranian nation-state.

Iran’s Established Islamic Identity The Shi’a Islamic national identity is constructed within the Iranian state through the Islamic government. Iran’s highly complex theocracy “mixes elements of both civic and exclusionary nationalist traditions” and the state defines national membership by its members’ willingness to “accept the rule of the supreme jurisprudent and to be subordinate to the apparatus of Islamic law.”2 National identity and belonging within the Iranian nation is conditional on accepting the Islamic state as the ultimate authority. One of the primary ways that this religious authority is built into the nation-state’s structure is through Ayatollah Khomeini’s concept of velayat-e faqih, the rule by the Islamic jurisprudents and the basis of the Supreme Leader’s position within the Iranian government. Khomeini was the first to argue that in the absence of the Twelfth Imam (the Mahdi), religious scholars and especially the jurists among them should serve as the political leaders for the community in addition to providing religious guidance.3 He justifies this position by arguing that there is no distinction between religion and politics in Islam.4 Toward the end of Khomeini’s life when the issue of determining a suitable successor came to light, Khomeini accommodated Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s lack of religious credentials by refining his argument about velayat-e faqih. Under his new interpretation of the concept, Khomeini argued that while clerical rule is desirable, those in the clergy more knowledgeable in the economic, social, and political arenas should rule instead of clerics solely knowledgeable in religious scholarship.5 Efforts to limit the role of the clerics within the government have been made but thus far have not materialized into meaningful changes. Former president Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami attempted to change 2 Juan R. I. Cole. “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism in Contemporary Iran.” Nationalism and Minority Identities in Islamic Societies. Ed. Maya Shatzmiller. (London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005) 128. 3 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds. Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008) 510. 4 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 510. 5 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 512. 88

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the constitution in order to increase the powers of the presidency, but such efforts were effectively shut down by the Khamenei and his supporters.6 Recently, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet has called for a curtailment of the Expediency Council, chaired since its establishment in 1988 by his largest political rival, Ayatollah AliAkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.7 The Expediency Council’s main duties are to reconcile differences between the Majles (parliament) and the Guardian Council (the council comprised of 12 clerics who must approve legislation and vet presidential, parliamentary, and Assembly of Experts candidates8), as well as to provide advice to the Supreme Leader. Although Khamenei has not yet declared a definite position regarding changes to the constitution, “major factions within the ruling conservative coalition are strongly opposed to any constitutional changes.”9 In addition to Khomeini’s principle of clerical rule, the constitution of the Islamic Republic is an extremely important document for examining the place of religious minorities in a nation that defines itself and its borders in religious terms. The Iranian constitution “clearly marks the ideology of the state with respect to notions of citizenship; nationality; religious minorities, including non-Shi’a Muslims; and what it means to be Iranian.”10 At the time of the 1979 Revolution, Iran’s population was 93% Shi’a, 5% Sunni, and 2% others; the largest non-Islamic communities remain the Baha’i, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Christian groups.11 Despite non-Shi’a Muslims comprising a very small percentage of the country’s population (7% total), four (5%) of the 73 total representatives that drafted the Islamic Republic’s constitution were from non-Muslim groups, excluding the Baha’is.12 Fifty-five representatives (75% of total representatives) were clergy members and over 50 were members of the Islamic Republican 6 Arash Aramesh. “Ahmadinejad Advisor Suggests Constitutional Changes to the Power of Expediency Council.” 11 November 2010. Inside Iran. 15 November 2010. <http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/ahmadinejad-advisor-suggests-constitutionalchanges-to-the-power-of-expediency-council/>. 7 Arash Aramesh, “Ahmadinejad Advisor Suggests Constitutional Changes.” 8 “Iran: Who Holds the Power?” BBC News. 10 November 2010. <http://news. bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/iran_power/html/>. 9 Arash Aramesh, “Ahmadinejad Advisor Suggests Constitutional Changes.” 10 Massoume Price. Iran’s Diverse Peoples. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2005) 310. 11 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 309. 12 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 311. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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Party.13

Islamic National Construction through the Constitution The Iranian constitution first asserts Shi’a Islam as the framework with which to construct the nation through several articles in the constitution that state the supremacy of Islam, establishing it as the official religion of the state. Of the initial constitutional articles, the first and the fourth are most important in clearly establishing Shi’a Islam and Islamic law as the government and legal system to be followed by the new Islamic state. The first article states that “the form of government in Iran is that of an Islamic Republic,” followed by the fourth article’s declaration that all laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria establishing the Guardian Council as the judges in such matters.14 These two articles illustrate the implementation of Khomeini’s argument regarding the complete lack of separation between religion and state in government. Article 12 specifically identifies which school of Islam will be followed by the state as the Twelver Jafari School of Shi’a Islam while also recognizing the rights of followers of many other schools of Islam within the state as well. The constitution goes further in its establishment of Shi’a Islam as the official state religion and basis for its legal code; the constitution explicitly recognizes its importance to the formation of national identity. Article 11 is most important in this regard, stating that “all Muslims form a single nation, and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of formulating its general policies.”15 The implications for national identity are made clear within this article. The state is to be a community of Muslims, specifically Shi’a, whose membership and acceptance within this nation and its borders is to be determined by acceptance of this understanding of Islam. The oaths taken by specific members of government as stated in the constitution also construct national borders and reinforce Islam’s supremacy within the nationstate. Article 67 details the oath taken by Majles representatives. Although the four Majles representatives of the recognized religious 13 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 311. 14 “Islamic Republic of Iran Government Constitution.” Iran Online. 10 November 2010. <http://www.iranonline.com/iran/iran-info/government/constitution. html>. 15 “Islamic Republic of Iran Government Constitution.” 90

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minority groups swear the oath on their own holy books, part of the representatives’ oath as representatives includes swearing to protect the sanctity of Islam and guard the accomplishments and foundations of the Islamic Republic. The oath of the directly-elected president includes swearing to guard the official religion of the country. One of the tools through which the government can assert its authority is the military apparatus, and it is used by the Islamic regime to enforce its ideal vision of Iranian national identity. Article 144 delegates this authority to the Islamic army with the duty of protecting the Islamic state. No religious minorities are exempt from the 18 months of mandatory military service for men, but the law still reproduces societal discrimination within the military’s structure, forbidding “non-Muslims from holding officer positions over Muslims.”16 Though college-educated members of recognized religious minorities can serve as officers during their mandatory military service, they cannot become career military officers.17 Iran’s constitution also directly addresses the topic of minority religions. There are several specific constitutional provisions about certain religious communities in Iran. Article 13 explicitly recognizing Zoroastrians, Christians, and Jews as the only recognized religious minorities in Iran able to “perform their own religious rites, and to act according to their own canon in personal matters and religious education.”18 Article 14 goes on to state that Iran and its Muslims must treat all non-Muslims in accordance with “ethical norms and the principles of Islamic justice and equity,” but adds the caveat of only doing so for those who “refrain from engaging in conspiracy or activity against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”19 Despite the universal recognition of rights for all citizens, many of the non-Muslims that were persecuted by the state had charges of conspiracy leveled against them. The formation of political and religious groups is addressed in Article 26. The article allows for specifically recognized minorities to form such groups, provided that they do not violate principles of “independence, freedom, national unity, the criteria of Islam, or the 16 17 18 19

“Iran.” 17 November 2010. U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report. 18 November 2010. <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/ irf/2010/148819.htm>. “Iran.” “Islamic Republic of Iran Government Constitution.” “Islamic Republic of Iran Government Constitution.”

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basis of the Islamic Republic.”20 The final article of the constitution that directly addresses religious minorities and their place within the Iranian state is Article 64, detailing the division of Majles representatives for minority religious groups. According to this article, the recognized religious minorities are allowed four representatives in Majles. The Jewish and Zoroastrian communities elect one Majles representative each, the Assyrian and Chaldean Christians jointly elect a single representative, and the Armenian Christians elect their own representative.

General Policies towards Recognized Religious Minorities Despite the constitutional recognition that these recognized religious authorities receive in Iran, this rhetoric underscores the implications of living under the Islamic regime, which became clear during the regime’s early years. In 1980, Ayatollah Allameh Yahya Nuri argued that “an individual’s geographical, national, ethnic, or linguistic background” was not important; as long as “they share[d] the beliefs of Islam,” there would be no discrimination.21 Despite the legal recognition of specific minority religious groups, not adhering to Shi’a Islam became grounds for discrimination in the Islamic state,22 and these inequalities continue in Iranian jurisprudence today. In 1981, the Majles were presented with the Islamic penal code and despite widespread criticism by Iranian religious minorities, the code was approved in 1982.23 In its classification of crimes and their punishments, the code places greater severity on non-Muslims as well as crimes and/or interactions occurring between Muslims and nonMuslims.24 Examples include significant differences in sentencing for murder and adultery between men and women of different faiths,25 the greater severity of capital punishment applied to non-Muslim offenders, as well as the required amounts of financial compensation for various 20 21

“Islamic Republic of Iran Government Constitution.” Eliz Sanasarian. Religious Minorities in Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) 30.

22 23 24 25

Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 30. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 311. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 311. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 25.

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crimes.26 In light of constitutional articles 13 and 26, recognized religious minorities are allowed to assemble and manage their own, smaller courts for addressing family matters, personal disputes, marriage, divorce, and inheritance.27 However, the Islamic regime maintains its hegemony in this sphere of civil life as well. These courts and their rulings are subject to supervision and final approval by the Islamic state authorities. Committees comprised of recognized religious minorities make decisions regarding marriage, divorce, custody, and inheritance, but the final decisions are determined by the state agency in charge of the particular case.28 While the decisions of these committees are generally upheld, the role of the Islamic state as the final arbiter in the recognized minority religions’ separate courts seems to directly oppose Article 13’s provisions for free practice of these recognized religions; in reality, the article’s phrasing “within the limits of the law” curtails such practice. Disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims are only addressed in Islamic courts, placing the non-Muslims at a disadvantaged because of the legal system’s differential treatment of each group.29 Recognized religious minority groups are encouraged to convert to Shi’a Islam, and if one family member does so, he or she inherits all of the property of his or her non-Muslim relatives.30 Furthermore, due to the concept of the velayat-e faqih and the position of the Supreme Leader within the government as the highest religious and political authority in the state, the Supreme Leader’s authority is considered divine; therefore, no aspect of legislation or state practice contrary to his ruling or religious opinion can be implemented.31 Supervision by the regime is not limited only to minority courts. The regime still asserts its authority over recognized religious minorities by controlling their ceremonies and public gatherings. Recognized religious minorities are allowed to have their religious ceremonies but government officials must be notified ahead of time and speeches 26 27 28 29 30 31

Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 132 – 133. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 312. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran,75. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 312. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 312. Yonah Alexander and Milton Hoenig. The New Iranian Leadership (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008) 13.

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to public gatherings must be submitted in advance to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for approval.32 Speeches in languages other than Persian must also be submitted with the original text as well as a Persian translation to the Ministry’s Department of Religious Minorities for approval.33 Even something as simple as annual calendars marking religious holidays and events must be reviewed by the Ministry’s Department of Publications for approval prior to distribution. Proselytizing of any sort within these documents is also prohibited.34 These myriad requirements exist for religious minority groups and serve as yet another means of curtailing rights and the practice of recognized minority religions; such encompassing requirements are not applied to practitioners of Shi’a Islam. The state also exerts its domination over religious minorities in the sphere of education. Recognized religious minorities are allowed to have their own religious schools, and Jewish communities have schools that teach Hebrew.35 Despite these legal rights, recognized religious minorities often find them to be significantly undermined by government policies enforced in contradiction to these rights. In 1981, the Ministry of Education and Training (MET) determined that religious education must be taught in Persian, a single religious textbook written by MET must be used in the classroom, schools must request special permission for conducting any secular and religious ceremonies, and female students and teachers must observe Islamic dress codes.36 The MET’s book, Religious Studies Specifically for Religious Minorities: Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians, was to be used in the single religion course offered by minority groups’ schools; this course was to be taught by a Muslim teacher for a minimum of three hours per week.37 Religion classes were not the only classes where the state chose special textbooks and curriculum. In addition to the special religious text, “non-Muslim students read the same texts used by Muslim students throughout the nation…textbooks were agents of socialization 32 33 34 35 36 37

Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran,74. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran,74. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran,74. Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan, “Communitarian Neighborhoods and Religious Minorities in Iran: A Comparative Analysis.” Iranian Studies. 40.5 (December 2007) 600. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 80. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 82.

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for the new generation, with the goal of forming a ‘new Islamic person’ in Iran.”38 In order to gain entrance to universities, all students, including recognized religious minorities, must pass an examination in Islamic theology and obtain approval from the MET on their moral conduct and qualifications.39 Students were graded by their Muslim principals who sometimes abused this role.40 The exams were especially difficult for non-Muslim students in competition with their Muslim peers as well as their instructors’ evaluations, and while “minority students continued to attend universities and major in various fields, their numbers compared to the pre-revolutionary era went down considerably.”41 Restrictions on religious educational institutions only increased. In 1983, several significant changes occurred that served to further reduce the freedoms of these recognized religious minority schools.42 First, there was widespread appointment of Muslim principals, teachers, and clerics to minority religious schools. Secondly, there was significant teaching time reduction or complete elimination of languages other than Persian within the classroom. Finally, interference in the actual teaching of minority religions became even more overt. The end result of these and similar policies is that religious minority children became both direct and indirect targets of socialization and Islamic proselytizing.43 Viewed as transients on their way to becoming Muslims rather than being fully allowed to maintain and practice their religious beliefs, “the role of a theocracy [became] to facilitate this change, gradually, while maintaining their rights as the respected and protected People of the Book.”44

The Baha’i Experience in Post-Revolutionary Iran The Baha’i faith, based on the teachings of the Bab and Bahaullah, was established with Bahaullah’s revelation in 1863; its administrative system was implemented while Shoghi Effendi, 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian,

Religious Minorities in Iran, 83. Religious Minorities in Iran, 83. Religious Minorities in Iran, 84. Religious Minorities in Iran, 84. Religious Minorities in Iran, 77. Religious Minorities in Iran, 83. Religious Minorities in Iran, 83.

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Bahaullah’s eldest grandson, served as the faith’s guardian between 1921 and 1957.45 Prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution, there were an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 Baha’is in Iran.46 As of 2008, it is estimated that there approximately five million Baha’is worldwide, about 300,000 living in Iran alone.47 Since its foundation, the Baha’i experience in Iran has been characterized by severe repression which was intensified with the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Baha’is are not a recognized religious minority, and the Islamic government continued this poor treatment of Baha’is through systematic discrimination and persecution. In a 1983 interview, Iranian Prosecutor General Seyyed Hossien Musavi Tabrizi definitively stated that “any organized Baha’i activity was against the law.”48 Furthermore, the Hojjatieh Society, of which Ahmadinejad is a member, is one of the most important actors against Iranian Baha’is to this day. Originally founded in the 1950s, the organization identified the eradication of the Baha’i faith as one of its central goals.49 The group is a strong supporter of the private sector businesses and free trade, and its members are “religious fundamentalists with a strong anti-Baha’i and anti-Communist stand.”50 Hojjatieh members infiltrated Baha’i groups and organizations, gaining access to Baha’i registration books and confidential correspondences. Their actions, coupled with similar information obtained from SAVAK, resulted in sweeping arrests and executions of Iranian Baha’is after the Revolution.51 Of such arrests and executions, those of Mihdi Anvari and Hidayatu’llah Dihqani in Shiraz on March 17, 1981, are especially significant. The two men were charged with collaborating with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, espionage activities on Israel’s behalf, and complicity in plots against the Islamic Republic.52 The guilty verdict and subsequent executions of these two men became the first time that membership in Baha’i organizations and institutions was made a capital offense; the precedent set by this case has been followed in subsequent 45 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 61. 46 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 319. 47 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 61. 48 Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 119. 49 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 62. 50 Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 120. 51 Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 120. 52 Geoffrey Nash, Iran’s Secret Pogrom. (Suffolk, England: Neville Spearman, 1982) 115-116. 96

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cases.53 Violent actions were also taken against the Baha’i community’s leadership. On August 21, 1980, all nine Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly of Iran members were arrested by Revolutionary Guards and disappeared.54 In accordance with Baha’i rules, nine more leaders were elected, eight of whom were later arrested on December 13, 1981; these eight were secretly executed two weeks later.55 The Islamic Republic and its fundamentalist supporters lashed out in other ways against the Baha’i community as well. One of the most significant actions against the community was the destruction of the House of Bab in Shiraz, the holiest Baha’i site in Iran. The House was demolished on March 24, 1980, with participation by the local government of Shiraz.56 The Islamic regime stated the incident was an act of vandalism, but Baha’is argue that the temple was destroyed by approximately 25 Revolutionary Guard members, led by local clerics who were accompanied by the head of the religious endowments department in Shiraz.57 A mosque was later build on this site.58 By the mid-1980s, the Iranian Baha’i community was “stripped of its collective assets, denied all legal recognition and thus placed outside the protection of the law, and its individual members were suffering [from] discrimination… the Government still maintained that human rights of all groups were being respected in Iran.”59 A decade later, the majority of Baha’i “administrative centers, holy places, and cemeteries, if not destroyed, remained confiscated by the state.”60 In 1993, Tehran’s municipal government destroyed a Baha’i cemetery in order to build a cultural center on the site.61 Even the uprooted gravestones and markers were sold.62 Other, more general measures were also taken by the Islamic regime to facilitate the destruction of the Iranian Baha’i community. Some of the formally registered Baha’is were taken to mosques, where 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62

Geoffrey Nash, Iran’s Secret Pogrom, 116. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 116. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 116. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 62. Geoffrey Nash, Iran’s Secret Pogrom, 76. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 62. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 88. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 121. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 142. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 142.

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they were forced to convert to Islam; in some cases, the state abducted the children of families who refused to convert, giving them to Muslim families to raise.63 The regime sought to eradicate Baha’is from all aspects of public and civil life within the state. Baha’is were not allowed to have government positions, teaching positions, formal education institutions within the Baha’i community, and Baha’is were barred from the bureaucracy, universities, and cemeteries.64 Steps against Baha’is in education were taken immediately in the early days of the Revolution. Iran’s Minister of Education at the time – Mohammad-Ali Rajai, appointed in November of 1979 – dismissed all Baha’i teachers and ordered them to repay in full the salaries they had previously received.65

The Baha’i Threat to the Islamic Republic’s Regime There are several reasons why the Baha’is, excluded entirely from recognition and representation in the government, have been constructed to be the “other” threatening the Islamic Republic and its power structure. The concept of religious minorities as the “other” threatening the new Iranian nation became institutionalized with the rise of the Islamic regime.66 In otherizing the Baha’i community, Baha’is were constructed by the Islamic Republic as a monolithic whole and as an assimilationist group. The group’s connection to Israel, where the Baha’i World Center is located, was presented as a connection to implementation of colonial goals. Baha’ism was constructed not as a religion, but rather as a political entity created by anti-Islamic and colonial powers. Baha’is “formed the most powerful wing of the [monarchical] ruling regime and were responsible for violations of human rights.”67 The fact that the group had been integrated at some level into society, albeit highly discriminated against, fueled conspiracy theories and paranoia, constructed as the internal enemy of Iran.68 Instead of viewing Baha’is as a recognized religious minority, a label that would entail legal rights, the Islamic regime dismissed the Baha’is as “perverted…instruments of Satan and followers of the Devil 63 64 65 66 67 68 98

Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 139. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 157. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 120. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 159. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 121. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 122-123. Oliali-Religious Minorities in Iran

and of the superpowers and their agents.”69 In the aftermath of the Revolution, Khomeini stated that the Baha’is were “a political faction; they are harmful; they will not be accepted.”70 However, Baha’ism is strictly apolitical and the religion does not allow its believers to participate in political movements; these religious convictions did not even permit them to vote in the national referendum to the Islamic Republic.71 Given Khomeini’s view that there was no distinction between religion and politics in Islam,72 it was easy to characterize the apolitical Baha’i as a subversive political group threatening Islam and the state. While nations are comprised of religious and ethnic communities, “civic nations make a place for them as constituents of the nation, whereas exclusionary nations achieve their unity precisely by singling out the unabsorbable minority within as a cultural and political fifth column.”73 In such a nation, as spoken of by former president Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami, will be impossible “so long as thousands of Iranians remain under the sentence of civic death.”74 The works of Sultanhossein Tabandeh, a prominent Shi’a author, published in the 1960s were incorporated into the Islamic Republic’s legal structure and understanding of relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. Tabandeh’s views also resulted in the regime forbidding the following of religions deemed to be acting against Islam, including communities under which the name of religion is organized against Islam.75 At the request of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council developed government policy specifically formulated to confront and destroy their cultural roots outside the country…[and the government must block] their progress and development.”76 The Islamic regime also views Baha’ism as a challenge to its legitimacy as an Islamic theocracy. Baha’is are the only non-Islamic group to revere the Qur’an as a divinely revealed book and Mohammad 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76

Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 137. Geoffrey Nash, Iran’s Secret Pogrom, 77. Geoffrey Nash, Iran’s Secret Pogrom, 80. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 510. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 159. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 159. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 26. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 121.

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as a prophet,77 but the regime views Baha’is as apostates because their religion was established after the establishment of Islam and recognizes prophets born after Mohammad. The real challenge to the Islamic Republic’s theocratic legitimacy comes in the Baha’i critique of the role of clergy. As previously discussed, Iran’s government structure and interpretation of Shi’ism is heavily dominated by high-ranking clergy. However, Baha’is challenge the role that clergy plays and call for each believer to independently investigate truth – each Baha’i is called to compare claims made by the Bab and Bahaullah to his or her own knowledge and learning before accepting their claims as the truth.78

the estimate had already declined to 50,000 to 60,000 Iranian Jews.82 (Price 315). Of the Jews leaving Iran during and after the revolution, only 10,000 to 15,000 went to Israel, the rest immigrating to Europe and the United States.83 Official censuses conducted by the Islamic Republic in 1986 and 1996 place the numbers of Iranian Jews at 26,354 and 12,737 respectively; outside estimates place the number closer to 35,000.84 In the summer of 2007, members of the Iranian Jewish community in the Untied States offered $60,000 to any Jewish family in Iran willing to immigrate to Israel, but by December of 2007, only 40 Jews had accepted the offer.85

The Baha’i faith also rid itself of many of the particularistic practices of Shi’ism, especially in regard to women’s rights and polygamy.79 This approach to religious practice places the role of interpreting religion with the individual believer, thus eliminating the role of clergy in controlling and implementing their own religious interpretations. In sharp contrast to the hierarchical structure of the Shi’a clergy, the Baha’i governance structure is more democratic, the role of the individual is emphasized, and allocates equal rights to men and women.80 In this sense, the Baha’i faith can be seen as similar to a religious reform movement, but clearly threatening the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic’s claims and its fundamental principle of velayat-e faqih.

In contrast to the Baha’i experience, the Iranian Jewish community is entitled to certain rights as established by the constitution. Parliamentary representation is one of the most significant of these rights. Of the 290 Majles representatives, one position is allocated for Jewish representation, and the office is currently being served by Maurice Mo’tamed. Iranian Jews are also allowed to (and do) celebrate their own Jewish holidays, as well as Noruz, the Persian New Year celebration that has its roots in ancient Iran and Zoroastrianism.86 Esther and Mordecai’s mausoleum, a holy site in Hamadan, is also open for pilgrimages.87 Tehran alone has eleven functioning synagogues.88

The Experiences of the Iranian Jews As one of three recognized religious minorities, the Iranian Jewish community’s experience in post-revolutionary Iran has been different from that of the Baha’is. The Iranian Jewish community is extremely old and deeply rooted within the Iranian cultural fabric, and is believed to have existed in Iran for over 2,500 years. Modern Iran is still home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel.81 Prior to the Islamic Revolution, there were an estimated 80,000 Jews in Iran, but within one year after the Revolution, 77 78 79 80 81 100

Geoffrey Nash, Iran’s Secret Pogrom, 95. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 60. Juan R. I. Cole, “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism,” 132. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 61. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 266. Oliali-Religious Minorities in Iran

Even as a recognized religious minority with constitutionally protected rights, Jews in Iran still face discrimination and persecution. With the May 9, 1979 execution of Habibullah Elqanyan, a successful former Jewish community leader accused of Zionist espionage and activities,89 the Iranian Jewish community was legitimately concerned about their place within the new Islamic state. On May 14, 1979, a delegation of Jewish leaders approached Khomeini in Qom, where Khomeini reassured them of their place. He stated that “We are against [the Zionists] because they are not Jews, but politicians…but as for the Jewish community and the rest of the [minority] communities in Iran – 82 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 315. 83 Haggai Ram, “Caught between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland: the Jews of Iran in Zionist/Israeli Imagination.” Studies in Culture, Policy and Identities. 8.1 (2008) 95. 84 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 315. 85 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 266. 86 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 316. 87 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 316. 88 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 264. 89 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 261. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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they are members of this nation.”90

The Iranian Jewish Challenge to the Islamic Republic

While Khomeini’s statement was meant to ease the Iranian Jewish community’s anxiety regarding the new direction of the Iranian state, Iranian Jews are still persecuted and the distinction that Khomeini made between Jews and Zionists has been lost. This support by the government for the Jewish community has not lasted beyond this single statement. Jews, as one of the three recognized religious minorities, have their own religious courts for smaller matters, but the system is supervised by the Islamic government and requires state approval, thereby negating the independence of these courts.91 The government also undermines the autonomy of Jewish religious schools. Jewish and synagogue schools teach Hebrew, but government authorities strongly discourage Hebrew texts, making it extremely difficult for the students to learn the language.92 Iranian Jews also face discrimination in the economy. On December 24, 2000, Mo’tamed “lashed out at the widespread discrimination against non-Muslims in Iran… [pointing to] discrimination in academic education, in government recruitment and job promotion… in criminal law, and restrictions on Hebrew instruction.”93 The Iranian Jewish community’s economic position was significantly diminished after the Revolution, and fierce economic competition among bazaar merchants was used to mistreat Iranian Jews.94 In the wake of the Revolution, the Islamic Republic’s conceptualization of Israel changed, and Khomeini saw Israel as an imperialist, anti-Muslim state. Jews that were perceived as having deeper economic or personal connections to Israel were aggressively persecuted by the new regime. In its early days, prominent businessmen and leaders were executed for collaboration with the “enemies of God: imperialism and Israel.”95 During the 1980s, substantially more Iranian Jews were imprisoned as compared to any of the other recognized religious minorities.96

90 91 92 93 94 95 96 102

Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 261. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 312. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 316. Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 264. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 113. Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 316. Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 112. Oliali-Religious Minorities in Iran

There are several different ways that the Islamic regime perceives Jews to be a threat to its vision for the Iranian nation. The first is the notion of kafir, a person who denies that Mohammad was God’s last prophet, “doubting Muslims,” or those who do not fast.97 Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, one of the leading figures in the Islamic Revolution and designated successor to Khomeini before their 1989 falling-out, stated that the rules determining purity and impurity “must be adhered to by the followers of Islam, and the goal [was] to promote general hatred toward those who are [impure and] outside Muslim circles’ in order to prevent Muslims from succumbing to corrupt thoughts [of non-Muslims].”98 The establishment of Islam within Iran holds it superior to other faiths. A person of another faith, deemed impure for their disbelief by the regime, directly challenges the very premise upon which the Islamic revolutionaries obtained power and continues to govern the country by posing other religions and identity constructions as alternatives. In this vein, the Iranian Jewish community’s deep roots to a pre-Islamic Iran is a direct threat to the legitimacy of the Islamic Regime’s power and construction of Iranian national identity. Being labeled as impure is an attempt by the regime to respond to threats to its legitimacy. This idea of impurity was extended to severe segregation of non-Muslims, despite the constitutional recognition of the Jewish minority. This notion affected types of jobs one could hold; some stores that sold food not prepared or sold by Muslims have to display “especially for minorities” signs.99 Even though Ayatollah Seyyed AbolGhasem Mostafavi Kashani, speaker of parliament during Mohammad Mossadegh’s premiership and a figure idealized by Khomeini, ordered that all recognized religions are eligible for employment, Majles representatives of the recognized religious minorities continuously bring complaints of such discrimination and advertisements that nonMuslims need not apply for various jobs.100 Although Montazeri made some exceptions to such notions of impurity for Jews and Christians in order for them to purify themselves, these rules were based upon Shi’a 97 98 99 100

Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian, Eliz Sanasarian,

Religious Minorities in Iran, 85. Religious Minorities in Iran, 85. Religious Minorities in Iran, 86. Religious Minorities in Iran, 87.

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religious interpretations and law, not that of the religious minorities themselves.101 Ghettos for non-Muslim minorities have existed for years. In cities such as Shiraz, Esfahan, and Yazd, Jewish ghettos are believed to have existed since the 1600s.102 Within these ghettos, synagogues, other places of worship, and schools were of special social prestige.103 Under the Pahlavis’ policies, there was greater integration of groups, and ghettos and traditional religious quarters became synonymous with poverty and backwardness.104 The ghettos became a “symbol of dirt and disease.”105 With the affluent members of the Jewish community rejecting the traditional council’s authority,106 the religious community’s authority was seen as backward. This denial of religious authority, even within their own spiritual community, is implicitly a denial of the Islamic Republic’s claims to religious authority and governance. With the actual formation of the Islamic Republic, Khomeini went beyond Montazeri’s exceptions, stating that “non-Muslims of any religion or creed are najess (impure).”107 The impurity of non-Muslims was taken seriously by the regime that imposed new, stricter measures upon them. Iran’s non-Muslim communities, especially the Jews with their deep connection to pre-Islamic Iran and this conflicting vision of Iranian national identity, threatened the Islamic Republic’s foundational beliefs and national construction. Constructing the Jewish community as impure is a blatant attempt to delegitimize criticism of the Islamic regime and Iran’s establishment as a theocracy. The regime’s suppression of Iranian Jews is based in conflated understandings of Judaism and Zionism. The regime is based upon a complete rejection of Western colonialism and the Shah’s connections to the West and Israel. Although there are distinctions in the law and 101 Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 85. 102 Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan, “Communitarian Neighborhoods and Religious Minorities in Iran,” 595. 103 Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan, “Communitarian Neighborhoods and Religious Minorities in Iran,” 598. 104 Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan, “Communitarian Neighborhoods and Religious Minorities in Iran,” 600. 105 Haggai Ram, “Caught between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland,” 86. 106 Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan, “Communitarian Neighborhoods and Religious Minorities in Iran,” 600. 107 Eliz Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, 85. 104

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occasionally in the regime’s rhetoric between Zionism and Judaism, these distinctions are often blurred.108 Ahmadinejad’s statements at the Holocaust-denying conference in 2006 completely negated previously held distinctions. The result of Ahmadinejad’s insulting statements is that it places Iranian Jews, an integral part of Iran for thousands of years, as one of the primary enemies of the Islamic Republic. Jews still face charges of treason and conspiracy,109 with perhaps the most notable incidents being the hanging of two individuals in 1997 on charges of spying for Israel and the United States and the arrests of 13 Iranian Jews from Shiraz and Esfahan on the eve of Passover in 1999.110 The 13 arrested were convicted on charges of spying for Israel in July of 2000, but all were released by February of 2003. Despite their release, the arrests “planted fear in the heart of the Jewish community, bringing its loyalty under question.”111 The regime’s confusion of Judaism and Zionism incorrectly assumes that Zionism is a goal shared by all Jews, national and religious, preventing the regime from understanding that “identities are not at all uniform and homogeneous, and that Iranian Jews could very well be both Jewish and Iranian without necessarily ascribing to Zionism.”112 However, Ahmadinejad’s statements regarding the Holocaust have resulted in his re-writing “the Iranian stance not only on Zionism and the Holocaust but on the right of Jews to a natural presence in the Middle East.”113 In fact, the large number of Iranian Jews (relative to other Muslim, Middle Eastern countries) demonstrates the “non- (and oftentimes even their anti-) Zionist credentials.”114 Such statements by Ahmadinejad and his 2006 conference focused on Holocaust-denial insult and intimidate the Iranian Jewish community.115 Iranian Jewish community leader Haroun Yashayaie’s letter stating that Ahmadinejad’s 108 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 265. 109 Massoume Price, Iran’s Diverse Peoples, 316. 110 Dov Alfon, Nitzan Horowitz, David Makovsky, Sharon Sadeh, and Shlomo Shamir. “World Demands Release of Jailed Iranian Jews.” 9 June 1999. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 22 November 2010. <http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Archive/Articles/1999/ World+Demands+Release+of+Jailed+Iranian+Jews+-+09-.htm> 111 Manochehr Dorraj and Mehran Kamrava, eds, Iran Today, 264. 112 Haggai Ram, “Caught between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland,” 96. 113 Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran’s Radical Leader (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008) 157. 114 Haggai Ram, “Caught between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland,” 97. 115 Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad, 157. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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comments have spread fear and panic in the Iranian Jewish community marked the first time since 1979 where the Jewish community has spoken out in opposition to the government.116 Jewish Majles representative Maurice Mo’tamed sharply criticized Ahmadinejad for the conference, calling it an insult to all Jews and a denial of their history.117 He also criticized anti-Israeli state television broadcasts for fueling anti-Jewish sentiments and leading to an increase in emigration.118

Conclusion

subversive political actors and Zionists. Iranian Jews and Baha’is are thus seen to be significant threats this vision, as expressed through their own histories, beliefs, and connections to states the regime deems to be its primary enemies, namely Israel. This rendering as the “other,” the threat to the very principles by which Iran’s modern Islamic identity is envisioned by the state, has resulted in harsh discriminatory policies by the state that continue to negatively affect the lives of Iranian minority religious groups and reveals the inadequacy of the state to protect the rights of its religious minorities.

Despite Iran’s rich ethnic and religious diversity, the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979 has created an environment where religious minorities, the Jewish and Baha’i communities in particular, are viewed by the state as a threat to Iranian national identity. The Iranian constitution directly establishes its interpretation of Shi’a Islam as the primary identity of the Iranian nation and uses the founders’ understandings of Islamic theology to justify the clergy’s powerful roles within the Iranian government. The pre-Islamic and secular history of Iran is not valued in the regime’s new interpretation of and vision for the Iranian nation. This places Iran’s non-Muslim minorities, especially its Baha’is and Jews, outside of this new national construction and significantly diminishes their rights within modern Iranian society. These groups in particular are seen to be internal enemies that threaten the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic’s foundation and its vision for Iranian national identity. Baha’is, with their anti-clerical structure and their belief in prophets following Mohammad challenge the principles of the Islamic regime. Iranian Jews with their roots to pre-Islamic Iran challenge the legitimacy of constructing Iran as solely an Islamic republic. While Jews are one of three recognized religious minorities, the extensive discrimination that they face within Iranian society significantly constrains their rights. The concept of apostasy and impurity are used by the regime to delegitimize these groups’ criticisms of its harsh policies and rhetoric, and members of these groups are persecuted as

116 117 118 106

Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad, 158.

Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad, 166. Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad, 159.

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Bibliography Alexander, Yonah, and Milton Hoenig. The New Iranian Leadership. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008.

Price, Massoume. Iran’s Diverse Peoples. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2005.

Alfon, Dov, Nitzan Horowitz, David Makovsky, Sharon Sadeh, and Shlomo Shamir. “World Demands Release of Jailed Iranian Jews.” 9 June 1999. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 22 November 2010. <http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Archive/Articles/1999/ World+Demands+Release+of+Jailed+Iranian+Jews+-+09-.htm>.

Ram, Haggai. “Caught between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland: the Jews of Iran in Zionist/Israeli Imagination.” Studies in Culture, Policy and Identities. 8.1 (2008): 83 – 108.

Aramesh, Arash. “Ahmadinejad Advisor Suggests Constitutional Changes to the Power of Expediency Council.” 11 November 2010. Inside Iran. 15 November 2010. <http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/ahmadinejad-advisor-suggests-constitutionalchanges-to-the-power-of-expediency-council/>.

Sanasarian, Eliz. Religious Minorities in Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Cole, Juan R.I. “The Baha’i Minority and Nationalism in Contemporary Iran.” Nationalism and Minority Identities in Islamic Societies. Ed. Maya Shatzmiller. London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005. 127-163.

Dorraj, Manochehr, and Mehran Kamrava, eds. Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008. Volumes 1 and 2.

“Iran.” 17 November 2010. U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report. 18 November 2010. <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2010/148819. htm>.

“The World Factbook: Iran.” November 2010. Central Intelligence Agency. 15 November 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ ir.html>.

Vivier-Muresan, Anne-Sophie. “Communitarian Neighborhoods and Religious Minorities in Iran: A Comparative Analysis.” Iranian Studies. 40.5 (December 2007): 593 – 603

“Iran: Who Holds the Power?” BBC News. 10 November 2010. <http://news. bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/iran_power/html/>.

“Islamic Republic of Iran Government Constitution.” Iran Online. 10 November 2010. <http://www.iranonline.com/iran/iran-info/government/constitution.html>.

Naji, Kasra. Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran’s Radical Leader. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008.

Nash, Geoffrey. Iran’s Secret Pogrom. Suffolk, England: Neville Spearman, 1982.

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Technologies of Ambiguity: The Dialectics of Iran’s Nuclear Power by Elham Seyedsayamdost

Elham Seyedsayamdost is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Columbia University. Her research interests include political economy of development, authoritarianism, social movements, and democratic transitions. Prior to her doctoral studies, Ms. Seyedsayamdost spent several years working with the United Nations on the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa, where she investigated issues pertaining to gender and economic policy. She holds an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA in International and Comparative Politics from The American University of Paris. Introduction In September 2007, the day before his appearance at Columbia University, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted the Iftar at a midtown hotel in New York, where hundreds of Iranians joined him to break the fast. Dinner was accompanied by screenings of Iran’s historical sites dating back to the Persian Empire as well as songs and poetry cited by children dressed in provincial garbs, illustrating Iran’s millennial civilization and united heterogeneity. After a Quo’ranic recital and the national anthem, Ahmadinejad addressed the crowd and drew a big applause after stating, “When the Iranian nation has people, each one of whom is an active volcano filled with love, hard work, ambition and courage, what does Iran want with a bomb?”1 He then went on to rebuke Western policy to halt “the progress of the Iranian people” and warned, “the world should know that if they trample on our rights, they will meet a shameful regret.”2 Much of the rest of his speech was centered on the nation’s accomplishments, in particular in the field of science and technology, which, as he boasted, relied on indigenous 2 110

Ibid.

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knowledge due to decades of sanctions and scientific isolation. This appeal to Iranians’ sense of national pride while recalling extant injustices enacted upon the Iranian people by Western powers has become a central tenet of the government’s strategy on nuclear program. While assuring the nation of the intent to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the government under Ahmadinejad has taken the opportunity to translate nuclear capability into a symbol of self-sufficiency and independence from the West. Iran wants to be recognized as a powerful global player and sees nuclear capability as a means to achieve international recognition. This Weltanschauung is further cemented in Ahmadinejad’s statement, “They may impose some restrictions on us under pressure. But will they be able to prevent the thoughts of a nation? Will they be able to prevent the progress and technology to a nation? They have to accept the reality of a powerful, peace-loving and developed Iran. This is in the interest of all governments and all nations whether they like it or not.”3 Thus, domestically, nuclear capability has become manifest in a discourse of national pride, substantiated by Iran’s status as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which sanctions Iran’s “inalienable right” to access nuclear science and technology. Internationally, however, Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been veiled in uncertainty because of Iran’s insistence on enriching its own uranium, which at high levels of enrichment can be used for weapons production. Despite the Non-Aligned Movement’s overwhelming support for Iran’s right to civilian nuclear energy with peaceful purposes4, the US has made use of the ambivalence inherent to nuclear technology’s dual-use potential to cultivate a discourse of uncertainties through the portrayal 3 Ali Akbar Dareini, “Iran Launches Next Phase of Nuclear Project,” Associated Press (27 August 2006). 4 NAM was founded in 1961 with the aim to balance the power of Western states and the Soviet bloc when most nations were pressured to take sides in the Cold War. In September 2006 at the summit held in Cuba, after Ahmadinejad announced Iran’s success in enriching uranium and before UN’s first series of sanctions, all of the 118 NAM member countries unanimously declared their support of Iran’s civilian nuclear program in their final written statement. See “Iran Wins Backing From Nonaligned Bloc” Radio Free Europe (17 September 2006). Two years later at NAM’s XV Ministerial Conference in July 2008, similar sentiments were expressed, welcoming Iran’s continuing cooperation with the IAEA while reaffirming “the basic and inalienable right of all states to develop research, production and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, without any discrimination and in conformity with their respective legal obligations.” See “Statement on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Issue,” INFCIRC/733 (11 August 2008). Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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of Iran as an irrational fundamentalist theocracy that cannot be trusted with nuclear capabilities. Iran’s refusal to give up its ambition to master the full nuclear fuel cycle has been thus interpreted as a sign of the government’s intent to pursue highly enriched uranium for development of nuclear weapons. Material ambiguities surrounding uranium and its varying uses have been appropriated by the US to equate the acquisition and possession of uranium with intent to produce bombs. Yet, in order for uranium to become “weapons-usable, it must be mined as ore, processed into yellowcake, converted into uranium hexafluoride, enriched, and pressed into bomb fuel.”5 Thus, nuclear materiality has produced ambiguities, which have been translated into different claims about the future. The US rhetoric, however, has backfired providing the Iranian government with additional proof for Iranian claims that foreign powers’ perpetuation of an outdated and unjust system has led to “nuclear apartheid.”6 Thus, IAEA negotiations, instead of enticing Iran to submit to the will of the West, have provided Iran with a site to openly make a case for their national sovereignty and security. At the same time, increasing US pressure and saber rattling has threatened Iran’s security interests, uniting the nation against foreign intervention. As a result, the government has tightened its power grip, punishing deviant views on the nuclear issue and ready to convict any voices of dissent with espionage and disloyalty to nezam (the revolutionary system), while benefiting from the opacity that has come to engulf Iran’s socioeconomic and political problems on the ground. Thus, the external discourse, while hostile to the government, has in fact strengthened the Islamic Republic’s regime stability. This essay aims to analyze the representation of Iran’s nuclear program in domestic and international politics and to examine the various appropriations of technology for political goals. The intent is to illustrate the plurality of meanings that are ascribed to Iran’s nuclear ambitions while examining the extent to which these parallel discourses open or close democratic spaces. The multi-discursive field of Iran’s nuclear debate must be understood within the context of a nuclear state’s ambiguities and the uncertainties cultivated by the 5 6 112

Gabrielle Hecht, “Nuclear Ontologies,” Constellations 13.3 (2006): 320. Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 126. Seyedsayamdost -Technologies of Ambiguity

US administration in the post 9-11 era to conduct its “War on Terror” campaign. Although Iran-US relations had eased during Khatami’s “dialogue of civilizations” presidency, the US strategy to penalize Iran by including it in an “axis of evil” with Iraq and North Korea had drastic domestic and international consequences for Iran. Two dominant polarized discursive trends emerge from an analysis of the multi-discursive debate surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. Internally, the government has made use of nuclear ambiguity to herald Iran’s nuclear program and hail its achievements in light of sanctions. This view has given rise to an internal discourse that has revived revolutionary ideals of independence from the West while fomenting national unity. The external debate, however, has been heavily polarized and dominated by a hostile US rhetoric that has used nuclear ambiguity to perpetuate an image of Iran as a threat to global security. The internationalization of Iran’s nuclear debate has led to UN Security Council Resolutions entailing socioeconomic sanctions and US calls for military threats. These actions, perceived by the Iranian government as a threat to its national security, have both united the Iranian nation and strengthened state stability. The first part of this essay traces the genealogy of Iran’s nuclear technology acquisition, historically contextualizing major phases of the program.7 Analyzing how Iran “enacts itself domestically,”8 the next section investigates the use of nuclear technology by Iranian politicians, in particular Ahmadinejad, to unite the nation. Drawing on Hecht’s analysis of nuclear power in France, it is argued that current day Iran is using nuclear technology “to regain its former glory.”9 Thus, the imagery of Iran’s ancient civilization is linked with a nuclear and modern future Iran receiving long justified international respect. To understand “how Iran is ‘enacted’ from without,”10 the following section examines how foreign powers have used nuclear 7 Krige and Barth argue that the various phases of a nuclear program should be read within their contexts and not “as logical steps on the path to an ‘inevitable’ outcome, the acquisition of nuclear weapons.” John Krige and Kai-Henrik Barth (eds.), Global Power Knowledge (Osiris 21, 2006), 11. 8 Adib-Moghadam, Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 29. 9 Gabrielle Hecht, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 1998), 2. 10 Itty Abraham, “The Ambivalence of Nuclear Histories,” in Global Power Knowledge, 51. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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technology as a political tool to further isolate Iran. It is argued that the neoconservative ideology, relying on various interlinked networks, has fostered “the image of Iran as a country in the grip of enigmatic, hostile revolutionaries led by intransigent, retroactive Mullahs.”11 This rhetoric has in turn legitimated a “discourse of control”12 that frames the nuclear issue within US anti-proliferation policy framework. As will be shown, the combined effect of these discourses has simultaneously led to national unity and regime stability in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran’s Nuclear Genealogy Iran’s nuclear program dates back to the mid-1950s, when Mohammad Reza Shah signed a civilian agreement with Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace”13 program. The subsequent creation of the Tehran Nuclear Research Center and US provision of an American research reactor were followed by agreements with Germany and France to provide nuclear reactors for various facilities in Bushehr and Darkhovin. Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, but it wasn’t until the oil shocks of the early 1970s that serious resources were invested in Iran’s nuclear program. With oil prices soaring, the Shah declared, “Petroleum is a noble material, much too valuable to burn... We envision producing, as soon as possible, 23 000 megawatts of electricity using nuclear plants.”14 In an attempt to consolidate the nation’s pre-eminence in the region, the Shah planned to build 23 11 Adib-Moghaddam, 125. 12 Ibid, 21. 13 As Krige and Barth explain, “Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program was intended to share nuclear materials and technologies with countries that sought them. On the assumption that fissionable material was in scarce supply – an assumption that rapidly proved to be mistaken – it was also supposed to serve as an instrument of nonproliferation by creating a uranium pool under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA). Source material drawn for this pool would help Western Europe build up its civil programs and divert scare national resources in “developed” and “developing” countries into nuclear programs dedicated to “peaceful” and socially beneficial purposes. It would also provide an export market for American business, which was deeply concerned about the economics of nuclear power at home but willing to be encouraged to sell reactors abroad as part of a foreign policy effort. Atoms for Peace was also promoted as a way to seal alliances and win “hearts and minds” in the cold war struggle between the Unites States and the Soviet Union for influence in the many new states of the “third world” that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s.” see Krige and Barth (eds.), Technology Power Knowledge, 7-8. 14 Nuclear Threat Initiative, Nuclear Chronology: 1957-1985. 114

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nuclear power plants by the end of the century and boasted of a nuclear Iran that in the future not only supplied electricity to Iran but also other Persian Golf countries.15 Shah’s vision linked access to scientific technology and expertise with notions of modernity and national sovereignty, with the firm belief that nuclear technology would elevate Iran’s status as a powerful regional and international actor. To realize this vision of a grand Iran, the Shah established relations with Western nuclear programs and academic research centers in order to train a generation of Iranian scientists. With the aim of creating “an indigenous technology in Iran, and not simply keep copying from Western technology,”16 the Aryamehr University of Technology was set up in Tehran, modeled after and in collaboration with MIT, whose faculty offered training to Iranian graduates and collaborated with them in joint research projects. The 1974 agreement between Aryamehr and MIT outlines the objective of their collaboration as educating “a group of elite engineers who would become key instruments of the future economic and social development of Iran” while accelerating “the transfer of science and technology into the societal fabric of Iran to ameliorate the pressing industrial, economic, social, and human problems of a fast-paced industrializing society.”17 Thus, Iran’s nuclear program during the Pahlavi era was not only endorsed and actively supported by Washington, the Ford administration in 1976 even offered the Shah a full nuclear cycle.18 In 1978, a year before Iran’s revolution, Carter went as far as calling Iran “an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world,”19 and agreed to Iran’s purchase of light-water reactors from the US. The US-Iranian nuclear collaboration would end with Pahlavi. In the aftermath of the revolution, the construction and activity 15 Naji, 114. 16 Stuart W. Leslie and Robert Kargon, “Exporting MIT: Science, Technology, and Nation-Building in India and Iran,” in Technology Power Knowledge, 124. 17 “An Agreement for a Program of Collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Aryamehr University of Technology,” (19 June 1974) MIT. 18 Jahangir Amuzegar, “Nuclear Iran: Perils and Prospects,” Middle East Policy XIII.2 (Summer 2006), 91. The Ford team included many of the Bush administration’s senior officials, who reportedly approved of Iran’s full fuel cycle capability in 1970s, but were vehemently opposed to an Islamic Republic of Iran with any uranium-enrichment capacity. See “Reported Past Arguments Don’t Square with Current Iran Policy,” Washington Post (26 March 2005). 19 “Jimmy Carter’s Human Rights Disaster in Iran,” American Thinker (26 August 2007). Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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of nuclear power plants were stopped. The revolutionary regime saw Iran’s nuclear program as “uneconomical” and mere “continuation of dependence” on the West.20 The Iran-Iraq War would however rekindle the government’s interest in the dormant nuclear program. Throughout the war, the US and other Western powers supplied Iraq with arms while remaining silent as Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran. The lesson for the Iranian government was to make “selfreliance in defense a cardinal goal,”21 which in turn underscored the importance of technological access and expertise. While invoking religious prohibition on nuclear weapons, Iranian leaders reassured insiders and outsiders that their “strict adherence to the tenets of Islam”22 rejected any rationale for nuclear weapon development. In an attempt to revive the Bushehr nuclear plant that the Iraqis had bombed during the war, Iran turned to Germany for the completion of the plant. When Germany declined, Iran approached Russia, who agreed to undertake the Bushehr project in 1995. In the meantime, Iran offered scholarships to thousands of students to study nuclear-related sciences in Russia and Western countries. In addition, the Islamic Republic invited Iranian scientists living abroad to attend conferences and exchange knowledge and expertise with their compatriots in Iran. Iran’s resumption of the nuclear program and the emerging nuclear dialectics must be understood within the historical international context of the time. With the ascendance of Khatami to presidency, Iran-US relations seemed to be gradually improving. Both Khatami’s initiation of the “dialogue among civilizations”23 and Madeleine Albright’s open apology regarding the US role in Iran’s 1953 coup 20 Naji, 116. 21 Daniel Byman et al. Iran’s Security Policy in the Post-Revolutionary Era, 36. 22 Naji, 118. 23 The idea of a Dialogue among Civilizations was introduced by Mohammad Khatami in response to Samuel Huntington’s theory of Clash of Civilizations, which suggested that religious and cultural identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era. Khatami’s Dialogue among Civilizations gained further currency when the UN in November 1998, the United Nations General Assembly in a unanimous resolution proclaimed 2001 as the “United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.” According to UN University’s website, “In doing so the assembly rejected the concept of a “Clash of Civilizations” which is based on the notion that inter-civilizational understanding is impossible. The General Assembly expressed its firm determination to facilitate just such a dialogue, which is aimed at increasing mutual understanding and tolerance among peoples of different cultural backgrounds, through an active exchange of ideas, visions and aspirations.” See United Nations University, “Dialogue among Civilizations,” < http://www.unu.edu/dialogue/>. 116

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contributed to the improvement in relations. After the September 11 attacks, despite Iran’s instrumental role in the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, George W. Bush’s state of the union address included Iran in “the axis of evil.” An early 2002 CIA report even went as far as to describe Iran “as the country most actively seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction.”24 Of course, these events were taking place parallel to US allegations of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Bush administration’s claim that Iraq had been seeking uranium from Niger, despite CIA’s doubts and lacking proof of evidence for the alleged nuclear transactions.25 Taken aback by the turn of events, Iran became alarmed and suspicious of US actions and intentions. In August of the same year, Alireza Jafarzadeh, spokesperson of the National Council of Resistance – in reality only a front of the militant group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) – alleged that Iran was building a nuclear enrichment plant in Natanz and a heavywater plant in Arak.26 MEK’s terrorist status in the US and lacking credibility and legitimacy with the Iranian government obscured the reliability of this intelligence until a few months later Khatami confirmed Iran’s construction of nuclear facilities with the intention to master the nuclear fuel cycle.27 Although the US resorted to tough talk, then-president Khatami’s invitation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the facilities led France, Germany and the UK to enter into diplomatic talks with Iran.28 They accepted to recognize Iran’s nuclear rights and promised easier access to modern technology if Iran complied with IAEA regulations. In turn, Iran agreed to cooperate with the international community and to suspend its enrichment activities 24 Nuclear Threat Initiative, “Iran Chronology.” 25 George W. Bush claimed in October 2002 that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium in Africa, citing the CIA, whose skepticism lead to their investigation of the matter by sending former diplomat Joseph Wilson to Niger in February 2002. Niger did not find any trace of the alleged sale of uranium to Iraq. Upon Bush’s statement on the existence of nuclear transactions between Iraq and Niger, Wilson went public with his information, pointing out US administration’s unsubstantiated accusations. The Bush administration in turn secretively exposed that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative. According to Hecht, this whole episode, more than anything else, detracted from the central question of whether Bush deceived the public and misled them into a war. See Gabrielle Hecht, “Nuclear Ontologies,” Constellations 13.3 (2006): 320-332. 26 Naji, 119. 27 “Timeline: Iran nuclear crisis: Chronology of key events since 2002,” BBC, retrieved on 20 April 2009. 28 Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour, “The Evolution of Iran’s National Security Doctrine,” in Shannon Kile (ed.) Europe and Iran: Perspectives on Non-Proliferation, SIPRI Research Report 21 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 23. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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while negotiations were ongoing. However, Bush’s “axis of evil speech,” the Bush administration’s fabrication of evidence for Iraq’s WMD program followed by US invasion of Iraq had been carefully watched by the Iranian leadership. Iran’s nuclear strategy, reflecting a response to the hostile US discourse, would change with Ahmadinejad’s social justice and equality rhetoric. Upon Ahmadinejad’s presidential election, Iran resumed uranium enrichment, insisting on its right to nuclear technology and proud of its achievements despite international obstacles. Shortly thereafter, New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh’s disclosed in an article in 2006 that the CIA had found no evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program.29 The CIA report had been received with hostility by the Bush administration that looked for ways to cultivate a more dangerous image of Iran. The Islamic Republic’s perception of its legitimate right to develop a nuclear program and its decision to risk sanctions by enriching uranium led to Security Council resolutions and sanctions, under US pressure. These sanctions were first limited to freezing financial assets of those engaged in nuclear related activities, but later extended to other financial institutions as well as travel and export restrictions.30 In addition to UN Security Council sanctions, US and Israeli forces have continuously used military threats to intimidate Iran into compliance. Uranium enrichment has been at the heart of Iran’s nuclear debate, raising questions about the actual “nuclearity” of Iran, that is “the degree to which a nation, a program, a policy, a technology, or even a material count[s] as nuclear.”31 As Hecht explains, global hierarchies of nuclearity were constructed such that “If producing 29 Seymour M. Hersh, “The Next Act: Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?” The New Yorker (27 November 2006). 30 UN Security Council resolution 1696 (July 2006) called for Iran to suspend enrichment and reprocessing activities or face economic and diplomatic sanctions. Not heeding their advice, resolution 1737 (December 2006) imposed sanctions on Iran by freezing financial assets of persons and entities associated with nuclear activities. The following resolutions 1747 (March 2007) and 1803 (March 2008), further tightened restrictions on Iran’s nuclear related activities and extended sanctions on other financial institutions, travel and export activities. 31 Gabrielle Hecht, “Negotiating Global Nuclearities: Apartheid, Decolonization, and the Cold war in the Making of the IAEA,” in John Krige and Kai-Henrik Barth (eds.) Global Power Knowledge: Science, Technology, and International Affairs in Osiris 21 (July 2006): 26. 118

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“source materials” was a full-fledged nuclear activity, then producers of those materials would sit further up the hierarchy.”32 Thus, from the beginning, uranium - the only natural radioactive material to fuel nuclear weapons - was placed at the center of nuclear systems. The material ambiguity of uranium has been used by the US to create a discourse wherein “uranium seems inseparably linked to nuclear weapons.”33 Iran, on the other hand, has been benefiting from the nuclear secrecy and ambiguity of uranium to create a discourse based on peaceful energy purposes, social justice, mutual respect, and national pride.

Technopolitics and National Identity In order to understand how nuclear technology has come to embody Iranian politics, the conceptual and ideological sphere within which technological power is performed must be understood. Gabrielle Hecht calls this performance “technopolitics, ” which she defines “as the strategic practice of designing or using technology to constitute, embody, or enact political goals.”34 As Thomas Hughes argues, technology can shape history and “must always be understood in social as well as technological terms.”35 Technologically, nuclear energy production generally requires high technical expertise in an intricate scientific field, which is considered prestigious and worthy of international recognition. Performed in private spaces (often underground), “ambivalence is a permanent feature of the nuclear condition,” 36 especially since Iran is attempting to become selfsufficient in nuclear energy with the capability to enrich uranium from its own mining sites in Saghand. Secrecy around the nuclear issue, 32 Ibid, 29. 33 Hecht, “Nuclear Ontologies,” 326. 34 Gabrielle Hecht, “Technology, Politics, and National Identity in France,” in Gabrielle Hecht and Michael Thad Allan (eds). Technologies of Power (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), 256. 35 Thomas Parke Hughes, “Shaped Technology: An Afterword,” Science in Context 8 (1995), 455. 36 Itty Abraham, 56. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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technical knowledge to understand nuclear energy production, and the invisibility of its performance have essentially denied the larger public a greater say in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Despite this lack of access to knowledge (or perhaps because of it), more than 90 percent of the public supports Iran’s nuclear program.37 In sum, Iran’s nuclear technology is characterized by a highly sophisticated state operation that is enveloped in secrecy, opacity and undemocratic practices. Conceptually, Iran’s use of nuclear technology for political ends is best understood as a continuation of the ideals of the revolution, a meta-narrative constituting the foundations of Iran’s policy. The pre-revolutionary discourse of the 1960s and 1970s was critical of the Shah’s political and socioeconomic dependency on the West. Leading intellectuals of the time emphasized the importance of scientific and technological expertise as a means to free Iran from Western hegemony. In his 1962 book Gharbzadegi (Wetstoxification), Jalal Al-e Ahmad critiqued the “culturally inauthentic status” of the Shah’s Iran, defining it “as a characteristic of an era in which we haven’t yet obtained machines and don’t understand the mysteries of their structure and construction.”38 Calling to attention the importance of technology as a vehicle for change, Al-e Ahmad wrote, “It’s obvious that as long as we only use machines and don’t make them, we’re Weststruck.”39 The materialism and dependency of the Pahlavi regime were also subject of Ali Shariati’s Bazgasht beh Khish (Return to Self), where he argued that Iran’s assimilation into “Western modernity” had diminished Iran’s authenticity. Such narratives “represented the apotheosis of the socialist, ‘third-worldist’ and revolutionary-Islamic Zeitgeist dominating Iranian society during the 1970s.”40 Just as “mastering the machine” was key to Al-e Ahmad’s writings in the 1960s, a similar appreciation of technological innovation permeates the writings of current intellectuals, including Abdolkarim Soroush, who writes, “If science develops, it would modernize and develop our politics, it would give meaning to justice and freedom…and [it] would determine the rights of people.”41 37 Ervand Abrahamian, “Iran Between Ahmadinejad and Ganji,” London Review of Books (6 November 2008) 38 Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Plagued by the West (Gharbzadegi). (New York: Caravan, 1982), 39 Jalal Al-e Ahmad, “The Outline of a Disease,” in Lloyd Ridgeon, Religion and Politics in Modern Iran (New York: IB Tauris and Co Ltd, 2005), 170. 40 Adib-Moghaddam, 52. 41 Abdolkarim Soroush, “Scientific Development, Political Development,” Kian Monthly Review 10.54 (Oct-Nov 120

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This concept of technology as a means to foster change and liberate the country from foreign dependency still resonates with the Iranian public, who perceive their treatment by the super powers as unjust. The discourse of Iran’s resistance to foreign dominance has been recurrently used during the last three decades. Two post-revolutionary Iranian political figures, who have adopted this imagery effectively, are Ayatollah Khomeini and Ahmadinejad. Khomeini’s Manichean world consisted of the mostazafan (oppressed) and mostakbaran (oppressors). Adib-Moghaddam argues that ideological dualism as “the ongoing clash between the ‘oppressed,’ who have been deprived of their political, cultural, natural and economic resources, and the ‘oppressors,’ who have subjugated the ‘disinherited’ is zero-sum in nature.”42 It is within this context that Khomeini urged Muslim scholars “to struggle against all attempts by the oppressors to establish a monopoly over the sources of wealth or to make illicit use of them.”43 Adapting a similar rhetoric, Ahmadinejad has contextualized Iran’s nuclear program within a discourse of justice and equality, protesting foreign powers’ imposition of “nuclear apartheid,” claiming “Those hegemonic powers, who consider the scientific and technological progress of independent and free nations as a challenge to their monopoly on these important instruments of power and who do no want to see such achievements in other countries, have misrepresented Iran’s healthy and fully safeguarded technological endeavors in the nuclear field as pursuit of nuclear weapons. This is nothing but a propaganda ploy.”44 Thus, the Islamic Republic has resorted to the revolutionary and counter-hegemonic narrative of the 1960s and 1970s, reviving deepseated anxieties of foreign arrogance that unite the nation behind their collective memory of past injustices. In her discussion of nuclear power and identity formation in post-War France, Hecht argues “nationalidentity discourse is not about the past per se or even about the present. It is about the future. National-identity discourse constructs a bridge between a mythologized past and a coveted future.”45 Invoking the nation “creates a sense of objectivity, which in turn performs the 42 Adib-Moghaddam, 56 43 Ayatollah Khomeini, “The Necessity for Islamic Government,” in Ridgeon (ed.) Religion and Politics in Modern Iran, 209. 44 President Ahmadinejad’s Speech at the General Assembly, United Nations, 17 September 2005. 45 Adib-Moghaddam, 253. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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work of legitimation,”46 explains Hecht and illustrates how France used nuclear capability as a means to connect French radiance with technological prowess. France thus invoked the nation and perceptions of its glamorous past, to enact its political and technological goal of French “nuclearity.”47

After the revolution, Aryamehr became Sharif University of Technology, which is by far the most prestigious Iranian engineering school and sometimes referred to as the MIT of Iran. Sharif continues to train first-rate scientists, whose knowledge and expertise is invaluable to the nation’s nuclear program.

Similarly in Iran, the government, especially under Ahmadinejad, has invoked national and religious identity to gain support for the nuclear program. After decades of downplaying the Persian culture compared to the Islamic religion of the nation, the current government has been actively using the image of an ancient and great Persian civilization to legitimate nuclear prowess. In line with Hecht’s argument, the Iranian government has used nuclear technology as a bridge connecting Iran’s glorified past to a modern and self-reliant future Iran. Rhetorically, Ahmadinejad has likened Iran’s nuclear issue to the country’s struggles in the early 1950s to nationalize oil, thereby turning the nuclear question into a national as well as a nationalist issue. Claiming it a moral imperative not to back down, Ahmadinejad has compared enrichment to Iran’s independence and argued, “We are not only defending our rights; we are defending the rights of many other countries.”48 Thus, Iran has ascribed great symbolic significance to its nuclear program by making the nuclear issue not only a question of energy, but one of science, technology, and ultimately self-sufficiency.

The Iranian government has actively highlighted the importance of nuclear self-sufficiency. This source of national pride is evident in government’s announcements that “all parts of the centrifuges used in the Natanz complex are manufactured by Iranian experts.”50 In order to further highlight the indigenous nature of the program, a year after becoming president in 2005, Ahmadinejad declared the 20th of Farvardin (9 April) the official National Nuclear Technology Day; a day for the people and government of Iran to celebrate the country’s nuclear achievements. In 2006, as Ahmadinejad lauded young Iranian scientists and proudly declared the nation’s production of its first batch of enriched uranium, “State television broadcast a patriotic threeminute music video called “Fruits of Science” heralding technological achievements.”51 While holding a speech in front of a poster, depicting white doves to emphasize the peaceful nature of Iran’s intentions, Ahmadinejad told the audience, “I formally declare that Iran has joined the club of nuclear countries.”52 This announcement reflected a vindicated Iran, a country ready to be at the nuclear table and to be taken seriously. Also this year, Ahmadinejad celebrated another landmark in Iran’s nuclear history by inaugurating the country’s first Fuel Manufacturing Plant in Isfahan.53

One of the sources of Iranians’ national pride in nuclear technology is their purported reliance on Iranian scientists. When the Shah established Aryamehr University to train a generation of Iranian scientists, he could not have foreseen that the university would become a leading center for revolutionary activities. Aryamehr produced “top-notch engineers grounded in Iranian culture,” who interpreted “revolutionary politics not as a variation of modernization but a repudiation of it.”49 Many of the same students receiving funding by the Shah to become scientists inside and outside of Iran supported the revolution and entered government service and research institutes. 46 Gabrielle Hecht, Radiance of France, 3. 47 Hecht defines nuclearity as “the degree to which a nation, a program, a policy, a technology, or even a material counts as nuclear.” See Gabrielle Hecht, “Negotiating Global Nuclearities: Apartheid, Decolonization, and the Cold War in the Making of the IAEA,” in John Krige and Kai-Henrik Barth, eds., Global Power Knowledge: Science, Technology, and International Affairs, in Osiris 21 (July 2006), 26. 48 “Ahmadinejad: Iran Open to Talks,” CNN (11 May 2006) 49 Leslie and Kargon, “Exporting MIT”, in Technology Power Knowledge, 128. 122

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The Iranian government has effectively appropriated nuclear technology to contest current superpower structures while appealing to national identity to generate support for its nuclear program. By reviving the social justice rhetoric of 1979, emphasizing the authenticity of Iran’s nuclear program, and tapping into nationalist sentiments, the regime has reinforced itself, further legitimating its rule. The Islamic Republic insists on its right to be a major player on the world scene and 50 Mohammad Saeedi, Deputy Head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organization, quoted in “Natanz Complex Achievement of Iranian Experts,” Islamic Republic News Agency (30 March 2005). 51 Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim, “Iran Touts Nuclear Technology Gains,” Los Angeles Times (10 April 2009). 52 “Iran Hits Milestone in Nuclear Technology,” Associated Press (11 April 2006). 53 Nasser Karimi, “Iran president says ready for nuclear talks,” Associated Press (9 April 2009). Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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has therefore appropriated nuclear capability as a symbol of national pride and political might. It is the latter that has worried the US and Western powers, leading them to use the ambivalence of nuclear energy to paint a bleak picture of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Technologies of Ambiguity and Construction of Uncertainties Western media has characterized Iran’s attitude towards the nuclear issue as “defiant.” US, in defense of Israeli national security, has exerted pressure on Iran to give up its uranium enrichment capability, which it sees as a sign of Iran’s ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.54 Nuclear ambiguity, defined as “uncertainty in the presence of suspicion about the existence of a nuclear weapons program,”55 has become a node of contestation in international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian leaders, recognizing the dual use potential of nuclear technology, in particular uranium enrichment, have assured the world of their peaceful pursuits. Over the years, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has joined ex-presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami to reiterate, “nuclear weapons were against Iran’s political and economic interests, as well as its Islamic beliefs.”56 Ahmadinejad has added “a cultured, learned, rational, and civilized nation such as Iran does not need nuclear weapons; only those who want to solve all problems by force do.”57 But the Bush administration transformed that node of contestation into public allegations of the Islamic Republic “harboring terrorism” and declared Iran as part of “the axis of evil.”58 Thus, the US

54 The influence of the Israeli lobby in US foreign policy has been highlighted by many scholars, politicians and journalists. In their book, The Israel Lobby, Mearsheimer and Walt describe the lobby as a “loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction” while promoting “crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians” and also “hostility towards Syria and Iran.” The authors argue that “No lobby has managed to divert US foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US and Israeli interests are essentially the same.” See John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (New York: Ferrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007). 55 Abraham, 52. 56 Amuzegar, 92. 57 Ibid 95. 58 A term coined by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 30, 2002 in accusing Iran, Iraq and North Korea of helping terrorism and 124

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actively engaged in constructing a discourse that pitted the “freedomloving people of the world” against states seeking weapons of mass destruction. American fabrication of evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to WMDs and their subsequent invasion of Iraq sent alarming signals to the Iranian government. Despite any proof of evidence or, at times even, existing evidence to the contrary, the ambiguity of uranium enrichment was used to frame Iran’s nuclear ambitions as hostile to world peace. Abrahamian, in examining the grounds setting America and Iran on a collision course, states “The Bush Doctrine forthrightly declared that the US could remain the sole superpower of the 21st century by, on the one hand, forestalling the rise of other world powers, and, on the other, resorting to ‘regime change’ and ‘pre-emptive strikes’ to prevent the emergence of regional powers that could threaten ‘vital American interests.’”59 The neoconservative ideology underpinning the Bush Doctrine thus has manufactured an image of Iran as an international pariah, whose “nuclearity” is unacceptable. Adib-Moghaddam outlines the contours of a similar belligerent policy toward Iraq by tracing how ideas, norms and goals gave rise to an interconnected network of lobbies, foundations and think thanks. Based on strong ideological and institutional links between a neoconservative White House and Israeli parties, he shows how a paper produced by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, advocating for “the principle of pre-emption, rather than retaliations alone,”60 was later presented by then Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu to the US Congress. The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, whose Board of Advisors included Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Richard Perle and John Bolton, and the Project for a New American Century took up the case for invasion of Iraq.61 By January 1998, the Project had sent a letter to then president Clinton as well as Congressional leaders Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, urging them to remove Saddam Hussein from power.62 seeking weapons of mass destruction. 59 Abrahamian, “Who’s in Charge,” London Review of Books (15 November 2008). 60 This list included neoconservative agents including Douglas Feith (US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 2001-2005), Richard Perle (Chairman of the Pentagon’s Defence Policy Board, Charles Fairbanks Jr. (personal friend of Paul Wolfowitz), David Wurmser (formerly of the American Enterprise Institute). AdibMoghaddam, 128. 61 Adib-Moghaddam, 129. 62 Ibid, 130. Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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In Iran’s particular case, an additional link was added to the network of lobbies and think tanks advocating for change in Iran. The Coalition for Democracy in Iran, founded by former AIPAC executive director, Morris Amitay and Michael Ledeen of former American Enterprise Institute, has attempted to “foster political support for regime change in the Islamic Republic.”63 The promotion for regime change in Iran has been extended to the US Congress, which since 2006 has allotted 120 million dollars to this “Democracy Initiative.” It comes as no surprise that Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney, is one of the influential figures who helped launch the democracy program. As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Elizabeth Cheney “headed the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group and, with the financial help of a prominent Republican foundation, the International Republican Institute, financed efforts of dozens of Iranian and Syrian exiles to promote a campaign to overthrow their government leaders.”64 Ahmadinejad’s election and his revolutionary rhetoric offered neoconservatives an actual reason to create an image of Iran as a pariah. In a campaign to trivialize the ‘democraticness’ of Iran’s elections, pundits from the American Enterprise Institute and National Review Online questioned the fairness of the elections and its undemocratic nature based in the candidates’ vetting process. These manipulations helped create an image of the presidency as illegitimate while representing Iran as a “rogue” state.65 This image of Iran was reproduced in subsequent news reports that linked Ahmadinejad to the US hostage-taking crisis of 1980. Neoconservatives appear to have benefited from Ahmadinejad’s anti-Zionist tirades, which have helped legitimize the US representation of Iran as an irrational state. Caricatures of Ahmadinejad as Adolf Hitler have even compared Iran to fascist Germany. Thus, Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric was reinvented by the neoconservative agenda in “the business of ‘reality production’… [by] a whole armada of politicians, activists, journalists [who] dilute facts in order to further their agenda.”66 This process has affected the way Iran’s nuclear program is represented in the international debate. 63 Ibid, 132. 64 Jason Leopold” State Department’s Iran Democracy Fund Shrouded In Secrecy,” Countercurrents (11 July 2008). 65 Abed-Moghaddam, 134. 66 Ibid, 138. 126

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This regime-threatening rhetoric has been tied into a “discourse of control” advocating US anti-proliferation measures. The US has used IAEA expertise and authority to scrutinize Iran’s nuclear program on the international scene. After allegations about Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear activities resurfaced, the IAEA launched an investigation that in November 2003 noted the Agency’s “concern about the number of past failures by Iran to report material, facilities and activities as required by its safeguards obligations, and noted the actions taken by Iran to correct those failures.”67 Although the IAEA report had found no evidence of nuclear bombs in Iran, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice claimed “the Iranians had not been truthful in the past about their nuclear activities. It would be wrong to suggest [the report] allayed fears about the nuclear program.”68 Even the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei expressed his worries about “the growing rhetoric from the US, which he noted focused on Iran’s alleged intentions to build a nuclear weapon rather than evidence the country was actively doing so.”69 The latest IAEA report states, “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran,” and regrets that “as a result of the continued lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the remaining issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme, the Agency has not made any substantive progress on these issues.”70 An article published shortly after the IAEA report quoted David Albright, a former UN nuclear weapons inspector and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) as saying, “that Iran continues to move toward having a nuclear-weapons breakout capability and would be expected to reach it by the middle of this year.”71 This same expert, a year earlier stated in a leaked copy of a draft report that “an international smuggling ring that 67 IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2003/75 (10 November 2008). 68 “Iran sees US hard-line approach failing,” Associated Press (17 November 2003). 69 “UN nuclear watchdog chief expresses concern about anti-Iran rhetoric from US,” International Herald Tribune (28 October 2007). 70 IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1835 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2009/8 (19 February 2009). 71 Golnaz Esfandiari, New IAEA Report Shows Iran Nearing Nuclear Breakout Capability,’ Radio Free Europe (20 February 2009). Northwestern Journal of International Affairs

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sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon,” warning that “these advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world plans could have been shared secretly with any number of countries or rogue groups.”72 It is not clear whether any of Albright’s statements were substantiated, but regardless, the IAEA reports created a space for the production of fictitious accounts of Iran’s ‘rogue’ status and military ambitions, thereby helping to diminish Iran’s credibility and to magnify the danger of a nuclear Iran within the international context.73 Just as the existence of WMDs in Iraq was constructed, the US during the Bush administration actively engaged in finding a way to stop Iran’s nuclear program. To construct a worldview of Iran that depicted its government as unreliable and not to be trusted with nuclear technology, a network of experts, agents, institutions and think tanks were mobilized with the specific goal to manufacture a reality that would further a hostile agenda towards Iran.

Iran’s Nuclear Dialectics The technopolitical performance of Iran’s nuclear debate must be assessed at the conjuncture of its multi-discursive interactions. The varieties of self-representation and representation from without give rise to different perceived realities. These realities are in turn manufactured by actors, who utilize nuclear technology within their distinct ideologies to enact political goals. As Hecht states, “The mutual shaping of technology, power, and authority can seem so obvious that we sometimes lose sight of how politicians, cultural critics, policy makers, and other public figures have thought about these relationships at different historical moments.”74 Nuclear ambiguity in Iran has created different types of discourse that have joined to strengthen the government’s power 72 “Smugglers Had Design For Advanced Warhead,” Washington Post (15 June 2008). 73 I am neither predicting nor agreeing with a nuclear Iran. The purpose of this analysis is to highlight how a discourse is created and how it shapes the image of Iran on the international scene. 74 Allan and Hecht, Technologies of Power, 5. 128

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grip. On the one hand, Ahmadinejad’s government has used nuclear technology as a force to unite Iranians under the banner of national identity by connecting an imaginary future nuclear modernity with Iran’s glorious civilizational and revolutionary past. Reference to revolutionary rhetoric of freedom from foreign dependency has provided the ideological framework, invoking national collective memory of past foreign interventions, coups d’etat and other injustices. Nuclear technology, symbolic of national sovereignty and self-reliance, has thus created an imagined modernity further inducing a sense of national identity and pride. While most Iranians support Iran’s nuclear technology and take pride in its achievements, the opaque and secretive characteristics of the technology itself has closed potential sites of contestation that other technologies such as coal can create.75 The security dimension of nuclear technology has in turn been used as justification for lack of transparency and undemocratic practices. National unity and security vulnerabilities have thus created an atmosphere where dissent is not tolerated. On the other hand, neoconservative elements within US and Israel have created a discourse on Iran’s nuclear ambitions that is radically different from the Iranian people’s narrative. Suspicious of Iran’s true intensions, the “international community,” led under the aegis of the IAEA – and under constant pressure from the US – has represented Iran as an irrational state. This image of Iran has been produced and reproduced by neoconservative think tanks, foundations and government officials, who have long been supporting regime change in Iran. US hostility, however, has rallied the Iranian people to support the nuclear program, and by default the Iranian government. Harsh US rhetoric has also alerted the Iranian establishment to potential military attacks by directly threatening Iranian national security interests. To maintain regime stability, the government has expanded its security apparatus to contain domestic objections to the nuclear program or other state policies. The interaction of these discourses has ultimately closed democratic sites of contestation in Iran’s nuclear regime. National unity and government’s promotion of Iran’s nuclear program have not left room for any voices of dissent. This has been evident in Ahmadinejad’s rapid and fierce silencing of those disapproving of his nuclear policy. US rhetoric has in turn ignited fears of military attacks, which have

75

Timothy Mitchell, “Carbon Democracy,” 2008.

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given the government further rationale to strengthen its authority. The discursive representations of Iran have both legitimated Iran’s use of modern technology and condemned it for its search for security. This duality of modernity and threat to modernity has in turn been promoted within different networks and ideological frameworks that have shaped today’s nuclear debacle. Ultimately, the Iranian people have been the losers in this power struggle. With the world’s focus on Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s social, economic and political issues have been pushed aside, so that despite the harrowing economy, the increasing human rights violations and juvenile executions, attention has been shifted from Iran’s pressing issues to its nuclear ambitions.

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Seyedsayamdost -Technologies of Ambiguity

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NJIA 2011