The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was a major blow to US foreign policy in the Middle East. Iranian revolutionaries had thrown a giant monkey wrench into Nixon’s Twin Pillars doctrine and emboldened revolutionary movements around the world.
In Afghanistan, the Soviet army rolled into the Pansheer Valley after the assassination of Nor Mohammed Taraki, their ally in Kabul. Shi’ite uprisings commenced in Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, now the only Pillar left standing, the Lebanese-based Popular Democratic Union (PDU), which had strong ties to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the Arabian Peninsular People’s Union (APPU), which former Egyptian nationalist President Gamal Abdel Nasser had helped establish, were both gaining in popularity.
It was Nasser who had closed the Suez Canal during the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Nasser’s APPU and their PDU allies launched oilfield strikes in Hasi Province, the very heart of the vast Saudi oil reserves. Islamists occupied Ka’Bah, utilizing the Koran as a basis for their revolutionary goals. Islamic fundamentalism was gathering its momentum.
In Oman- where the Shah had earlier sent troops to put down a rebellion at Dhofar- the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman gained majority Shi’ite support. In Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, numerous Big Oil refineries which process Saudi crude and off-shore mega-bank subsidiaries; both the National Liberation Front and the National Student Union rallied their revolutionary troops. In Ethiopia and South Yemen Marxist rebels seized power and both Addis Ababa and Aden were now under the control of virulently anti-American regimes. 
US foreign policy wonks knew that the Iranian Revolution had inspired this chain of events, though they were careful not to admit it publicly. But while the fundamentalist bent of the Ayatollah Khomeini wasn’t particularly appealing to the US, what really worried Washington was that the more left of center and nationalistic Tudeh Party or National Front would exert power in Iran and that their regional counterparts would unleash an offensive of genuine Arab nationalism which could threaten Four Horsemen oilfields and US-sponsored tin cup dictators worldwide.
Tudeh had launched the initial oilfield strikes that eventually toppled the Shah and his Four Horsemen backers. They were not fundamentalists, but rather nationalists, cut of the same cloth as Mohammed Mossadegh, who had been dispensed by the CIA. The US followed a two-track policy, checking the Ayatollah’s power while at the same time sending him arms and encouraging him to crack down on Tudeh, the National Front and other leftist elements. In 1983 the CIA and British intelligence supplied a long list of Tudeh Party members to Ayatollah Khomeini, who then targeted them for extermination.  The US was embarking on a deadly path, using Islamic fundamentalists as a bludgeon against Arab nationalists and socialists.
How far had the US gone down this road in Iran in 1979? It is interesting that the Ayatollah Khomeini flew into Tehran from Paris only after the nationalists had taken the city. While there is no evidence that the CIA facilitated his return, it remains an interesting possibility, since the mullahs could serve the dual purpose of crushing the Iranian left and keeping the pre-Saddam Hussein socialist government of Iraq in check through the war of attrition which was about to be launched.
Throughout the entire Iran/Iraq War, the US armed and supplied intelligence to both sides in hopes of destroying both countries, an act that assured the deep-seated hatred that citizens of both nations now hold towards the US. Still the US much preferred dealing with Rockefeller’s Shah. With their best customer now vanquished Richard Secord and his arms peddling buddies sought new markets for their weapons of war. Nationalist rumblings south of the border provided a golden opportunity.
On July 19th, 1979 Sandinista revolutionaries marched into Managua, having finally toppled the 50-year-old dictatorship of the Somoza family, which had come to own over 50% of the arable land in Nicaragua while thousands of peasants literally starved. As if adding a giant exclamation point to the decades of barbarity which marked the Somoza reign, deposed President Anastacio Somoza ordered his Air Force to strafe the city of Managua as he flew into exile in Panama. Somozo once bragged to a conference of regional leaders in Costa Rica of his complete control over Nicaragua workers stating, “In Nicaragua we do not have people. We have oxen”.
The Somoza’s had been placed in charge of Nicaragua by FDR following a seven-year occupation of the nation by US Marines.  During the 1930’s Nicaragua’s currency featured a picture of the president of Brown Brothers Harriman, the blue-blood investment bank where George Bush Sr.’s father Prescott worked. Cornelius Vanderbilt had dreams of building a canal across the country via Lake Nicaragua, but the construction of the Panama Canal preempted his plan.
US multinationals like United Fruit and Phelps Dodge exploited Nicaragua’s wealth of natural resources and avidly supported Somoza. Dow Chemical and Monsanto operations polluted Lake Managua so badly that its fish could no longer be eaten by hungry Nicaraguans.
United Fruit was the biggest supporter of the Somozas, who helped organize the CIA coup that saved United Fruit lands from nationalization by the Guatemalan Arbenz government in 1954. Yehuda Arazi, who ran guns to the terrorist Haganah which seized Palestinian lands in the late 1940’s to create Israel, became Israel’s Ambassador to Nicaragua on a recommendation from United Fruit.  When the Sandinistas took Managua, United Fruit executive Francisco Urcyo attempted to lead an interim government.
Somoza funded global fascist movements including the Croatian National Congress. One of his best buddies was Paraguayan strongman Alfredo Stroessner. His closest economic advisers were Robert Calvi and Michelle Sindona of Italy’s Banco Amrosiano and Lucien Gelli, the P-2 pro-Franco veteran of the Spanish Civil War who helped lay the “rat line” that allowed Nazi war criminals to escape to South America. Banco Ambrosiano financed Israeli arms sales to Somoza and was the only foreign bank to remain open after the Sandinistas took Managua. 
The Sandinistas took their name from Augusto Sandino, a peasant farmer who led an uprising against the US Marines during the 1930’s. Sandino was assassinated by Somoza National Guardsmen when he showed up in good faith at what were supposed to be negotiations with the Somozas. The Sandinistas fighting ranks included many Catholic priests who had tired of the starvation which reached epidemic proportions under the Somozas. Sandinista Foreign Minister Miguel DeSoto had been a priest before joining the revolutionary army, which also included many women. The priests were part of a larger Latin American movement influenced by liberation theology, which emerged from the 1968 Medellin Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The movement advocates a change in the Vatican policy of siding with the landowner aristocracy in Latin America. The bishops announced a radical new approach whereby they would stand up for the interests of the poor, who they saw as God’s chosen people. But the policy ran into serious opposition from the Vatican and the CIA. As Catholic priests and bishops became frustrated with the lack of change, many took up arms with revolutionaries throughout Latin America. Bishop Dom Pedro died fighting the CIA-trained Brazilian Army, while Columbian priest Camilo Torres was killed fighting that county’s narco-oligarchy.
The Sandinistas were also inspired by events in El Salvador, where the Faribundo Marti Liberacion Nacionale (FMLN) had gained momentum in its battle against the US-backed oligarchy that runs that tiny, but populous, Central American nation. During the 1974 Presidential elections in El Salvador both candidates were fascist generals. When the slightly less hawkish candidate won the elections on promises to help the poor, the oligarchy refused to allow him to take power and installed the other with tacit US approval.  During the 1970’s and 1980’s the CIA supported the right-wing ARENA Party which unleashed death squads led by party hack Roberto d’Aubisson, a good friend of Banco Ambosiano’s Robert Calvi. 
The CIA-backed terrorists assassinated Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, raped and murdered US Catholic nuns and tortured and killed over 100,000 Salvadorans. The CIA propped up El Salvador’s Thirteen Families oligarchy, which tightly controls the country’s economy in tandem with US multinationals like United Fruit and Folgers, the latter of which grows most of its coffee in El Salvador.
ARENA and its CIA backers fought a two decade war against the increasingly popular FMLN, whose key demand was land reform. The UN negotiated a peace settlement in El Salvador in the mid-1990’s. The FMLN gave up their arms and joined the political process. In 1997 the FMLN candidate won the election for mayor of San Salvador.
Dean Henderson is the author of five books:Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @www.hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com