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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


Iran Who?

David Frum on why we won't attack Iran.

Joel C. Rosenberg says we'd better think again:

Yet something has been curiously absent from all this media coverage. American journalists aren’t asking Ahmadinejad about his Shiite religious beliefs, his fascination with the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi,” his critique of President Bush’s faith in Jesus Christ and encouragement of President Bush to convert to Islam, and how such beliefs are driving Iranian foreign policy.

Time’s cover story and exclusive print interview with Ahmadinejad never broached the subject of his eschatology. Nor did Williams. Nor did Wallace. Nor does a just-released book, Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy And the Next Great Crisis in the Middle East, by British Iran expert Ali M. Ansari. Nor does almost any of the saturation coverage Ahmadinejad is receiving.

Journalists aren’t typically shy about asking tough, probing questions about the religious views of world leaders. President Bush has been grilled at length about being an evangelical Christian and how this informs his foreign policy, particularly with regards to Israel and the Middle East. Clearly the pope’s views of Christianity and Islam are now under fire. Why such hesitancy when it comes to the religious beliefs of a leader who has called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the planet and urges fellow Muslims to envision a world without the United States?

I think Ahmadinejad is waiting to be asked. He wants to talk about what he believes and why he believes it. His religion shapes who he is and what is driving him.

When he addressed the United Nations General Assembly last year, he concluded his speech by praying for Allah to hasten the coming of “the Promised One,” the Islamic Messiah also known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi.” When he got back to Tehran, the Iranian leader told colleagues that during his speech he was surrounded by a halo of light, and that for 27 or 28 minutes as he spoke, delegates were so mesmerized by the words Allah was speaking through him that no one blinked. Not once.

In the months that followed, Ahmadinejad made his Islamic eschatology even more clear. He told followers that he believed the end of the world was rapidly approaching, and that the way to hasten the coming of the Messiah was to launch a global jihad to annihilate Israel and the United States. He also told followers that the “Mahdi” is already on the planet, but has not yet chosen to reveal himself. What’s more, Ahmadinejad has said that he has personally been in contact with the “Mahdi” and received instructions from him, instructions that are apparently leading Iran to prepare for an apocalyptic war to annihilate Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it.

Nah, nothing to worry about there---after all, isn't Dubya the one we need to worry about?

Michael Rubin warns we're in grave danger if we believe what the mullahs say:

Iran's nuclear program has advanced through the trust of diplomats and their willingness to provide hard currency in the name of dialogue and engagement. Between 2000 and 2005, European Union trade with Iran almost tripled. Tehran invested much of this money in arms and nuclear infrastructure. For more than a decade, through both the Rafsanjani and Khatami administrations, Iranian authorities hid the existence of a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Khondab. That Western diplomats label Mr. Rafsanjani a pragmatist and Mr. Khatami a reformer underscores the danger of judging Iranian officials by style rather than action.

In February 2003, the Iranian authorities opened the secret plants to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. Their subsequent report was damning: Not only had the Iranian government designed the Natanz facility to house at least 50,000 centrifuges, but Tehran had the import of almost a ton of uranium from China, and could not account for missing processed uranium. During subsequent inspections, Iranian authorities repeatedly changed their stories when asked about the origin of weapons-grade uranium traces. Subsequent inspections exposed other lies. Finally, on Sept. 24, 2004, the IAEA Board of Governors, after recalling a litany of Iranian mistruths, found Iran in breach of its Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement. While Iranian officials have made many subsequent pledges to cooperate, their actions belie their words. They have yet to abide by the Additional Protocol's inspection standards and, earlier this year, turned away IAEA inspectors from Natanz in violation of the NPT.

While diplomacy necessarily involves talking to adversaries, Washington should not assume that the ayatollahs operate from the same set of ground rules. During his long exile in Najaf, Khomeini endorsed taqiya, religiously sanctioned dissembling. From his perspective and that of his followers, the ends justify the means. Hence, Khomeini saw nothing wrong when he told the Guardian newspaper, just months before his return to Iran, "I don't want to have the power of government in my hand; I am not interested in personal power." Tehran may still conduct diplomacy to fish for incentive and reward but, at its core, Iranian diplomacy is insincere. The Iranian leadership will say anything and do anything to buy the time necessary to acquire nuclear capability. That Foggy Bottom still advises against any strategy that might undercut the possibility of some illusionary breakthrough signals triumph not of realism but of negligence. Diplomacy cannot succeed if one side is playing for real and the other only for time.

We could fix this quickly---make Don Rumsfeld SecState. The usual suspects at Foggy Bottom would resign in disgust and go work for Prince Bandar or Kofi Annan. Well, I mean work for them OPENLY.


Blogger Vigilis said...

"...make Don Rumsfeld SecState." -A tempting concept with precisely the effect you citen no doubt.

2:42 PM  

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