Geopolitics

Beating the Path to War with Iran

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 17, 2007

In a June 20 vote, the US Congress demonstrated that they overwhelmingly, catastrophically even, have no clue what they're talking about. Congress voted 411 to two (Dennis Kucich and Ron Paul), with 11 abstentions and eight absences, in favour of:

Calling on the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel

There's just one teeny-weensy problem with this noble sentiment: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not actually calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Ahmadinejad is almost certainly an anti-Semite (or at the very least plays one convincingly to shore up his jingoistic cred among those hardline Iranians who still support him). He has questioned the Holocaust, for example, and even hosted a forum for Holocaust deniers.

He's also made a comment about the Israeli occupation of Palestine that generated much controversy when it was translated into English. When he said this, a translator expressed the sentiment as "Israel must be wiped off the map." The problem is that such an idiom does not exist in Farsi, which means the translation is actually an interpretation - and not a neutral one at that.

Literally translated, Ahmadinejad said he hopes the regime occupying Palestine would vanish "from the page of time". Since the regime occupying Palestine is directly and unequivocally in direct violation of international law, Ahmadinejad's sentiment is actually supported by most of the world's governments and by the charter of the UN itself.

For the record, Iran's official position on Israel, expressed formally by the people who actually run the country and not the Presidential figurehead, is that everyone in the territory that Israel occupies should be allowed to decide democratically what form the government should take.

It's too bad that the Senatorial figureheads in the US don't seem capable of this basic level of comprehension about international affairs.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his essays have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Ryan also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on twitter.

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By beancounter (registered) | Posted July 30, 2007 at 22:14:03

Ryan,

Perhaps you could clarify how international law condemns a country to a territory which is practically indefensible. Israel's former boundaries provided it with a strip of land nine miles wide at its narrowest point.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2007 at 00:03:16

Beancounter, the very creation of the state of Israel was a crime. Today it would rightly be condemned as ethnic cleansing.

Israel is not going anywhere (nor would I want it to - at this point, removing Israel would be a case of two wrongs attempting to make a right), and it has never had a problem defending itself.

Indeed, its 'self-defence' has a decidedly forward deployed aspect to it, like the two-decade long occupation of Lebanon, complete with war crimes (according to the Knesset's Kahan Commission); and last year's disastrous month-long war against Hizb'Allah, which targeted civilian infrastructure, destroyed communities, and killed many civilians.

The expansions of the state of Israel were also crimes against international law, as is the ongoing occupation of Palestine and cultivation of settlements, complete with documented targeted attacks against civilians and a clear admission by Ariel Sharon that Israel engages in collective punishment.

The wall is a series of crimes in itself, cleaving communities, separating farmers from their own land, and destroying Palestine's integrity.

Now Israel is threatening to launch missile strikes against Iran, which will certainly be war crimes if they go ahead. Friendly leaks have confirmed that Israel already has active plans in place should it decide to make good on its threats.

I believe the biggest threat to Israel's security is its own refusal to draw a distinction between defence and aggression, between self-preservation and old-fashioned imperialism.

As usual, the people are way ahead of the government. By a large majority, Israeli citizens support a peaceful two-state solution to end the occupation of Palestine; but among the political establishment, that's right off the books.

The practical result of Israel's utter refusal to accept the legitimate results of the democratic election it insisted Palestine hold is the total collapse of the peace process.

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By beancounter (registered) | Posted August 10, 2007 at 23:11:40

Thank you for your response to my question, Ryan, clarifying your views on the state of Israel.

It is difficult to see how the creation of the state of Israel could be said to be a crime, since it was endorsed by a majority vote of the United Nations General Assembly in 1947. In fact, as early as 1920, the League of Nations ratified the 1917 Balfour agreement which gave the Jews a homeland consisting of all of Jordan and all of the area west of the Jordan river.

Because of pressure from the Arabs, Britain and the League of Nations took away Jordan in 1922.

One of the main reasons for the creation of the state of Israel was to give the Jews, who had undergone unbelievable suffering for centuries, but especially during the Second World War, a country of their own, as a sanctuary. Even the Soviets apparently agreed: In May 1947 … Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko (to the Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP)) said: “The fact that no Western European State has been able to ensure the defense of the elementary rights of the Jewish people and to safeguard it against the violence of the fascist executioners explains the aspirations of the Jews to establish their own State. It would be unjust not to take this into consideration and to deny the right of the Jewish people to realize this aspiration. “ (United Nations General Assembly, First Special Session, May 14, 1947, UN Document A/PV 77.) The area allotted to the new state was only about 11% of the area originally allocated for a Jewish homeland by the League of Nations in 1922. Approximately 60% of the reduced area was desert. This small area was home to about 600,000 Jews and 350,000 Arabs at the inception of the state of Israel. In 2007 this has grown to 5,415,000 and 1,425,000 respectively. These figures do not support a claim of ethnic cleansing. The Arab population would have been much higher, in fact, if more than half a million Arabs had not been induced to leave Israel during the 1948 war of independence by the irresponsible acts of Arab leaders. Instead of accepting the partition plan which included the creation of a separate Arab state co-existing with Israel, these leaders decided to destroy Israel at its birth. After the proclamation of the new state, five Arab countries attacked Israel. Jordan captured Judea and Samaria, which it renamed the West bank. This area was illegally annexed by Jordan in 1950, (only Great Britain and Pakistan formally recognized the takeover) but was recaptured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967. Israelis were once again in control of an area allocated to them by the international community 47 years before.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2007 at 20:38:33

The State of Israel is a crime??

What is a crime is the UN letting Israelis get shelled endlessly last year while "urging resraint" on Israels part and ignoring anything to do with Hezbolah or at least a tsk tsk.

I thought there was a reasonable debate to be had.Ryan,the Jews in the Holy land goes back to biblical times.They have every right to be there.In fact it IS there land.The Mideast did not come into its present state in 1947.

As far as building a wall..I guess it is now a crime to defend yourself from Homicide Bombers?
It is a crime to strike back at bombers who hide among civilians , women and children to launch rocket attacks?Lebanon was first"occupied" to create a buffer zone from these attacks in the 80's.So they leave and are still attacked..They go back to stop the attacks last year and are now"aggressors" Jaysus

Whe Isreal defends itself it is a crime.When they do nothing but exist it is a crime.

I somtimes cannot believe the naivete from the left

What I find disgracful is justify that little cockroach amhijinidad's weasel words as some sort of big misunderstanding in translation.Take your head out of the sand and wake up...

The only problem the US had was not starting with Iran first.Hopefully they will start soon.IF not Israel will have no choice.If someone says they ae going to "wipe you off the map" ( big misunderstanding or not) you had better clarify your statements( which he has not) or get ready.They seem to be begging for it.

Your hatred of the Bush administration and Israels"War Crimes"( a term used as often now as a throw away line on the left) should not blind you to the realities.This is not one isolated Farsi mixed up interpretation.

Ahminijhad wants to bring everything to the end and( Iran) has stalled the UN for 30 years.. and will keep doing so with help from the UN on the Nuclear issue.

As far as the UN and "internatinal Law" dont make me laugh..

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2007 at 22:52:27

Genghis,

I wrote that the creation of the state of Israel was a crime, since it involved the forced removal of people who were already living on the site.

I also wrote: "Israel is not going anywhere (nor would I want it to - at this point, removing Israel would be a case of two wrongs attempting to make a right)".

I'm not saying the existence of Israel is a crime, but the manner in which it was formed is a crime, and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories, with related settlement expansions, bombing and bulldozing sorties and collective punishment are crimes.

the Jews in the Holy land goes back to biblical times.They have every right to be there.

Yes. The question is whether non-Jews have a right to be there as well.

As far as building a wall..I guess it is now a crime to defend yourself from Homicide Bombers?

The construction of the wall has encroached on Palestinian land, separated people from their own properties and torn Palestinian communities asunder.

Is it a crime to strike back at bombers who hide among civilians

Yes, it is a crime to attack civilians.

Whe Isreal defends itself it is a crime.

Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian territories for decades. When it launches attacks of collective punishment against those people for resisting the occupation, that is not "self defence" by any reasonable definition.

When they do nothing but exist it is a crime.

Again, that's not what I wrote. I wrote that the way Israel was created (with ethnic cleansing) would be regarded as a crime today.

What I find disgracful is justify that little cockroach amhijinidad's weasel words as some sort of big misunderstanding in translation.

Iran is not ever going to attack Israel, and everyone knows it. The Iranian leadership do not have a death wish. Ahmadinejad is clearly a reactionary, right-wing anti-Semite who is trying to court the jingoists in Iran. It's not working. He is not very popular at home and his comments about Israel were widely assailed in Iran as stupid and irresponsible.

Nevertheless, he did not say he is going to "wipe Israel off the map", since the expression doesn't even exist in Farsi. He said he hopes the regime occupying Palestine will be "wiped away from the page of time", much as the Soviet regime occupying the SSR clients was wiped away from the page of time.

In other words, he's calling for a change in the government of Israel, not for its destruction.

This is also entirely consistent with Ayatollah Khamenei's stated policy toward Israel, which is to give all its citizens full rights of representation by their government through a referendum.

The only problem the US had was not starting with Iran first.

Now you are advocating war crimes. There is absolutely no justifiable reason to invade or otherwise attack Iran.

If someone says they ae going to "wipe you off the map" ( big misunderstanding or not) you had better clarify your statements( which he has not)

Actually, yes he has, repeatedly.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2005/12/16/iran_holocaust051216.html http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/... http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/... http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc... http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp... http://www.france24.com/france24Public/e... http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c... http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-0... http://english.people.com.cn/200705/19/e... http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp... http://www.deepika.com/english/archives/... http://www.khamenei.ir/EN/Speech/detail.... http://www.president.ir/eng/ahmadinejad/... http://www.president.ir/eng/ahmadinejad/... http://www.president.ir/eng/ahmadinejad/... http://www.president.ir/eng/ahmadinejad/... http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articl...

Ahminijhad wants to bring everything to the end and( Iran) has stalled the UN for 30 years.. and will keep doing so with help from the UN on the Nuclear issue.

I'm not even sure what you're trying to say here. For 30 years, Iran has minded its own business, has not invaded or attacked any other countries, and has obeyed international law.

As far as the UN and "internatinal Law" dont make me laugh.

So far, the UN and "international law" have a much better track record at recognizing terrorist threats than the US does, with the canonical case in point being Iraq.

The US insisted that Iraq was still stockpiling biological and chemical weapons and had resurrected its nuclear weapons program in secret. The UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors disputed this, saying they had Iraq's cooperation to inspect anywhere in the country and could find no evidence of the US claims.

The US insisted by contrast that it could no longer wait for the UN and would invade anyway to stop Iraq's "imminent threat".

After the invasion, the US inspection team led by David Kay scoured the entire country and reluctantly came to the same conclusion as the UN - Iraq had, in fact, disarmed in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 687.

The same situation is happening today. The US insists that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons while the IAEA, which has been investigating Iranian nuclear facilities, says it sees no evidence of this.

Iran is obeying the Non Proliferation Treaty in its efforts to develop civil nuclear power. The US, by contrast, is violating it by not disarming its nuclear weapons and by giving nuclear technology to India, which also has nuclear weapons but is not a signatory to the NPT. (Israel, you will recall, also has nuclear weapons and is not a signatory to the NPT.)

I'm going to go with the organization that has no vested interest in Iran and has a proven track record of knowing what it's talking about.

One last point about nuclear enrichment, which is the activity causing all the hullaballoo. News reports have tended to conflate enriching uranium for civil and for military use, but there's a huge difference.

To enrich uranium for nuclear power, you have to raise the Uranium-235 to about 3-4 percent of the total. TO enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, you have to raise the U-235 to about 90 percent.

You can form your opinions based on prejudice, presumptions and jingoism and simply dismiss inconvenient facts, or you can form your opinions based on the facts themselves.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2007 at 14:55:57

Test

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2007 at 15:30:52

Hi Ryan;

Thanks for your reply.

After reading your logic, I was inclined to meet it point for point, but trying to score points back and on the Middle East would take hundred of thousands of text and more Servers..

If we are going to deal with Facts, then lets agree to deal with one source, say Wikipedia.It is open and is opinionated with a global base and corrections to errata done in milliseconds.At lest it keeps it away from LEft vs Right.

( somehow I think you have managed to use your own opinions for these statements and not facts at all.I can blow your arguments away in one fell swoop...

IF you agree on the format than can you provide your sources for the following:

"I wrote that the creation of the state of Israel was a crime, since it involved the forced removal of people who were already living on the site. "

"I'm not saying the *existence* of Israel is a crime, but the manner in which it was formed is a crime, and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories, with related settlement expansions, bombing and bulldozing sorties and collective punishment are crimes."


"The construction of the wall has encroached on Palestinian land, separated people from their own properties and torn Palestinian communities asunder. "

"Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian territories for decades. When it launches attacks of collective punishment against those people for resisting the occupation, that is not "self defence" by any reasonable definition."

"Again, that's not what I wrote. I wrote that the way Israel was created (with ethnic cleansing) would be regarded as a crime today."

"Nevertheless, he did not say he is going to "wipe Israel off the map", since the expression doesn't even exist in Farsi. He said he hopes the regime occupying Palestine will be "wiped away from the page of time", much as the Soviet regime occupying the SSR clients was wiped away from the page of time."(
In other words, he's calling for a change in the government of Israel, not for its destruction.
PS
>(I Really think you are being really disingenous here that we all know what he meant in the tone )


"This is also entirely consistent with Ayatollah Khamenei's stated policy toward Israel, which is to give all its citizens full rights of representation by their government through a referendum."

( They recognize them alright..but do nothing about them I will grant you that)

"The US insisted that Iraq was still stockpiling biological and chemical weapons and had resurrected its nuclear weapons program in secret. The UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors disputed this, saying they had Iraq's cooperation to inspect anywhere in the country and could find no evidence of the US claims. "

"The US insisted by contrast that it could no longer wait for the UN and would invade anyway to stop Iraq's "imminent threat". ( This I agree with wholeheartedly)"

"After the invasion, the US inspection team led by David Kay scoured the entire country and reluctantly came to the same conclusion as the UN - Iraq had, in fact, disarmed in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 687.
>( This is false but I await your source.the UN were blocked endlessly from confirming if there had a program or one in secret or not.ore on this later.. Han Blix agreed there were mass amounts of WMD unaccounted for.Not confirmed destroyed.)

"The same situation is happening today. The US insists that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons while the IAEA, which has been investigating Iranian nuclear facilities, says it sees no evidence of this."
>( Are we watching the same newscasts??)

"Iran is obeying the Non Proliferation Treaty in its efforts to develop civil nuclear power. The US, by contrast, is violating it by not disarming its nuclear weapons and by giving nuclear technology to India, which also has nuclear weapons but is not a signatory to the NPT. (Israel, you will recall, also has nuclear weapons and is not a signatory to the NPT.) "
>OK I have to see this source..


To enrich uranium for nuclear power, you have to raise the Uranium-235 to about 3-4 percent of the total. TO enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, you have to raise the U-235 to about *90 percent*.

>( Well except Pakistan managed to use spent fuel from CANDU Canadian reactors for civil use in the 70s and 80s to make its first nuclear bomb..not an expert but if it walks like a duck



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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2007 at 15:34:39

BTW, posting newswire sources on the same story about the "misunderstading "15 times is not that nutcase clearing it up several times.
especialy by an interior minister lacky.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2007 at 15:55:37

Interseting facts on the Kahan commision.Not s black and white as you make it out to be:

The Kahan Commission (ועדת כהן), formally known as the Commission of Inquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut, was established by the Israeli government on 28 September 1982, to investigate the Sabra and Shatila Massacre (16 September-18 September, 1982). The Kahan Commission was chaired by the President of the Supreme Court, Yitzhak Kahan. Its other two members were Supreme Court Judge Aharon Barak, and Major-General (res.) Yona Erfat.

The Commission was to make recommendations on Israeli involvement in the massacre through an investigation of:

[A]ll the facts and factors connected with the atrocity carried out by a unit of the Lebanese Forces against the civilian population in the Shatilla and Sabra camps.
Following its investigation, on 8 February 1983, the Kahan Commission submitted its report. It concluded that direct responsibility rested with the Jemayel Phalangists led by Fadi Frem. Israeli forces were deemed indirectly responsible. Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, was found to be personally responsible. Sharon's negligence (that is, complacency not complicity, the Commission maintained) amounted to a non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defense Minister was charged, and it was recommended that Sharon be dismissed as Defence Minister, which he was. The Commission arrived to similar conclusions with respect to Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Rafael Eitan (tantamount to a breach of duty that was incumbent upon the Chief of Staff), as well as Director of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, and other Intelligence officials — though the Mossad was not reprimanded and parts of the report commenting on its role remain under military censorship. Critics of the Commission point to its limited scope, some of whom argue it amounted to a whitewash. However, members of the commission stood by their conclusions and protested of their integrity, as stated in the concluding paragraph of their report: "We do not deceive ourselves that the results of this inquiry will convince or satisfy those who have prejudices or selective consciences, but this inquiry was not intended for such people. We have striven and have spared no effort to arrive at the truth, and we hope that all persons of good will who will examine the issue without prejudice will be convinced that the inquiry was conducted without any bias."

So lets not let the FACTS get in the way eh?
The "War Crimes" were carried out by the Phalangist party with the Iraeli forces indirectly responsible and Ariel Sharon Negligent...

"The massacre received much attention from the world media. According to Bernard Lewis(A supporter of the Jewish Zionist movement):

Characteristic features were the suspension of critical thinking by journalists who normally exercise a salutary skepticism; unhesitating acceptance and publication of what soon proved to be self-evident propaganda from partisan sources. Most striking and revealing, was the frequent usage of language evocative of the Nazis... Such words as "blitzkrieg", "lebensraum", "genocide", and "final solution" were freely used to reinforce the comparison, sometimes stated and often implied, between Israelis in Lebanon and the Nazis in conquered and occupied Europe... Most reports concentrated their whole attack on the Israelis who, as was known from the start, had not actually participated in the massacre and whose negligence or complicity had not yet been established, and almost failed to mention the Lebanese Christian militias who actually did the deed. The careless reader or viewer could have got the impression that this was a massacre unique in the modern history of the Middle East, and that it was perpetrated directly by the Israelis. Neither was true."

Citing Sabra and Shatila as an example, Leo Kuper notes the reluctance of the United Nations to respond or take action in actual cases of genocide for most egregious violators, but its willingness to charge "certain vilified states, and notably Israel", with genocide. In his view:

This availability of a scapegoat state in the UN restores members with a record of murderous violence against their subjects a self-righteous sense of moral purpose as principled members of 'the community of nations'... Estimates of the numbers killed in the Sabra-Shatila massacres range from about four hundred to eight hundred - a minor catastrophe in the contemporary statistics of mass murder. Yet a carefully planned UN campaign found Israel guilty of genocide, without reference to the role of the Phalangists in perpetrating the massacres on their own initiative. The procedures were unique in the annals of the United Nations"


So Ryan, lets not use the term "War Crimes" and "Israel" so loosly in one short paragraph.Those directly responsible ae responsible abd those indirectly responsible are indirectly responsible.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2007 at 16:17:53

Genghis,

First of all, Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. It is a good place to start to learn about a subject, and following its citations (when it does cite its sources) can be instructive, but I will not debate with you on whether Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinians based on what Wikipedia has to say about it.

A broad consensus exists among Israeli and other academics who have studied the war of independence that ethnic cleansing was an explicit or at least implicit objective of a Zionist war strategy called the "Plan Dalet".

I can't cite a single source in defence of this claim because it is a broad confluence of many arguments made by many academics working in a dynamic field of study.

Probably the most comprehensive book on the subject is The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian at Haifa University. Among the exhaustively detailed case Pappe makes for his thesis is this 1938 quote from David Ben-Gurion, who stated, "I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it."

http://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Cleansing-P...

Benny Morris is an history professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who wrote The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem (and later revised it with a more nuanced argument).

In a 2004 interview with Ari Shavit, Morris argues from exhaustive evidence that Israel carried out ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. After describing massacres and other atrocities against the Palestinians, Morris said:

"That can't be chance. It's a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."

Lest you dismiss him as an anti-Zionist, he went on to justify the ethnic cleansing as necessary for the creation of Israel:

"Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt...

Some historians argue that the dispersal of Palestinians was an unintended consequence of the creation of Israel or else that it was in response to calls from Arab leaders for the Palestinians to leave, but the sheer abundance of evidence in favour of ethnic cleansing as a policy is impossible to dismiss. These other issues were almost certainly nontrivial factors in the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, but the evidence strongly supports a policy of dispersal as well.

Either you're willing to crack open some history books and read up on this or you're not. However, the case is there if you're willing to take it up.

Beyond that, I hope you don't need me to link to a source proving that ethnic cleansing is a war crime. Since you like Wikipedia, here is what it says about ethnic cleansing as a war crime:


There is no formal legal definition of ethnic cleansing. However, ethnic cleansing in the broad sense - the forcible deportation of a population - is defined as a crime against humanity under the statutes of both International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The gross human-rights violations integral to stricter definitions of ethnic cleansing are treated as separate crimes falling under the definitions for genocide or crimes against humanity of the statutes.

The UN Commission of Experts (established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780) held that the practices associated with ethnic cleansing "constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Furthermore ... such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide Convention." The UN General Assembly condemned "ethnic cleansing" and racial hatred in a 1992 resolution.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_clea...

I'll respond to the balance of your comment in a subsequent post.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2007 at 18:36:50




Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his Own Words -"Seriously misunderstood"


Posted: August 28, 2007


He termed Zionists "the most detested people in all humanity" and called the extermination of six million Jews during World War II "a myth," claiming that Jews have played up Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust in a bid to extort sympathy for Israel from European governments.



Ahmadinejad's virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial are often matched by other Iranian leaders, and the Iranian regime itself has continued to sponsor anti-Zionism conferences and pseudo-academic lectures and exhibits questioning the fact of the Holocaust.



The following is a selected compilation of Ahmadinejad's statements on Jews, the Holocaust and Israel in his own words:



August 28, 2007



"Zionists are people without any religion. They are lying about being Jewish because religion means brotherhood, friendship and respecting other divine religions…

They are an organized minority who have infiltrated the world. They are not even a 10,000-strong organization."



(At a news conference in Tehran)






August 18, 2007

"The Zionist regime is the flag bearer of violation and occupation and this regime is the flag of Satan. …It is not unlikely that this regime be on the path to dissolution and deterioration when the philosophy behind its creation and survival is invalid."

(Address to an international religious conference in Tehran)



June 3, 2007



"With God's help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine . . . By God's will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future."
(Speech, as quoted by the Fars News Agency)


March 21, 2007

"It is quite clear that a bunch of Zionist racists are the problem the modern world is facing today. They have access to global power and media centers and seek to use this access to keep the world in a state of hardship, poverty and grudge and strengthen their rule. The great nation of Iran is opposed to this inhuman trend. Of course, the Iranian nation will stick to its rightful stance. The Zionists and their supporters do not know that they are using failed approaches to take on human values, human civilization, nations and the great nation of Iran. Admitting the right of the dear Iranian nation and submitting to justice and the rule of law are the best way to salvation and the best way out of the deadlocks they have created for themselves."

(from a recorded New Year's message aired on Iranian television)


February 28, 2007

"The Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan . . . Many Western governments that claim to be pioneers of democracy and standard bearers of human rights close their eyes over crimes committed by the Zionists and by remaining silent support the Zionists due to their hedonistic and materialistic tendencies."
(to a meeting of Sudanese Islamic scholars in Khartoum)


December 12, 2006


"Thanks to people's wishes and God's will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want…Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out"

(Comments to Iran's Holocaust Conference)

November 29, 2006



"What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?"

(Letter from Ahmadinejad "to the American people")


November 13, 2006

"Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear"
Israel is "a contradiction to nature, we foresee its rapid disappearance and destruction."

October 19, 2006

"The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive"
(as quoted by Iranian state television)

August 6, 2006



"They (Israel) kill women and children, young and old. And, behind closed doors, they make plans for the advancement of their evil goals."

(as quoted by Khorasan Provincial TV)







August 4, 2006



"A new Middle East will prevail without the existence of Israel."

(as quoted by Malaysian news agency Bernama website)



August 2, 2006



"Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented."

(as quoted by Iranian TV)



"Are they human beings?... They (Zionists) are a group of blood-thirsty savages putting all other criminals to shame."

(as quoted by Iranian TV)



July 27, 2006



"The occupying regime of Palestine has actually pushed the button of its own destruction by launching a new round of invasion and barbaric onslaught on Lebanon"

(as quoted by Islamic Republic News Agency via the Associated Press)




July 16, 2006

"The Zionists think that they are victims of Hitler, but they act like Hitler and behave worse than Genghis Khan."
(as quoted by the Iranian News Agency)

July 13, 2006

"The Zionists and their protectors are the most detested people in all of humanity, and the hatred is increasing every day."

"The worse their crimes, the quicker they will fall."

"[Israel] has blackened the pages of history".
(as quoted by Iranian state television)

June 16, 2006

"I think we have sufficiently talked about this matter and these Holocaust events need to be further investigated by independent and impartial parties."

"An event that has influenced so many diplomatic and political equations of the world needs to investigated and researched by impartial and independent groups."

"If it is true, then the response to this question should not be solved in Palestine. The Palestinian question should be settled as soon as possible. If it is false, why should such measures be taken against the people of Palestine?"
(a news conference following a meeting with China's president)


May 28, 2006

"I believe the German people are prisoners of the Holocaust. More than 60 million were killed in World War II . . . The question is: Why is it that only the Jews are at the center of attention?"

"We say that if the Holocaust happened, then the Europeans must accept the consequences and the price should not be paid by Palestine. If it did not happen, then the Jews must return to where they came from."
(in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine)

May 11, 2006

Israel is "a regime based on evil that cannot continue and one day will vanish."
(to a student rally in Jakarta, Indonesia)



April 24, 2006

''We say that this fake regime (Israel) cannot not logically continue to live. Open the doors (of Europe) and let the Jews go back to their own countries."

(In a news conference held on April 24, 2006)



April 14, 2006

"The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat. Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."

"If there is serious doubt over the Holocaust, there is no doubt over the catastrophe and holocaust being faced by the Palestinians. Holocaust has been continuing in Palestine over the past 60 years."
(In a speech at the opening of the "Support for the Palestinian Intifada" conference on April 14-16 hosted in Tehran)

February 23, 2006

"These heinous acts are committed by a group of Zionists and occupiers that have failed. They have failed in the face of Islam's logic and justice . . . They invade the shrine and bomb there because they oppose God and justice . . . But be sure, you will not be saved from the wrath and power of the justice-seeking nations by resorting to such acts."
(In a speech broadcast on state television, where Ahmadinejad suggested that the bombing of a major Shiite shrine in Iraq by Sunni insurgents was plotted by Israel and the U.S. to divide Muslims.)


January 5, 2006



"Hopefully, the news that the criminal of Sabra and Chatilla has joined his ancestors is final."

(To a group of Muslim clerics in the Iranian city of Qom, as quoted in the semi-official student news agency ISNA, in a reference to the illness of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon).



"[N]o Muslim nation would put up with this entity [i.e. Israel] in Islamic lands, not for one moment … If it's true that the [Europeans] committed a big crime in World War II, then they must take responsibility for it themselves, and not ask the Palestinian people to pay the price … Those countries that support this regime [Israel] were terrified at the suggestion that [Israel] should be relocated to their neighborhood. So why should the Palestinians and the countries in our region accept this entity?"
(In a speech before an audience in the Iranian city of Qom, aired on television)



January 2, 2006



"[The creation of Israel after World War II] killed two birds with one stone [for Europe] … [The objectives achieved by Europe were] [s]weeping the Jews out of Europe and at the same time creating a European appendix with a Zionist and anti-Islamic nature in the heart of the Islamic world …Zionism is a Western ideology and a colonialist idea ... and right now it massacres Muslims with direct guidance and help from the United States and a part of Europe ... Zionism is basically a new [form of] fascism."
(In written answers to questions from the public reproduced in several Iranian newspapers)












December 14, 2005



"Today, they [Europeans] have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets … This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country."
(Speaking to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan)



December 13, 2005



"If the killing of Jews in Europe is true and the Zionists are being supported because of this excuse, why should the Palestinian nation pay the price?"

(Comments published on Iranian state television's Web site)



December 8, 2005



"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces.... Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem? If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe."

(While speaking to reporters at an Islamic summit in Mecca)



November 27, 2005



"You [the United States], who have used nuclear weapons against innocent people, who have used uranium ordnance in Iraq, should be tried as war criminals in courts."

(During a nationally televised ceremony of the establishment of Iran's volunteer Basij paramilitary)



October 29, 2005



"They [the United States] think they are the absolute rulers of the world."

(Marching in a demonstration alongside a crowd of students in Tehran)



October 28, 2005



"They [International Zionist and Expansionist Policies of the World Arrogance, i.e. United States and Israel] are cheeky humans, and they think that the entire world should obey them. They destroy Palestinian families and expect nobody to object to them."

(Defending his earlier comments)



October 26, 2005



"Israel must be wiped off the map … The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world . . . The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land."

(In an address to 4,000 students at a program titled, 'The World Without Zionism')



June 19, 2005



"It is not just for a few states to sit and veto global approvals. Should such a privilege continue to exist, the Muslim world with a population of nearly 1.5 billion should be extended the same privilege."

(In an interview with state television shortly before his election)



June 8, 2005



The UN structure is one-sided, stacked against the world of Islam.

(In an interview on state television)




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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2007 at 20:54:25

Genghis wrote:

"BTW, posting newswire sources on the same story about the "misunderstading "15 times is not that nutcase clearing it up several times. especialy by an interior minister lacky."

Here are some of Ahmadinejad's own statements on his views of Israel, taken from his own official website and referenced in the link dump I posted earlier:

"The best solution to the Palestinian problem is holding a referendum to decide the type of the Palestinian government and fate of the Palestinian nation, said Ahmadinejad, noting that Muslim world should guide and mobilize its political powers in that direction."

And:

"The chief executive said that formation of a government of unity in Palestine through referendum is the only way for the salvation of the region. Underlining that original inhabitants of Palestine, including those residing overseas, should participate in such a referendum, the president said that as long as the Zionist regime is not eliminated, threats, chaos and conspiracies will continue."

And:

"The so-called champions of liberalism and democracy have shown no respect for the votes of the Palestinian people for a democratic government of their choice at a most difficult time, he said, adding that they (international bodies) attempted to overthrow the Palestinian government by cutting off financial aid to them. By showing such attitude, they have disappointed independent states and world nations, Ahmadinejad said. He also highlighted the need to hold a referendum in the occupied territories in order to arrive at a just solution to the Palestinian issue. "

And:

"[Ahmadinejad] urged holding of a referendum with the participation of all Palestinians inside and outside the Occupied Territories as a means of resolving the Palestinian conflict."

Here is what Ahmadinejad said about Israel in his interview with Time Magazine:


TIME: You have been quoted as saying Israel should be wiped off the map. Was that merely rhetoric, or do you mean it?

Ahmadinejad: People in the world are free to think the way they wish. We do not insist they should change their views. Our position toward the Palestinian question is clear: we say that a nation has been displaced from its own land. Palestinian people are killed in their own lands, by those who are not original inhabitants, and they have come from far areas of the world and have occupied those homes. Our suggestion is that the 5 million Palestinian refugees come back to their homes, and then the entire people on those lands hold a referendum and choose their own system of government. This is a democratic and popular way. Do you have any other suggestions?

TIME: Do you believe the Jewish people have a right to their own state?

Ahmadinejad: We do not oppose it. In any country in which the people are ready to vote for the Jews to come to power, it is up to them. In our country, the Jews are living and they are represented in our Parliament. But Zionists are different from Jews.


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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2007 at 21:40:25

Sources for the rest of my statements:

Israeli West Bank Barrier

"Palestinian farmers in the northern Jordan Valley on Wednesday received letters stating Israel would use their property to erect a security barrier, Palestinian officials said.

"Palestinian Authority officials subsequently fired off protests to the United States and the European Union. They said the commander of the Israel Defense Forces' central command had ordered the land confiscation.

"Israel says the barrier, which it calls a security fence, is necessary to stop Palestinian terrorists from entering Israel.

"The West Bank barrier generally runs close to the pre-1967 Mideast war border -- the so-called Green Line -- but dips into the West Bank to include some Jewish settlements. Israel says a new section will extend deep into the West Bank, surrounding several West Bank towns."

http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/...

"The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled Friday that the security barrier being constructed by Israel in the West Bank is illegal, violates the human rights of Palestinians and must be dismantled."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/art...

"Palestinian land is confiscated to build the barrier; hundreds of Palestinian farmers and traders are cut off from their land and means of economic survival. Most significantly, it creates 'facts on the ground' and imposes unilateral solutions which preclude negotiated agreements in the future.

"The impact of the plan has been felt acutely in Qalqilya, once known as the West Bank's 'fruit basket', which lies within a tight loop in the wall. It is cut off on three sides - from the farms which supply its markets and the region's second-largest water sources. Access to the 40,000-inhabitant town passes through a single Israeli checkpoint."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3...

Collective Punishment

Since you like Wikipedia, and since this article is so well-sourced, I'll quote from the entry on collective punishment.

"In recent history, supporters of the Palestinians use the term to refer to certain Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have used the term to describe the Israeli policy of destroying the homes of alleged terrorists. Israel's extensive system of internal roadblocks and checkpoints in Palestinian land has been condemned as a form of economic collective punishment. Possibly the most serious charge of collective punishment pertains to Israel's systematic destruction of roads, bridges, power and water plants, ports, airports, and the civilian economy inflicted upon Palestinians and Lebanese, which Palestinians contend may constitute a war crime under Article 52, Additional Protocol I, which states that "Civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals.""

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_...

US Invasion of Iraq

You wrote, "(This I agree with wholeheartedly)" when I wrote about how the US interrupted the UNMOVIC and IAEA inspections of Iraq and decided to invade despite Iraq's cooperation with the inspections. You are agreeing with a straightforward war crime, since it is absolutely illegal to launch a war against another country. Kofi Annan, the S-G of the UN when the US launched its invasion, agrees with me on this. From the BBC:

"The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_...

Look: if you support war crimes, then simply be honest about it and explain why. That will make this discussion simpler and more constructive. Stop accusing me of 'left wing bias' just because the facts happen to agree with my assertions.

Iraqi Compliance with UNSCR 687 -

Here's an essay I wrote in February 2003 on the matter, which cites all its sources.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/taylormcgreal/n...

Iranian cooperation with IAEA

You ask, "Are we watching the same newscasts??" I don't get my news from the TV, because it's impossible to report and analyze a complex situation in a 30 second news segment that rehashes a few sound bites. Here are just a couple of reports on the IAEA's ongoing work with Iran.

"The U.S. suspects Iran's uranium enrichment program is geared toward producing nuclear weapons and says that all options, including new U.N. sanctions and military action against Iran, remain on the table.

"Alluding to that U.S. position, ElBaradei warned against rhetoric that is 'a reminder of pre-war Iraq' in comments to reporters in Vienna.

"'We have not seen any weaponization of their program, nor have we received any information to that effect - no smoking gun or information from intelligence,' he said. 'Based on the evidence, we have, we do not see ... a clear and present danger that requires that you go beyond diplomacy.'

[...]

"In the IAEA-Iran working plan agreed in July, Iran agreed to answer questions from agency experts by December on more than two decades of nuclear activity - most of it secret until revealed over four years ago.

"The plan, which was made public last month, appeared to give Iran a clean bill of health on past small-scale plutonium experiments that could be linked to a weapons program. The IAEA said Tehran had accounted for amounts that of the substance originally appeared to have been missing.

"It also noted cooperation on other issues, while specifying that Tehran still needed to satisfy the agency's curiosity about its enrichment technology and traces of highly enriched uranium at a facility linked to the military."

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/09/0...

The following conclusions are from the IAEA's information circular published on 27 August, 2007 outlining the agreement between the IAEA and Iran regarding its nuclear program:

"IV. General Understandings

"1. These modalities cover all remaining issues and the Agency confirmed that there are no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran's past nuclear program and activities.

"2. The Agency agreed to provide Iran with all remaining questions according to the above work plan. This means that after receiving the questions, no other questions are left. Iran will provide the Agency with the required clarifications and information.

"3. The Agency's delegation is of the view that the agreement on the above issues shall further promote the efficiency of the implementation of safeguards in Iran and its ability to conclude the exclusive peaceful nature of the Iran's nuclear activities.

"4. The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use.

"5. The Agency and Iran agreed that after the implementation of the above work plan and the agreed modalities for resolving the outstanding issues, the implementation of safeguards in Iran will be conducted in a routine manner."

http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documen...

For more background on the conflict, here's a report I posted in RTH a couple of years ago on Iran's nuclear energy project and the US reaction to it:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/133

Israel's Nuclear Weapons

From Wikipedia:

"Israel was the sixth country in the world to develop nuclear weapons and is one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the other three being India, Pakistan and North Korea."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_wea...

Other sources:

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/co... http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Israel/i...

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By GEnghis (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2007 at 12:07:14


"Look: if you support war crimes, then simply be honest about it and explain why. That will make this discussion simpler and more constructive. Stop accusing me of 'left wing bias' just because the facts happen to agree with my assertions. "

OK here is my support and explanation of a "War Crime".
I support 1 "war Crime" that you say. Creation of Israel to resolve the Arab -Israeli conflict.

If it was a "war crime," then the the UN supports war crimes..

"On 29 November 1947 the United Nations voted on a plan for the partition of the British Mandate territory of Palestine to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in the British Mandate of Palestine. The plan came to be called the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181. The plan was approved by the United Nations General Assembly by 33 votes to 13, with 10 abstentions.

So the UN is guilty of supporting a War Crime?

I think we have exhausted this.You have your take as an apologist for the worst sort of Regimes with the most sinister of aims.The removal of a race f people from the planet( Iran,Hamas,) and I am an apologist for a group of flawed yet,more preferable places( US,Israel,India)All Democraticly( responsible) and open societys.Sometimes, to a fault.

Nice Blogging with you.ITs a shame that such a good website about hamilton is cluttered with all Anti US commentary.

I accuse you of LEft wing bias..are you saying you are not.Your explanation would carry more weight if you wrote 1..just 1 article being sightly critical of The President of Irans hate speeches instead of bashing the US.What other conclusion can one come to.Are you saying you are not left wing?( nothing wrong with that, just want to know if you are denying it)


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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 21, 2007 at 12:53:28

Genghis,

You wrote, "Your explanation would carry more weight if you wrote 1..just 1 article being sightly critical of The President of Irans hate speeches"

In the article, I wrote, "Ahmadinejad is almost certainly an anti-Semite (or at the very least plays one convincingly to shore up his jingoistic cred among those hardline Iranians who still support him). He has questioned the Holocaust, for example, and even hosted a forum for Holocaust deniers."

In the comments, I wrote, "Ahmadinejad is clearly a reactionary, right-wing anti-Semite who is trying to court the jingoists in Iran. It's not working. He is not very popular at home and his comments about Israel were widely assailed in Iran as stupid and irresponsible."

I am under no illusion that Ahmadinejad is a nice, open-minded, live-and-let-live guy. Where I disagree with you is on whether Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Israel, whether Iran has any intention of attacking Israel, and whether Iran is violating its responsibilities under the Non Proliferation Treaty in its pursuit of nuclear energy.

You are welcome to your prejudices and presumptions, but the facts simply do not support your arguments. You can accuse me of "left wing bias" for not uncritically accepting whatever the US government has to say about Iran, but it doesn't take a Marxist demagogue to recognize or acknowledge that the US government is systematically lying about Iran, in addition to having lied about Iraq, torturing political prisoners, denying habeas corpus, conducting illegal wiretaps without court oversight, and other crimes against the US Constitution and against international law.

It's a shame that you can't set aside your own partisanship long enough to take an honest, objective look at the government you are uncritically defending.

I consider myself an old-school progressive conservative in the tradition of the Red Tories, now sadly extinct in Canadian politics. I've written on my political beliefs here, if you're interested:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/255

As for your copy-and-paste from Wikipedia, a few observations:

  1. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was never actually implemented.

  2. The Greater Jerusalem area was supposed to stay under international control. This obviously didn't happen.

  3. The plan would have resulted in a large minority of Arabs in the Jewish state.

  4. After violence broke out in late 1947 and 1948, the US withdrew its support for the partition plan.

  5. The issue was forced through the 1848 Arab-Israeli war, which finally established the state of Israel and expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Israeli territory via Ben-Gurion's Plan Dalet; and the 1949 armistace agreements which established peace between Israel and its neighbours. Israel regarded the armistace borders as "provisional" and planned to expand Israel's territory as future opportunities dictated.

Along the lines of "if it quacks like a duck", the Israeli strategy was certainly a war crime, as it was devised not only to secure Israel's borders but also to expel as many Palestinians as possible from Israeli territory and ensure a Jewish majority.

Google UN Resolution 194, which declares that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so". Israel has never recognized it, nor recognized the right of return of those Palestinians scattered during the war.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2007 at 16:13:55

Hi Ryan;

I keep getting "spam" notices blocking my replys.If this gets through, what do you think of this development.DO you think the hot war is beginning?


From National Review( Yes I know)

By Charles Krauthammer

On Sept. 6, something important happened in northern Syria. Problem is, no one knows exactly what. Except for those few who were involved, and they’re not saying.


We do know that Israel carried out an airstrike. How then do we know it was important? Because in Israel, where leaking is an art form, even the best informed don’t have a clue. They tell me they have never seen a better-kept secret.

Which suggests that whatever happened near Dayr az Zawr was no accidental intrusion into Syrian airspace, no dry run for an attack on Iran, no strike on some conventional target such as an Iranian Revolutionary Guard base or a weapons shipment on its way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Circumstantial evidence points to this being an attack on some nuclear facility provided by North Korea.

Three days earlier, a freighter flying the North Korean flag docked in the Syrian port city of Tartus with a shipment of “cement.” Long way to go for cement. Within days, a top State Department official warned that “there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment.” Three days later, the Sept. 19 six-party meeting on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear facilities was suddenly postponed, officially by China, almost certainly at the behest of North Korea.

Apart from the usual suspects — Syria, Iran, Libya, and Russia — only two countries registered strong protests to the Israeli strike: Turkey and North Korea. Turkey we can understand. Its military may have permitted Israel an overflight corridor without ever having told the Islamist civilian government. But North Korea? What business is this of North Korea’s? Unless it was a North Korean facility being hit.

Which raises alarms for many reasons. First, it would undermine the whole North Korean disarmament process. Pyongyang might be selling its stuff to other rogue states, or perhaps just temporarily hiding it abroad while permitting ostentatious inspections back home.

Second, there are ominous implications for the Middle East. Syria has long had chemical weapons — on Monday, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported on an accident that killed dozens of Syrians and Iranians loading a nerve-gas warhead onto a Syrian missile — but Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Syria.

Tensions are already extremely high because of Iran’s headlong rush to go nuclear. In fending off sanctions and possible military action, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has chosen a radically aggressive campaign to assemble, deploy, flaunt, and partially activate Iran’s proxies in the Arab Middle East:

(1) Hamas launching rockets into Israeli towns and villages across the border from the Gaza Strip. Its intention is to invite an Israeli reaction, preferably a bloody and telegenic ground assault.

(2) Hezbollah heavily rearmed with Iranian rockets transshipped through Syria and preparing for the next round of fighting with Israel. The Third Lebanon War, now inevitable, awaits only Tehran’s order.

(3) Syria, Iran’s only Arab client state, building up forces across the Golan Heights frontier with Israel. And on Wednesday, yet another anti-Syrian member of Lebanon’s parliament is killed in a massive car bombing.

(4) The al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards training and equipping Shiite extremist militias in the use of the deadliest IEDs and rocketry against American and Iraqi troops. Iran is similarly helping the Taliban to attack NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Why is Iran doing this? Because it has its eye on a single prize: the bomb. It needs a bit more time, knowing that once it goes nuclear, it becomes the regional superpower and Persian Gulf hegemon.

Iran’s assets in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq are poised and ready. Ahmadinejad’s message is this: If anyone dares attack our nuclear facilities, we will fully activate our proxies, unleashing unrestrained destruction on Israel, moderate Arabs, Iraq, and U.S. interests — in addition to the usual, such as mining the Strait of Hormuz and causing an acute oil crisis and worldwide recession.

This is an extremely high-stakes game. The time window is narrow. In probably less than two years, Ahmadinejad will have the bomb.

The world is not quite ready to acquiesce. The new president of France has declared a nuclear Iran “unacceptable.” The French foreign minister warned that “it is necessary to prepare for the worst” — and “the worst, it’s war, sir.”

Which makes it all the more urgent that powerful sanctions be slapped on the Iranian regime. Sanctions will not stop Ahmadinejad. But there are others in the Iranian elite who might stop both him and the nuclear program before the volcano explodes. These rival elites may be radical but they are not suicidal. And they believe, with reason, that whatever damage Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic folly may inflict upon the region and the world, on Crusader and Jew, on infidel and believer, the one certain result of such an eruption is Iran’s Islamic republic buried under the ash.


Thoughts?

Genghis

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 25, 2007 at 08:29:45

Genghis,

Interesting essay. I've also wondered what Israel was doing encroaching on Syrian territory (another in a long list of violations of international law, by the way).

As for Krauthammer's thesis, he's taken a couple of data points and spun out an elaborate hypothesis for which no real evidence exists. Certainly his scenario is possible, given the very limited information available, but the logical leaps and dramatic interpolations me makes go far beyond the realm of fact and into the realm of pure speculation.

On a more general note, Krauthammer has been devastatingly wrong about US/Israeli foreign policy for many years now. He was one of the biggest drum-pounders for the invasion of Iraq, based entirely on an "imminent threat" that simply did not exist.

He listened to all the wrong people (Ahmad Chalabi, the convicted fraudsters with an axe to grind, testimonies extracted under torture, etc.) and ignored all the people who actually knew what they were talking about (UNSCOM, UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors, the CIA, etc.).

Then, as now, he is more interested in cherry picking tidbits that support his bellicose, imperialistic agenda than in discovering the truth. I set the credibility bar high for all sources of information, but I set it especially high for people with a transparent agenda who have amply demonstrated that they are under the grip of confirmation bias.

One more thing: it's a running refrain among neoconservatives that Ahmadinejad is somehow "apocalyptic", meaning he welcomes the end of the world. This is interesting on a few different levels.

For one, it gets them past the argument that Iran isn't going to do anything to endanger its own existence, like attacking Israel and inviting a devastating retaliation.

For another, many of the biggest supporters of Bush and aggressive Zionism are American fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, who themselves are decidedly apocalyptic in their worldview. It's interesting that they are so quick to project their chiliastic eschatology onto Iran.

In any case, even if Ahmadinejad was wringing his hands for the end of the world, he does not have the power to set in motion any events that might bring about Iran's destruction. As I've mentioned already, he's a figurehead, and the real centre of power is Khamenei and his council.

In other words, Krauthammer's article is essentially FUD.

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