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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hard words between Israel and Iran

Iran calls for Israel to literally be wiped off the map and the Swedish news service bends over backwards to be fair and balanced, headlining the story as,
Hard words between Israel and Iran
Not quite the same ring as "Iranian madman calls for the annihilation of millions of Jews". With rhetoric reminiscent of the early years of the 20th century
The Islamic world will not allow the historic enemy to live in its heartland!
and at a conference
held at the Iranian Interior Ministry, with 4000 students dressed in black and wearing green headbands
with the president arriving...
the students they shouted "Death to Israel!". The President, a veteran of the hardline Iranian revolutionary guard, called for them to shout louder.
Thousands of young fanatics being whipped up into a murderous fervour by a singleminded leader. Hmmm, I'm sure I've seen that before, probably just a movie. Hard words indeed. Here is a pciture of the rally, obviously aimed at more than just the local fanatics with such prominent English script...

After a century there are still madmen successfully running with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, anti-Western/anti-capitalist line. If it worked before it is worth another shot I suppose, just try to avoid the crushing defeat this time eh? The website has no English available, but you get the gist by clicking through it, although what this picture has to do with Zionism?

Stuff has a more appropriate headline, but skimps on the atmospherics of the rally in Nuremberg Teheran. Diplomats are perturbed!
French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy said he had summoned Iran's ambassador to explain the comments. "If these (reported) comments are true, they are unacceptable. I condemn them with the greatest firmness," he said in a statement.

Iran's ambassador to Madrid will also be summoned to explain the remarks. ". . .Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has expressed his rejection in the most emphatic terms and has decided to urgently call in the Iranian ambassador to ask him for an explanation," the ministry said in a statement.
Here is how the meetings would go:
Foreign Minister: Are these reports true?

Ambassador: Yes.

Foreign Minister: Please explain!

Ambassador: Oh that president of ours, he is such a joker! Always doing his "death to Israel" routine, he was a bit of an amateur comedian in college you know, did stand up at the tea parlours. It went down a treat with the other revolutionary guards. Of course he isn't being serious, not like his predecessors who have stated they are willing to lose a city in a nuclear exchange for the prize of destroying the Joos.

Foreign Minister: OK, just so we are clear. Now about this nuclear research you are doing.

Ambassador: We would never use that to create nuclear weapons to strike the ancient enemy living in our heartland.

Foreign Minister: OK, just so we are clear. Please relay to your president that his remarks, while meant in jest, are unacceptable and we condemn them most strongly.

Ambassador: As you wish, Zionist lapdog.
Peace in our time.

Posted by Chefen | 10/27/2005 07:19:00 PM


Blogger Gooner said...

I was going to blog this Chefen, you beat me to it! The website that had the speech also had a great photo showing a flag saying "end of zionism" which wsa written mostly in English!

10/27/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Chefen said...

I saw the pic afterwards, I will add it to the post. A pic is worth 4000 stormtroopers after all.

10/27/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Pop quiz: How many countries has Iran attacked or invaded in the last 100 years?

10/28/2005 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger darren said...

There's always a first time.
And Irann is also developing nuclear weapons.
I am sure a peace loving chap like you might be concerned about Iran developing and using such devices.
If a muslim was to die in the event of a nuclear stand off , he would have 72 virgins to look forward to satisfying.
But if you or I were to die, would there be anything for us? Any after-life? Maybe, maybe not.
Therefore Muslims seems less afraid of death than Westerners.
Growing up in the UK, I don't recall any suicide bombers in Ulster.
The Catholic IRA did not gain absolution from the Pope for their many sins.
But the mullahs seem quite happy for young Muslims to blow themselves up in the name of Allah.

10/28/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger waymad said...

Always with the jokes, Roger. Let's see:

Via Heyktayr (sp?): Afghanistan
Via Hizbollah: Lebanon, Jordan, Israel
Via Qods Force: supports most terrorist cells extant
Via sanctuary: Al Q'aida (and we know how well That went...)

That's just off the top of my thinning head, without checking spelling, Googling or doing much research.

Suggested reading: Eastwards to Tartary; Kaplan, Robert D.

And Rog, are you still happy for the theocrats in charge of Iran for the time being, to have nukes to play with?

10/28/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

I suspect there will be no way of stopping them waymad so you may as well get used to the idea abhorrent as it may be. If I was an Iranian it would seem an entirely reasonable and logical defensive strategy.

10/28/2005 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

It would seem to me that a nuclear weapon is the only way for a country like Iran to deter any attack by the United States. My guess is that is the main reason they want one. They saw what happened to their neighbour and are shit scared. They should be.

10/28/2005 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger waymad said...

And this is somehow a Good Thing, eh, Roger?

But wait, what was all that about the Third Caliphate, stretching from the Phillipines to Andalusia (that's Spain, guys)?

Shurely a nuke or two to clear the way, might advance that aim, no? But the 3C seems to pre-date the US-Iran contretemps. By several centuries.

Nooo - (puts fingers in ears and whistles loudly and continuously) - that just Cannot be Right!

10/28/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

What's a good thing? I didn't say anything was good or bad, just stated that is why I think they want one. Makes sense to me.

10/28/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Chefen said...

Geez Roger, can you think a bit further than the US as the explanation for everything? Iran doesn't want nukes to deter the US militarily. Nukes would be pretty useless against the US. It would take years for Iran to acquire the ability to use them effectively tactically, or to develop long range missiles capable of threatening the US itself. They might be able to use one locally against a US invasion force, but that would have the effect of escalating the conflict beyond their ability to handle it for a minimal reward of taking out a small fraction of the force. It would certainly stiffen the resolve of the US military and population against Iran, although whether the US would respond in kind is questionable, it would be the final act of the Iranian regime.

Iran wants nukes because now there are two major players left in the region, themselves and Syria. With Baathist Iraq removed there is a power play between Baathist Syria and Islamic Iran. Syria is busy miring itself in Lebanon and may seek a distraction somewhere else. Iran is a theocracy ruled by a succession of autocrats. Both are susceptible to military or religious coups. The Iranian regime needs to demonstrate it is a big player, both to counter Syria and to shore up support for itself at home. Keeping the focus on Israel as the ancient enemy while pushing the populist pride of gaining nukes satisfies the public, the military and sends a definite signal to Assad. When Baathist Iraq existed for a decade under the watchful eye of Western air patrols it made no sense to push too hard, a delicate power balance was maintained by the lack of action being imposed by the outside world. Now Iraq is moving towards democracy and is no longer a key military player as it used to be. Iran is looking to the future as the US and allies drawdown their forces over the next few years, it's positioning itself to be the preeminent state in the region. They know that if they play the game carefully then the US will not attack, it makes little sense for the US to do so as it would jeopardise the progress in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will also be suspicious of Syria's own intentions afer the mass movement of dodgy material from Iraq in the opening stages of the war.

The difficulty they face is that in trying to gain a nuclear capability they may misjudge the reaction. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that those directly threatened will intervene. Israel might, but is handicapped by distance. The US might, but politics may stop them. Even Syria might take a chance. But most of recent history indicates that moves to scale up militarisation and/or gain nukes go unchallenged until after the fact, so they'll take the chance. Once they have nukes then they will have far greater control over the region and be able to dictate terms to Syria. Of course once they have them everything will go in the shitter, they have stated their willingness to take massive casualties as the price for destroying Israel, they have shown their willingness to take such casualties before in the suicidal attacks mounted during the Iran/Iraq war. With nuclear weapons backing them then none of their neighbours are safe. Even though protected by the US, Iraq would be vulnerable, swift action against a dithering opponent is often a recipie for success for the bold.

Iranian nuclear weapons are about far more than just preventing an unlikely attack from the US in the next year or two.

10/28/2005 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

You are wrong on a number of counts Chefen. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Tehran has had close collaborative ties with Damascus. These have not been constant, nor have they been without strains and duplicity. Syria is ruled by a minority of Alawites, a Shiite offshoot that is at odds with Sunni Islam. Iran, a Shiite state, also confronts the Sunnis. Therefore, in religious terms, Syria under the Assads had a common interest with Iran.

For Iran, the fate of Syria is not a major national interest. The future of Iraq is.

The most important feature of the landscape at this moment is the decision by Iran that it is time to move toward direct discussions with the United States. To be sure, the United States and Iran have been talking informally for years about a variety of things, including Iraq. But this week, the Iranian foreign minister did two things. First, he stated that the time was not yet right for talks with the United States -- while acknowledging that talks through intermediaries had taken place. And second, he described the conditions under which discussions might occur. In short, he set the stage for talks between Washington and Tehran to move into the public eye.

It appears at this point that Iran has taken note of the U.S. pressure against Syria and is adjusting for it. However, what is holding up progress on public talks between the United States and Iran are not the reasons stated by the foreign minister -- doubts about Washington's integrity and unclarity about its goals -- but rather, the status of the presidency in Washington. Support for President George W. Bush is running at 39 percent in the polls. He still hasn't bounced upward, and he still hasn't collapsed. He is balanced on the thin edge of the knife. Indictments in the Plame investigation might come this week, which would be pivotal. If Bush collapses, there is no point in talks for Tehran.

Thus, the Iranians are waiting to see two things: Does the United States really have the weight to back the Syrians into a corner? And can Bush survive the greatest crisis of his presidency?

The Middle East is not a simple place, but it is a predictable one. Power talks, and you-know-what walks.

So there you go. None of those are my words obviously rather a cut and paste straight from Stratfor. Can't link to it sorry as it's subscriber only or at least part of their free email service to those that won't subscribe. They are not always right but always have an interesting spin on things pretty well free of the ideological baggage the rest of us carry.

10/28/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Chefen said...

Ackers, I don't see that we have much disagreement there really. However, I don't think that things are going to be cosy between Syria and Iran in the years to come. Either place could be upset by a coup relatively shortly and if Iran is so crash hot on talks with the US then this weeks Hitleresque antics are about the worst possible action. The Middle East isn't simple, but it has also changed drastically in the last couple of years and, to be honest, I don't think that much of the old predictions are going to hold. Analysts have been remarkably blinded by predictability, from the fall of the Shah to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But, aside from that, the pursuit of nuclear weapons isn't primarily about a supposed US invasion as Roger suggests, which is what I was getting at. Iran is playing a bigger game, even if they end up all kissy-kissy with Syria they want dominance in the region and I don't think it is a safe bet that if they do get nukes that it will only be sabre rattling that will result.

10/28/2005 08:11:00 PM  

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