Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Ahmadinejad Loses All Touch With Reality

...or perhaps he's hoping that we have... which might somehow make his rhetoric sound more sensible:
AP: Update 5: Iran Leader Escalates Holocaust Rhetoric

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escalated his anti-Israeli rhetoric Wednesday, calling the Holocaust a "myth" used by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world...

His remarks drew swift condemnation from Israel, Germany and the European Commission. Germany said the remarks would affect upcoming negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad last week questioned whether the Nazi destruction of 6 million European Jews during World War II occurred and said Israel should be moved to Europe. He also provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." But Wednesday was the first time he publicly denied the Holocaust.
Gee, now that makes sense. Ahmadinejad apparently believes that Hitler never murdered millions of Jews in cold blood... so he openly calls for doing it himself.

I hope your life insurance is paid up, buddy. That's a mighty big saber you're rattling there.

Just for perspective, let's read further on down in the same article. Calling for the utter destruction of a sovereign state doesn't seem to bother him; what does bother him?
Iran has suffered a series of plane accidents - most recently on Dec. 6, when an aging U.S.-made military transport plane crashed into a tall building in Tehran, killing 115 people. Iranian officials have blamed Washington for the crashes, saying they are partly caused by the difficulty in obtaining spare parts.

"No country is authorized to impose spare-part sanctions against another country. Nothing can justify this," Ahmadinejad said Wednesday.
Ah, now I see. It's okay to desecrate the memory of the millions who were murdered, and contemptuously ignore the many thousands still alive who remember the Holocaust personally. It's okay to advocate 'wiping a country off the map'. But deny him spare plane parts, and he gets angry.

This guy is certainly doing his best to justify his country's status in the Axis of Evil, isn't he?

I have to wonder what his internal game is. Sure, Iran is widely reputed to be developing nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them; and I'm certain that Iran is counting on the West to avoid taking decisive action until those weapons are ready.

That part is easy enough to understand. But why is he taking such lengths to annoy everybody in the meantime? Even the Europeans are getting tired of his rhetoric:
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the remarks "shocking and unacceptable." He said the German government had summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires to make "unmistakably clear" its displeasure.

"I cannot hide the fact that this weighs on bilateral relations and on the chances for the negotiation process, the so-called nuclear dossier," Steinmeier said, referring to European talks with Iran on its nuclear program.
In Brussels, Belgium, European Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin said the president's comments were "completely unacceptable."

"We feel very strongly that Iran is damaging its own interests with these kind of remarks," she said.
(Later: according to the Jerusalem Post, Sweden has had enough; they're cutting off all ties with Iran because of these remarks. Hat tip: Meryl Yourish.)

And somehow I don't think that the Bush Administration, having named Iran as part of the "Axis of Evil" more than three years ago, is much encouraged by the public chants of "Death to America"... or by Ahmadinejad's own calls for a world without America.

What's next? Frankly, I was expecting some sort of military action against Iran before last year's Presidential elections; the fears of a nuclear Iran reached a fever pitch then. Certainly the Bush Administration knows to take these threats seriously; and the invasion of Iraq, as necessary as it was, was made under a lesser threat than we face now from Iran.

(There can be no doubt of Israel's state of mind these days. Israel knows, all too well, to take these statements seriously. When Saddam announced his intention, in 1990, to "incinerate half of Israel", he meant it; the Scuds, launched with no provocation whatsoever against Israeli population centers, made that crystal-clear. Israel knows a threat to her very existence when she sees one; we can be sure that many contigency plans are being fine-tuned. And no, I'm not going to speculate as to what they are.)

We have the fortune, or misfortune, to live in interesting times. We have rid the global community of a highly dangerous loose-cannon, in the person of Saddam Hussein, and helped to neutralize several lesser threats (Muammar Qadaffi, Bashir Assad); but the threat from North Korea has not gone away, and Iran looms bigger than ever -- in Iranian eyes most of all.

9/11 had the effect of waking a sleeping giant. Saddam, faced with a wounded and angry giant, chose to tweak that giant's nose, and has paid the price. Now Ahmadinejad is cheerfully waving guns in the giant's face.

We will see what happens next. Watch and wait.

UPDATE: So far, Germany has threatened to lose patience with Iran. That's not what I'd call a particularly effective response to nuclear belligerence. Still, for them it's a big step -- and they're condemning Iran for her stance on Israel as well.

Now. Will anyone take action, now that baby is reaching for the knife drawer? Anyone? Bueller?


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