A few years ago, I saw a video of a most amazing young man who was brave enough to walk in the midst of an Arab demonstration and stand for the truth. The young man’s name is Daniel and he is of Persian (Iranian) descent. He took to the streets with an Israeli flag. At the end of the video, there’s a very interesting statement by a young Arab girl who readily admits there can be no peace; that they do not and will not accept the Jewish state of Israel. If you didn’t see that video – it’s here… (but the more important one is just below).
Posts Tagged ‘Ahmadinejad’
In Iran almost nothing is what it seems to be. Iranian culture is formal; it places a premium on politeness and manners. By violating both principles, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been mesmerizing Iranians, to the delight of the masses and the embarrassment of the few. When Iranian reporters in New York, for instance, told him that the Iranian parliamentarians had criticized him, he shot back “Goh khordand” (“They can go eat [explitive]”).
Referring to the U.S.-Iranian relationship, Ahmadinejad refers to breast-feeding babies and uses profanity, and his audience loves him! The first reference comes from a Persian expression: Mamaro looloo bord [“The ogre has taken away the mother’s breastfeeding”], meaning: From now on, the rules have been changed and you had better listen to me.
Ahmadinejad constantly belittles the regime’s enemies — and is the most successful leader to do so since the death of Khomeini. Khomeini prophetically proclaimed, “America cannot do a damn thing,” and history seems to have proven him right — both throughout the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the pullback of the Marines from Beirut by President Reagan, through the present failure of the U.S. to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad keeps standing up to America and America keeps doing nothing to stop him. It was America alone, by doing nothing, that enabled Khomeini to achieve greatness and maintain his grip on power.
Ahmadinejad follows in Khomeini’s footsteps. He proclaims the holocaust is a myth; he constantly belittles America, and the U.S. still does nothing. When Ahmadinejad is interviewed by the American media, the interviewers are ill-prepared: they never ask follow-up questions, challenge his lies, or call his bluff.
Iranian society, like most of us, likes winners, and if winning comes through the principle of zerangi [winning at the expense of others], and you come out on top, all the better.
Ahmadinejad is, moreover, known as a big teller of tall tales and white lies: a chakhan. Telling tall tales and white lies is embedded within the Islamic culture of Iran: in the religious writings, telling white lies to your enemies is encouraged. As a devout Shi’ite Muslim, Ahmadinejad is practicing taqiya [dissimulation] — completely acceptable if used to advance the goals of the Islamic Republic — and also possibly your rule — whenever and wherever necessary.
During Ahmadinejad’s latest trip to Isfahan province, the Fars News Agency, which is friendly towards him, carried multiple pictures of him and his choice for the next president, Esfandyar Mashai; it went on to show single photographs of Mashai. It just so happens that Mashai is also related to Ahmadinejad by marriage: his son married Mashai’s daughter. Blood alliances are a big factor in Iranian politics.
If we are to understand the fierce battles now raging among Iran’s rulers, we need to find answers to the following questions: What has emboldened Ahmadinejad to use such foul language in public when addressing his adversaries?
- Who and what is emboldening him openly to support, as his successor, Mashai, a man singled out by other forces in the regime for criticism?
- Are these signs of a major power shift in the Islamic Republic?
We can draw two conclusions from the above:
- Ahmadinejad dares not give the impression that he is weak;
- He is certain that his opponents — three Larijani brothers and Khamene’i — are weak.
- As an activist, however, within the ranks of the veterans of the Revolutionary Guards, he must feel that they cover his back. This is a game of high-stakes poker, following in the footsteps of large sums that have been transferred out of Iran by the cronies of the regime.
The stakes are so high, in fact, that Ahmadinejad is providing videos of another Larijani brother, Fazael Larijani, demanding bribes. This video was screened in parliament to the shame and amazement of the speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani.
For Ahmadinejad, this is a win-win gamble. He can either succeed by blackmailing his opposition within the ruling Islamic regime not to harm him, or, should he be harmed, he will be granted martyrdom — a lofty and much sought-after status in the current messianic Shi’ite regime.Ephraim Dardashti
The U.S. generally makes allowance for verbal excesses from foreign governments, but if expressions of hatred and incitement to violence are actually harbingers of behavior, destruction and murderousness cannot be far behind.
At the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations [sic], Turkey’s Prime Minister equated Zionism with crimes against humanity. The American response was swift; speaking for himself and the administration, Kerry called the remark “objectionable.” But after expressing dismay, he called for nicer play.
“That said,” he commented, “Turkey and Israel are both vital allies. We want to see them work together to go beyond rhetoric and take concrete steps to change their relationship.” A State Department official concurred, saying the comment was “particularly offensive” and “complicates our ability to do all the things we want to do together.”
But what if Ergodan doesn’t want what the U.S. wants him to want — that is to say, he doesn’t want a changed relationship with Israel? What if harsh rhetoric and open political and financial support for Hamas — a U.S. designated terrorist organization — are part of Turkey’s regional Sunni Islamic ambition, which does not include Israel? What if Turkey’s prior cooperation was a phase to allow it to acquire political and military benefits?
In a similar vein, a few weeks ago, a North Korean diplomat told the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, “As the saying goes, a new-born puppy knows no fear of a tiger. South Korea’s erratic behavior would only herald its final destruction.” He added, “If the U.S. takes a hostile approach toward North Korea to the last, rendering the situation complicated, [we] will be left with no option but to take the second and third stronger steps in succession.” A North Korean general warned of the “miserable destruction” of the United States.
The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament called the comments “profoundly disturbing,” and the Spanish ambassador said he was “stupefied.” Why?
Beginning with President Carter, American administrations have treated North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capability as defensive: designed to keep South Korea and the U.S. from overthrowing the cultish regime of the North. The U.S. tells itself that since it harbors no plans for any such invasion, it can reassure North Korea on that point and thus lessen its determination to have nuclear capability – hence the U.S. offers food, fuel and a light water reactor, thinking those “gifts” will reassure North Korea of America’s benign intentions.
But what if North Korea is not defensive, but rather Kim Jong Un, like his predecessors, believes that the unification of the peninsula should happen under governance of the North? How then should we understand the diplomat and the general? And how should we understand North Korea’s latest nuclear test?
The British ambassador said of the North Korean diplomat’s remarks, “It cannot be allowed that we have expressions which refer to the possible destruction of U.N. member states.” That is, of course, patently untrue. The U.N. tolerates and sometimes applauds Iranian representatives who have called not for the “possible” destruction of a U.N. member state, Israel, but for its outright annihilation.
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. “The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land… In the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists… Cancer must be eliminated from a body (the region).” For Qods Day last year Ahmadinejad told the Iranians, “Any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world.”
The P5+1, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany who are negotiating with Iran, still seem to presume that Iran is pursuing nuclear capability for some reason other than to use it, and that it can, therefore, be dissuaded from developing it. But what if “annihilation of the Zionist regime” really is topmost in the minds of the Mullahs? What if they believe Israel has to disappear and they can make it happen? What will happen, then, when they get nuclear weapons, if they still really believe that?Shoshana Bryen
Two of the world’s most brutal regimes, Iran and North Korea, each hell-bent on intimidating any country which dares to challenge it, signed an agreement in September to cooperate on science technology and education. In other words, North Korea is officially helping Iran move forward on its path to nuclear weaponization.
The deal was signed by the two countries when a North Korean delegation traveled to Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit which took place on August 31 and September 1, 2012.
That agreement was described by North Korea’s state-run news agency in non-threatening terms, simply as one involving “cooperation in science, technology and education,” but former State Department official David Asher, who testified at a congressional hearing on North Korea before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week, described it as very much like the agreement entered into by North Korea and Syria in 2002. Asher warned that the 2002 agreement was the “keystone for the commencement of covert nuclear cooperation between North Korea and Syria, which ultimately resulted in the construction of a nuclear reactor complex.”
During Asher’s tenure at the state department he was the coordinator of the North Korea Working Group designed to curtail the nuclear threat.
The Syrian project was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in 2007, shortly before its completion. Experts agree that the Syrian-North Korean project had no purpose other than to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The late summer NAM Summit was described by Iran as the “most important” political event in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s 33 year history. In attendance were not only many traditional allies of Iran, but also countries the U.S. consider to be allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. That those countries visited when the U.S. is pushing hard to make Iran feel isolated within the diplomatic world, was a blow to U.S. prestige.
United Nations president Ban ki-Moon also attended the late summer NAM Summit, but Ban repeatedly criticized the Iranian government’s human rights record as well as its deplorable responses to the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its nuclear program.
Both North Korea and Iran are the subject of numerous sanctions by the United Nations, under strong U.S. pressure. In a meeting with North Korea’s president of the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong-nam, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatolah Ali Khamenei stated clearly that the two countries share “common enemies.” In this case they were referring to the U.S., but Iran and Syria are at the forefront of Israel’s many enemies.
North Korea is rich in raw uranium and other natural resources necessary for building nuclear weapons. It also has the scientific know-how and centrifuge technology to share with its partner Iran.
On February 12, North Korea conducted its third and most successful nuclear test thus far. It later declared it had made progress in securing a functioning atomic arsenal. In response, the U.N. unanimously expanded sanctions on North Korea.
North Korea repeatedly claims that the United States is using military drills in South Korea in advance of launching a nuclear war against North Korea. Just last week, North Korea threatened to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States.
“Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,” the North’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
North Korea’s repeated willingness to ignore the demands of the international community to desist from testing nuclear weapons testing can only send the worst signals to Iran, which is that the U.N. will have meetings and denounce actions, but will not prevent further tests.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE
People who have been paying attention know that relations between Israel and Turkey have been eroding, but not many realize that Turkey is now not only openly hostile to the Jewish State, but also to the Jewish people.
On Friday, January 11, a Turkish citizen took a picture which shows exactly how belligerent Turkey has become. The picture is of a huge poster with the words, “Who Would You Like to Meet if You Could?” and the last name, and only photograph, is of Adolf Hitler. The other choices include Suleiman I, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Napolean Bonaparte, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Vladimir Lenin, Boris Yeltsin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jackson. But only Hitler warranted a picture, a huge one at that.
According to Ege Berk Korkut, an active Turkish writer and blogger, the sign was placed in the Sapphire Mall by the owners, a group of Turkish businessmen who are devoted to Erdogan. Korkut explained to The Jewish Press that the Sapphire is an ultra-upscale mall in Levent, the wealthiest neighborhood in Istanbul. The Sapphire building is one of the tallest buildings in Europe.
Korkut said that while a few people have complained about the banner – and the management has refused to remove it – most shoppers just glance at it and continue shopping. Ho-hum, nothing startling or even mildly interesting about a huge photograph of Adolf Hitler hanging in the Turkish equivalent of Via Bellagio in Las Vegas or The Shops at Columbus Circle in New York City.
And it is not only Israel and the Jews towards which Turkey has turned its back.
The Iranian Ambassador to Turkey, Bahman Hussein Pour, discussed the close and ever-increasing Iranian-Turkish relations in an article in the January 14 MehrNews.com, an Iranian news agency.
Hussein Pour pointed out that while Western countries, “especially the U.S.,” have been pressuring Turkey to reduce economic relations with Iran, “Iran-Turkey trade volume exceeds $21b this year for the first time.” The Iranian Ambassador concluded that Turkish-Iranian relations are irreversible.
In addition to the trade relations between the two countries which has more than quadrupled since 2008, Hussein Pour also explained that “more than 15 Turkish provinces have become sister provinces with Iranian ones.”
The timing of the statements is important, as many had predicted that relations between the neighboring nations would deteriorate over the violence in Syria, which also shares a border with Turkey. Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan has repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, while Iran is the principle backer of the Assad regime. Nevertheless, Iran has benefited greatly from Turkey’s import of Iranian oil, and Turkey has prospered from millions of Iranian tourists. In a move that benefits both countries, hundreds of Turkish movies have been filmed in northern Iran.
This cozy relationship has developed despite the very public love letters President Barack Obama sent to Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan. Middle East analyst Barry Rubin wrote a telling piece in the spring about the one-sided relationship between Obama and Erdogan. In addition to recounting Obama’s amorous actions towards the leader of Turkey who has turned that giant ship away from the West and into the harbor of the Islamist world, Rubin pointed out that in 2010 Erdogan made a “deal with Iran that sabotaged the delicate U.S. drive to toughen anti-Iran sanctions.” And despite that blow to U.S. policy and insult to Obama, the U.S. president gave Turkey a waiver on implementing the Iranian sanctions. Rubin called it “remarkable,” others might call it alarming.
With a huge flattering photograph of Hitler hanging in the fanciest mall in Istanbul, and Erdogan inching towards BFF status with Ahmadinejad, perhaps it is time for this administration to rethink putting daylight between the U.S. and Israel, and instead start putting it between the U.S. and Turkey.
UPDATE: Early Thursday morning, January 16, Korkut contacted The Jewish Press to say that the banner was removed.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
When the Iranian student revolutionaries took American hostages in 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter chose a path consistent with his character, but inconsistent with the American character. He tried desperately, again and again, to prove to the Islamist revolutionaries and their ruling Mullahs that the big bad United States would not be a bully or resort to violence to enforce its views or to protect its assets, even when those assets are American citizens. His strategy failed.
That strategy is still a failure. And, by all accounts, our current president is hell-bent on employing it whenever he can.
In a book that shows clearly the parallels between the dilemma posed to America by Iran during Carter’s regime and the one Iran presents to our current president, To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the “Arab Spring,” Ruthie Blum brings the not-so-distant-history alive.
Blum’s book is a must read for those who lived through and remember that first Iranian assault on American leadership. But it’s also for those too young to remember that episode – and really, it’s for everyone now living through the current Iranians’ attack on America’s role as leader of the free world and bulwark against the unfree world. In both cases the Iranians have played America for a fool, and in both cases they had a U.S. leader who willingly, maybe even eagerly, took on that role.
For those old enough to remember, in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president, he was furiously engaged in an effort to persuade the Islamists in Iran that the United States harbored only “genuine good will” towards them. What he most sought from them was “dialogue,” not disagreements. His timidity encouraged rather than discouraged those who sought to overthrow America’s long-time ally, the Shah of Iran. Instead of reaching out to meet U.S. overtures, Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers refused to meet, let alone negotiate, with Carter’s emissaries.
Blum’s clear writing, coupled with her ability to convey the real drama of the historical events she describes, allow the reader to place the complicated series of diplomatic falters, Iranian acts of aggression and the parading of blind-folded Americans for more than a year, in a comprehensible context.
Blum then juxtaposes America-Under-Carter’s response, to that of the Obama administration’s fawning over the Arab Spring and reluctance to meddle in the efforts of today’s revolutionaries across the Arab Middle East – other than to hand millions of dollars to Islamists organizing these nationwide riots that our President seems to think are events of national liberation. Blum’s book is essential reading for those who want to understand why, this time around, we should have known better.
Blum’s book shows that what look to some uninformed Westerners, including the president of the United States, like progressive, democratic impulses, have turned out instead to be determined flights backwards to the Middle Ages.
Tunisian pushcart merchant Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-incineration as the spark for the greatest upheaval in the Middle East in modern times is laid out in Blum’s book. She illuminates the path from Tunisia to Libya, to Yemen and Bahrain and, where it remains hovering, over Syria and, possibly, hopefully, back toIran.
After reviewing Carter’s misguided and disastrous Middle East strategy, it is painful to then read how closely our current administration’s strategy tracks the Carter debacle in its mindset and its failures.
Blum reveals the perfect consistency between Carter’s craven posture before Ayatollah Khomeini and Obama’s whiplash-like series of always-off-kilter responses to the Arab Spring: his cutting ties with former ally Tunisian president Ben Ali, his refusal to do more than mouth platitudes to support the outraged Iranian citizenry when their election was stolen by the tyrannical Ahmadinejad, his delivering a swift kick out the door to our former close ally Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak. And so on.
The admonition from Kohelet Rabbah 7:16: “Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind” is perfectly illustrated by the misguided efforts of two recent American leaders who thought they could convince truly evil adversaries to refrain from doing evil if only the powerful America would treat them more nicely.
Although To Hell in a Handbasket is very consciously launched during this election season, it would be a shame for it to be relegated to merely a momentary flash in the literary pan. At fewer than 200 pages and written from hard historical sources that might otherwise seem dry to an average reader, Blum’s book moves like a novel. It will be an invaluable addition to any college or sophisticated high school student’s library as a tool for understanding America’s place in the geo-political moment.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
H/T Arsen Ostrovsky.
On Sept. 24, the satirical site ‘The Onion’ “led” with a story on shocking poll results:
Here’s the text from the story:
CHARLESTON, WV—According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama. “I like him better,” said West Virginia resident Dale Swiderski, who, along with 77 percent of rural Caucasian voters, confirmedhe would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama. “He takes national defense seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.” According to the same Gallup poll, 60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim.
Naturally – at least to any sane reader, or anyone familiar with The Onion (which is truly an equal opportunity mocker) – the piece was satire, based partly on regional popularity disparities for Obama’s and the Democratic Party. The Onion, as they typically do, decided to take this truthful dynamic and take it to the most ludicrous, and obviously unserious, level – which is often the basis of effective satire.
Ludicrous, yes – but, evidently, not entirely implausible for the editors of the English version of the Iranian news agency, known as “FARS”.
The Onion largely refrained from mocking FARS, but did add this addendum to their original “report” on American whites’ endorsement of Ahmadinejad.
A few days later, the “news agency” realized their mistake and apologized – which represents a much faster mea-culpa turn-around time than is typically the case at a supposedly serious newspaper based in London.
Here’s what they wrote:
“Unfortunately an incorrect item was released on our website on Friday which included a fake opinion poll on popularity rate of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and US President Barack Obama. The news item was extracted from the Satirical Magazine, The Onion, by mistake and it was taken down from our outlook in less two hours,” Editor-in-chief of FNA’s English Service said.
“We offer our formal apologies for that mistake,” he added.
“FNA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of its reports, however very occasionally mistakes do happen,” he said.
“Although it does not justify our mistake, we do believe that if a free opinion poll is conducted in the US, a majority of Americans would prefer anyone outside the US political system to President Barack Obama and American statesmen,” he added.
Active and well-known media occasionally make mistakes, and no media is an exception to this rule.
In FARS’s defense, it is true that “active and well-known media occasionally make mistakes.”
In fact, a few months ago the Guardian made the following, umm, “mistake”, informing their readers definitively that Tel Aviv was the Israeli capital.
While FARS news agency can claim that they were duped into publishing a fact-free report by a satirical site they were previously unfamiliar with, I’m still wondering what excuse the Guardian has for their (Style-Guide approved) gross disinformation.
Visit CifWatch.com.Adam Levick