The mullahs' moment in the sun

Posted: Aug 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Over the past few weeks, we have been witness to a remarkable phenomenon. Suddenly, in the wake of last month's suicide bombings in London, we hear of news broadcasts from Paris to London to New York in which terrorism analysts announce vociferously that their countries must follow Israel's tracks in everything having to do with contending with suicide bombers.

There is a threefold irony in the fact that the West, and particular the Europeans, are now looking to Israel for assistance in defending against their homegrown jihadi networks. First, and perhaps it goes without saying, until suicide terror came to them, they were quick to condemn every single action – from the erection of roadblocks to administrative detentions to military sweeps of terror dens – that the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have taken to preempt and prevent suicide bombers. Now, when they themselves are suffering from the same fate, they are quick to ignore their previous criticism and come to Israel for help.

And to top it all off, none of them – from the Bush administration to the European leadership – has drawn the obvious conclusion that the terrorists who attack Israel in the name of jihad are no different from the ones who attack them in the name of jihad and that therefore one of the best ways for them to defend themselves is to support Israel and end their support for the Palestinian Authority, which is infused from top to bottom with the ideology of terror and jihad.

The second bit of irony in the world's newfound admiration for visionary Israel is that it is, of course, arriving at the same time that the Sharon-Peres government is making Israel's most significant move ever to surrender and appease the same unappeasable terrorists by handing them Gaza with no strings attached. Perhaps if their appreciation had come a bit sooner, Israel wouldn't have adopted a policy that is antithetical to the policies that the Europeans and Americans now so admire.

The final bit of irony is that while in the wake of the London bombings the West is finally beginning to take the threat of suicide terrorism in its cities seriously, this newfound sobriety at home is occurring at the same time that the Bush administration is striking out on a policy of curtailing its war on terror abroad. This policy of curtailing US offensive actions against terrorism internationally is evident both in its handling of Iraq's rapid deterioration into a Shi'ite-ruled Islamist state along the lines of Iran and even more dangerously in the US's feckless handling of the rising Iranian nuclear threat.

The West's belated respect for Israel's counterterror tactics recalls the similarly belated gratitude we received for prime minister Menachem Begin's decision deploy the IAF to destroy the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981. Israel's heroic operation was met at the time with wall-to-wall condemnation from Washington to Europe to the UN Security Council. In the aftermath of the strike, the Reagan administration placed military sanctions on Israel, drastically limiting US military exports to the Jewish state. It was only in the wake of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 that the US finally expressed its gratitude to Israel for having the nerve and vision to act as it did, when it did.

On Monday, armed militiamen from the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), took over Baghdad's city hall and announced that Hussein al-Tahaan, a member of its militia, was the new mayor of Baghdad. Baghdad's actual mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, is currently in hiding in fear of his life. Tamimi was initially installed into office by the US in the wake of the overthrow of Saddam's regime. According to press reports, the US Embassy in Baghdad had no comment on the matter other than to say that it was aware of the situation. It should be noted that SCIRI is a member of the Iraqi governing coalition. Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari himself hails from the Iranian-backed Shi'ite Islamist Dawa party.

Then, on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pointed an angry yet half-hearted finger at Iran after US and Iraqi forces intercepted trucks carrying explosives to terrorists fighting in Iraq. While Rumsfeld accused Iran of not preventing weapons smuggling, he refused to say who in the totalitarian republic of Iran was behind the operations, leaving, as The New York Times notes, some "specialists" to say that it "could be the work of smugglers or splinter insurgent groups, rather than the government of Iran." Sure it could...

The London Telegraph reported that "the new bombs are similar to those used by Hizbullah fighters against the Israelis in southern Lebanon." Not, of course, that Iran's war against the US and Britain has anything to do with its war against Israel.

IF WASHINGTON'S seeming willingness to sit back and allow Iraq to become an Iranian puppet weren't worrisome enough, we have the Bush administration's pathetic response to Iran's nuclear brinkmanship to contend with. With the installation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president, we see the establishment of the most extreme Iranian leadership since the Islamic revolution in 1979. In one of his first acts as president, Ahmadinejad oversaw the removal of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency's seals at its nuclear installation in Isfahan and restarted uranium enrichment activities. At the same time, Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who in 2002 exposed Iran's covert nuclear program, said this week that Iran has 4,000 centrifuges at its nuclear installation in Natanz that are capable of producing weapons-grade uranium.

In spite of all of this, the US continues to back the farcical negotiations between the three European musketeers – Britain, Germany and France – and the Iranian government aimed at appeasing Iran into ceasing its uranium enrichment activities. Their latest offer – which included pledges to regularly supply Iran with nuclear fuel; assist it in nuclear research; cancel limitations on technology transfers to Iran; funnel investments into the Iranian economy; and, last but not least, not to attack Iran – was summarily rejected by the Iranians as a joke. But to placate poor negotiations-obsessed German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and his British and French counterparts, the Iranians threw in a carrot claiming willingness to continue talking. And US President George W. Bush gave Washington's blessings to continuing these discussions. Not only does the US continue to back these talks, but, The Washington Post reported this week, in what can only be interpreted as a targeted leak from the administration, that the US now assesses that the Iranians won't develop nuclear weapons until 2015.

The strangest aspect of what can only be characterized as the US's appeasement policy towards Iran is that unlike any other Islamic country, the Iranian people actually wish to overthrow their regime and replace it with a non-Islamist secular democracy. Just this week, workers protested outside Iran's parliament demanding their wages and better conditions, and women blocked highway traffic leading to the parliament building demanding their human rights. In the Kurdish areas of northwest Iran, 20 people were reportedly killed by security forces during anti-regime demonstrations. For more than a year, Iran has seen daily demonstrations that have not ceased even as the government has resorted to ever-increasing levels of force – including torture and summary execution of demonstrators – to contend with the domestic unrest.

And yet, aside from a few scattered statements of support for these extremely brave Iranians and for dissidents who gain media attention, the Bush administration has taken no concrete action to support these people in any tangible way. Indeed, last summer, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice published a directive to all US government employees prohibiting them from having any contacts with Iranian regime opponents.

Complementing its defeatist policies in Iraq and Iran, the US is further signaling its desire to quietly disengage from the war against Islamic terrorism by placing ever-increasing pressure on Israel to appease Palestinian terrorists. Aside from demanding that Israel arm Palestinian militias that are deeply involved in terrorism against Israeli citizens and that Israel relinquish all control over the international boundaries of Gaza, Secretary of State Rice and her underlings are turning up the heat on Israel to follow up on the coming withdrawal and expulsion of Jews in Gaza and northern Samaria with still more withdrawals and expulsions in the rest of Judea and Samaria.

Given all of this, it would seem that the time is ripe for Israel to again lead the world in fighting the scourge of jihad by attacking Iran's nuclear installations on its own. There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that a nuclear-armed Iran, a country that has already overtly threatened Israel with nuclear destruction, is the gravest security threat that Israel faces. Some political analysts have suggested that to increase his support within the Likud party, Sharon might opt to attack Iran in the aftermath of the withdrawal and expulsions from Gaza and northern Samaria.

In light of this rising threat of annihilation, if the only option for destroying Iran's nuclear weapons program were to launch a conventional war against Iran, such a war, even at the cost of the lives of thousands of Israeli soldiers, would be worth it. If Sharon were to justify the withdrawal and expulsion program as a means to enable the IAF or the Mossad to destroy Iran's nuclear installations, it might be possible to find a way to rationalize this program after the fact.

Unfortunately, since Sharon entered office in 2001, he has made it a point to never take any military action whatsoever without US approval. The fact that he recently sent his personal attorney, Dov Weisglass, to Washington to beg the US for $2 billion in supplemental aid in the wake of the withdrawal from Gaza simply shows his continued psychological and policy dependence on the administration. Sadly, with this being the current state of affairs, Iran and its terrorist dependents can rest assured. Israel is not leading anyone right now. Would that I be proven wrong.