Ahmadinejad Mocks President Obama as Iran Steps up Aggression

During the Bush years, some thought the main obstacle to successfully negotiating with Iran was President Bush. In fact, Bush was condemned by some for his unwillingness to engage Iranian leaders.

Fastforward a year. President Obama has extended to Ahmadinejad one olive branch after another and been rebuffed. Wednesday night in an interview with the United Kingdom’s channel 4 News, Ahmadinejad mocked the President’s Cairo speech, during which President Obama said he wished to extend a hand to Iran.

“Which hand did he extend? His right hand or left hand?” Ahmadinejad reportedly said. (In some parts of the Muslim world, the left hand is designated for –how to put this delicately? — using the bathroom, and extension of it in greeting considered an insult).

This remarkably juvenile verbal slight is reflective of far graver matters. The Ahmadinejad government has spent the past year, following its declaration of genocidal intent against Israel, testing missiles, including long-range ones that can reach Israel and Europe. Iran has refused to cooperate with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran has violently smashed down on its own people, anti-government protestors who are tired of living inside a corrupt, fundamentalist police state.

As the U.S. Congress prepares to pass tougher sanctions against Iran when the Senate returns from break later in January, there have been reports of Iranian attacks on Saudi Arabia from Yemen, with the U.S., behind the scenes, lending assistance to the Yemenis in fighting Iran-backed Shiite rebels.

According to the FOX report, “Despite word of U.S.-sponsored air strikes in Yemen, a State Department official said Tuesday the United States has “no direct role in what’s happening along the border.”

Obviously this is delicate. But it would seem that a year of diplomatic overtures and demonstrations of respect towards the Iranian regime have not moderated its militancy and, in fact, have emboldened it.

I can’t help but wonder if Ahmadinejad’s over-the-top, obvious insult to President Obama in his recent interview is a trick designed to anger the President into getting behind the “tough” anti-Iran sanctions, which he has thus far resisted doing. Follow my logic: My sources in Iraq and in the U.S. thinktank community believe there is little chance these sanctions will succeed. In the words of one source, Iraqi Parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi, “Never. We have [sanctions] already many years. Did it work? Never. Sanctions can’t work with this dictatorship that does not care about its people … [Also] look at the business the Iranians will do with their neighbors, with India, China, and Russia. The oil contracts will continue.” He adds, “I’m so sorry to say the Iranian system doesn’t leave any option besides military to deal with this.”

So, if the sanctions are ultimately a distraction, a long-overdue measure with little to no chance of actually arresting the Iranians’ progress towards attaining a nuclear bomb, they only serve to make us feel we are doing something when in reality we are allowing ourselves to be fruitlessly distracted while Teheran arms itself for greater future aggression.

Today it was announced that John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator and former Presidential hopeful wants to meet with the Iranians face to face. No word on whether they will deign to meet with him.

Most Iran experts I have seen interviewed believe Kerry’s overture will be interpreted by Tehran as a sign of weakness.

I hope I am wrong. But this is starting to sound like Munich, 1938.

This entry was written by and posted on December 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm and filed under Blog. permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Keywords: , , . Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. */?>