If Iran became a nuclear power, would it risk its own regime survival to strike at Israel? Such questions remain at the heart of the current debate. Those who argue either President Obama should try diplomacy again or that containment can work argue that Iran would not launch their weapons in a first strike against Israel, never mind what Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said during his term as president.
A recent article in the Iranian press written by Ali Reza Forqani, an ally of the Supreme Leader, however, should re-inject concern about what Iran’s true intentions are. Entitled, “The Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]-Based Reasons for the Need for Israel’s Annihilation,” the Open Source Center recently provided a full translation. The article begins by recalling Ayatollah Khomeini’s views:
So aside from detainees getting tortured and killed, at least the rest of the situation in Libya is going well:
Fury over the accidental burning of Korans in Afghanistan seemed to spill into Libya last month when an angry mob descended upon Benghazi Military Cemetery and smashed dozens of Christian and Jewish graves… Libya’s National Transitional Council has condemned the actions of the mob and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Newt Gingrich is way off-base in his criticism of President Obama’s response to the Koran-burning controversy in Afghanistan. The president sent an entirely proper letter of apology for the insensitive actions of American personnel who improperly disposed of Korans in a way that offends Muslim sensitivities. President Karzai responded properly too, criticizing the American actions but then accepting the American apology and trying to tamp down protests which have turned violent. For these actions, both men have gotten a double-barreled blast from the former House speaker and current presidential candidate. Politico quotes him as follows:
“It is an outrage that President Obama is the one apologizing to Afghan President Karzai on the same day two American troops were murdered and four others injured by an Afghan soldier,” the Republican candidate said in a statement. “It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around.”
The former House speaker continued his attack at a campaign rally in Spokane, Wash., charging that Obama had “surrendered twice” in one day, and demanded that the president request an apology from the Afghan government.
“Candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care,” Gingrich said.
President Obama is absolutely correct to apologize for the apparent Koran burning at the Bagram Air Base. (See Alana’s earlier post. ) The incident should not have happened. His apology shows goodwill which Afghans appear to accept. After all, in Kabul–a city of five million people–only 1,000 protesters took to the streets. That’s hardly respectable even for a rent-a-mob.
Still, Obama’s apology fumbles the opportunity to go on the offense. Incidents in which Americans desecrate the Koran–or any holy book–are few and far between and are punished. But, not so the Taliban. Every time the Taliban bomb a mosque–something they do with frequency when they disagree with those mosque’s traditional, moderate mullahs–they desecrate the Koran. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is two-faced in his refusal to hold the Taliban to account for their actions. Why Obama refuses to engage adeptly in the battle to win hearts and minds is a question which still stumps.
Protests have been raging in Afghanistan for the past few days, after the U.S. military reportedly burned Korans – along with other confiscated religious materials – taken from detainees at Bagram Airfield. In an effort to restore peace, Obama sent a note of apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai today, assuring him the Koran burning was unintentional:
“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Obama wrote. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”
The president concludes the letter: “The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”