Skip to comments.Two Rogue States and One Dead Prime Minister
Posted on 02/16/2005 6:04:52 PM PST by forty_years
It was a busy day in Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran today. Some Lebanese buried a former prime minister in Beirut. Simultaneously in Damascus and Tehran, the capitals of the two countries most likely responsible for killing former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, dictators announced they would support each other in the war against democracy. In todays events we find above all grave contradictions, but also truths, lies, and deep sadness. But something good is developing out of the sadness, lies, truths, and contradictions.
The day started with breaking news from Iranian state television. The network claimed that an unknown aircraft fired a missile which exploded near Irans soon-to-be operational nuclear power station. Talking heads started speculating that Israel or even the U.S. had preemptively taken out Iranian nuclear weapons facilities. The diatribe slowly but surely ratcheted down a few notches during the day, leaving us only with confusing statements being issued by Iranian government officials. Currently, authorities are claiming that the blast was caused by a controlled explosion in a dam building site.
This is all too reminiscent of Gorbachev waiting days to tell the world about Chernobyls radioactive clouds. Open societies can just as easily speculate, but the free flow of information especially along todays Internet connections sooner than later dowse the fires of conjecture. Iran the dictatorship reacted in the typical form of a closed society this morning. First it tried to blame someone else. Then it got befuddled and quiet, leaving the rest of the world with lies and confusion.
Note that the nuclear plant near todays explosion is being built with much help from Russia. Russia, another great Satan, who fought Afghanistans Islamists for almost a decade and is currently fighting Chechnyas Islamists, is now helping the Islamist republic of Iran lay the foundation for a nuclear weapons program. Putin, or one of his fellow KGB goons, has got to know that Irans nukes will eventually point towards Moscow. Having the money now must be more soothing than confronting the threat later. Such are the twists and turns when navigating (or in this case, drowning) in Middle East politics.
As if things couldnt get any worse for Lebanon Mourners today buried former prime minister Rafik Hariri. He was blown to bits by a homicide bomber on Monday. My money for pinning the blame on this political assassination goes on Syria or its ally Iran. Some Lebanese have engaged in almost unheard-of protests against their Syrian occupiers:
The family and supporters of the assassinated Lebanese politician, Rafik Hariri, warned government ministers and President Emile Lahoud not to attend his Beirut funeral yesterday, in effect accusing them of complicity in his death.
The clear snub to Lebanon's Syrian-backed regime came after a day of sporadic protests against Syria, which many blame for the massive bomb which killed the former prime minister and at least 13 others in central Beirut on Monday.
In September of last year, Hariri threatened to bring down Lebanons government in reaction to Syrias meddling in internal Lebanese affairs. Due to pressure exerted by Syria, Lebanons puppet parliament voted September 3, 2003 to amend the countrys constitution and allow President Emile Lahoud to remain in power for another 3 years. Lebanons constitution had originally banned any president from serving two consecutive terms in office. Lahoud was due to finish his first 6-year term in November, 2003. According to the Sydney Morning Herald,
Widely regarded as a chief architect of Lebanon's recovery from the 1975-1990 civil war, the 60-year-old Mr Hariri enjoyed respect and popularity that transcended his own Sunni Muslim support base.
His murder, by far the most high-level political assassination since the war ended, is a blow to Lebanon's painstaking efforts to reassert its former status as the Middle East's most vibrant economy and tourist destination.
As prime minister - five times in the past 14 years - he mixed his business and political roles to push through the redevelopment of war-torn central Beirut.
There are now fears that the loss of this key figure for business confidence could lead to a run on banks or the Lebanese pound.
Who else would want Hariri dead besides Syria or Iran or one of their many proxies, like Hezbollah, running around lose in Lebanon? Hezbollah receives funding and support from Iran and Syria, all to keep Lebanon a "haven for terrorists". Again, status quo for Middle East dictators.
By stirring up trouble in Lebanon and the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, Jordan, etc., etc. Iran and Syrias dictators seek nothing more than self-preservation. Any political reform would lead Syrias President Assad or Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei nowhere else except into a courtroom to face charges on crimes against humanity. As Victor Davis Hanson so eloquently states:
The problem in the Middle East is the depressing relationship between autocracies and Islamists: Illiberal governments fault the Americans and Jews for their own failure. Thus in lieu of reform, strongmen deflect popular frustration by allowing the Wahhabis, al Qaedists, and other terrorists to use their state-controlled media likewise to blame us rather than a Mubarak, Saudi Royal Family, or Saddam Hussein.
Today, Iran vowed to back Syria against challenges and threats as both countries face strong US pressure. This is nothing new. The two countries have been in cahoots for years trying to keep the Middle East destabilized. What an alliance: Syrias socialists and Irans mullahs could there be stranger bedfellows? Todays talk amounts to empty words and actions unless you read between the lines.
When you look closely at Iran and Syrias statements, one word slowly appears out of the political babble: desperation. Syria and Iran both paid lip service to the war on terror soon after 911, but they started to get nervous after the Taliban were easily crushed and Afghans voted. They started having chronic diarrhea after Saddams regime was toppled by U.S. troops in a mere three weeks time. Dont forget that both Iran and Syria have massive borders with Iraq. Now Iraqis have voted. The diarrhea has become dysentery.
Iran and Syria a blustering now precisely because they know the U.S., led by President Bush, means business in the Middle East more than it ever has before. Killing Hariri was the result of very confused thinking: On the one hand, the dictators are trying to prove they mean business when it comes to staying eternally in power. On the other hand, the assassination has already stoked anti-Syrian (and eventually anti-Iranian) sentiments amongst the people one who the tyrants fear most (i.e., their own people). The dictators see the writing on the wall; the words you are dead and your people will be free stand out clearly.
Todays Syrian and Iranian tyrants wont go down without a fight. It is quite terrifying to think of what President Assad, who already posses weapons of mass destruction, will do when his back is up against the wall. Irans mullahs may be no more than a year from having nuclear weapons. Tehrans Islamists see such weapons as the ultimate trump card which would convince any enemy to back off permanently.
You think the Left-Wing is appeasing now? Just wait until Iran has nukes. The Leftist heroes will go groveling all the way to Tehran on their hands and knees as long as the mullahs promise not to use their WMDs.
Yes, it is a scary future, but todays events prove that the world is rapidly changing. After seeing Afghanistans and Iraqs elections, I would venture that the world is changing for the better. Never mind that several Muslim countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, already are democracies. Syria and Irans dictators will fall, but probably not quickly and easily. Youve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Maybe something good can yet come out of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariris awful murder.
Leadership paranoia in both Syria and Iran appears unrestrained. That, plus the Islamist view of life and death........plus a little technical help from Russia...
equals a good chance of a nice little nuclear explosion somewhere in the near future.