May 21, 2013
A most untimely gambit
Foreign minister Héctor Timerman brushed off Israeli criticism of Argentina’s rapprochement with the bloodthirsty Iranian theocrats by saying that, though most of the 85 people killed by the terrorist attack on the AMIA that was allegedly masterminded by them were Jewish, they were not citizens of Israel. That is true, but even if the target of the attack had been a Catholic community centre and all the victims goys, the Israelis would still have plenty of legitimate reasons to be worried by what the Kirchnerite government is up to.
Time after time, individuals such as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and even more belligerent clerics have expressed their heartfelt desire to do to the “Zionist entity” what Adolf Hitler, a man who is greatly admired in much of the Muslim world, did to millions of European Jews. That alarms not only the Israelis but also many in the United States and Europe who are trying to prevent the Iranians from acquiring the nuclear means to carry out their threat by subjecting them to increasingly stringent economic sanctions, and are therefore unlikely to take kindly to any sanction busting by Cristina, let alone an eventual offer to give them some technological assistance.
Ferocious hatred for Israel and for the West in general is not limited to the Iranian regime. It is widespread everywhere between Morocco and the southern Philippines. Western leaders have long done their best to minimize the importance of such sentiments, but that could be about to change. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton surprised a lot of people, including her soon to be former boss, Barack Obama, when during a recent Senate hearing on what happened in Benghazi, where her country’s ambassador was murdered after reportedly being raped by a gang of holy warriors, she repeatedly warned her fellow North Americans they were facing a “global jihad”.
In a country whose leaders have long insisted that Islam has absolutely nothing to do with the problems they face in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt and Mali, among other places, and whose military chiefs still describe the slaughter in Fort Hood of 13 unarmed soldiers by major Nidal Malik Hasan, who howled “Allahu Akbar” while he was at it, as just another unfortunate case of “workplace violence,” Hillary’s trenchant statements attracted a great deal of notice. So too, for that matter, did the circulation of a video in which, before taking on his current job, Egypt’s “moderate” President Mohammed Morsi urged believers to kill as many Jews as possible because, as the Koran would have it, they are descendants of pigs and monkeys.
Hillary has her eyes on the presidency. No doubt she assumes that by 2016 the “global jihad” will have reached such proportions that it would be in her interest, and that of the entire West, for her to start confronting that unpleasant prospect in a suitably Churchillian fashion. She is not the only prominent Western progressive who thinks the time has come to take a stand. France’s socialist President François Hollande broke ranks when he ordered his troops to lead the fight against the holy warriors in Mali, where they have been hacking off the hands of thieves, stoning alleged adulterers and destroying whatever monuments and books they think are not Islamic enough.
Up to now, US strategy, dutifully followed by politicians in Europe, towards the “global jihad” has been to attribute it to poverty, unemployment, racism, the misdeeds of long departed colonialists, heavy-handed dictators and, of course, Israel’s scandalous refusal to submit to the Palestinian Arabs. The idea that the “religion of peace” might have anything to do with it has been dismissed with proper contempt, even though the Koran-quoting jihadists themselves say otherwise and enjoy the fervent backing of large numbers of fire-breathing clerics, many of whom, like president Morsi, are habitually classed as “moderates”.
That approach, based as it was on the assumption that wars of religion belong to the benighted past, that most Muslims were decent law-abiding folk who wanted nothing more than a quiet life, and that nobody in his right mind would kill, let along commit suicide, for an ideal, was understandable. A repeat of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis, fascists and communists was too fearful to contemplate, so surely the overwhelming majority of Muslims would turn their collective back on the fanatics. No doubt many would like to, but as yet it has not happened. Throughout the Muslim world, the jihadists have plenty of reasons to feel things are moving their way.
This being the case, Cristina, egged on by Timerman, could hardly have chosen a worse time to cuddle up to the Iranian Islamists, fervent Shiites who may have their differences with their Sunni coreligionists but are every bit as keen as they are on keeping Westerners, led by the “Great Satan,” on the run, by letting them know that as far as she is concerned it would be better to let bygones be bygones and allow a “truth commission” to take care of any misunderstandings stemming from the AMIA bombing.
Just what Cristina hopes to gain from her initiative remains a mystery. Perhaps she thinks Iran, along with such powerhouses as Angola and Azerbaijan, would be a desirable business partner. Or perhaps she wants to show the US and those disrespectful Europeans that she is not to be trifled with and that, like Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, she thinks that any country the West has it in for deserves her full support.