The day al Qaeda offered help to the US 9/11 investigation
Dr. Shimon Samuels*
For the Herald
Invited by AMIA to attend the 17th anniversary of the atrocity, I was struck how democracies can succumb to the blandishments of tyrannies, at best, by wishful thinking.
Iran’s “offer” to Argentina “to cooperate in clarifying the circumstances” of its own bombing, should have been rejected with outrage, just as Washington would unquestionably have acted upon an al Qaeda overture to assist in a 9/11 enquiry.
The Tehran message had a blatant sting in its tail: “cooperation is to avoid the judicial investigation continuing along a false path — since the beginning of a conspiracy and a political game.” Buenos Aires’ immediate diplomatic response discredits Interpol’s chargesheet against eight Iranians and their executive arm, Hizbollah.
Tehran’s “condemnation of terrorist actions, particularly against the Jewish Centre,” can only be scorned as a desecration of the 85 victims, the 300 wounded and their families.
One may well ask how Argentina — long the champion for justice in this case — can now simper to what it calls “a very positive opening for dialogue,” with a State that stones women, immolates Ba’hais and gays, tortures its opposition and openly reviles Jews?
Iran’s offer is infused with the same bitter “humour” as its “International Holocaust Cartoon contest.” Indeed, it would claim that AMIA is as much in question as President Ahmadinejad proclaims was the Holocaust.
Both, however, have serious backup menaces: when they say “Holocaust,” they mean “let’s make it a reality,” with nuclear capacity for mass destruction and terrorist patronage. When they say “AMIA,” they mean mass distraction from the nests of Hizbollah and military infiltration being laid across the Southern Cone.
A year ago, it was in an interview with the Buenos Aires Herald that our Centre revealed the reality of Iran-link terrorist sleepers across this continent, including Argentina.
This month, Roger Noriega, former US Under-secretary for the Western Hemisphere, identified to a Congressional Committee “80 operative Hizbollah cells in the region.” We should perhaps also mention the Shahab-3 Iranian missile base being built on the Venezuelan coast with a range of 2,000 km.
If Iran wishes to “cooperate,” it must agree to dismantle its terror and arms networks in Latin America.
Its only “cooperation” regarding the AMIA must be to hand over its implicated citizens for trial under Argentine rule of law.
As I told a senior Argentine official at the AMIA commemoration, quoting Winston Churchill on appeasing tyranny: “democracies feed the beast, hoping to be eaten last.” In the case of Iran, the beast is alive and living among us.
* Director for International Relations Simon Wiesenthal Centre.