Saturday, July 28, 2007

Column One: Iran, 2; Israel 0
Jul. 27, 2007

Jafar Kiani was an anonymous Iranian prisoner until earlier in the month he became the first Iranian to be stoned to death since 2002.
Iran's decision to revert to domestic barbarism is just one aspect of the regime's strategy for terrorizing its people sufficiently to quell all pockets of resistance to its rule.

The regime's determination to prevent an internal rebellion is an integral part of its larger plan to cast aside all obstacles to its acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Iran already possesses what it needs to make nuclear bombs. What it needs is time. Last summer's war against Israel was timed to provide Iran with a respite from international pressure. Hizbullah's abduction of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser took place the day before the leaders of the G-8 were scheduled to discuss Iran's nuclear program. By ordering the assault on Israel, Iran diverted their attention away from its nuclear program.

Ever since the war, the Olmert government has declared that the war split the Muslim world into two camps - the moderates and the extremists. Operating on the basis of this perceived split, Israel has sought to build a coalition with the moderates in the hopes that such a coalition will block Iran from acquiring the bomb.

A year after the war, the time has come to make a renewed assessment of the situation. Are moderates blocking Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? If not, what has transpired?

A good place to start the analysis is with an item that appeared on both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's to-do list this week. Both leaders telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan to congratulate him on his Islamist AKP party's electoral victory on Sunday.
Turkey is perceived as the paragon of Muslim moderation. Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and President Shimon Peres have all stated that Israel does not have a problem with AKP's Islamist character. Indeed, in a bow towards Turkish friendship, Olmert revealed last week that Turkey has been facilitating talks between Israel and Syria towards an Israeli surrender of the Golan Heights. Yet Ankara's readiness to encourage Israel to hand the Golan Heights over to Iran's client state does not necessarily indicate that Turkey is Israel's friend.

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