Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, June 07, 2004

Intelligence in my inbox this morning from MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute - If you haven't signed up for their newsletter, do it here now). MEMRI reports that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been attacking democracy, and liberal democracy more specifically, stating that "the source of all human torment and suffering is the 'liberal democracy' promoted by the West as 'progressive political thought'."

He goes on to say "The torment of the Iraqis, of the Palestinians, and even of the Americans are the direct outcome of liberal Western democracy, and this must serve as an important lesson to the rest of the world, [which must] open its eyes and understand that those who call themselves advocates of human rights and democracy are in fact the main supporters of crimes against humanity... The reason for [this] disgrace [i.e. Abu Ghureib] is [the fact that] liberal democracy is devoid of morality, while the political thought of Imam Khomeini respected morality in addition to democracy, and at the same time pinned its hopes on God."

Khamenei offers an echo of Ayatolla Khomeini's comment "One day the U.S. too will be history" and a prediction that in Iraq, the US "will taste the bitterness of sure defeat."

With US military and Pentagon hawks cranking up the narrative against Iran, and the recent Chalabi embarrassment illuminating Iran's manipulation of decision to go to war, the country is fast positioning itself in taking over North Korea's role of the US' state enemy number 1. Iran seems to be willing to take up formerly Qadhafi's, latterly Hussein's mantle as the largest Islamic state to actively and publicly oppose the US on the one platform it prides itself on - the moral high ground.

The Islamic world is becoming increasingly polarised by the the US 'War on Terror' and in particular, the Iraq war, with Saudi Arabia, Libya and Pakistan on one camp supporting the US, and the rest, led by Iran and Syria leading those ever more vociferous in their condemnation. Bush's emphatic doctrine 'You're either with us or against us' shattered every vestige of diplomacy and forced Islamic governments to choose, and the chickens are slowly coming back to roost. The question thus, is a docile ally like Pakistan worth more than an incited enemy like Iran?