In recent days, the world has seen simple folk in Iran risking their lives in order to gain freedom. They are standing there unarmed, only equipped with their righteousness, in the face of snipers firing into the masses. The world saw Neda, a gentle-looking woman shot by a sniper during a protest; blood gushed out of her mouth and she bled to death on the street. Is Neda akin to a bothersome fly that can be crushed with one hand gesture? Is her death a domestic Iranian affair?
The whole world saw and understood, with the exception of the American president. At first, his spokespeople said that the US will not be interfering so it is not accused of organizing the uprising. Yet with the passage of time, it turned out that events in Iran are not an outside conspiracy, but rather, a cry of despair from the hearts of Iranians who are fed up with the poverty, suppression, and isolation forced upon them by the fanatic clerics.
What is going through Obama’s mind when he condemns, belatedly and meekly, the violence against civilians whose only sin was their desire to see their democratic vote respected? Why isn’t he coming to the aid of those rebelling in the name of universal values – democracy, liberty, and fairness? After all, thanks to these values he was elected president. Why is he turning his back on the young men and women on Tehran’s streets who would have likely voted for him had they been American citizens?
The mass protests in Iran could have been America’s finest hour; a repayment of a debt the Americans owe Iran ever since President Jimmy Carter abandoned the Shah in 1979 and allowed Khomeini to take over Iran. Moreover, toppling the Ayatollah regime is a supreme US interest: The quickly nuclearizing Iran threatens first and foremost its neighbors – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Persian Gulf emirates. All of them are allies of the US and its leading oil suppliers. An Iranian takeover would curb the source of America’s cheap and readily available oil and paralyze its economy, which as it is faces a deep crisis.
More broadly, the nuclearizing Iran threatens the stability of pro-American regimes in the Middle East, including Turkey and Egypt, whose president pled with Obama to handle the Iranian problem because this issue, rather than Israel, constitutes a real threat to his state and its pro-Western regime.
In the third ring we see European states, which are already in range of Iranian missiles. On the global scale, the Ayatollah-led Iran is a source of financial support, equipment, and training for the Muslim terror groups that hit the US on September 11th, 2001. Iran is also an ally of North Korean, whose nuclear arms threaten Japan and the Far East.
Bush would have acted differentlyIn recent days, many Iranians risked their lives and created an opportunity to cut off the head of the snake, whose venom feeds Hizbullah, Hamas and al-Qaeda, remove the Ayatollahs, boost pro-American forces, and eliminate from the map of global threats a highly dangerous regime that feeds terror worldwide.
We can assume that America’s previous president would have taken advantage of the opportunity and announced that the forgers of votes lost their legitimacy to rule Iran. Perhaps he would have even advanced US troops in Iraq to the Iranian border and declared that ongoing bloodshed would force him to order soldiers into Iran in order to save its citizens from the violence of the thugs. We can assume that decisive support by the US president would have served as a boost that the Iranian masses are desperate for; a crucial step en route to toppling the Ayatollah regime a moment before it produces a nuclear bomb.
However, the American president is willing to engage in negotiations with Iran’s illegitimate regime. Barack Obama responded to the violence in Tehran by returning the American ambassador to Syria, whose leader Bashar Assad was the first to congratulate Ahmadinejad for his fraudulent “victory.” Obama stammers when he needs to defend democracy and human rights, unless we are dealing with Hamas’ right to openly try to exterminate the State of Israel or the right of Muslim fanatics to produce nuclear
A few days ago, in a press conference, Obama muttered that he does not wish to be a tool at the hands of another state to promote its interests, and it was clear which state he was referring to. Does Obama believe that readily available oil and the boosting of US supporters in the Middle East is only an Israeli interest? And what’s wrong with supporting Israel, which fears extermination by an Iranian nuclear bomb? With the passage of time, greater doubts emerge in respect to the values that guide Obama and prompt him to blatantly act against US interests. I must admit I have no answer.
Dr. Mor Altshuler is a Jewish Thinking researcher