In the world of Western foreign policy, when you are trying to get your enemies to put down their weapons for no other reason than that you have been pleading with them to do so, you have to bow down a bit. Then you have to give your appeasement a name that has a nice diplomatic ring to it, because it is going to be referred to in official press releases, and subsequently quoted in the media.
One especially favored phrase for this form of groveling is “goodwill gestures.” It is through such “goodwill gestures” that representatives of the P5+1 countries (Britain, France, the U.S., China, and Russia plus Germany) got Iran to grace the group with its presence at a summit in Istanbul earlier this month. At the close of the meeting, about which much cautious optimism was expressed, all the participants agreed to have another powwow, this time in Baghdad.
Holding these “discussions” on the true nature of Iran’s uranium enrichment in Turkey and Iraq was just the kind of “goodwill gesture” that was supposed to make the regime in Tehran feel at home. Proof that it had the desired effect was in the pudding: A flunkie from the Islamic Republic turned up to assure everyone present that Iran had no intention of ceasing its – uh – peaceful nuclear program.
Trying hard not to offend Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the other representatives made sure to agree with their Iranian counterpart that possessing nuclear plants for “peaceful purposes” was certainly acceptable. The only teeny-weeny problem was that perhaps Ahmadinejad was not on the same page, as he seemed to have indicated on a number of occasions. You know, like the time he announced that the 12th Imam was on his way, and that the whole world would be subjugated to Islam – as soon as the Islamic Republic’s atom bombs finished wiping Israel off the map.
Resolution of this dilemma was fast in coming. Suddenly, a statement released on behalf of the Iranian regime in the summer of 2005, during an emergency meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency was made public. According to that statement, nuclear weapons are forbidden in Islam – which is why Khamenei issued a fatwa (a religious edict) against them; and the newly instated Ahmadinejad agreed to abide by this in his inaugural address.
Several years have passed since that IAEA meeting. Mountains of evidence exist to suggest that the regime in Tehran is stepping up its efforts to complete a nuclear program for military purposes. This is why even the Obama administration, whose entire raison d’etre since its inception has been to reach out to the Arab-Muslim world, started getting nervous.
For the past three years, Washington has been clinging to every straw of hope that warnings and half-assed “sanctions” (along with Israeli computer expertise and intelligence on the ground in Iran) will make it unnecessary to take any serious action to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. Nor is it only military action that the Obama gang has not been prepared to undertake. Even undermining the regime in Tehran by giving substantial aid and support to the rebels was too much for them to handle. And, when the opportunity did arise, following the 2009 elections – when there was a popular uprising ignited by Ahmadinejad’s stolen victory – Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they did not want to interfere in the internal “democratic” process of the Iranian people.
In the lead-up to the Turkey summit this month, much was made in the West of the fatwa against nuclear weapons declared by Khamenei. In fact, it was the basis for the whole idea of being able to sit down with Iran to receive reassurances that it was only enriching uranium for – what? Agriculture? Science and technology?
Well, the bad news is that no such fatwa was ever issued by the Supreme Leader. It was all a hoax for Western consumption – a form of lying, by the way, that actually does exist in Shi’ite Islam. It’s called “taqiyya,” which is the legitimate and necessary use of deception as a means of self-defense.
After President Barack Obama was briefed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who apparently explained the ins and outs of Islamic decrees – and told him he could trust Khamenei on that score – the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) did an exhaustive examination to try and locate the said fatwa against nukes. What MEMRI revealed was that “no such fatwa ever existed or was ever issued or published, and that media reports about it are nothing more than a propaganda ruse on the part of the Iranian regime apparatuses – in an attempt to deceive top U.S. administration officials…"
This is the eve of yet another utterly pointless meeting to make Western leaders feel better about letting precious time run out while the Islamic Republic races to reach nuclear hegemony. It coincides with the eve of Israel’s 64th birthday. Let us hope and pray that it is also the precursor to the fall of the Obama administration, which not only refuses to face the facts, but is doing everything in its power to prevent Israel from taking the reins in its stead.
Ruthie Blum, a former senior editor at The Jerusalem Post, is the author of a book on the radicalization of the Middle East, soon to be released by RVP Press.