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April 19, 2006

Confusion at the Guardian on Iran

Despite the unrelenting rhetoric of Iranian President Ahmedinejad against Israel, London's Guardian has recently published commentaries explaining Iran's desire for nuclear weapons as a response to Israeli or Western threats and suggests a conciliatory policy to wean Iran from its nuclear ambitions, describing Iran as a country that should not be driven to the "extreme." The paper tends to blur the distinction between Iran's aggressive intentions and the defensive position of Israel. Yet today, the newspaper carried a piece exposing the lengths to which the Iranians are willing to go to attack Israel, highlighting an Iranian organization's recruitment drive for British Muslims to carry out suicide bombings against Israel.

On April 4, former Guardian correspondant David Hirst, who set the tone for the paper's strident anti-Israel reporting decades ago, tried to shift the focus from Iran's threatening posture to his favorite bogeyman, Israel:

"Israel has always behaved like a 'rogue state'. It came into being as a massive disrupter of the established Middle East order, through violence and ethnic cleansing.

...For it isn't so much "the world"... that finds a nuclear Iran so intolerable, but the world on Israel's behalf; not the risk that Iran will attack Israel that makes the crisis so dangerous, but that Israel will attack Iran... But, like Israel's, Iran's nuclear quest is essentially defensive..."

This was followed on April 12, by a commentary titled If ever there was a nation not to drive to extremes it is Iran, in which Simon Jenkins writes:

One country in the region that has retained some political pluralism is Iran. It has shown bursts of democratic activity and, importantly, has experienced internal regime change. If ever there was a nation not to drive to the extreme it is Iran. If ever there was a powerful state to reassure and befriend rather than abuse and threaten, it is Iran. If ever there was a regime not to goad into seeking nuclear weapons it is Iran. Yet that is precisely what British and American policy is doing.

Today, the Guardian published an article, Iranian Group Seeks British Suicide Bombers on an Iranian group that has initiated a recruitment drive among British Muslims for suicide bombings against Israel. The group, The Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign, seeks to take advantage of the relative ease by which bearers of UK passports can enter Israel. The article reports,

the claim came hours after nine people were killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, and days after a prediction by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel would be blown away in a "storm".

Several hundred volunteers have signed up in the past few days. The Guardian article reported a tribute to Rachel Corrie featured among the posters of Palestinian suicide bombers decorating the exhibit for the recruitment drive.

Western diplomats "played down the significance of the group's threat, saying it was primarily a campaign to gather signatures of protest against Israel" according to the newspaper.

According to the group, recruits are instructed in target planning and military discipline before progressing to intensive urban guerrilla warfare training, involving the use of bomb belts. However, the group's spokesman, Mohammad Samadi gave assurance that "with the exception of Israel, we do not target civilians."

Posted by SS at April 19, 2006 11:51 AM

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