Roger L. Simon

Disturbing holiday reading and some less so

Amir Taheri – the former Executive Editor of Kayhan, Iran’s largest daily newspaper, who now lives in Europe- has written an evaluation of the Iranian regime’s recent behavior for which the term “worrisome” is a vast understatement.

Last year, it was after another khalvat [one on one with the Hidden Imam] that Ahmadinejad announced his intention to stand for president. Now, he boasts that the Imam gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a “clash of civilisations” in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the “infidel” West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war.

In Ahmadinejad’s analysis, the rising Islamic “superpower” has decisive advantages over the infidel. Islam has four times as many young men of fighting age as the West, with its ageing populations. Hundreds of millions of Muslim “ghazis” (holy raiders) are keen to become martyrs while the infidel youths, loving life and fearing death, hate to fight. Islam also has four-fifths of the world’s oil reserves, and so controls the lifeblood of the infidel. More importantly, the US, the only infidel power still capable of fighting, is hated by most other nations.

Indeed it seems to be. If you read Taheri’s complete article you may be even more disturbed by his predictions than his analysis. On the more optimistic side is The Euston Manifesto, which shows some of my old colleagues on the left are waking up to the current situation. Good for them. We need to work together at this moment, not resort to name-calling.