It’s hard to tell if King Abdullah of Jordan meant what he said or was merely posturing when he called on Israel to abandon nuclear weapons in an interview with Spain’s El Pais (as reported by Ynet News). My guess is the latter because Abdullah is generally a sane fellow and with Iran on the march, it’s likely, in the secrecy of his own home-palace, he feels safer (somewhat, anyway) with a well-armed Israel in the neighborhood. In fact, he left himself an out in the same interview by saying that after the Palestinian-Israel conflict was resolved, the Israelis would no longer need nukes – an event that is not exactly around the corner. And of course even then it would be absurd for Israel to abandon its advanced weaponry. Disarming in the face of Ahmadinejad et al would be an act of national suicide beyond comprehension and Abdullah has to know that.
Speaking of Jordan, I was struck by the similarity between recent events at the Red Sea resorts and in Amman. Al Qaeda and their friends go straight for pleasure zones of their own culture – hotels, beaches, etc. The enemy is not the US or even Israel. It is modernity itself. To disarm in the face of that insanity you’d have really to be nuts.
Meanwhile, worth reading as a curiosity is Chinese state-run Xinhua’s reporting on yesterday’s bombing in Dahab. The article, under the editorship of one Zu Jhin, informs us that local residents and tourists were “unfazed” by the terror attack:
Egyptian shopkeepers were quietly cleaning debris in their destroyed stores, with anger and frustration clearly under control, while foreign diving instructors, though scared, appeared not to over read into the consequences of the blasts.
“I was really scared, but not so much worried about my safety here,” said a young Swedish diving instructor near a restaurant where one of the explosions took place.
He went on to joke about his experiences of bombings in Egypt. “I somewhat got used to such things,” he said.
“I was in Taba in 2004 and I happened to be in Sharm el-Sheikh last year,” he added, referring to two other rounds of bomb attacks in other Sinai resorts which killed more than 100 people since October 2004.
“You can call me an explosion-chaser,” he said with a wink. Peter Johnson, an Australian who has been living in Dahab for over three years as a diving instructor, also appeared unnerved.
“I had first thought it was a big bang on a door, but then people told me it was a bomb,” he said in a calm voice.
“I’m not really worried. I believe in God,” he said, and then went on to look for his friends whom he feared might have been injured in the attacks.
Hundreds of foreign tourists, mostly westerners, were seen on Tuesday afternoon walking around near the area where the explosions occurred.
If not for the broken windows and blood stains, Dahab looked just like any other serene Egyptian Red Sea resorts with clear sky and blue sea.
Serene? Thirty-four people died, in the latest count. Is this meant ironically or do the Chinese have an investment in the Egyptian tourist business?