Friday, July 28, 2006


Aside for recycling what his political masters in Washington have been saying for a while, Gregory Schulte, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), recently imparted the great knowledge that war in Lebanon has highlighted Iran's support for Hezbollah. Admittedly, I wasn't in Rome when he made that remark, so I am in no position to say whether Schulte added context to his remark (if the past is any indication, though, we shouldn't expect more from the current U.S. administration and its emissaries). Other than stating the obvious—that so far Iran has been the only government in the region that has been vociferous in its opposition to and disgust at what Israel has visited upon Lebanon—this remark is bereft of any value or validity. But it certainly will be distributed and echoed all over the world, and used as added proof that the bad Iranians are supporting the equally bad Hezbollah.

Schulte then brings in the inevitable question of a nuclear Iran and arrogates to himself the right to speak for the other Arab regimes in the region. "Publicly," he says, "the Arab governments are not nearly as vocal as the U.S. or Italian government on this issue. But privately they are perhaps even more concerned than we are. After all, these are the countries that sit right in the region. These are the countries that are within range of the Shahab-3 missile force."

Does the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA know something that the rest of the world doesn't? His statement presupposes that Iran is this irrational nihilist regime that, once armed with nuclear weapons, will lash out, without any concern for its own survival, at the entire region. At best, this is a flawed analogy based on a poor understanding of the region and its history; more likely, it is on par with the other catchy statements and outright lies that the U.S. administration has been spewing for years against a succession of supposed rogues, from al-Qaeda to Iraq (it never represented the threat to the region, or to Israel, that officials claimed) and now Hezbollah and Iran.

Shush, Schulte.

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