06-23-09 Don’t give Ahmadinejad what he craves or wants

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Don’t give Ahmadinejad what he wants
By Ray Hanania —
As long as Western politicians, especially those in the United States, view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other tyrants as opportunities for local political gain, the dictators will continue to oppress. Here in the United States, the news media is leading the charge, clawing itself past even the traditional conservative Republican land sharks, to push President Obama to declare war on Iran. It’s not going to happen and the conservative neocons who helped undermine this country’s security for the past eight years and the news-hungry media know it. But, the drama they hope to stir on the backs of the suffering of many people in Iran seems to far outweigh the cautioned and reasoned approach that Obama insists on taking.

Ahmadinejad is not going to build a nuclear weapon and even if he could manage it, he would not fire it against Israel or the United States.

But that is the fiction we’re fed everyday on Western Hallucinogens through incredible Hollywood movies and television shows like “24.”

Ahmadinejad is like many Middle Eastern dictators. Their bark is far greater than their bite, although they can engage us by feeding their own hate-filled narcotics to the crazed masses who are whipped up daily into anti-Western and anti-American hatred.

It’s actually quite pathetic that the far conservative right in America and the extremist movement overseas shares much in terms of both wanting to see the other blown to smithereens, regardless of the consequences on the world.

But President Obama is a pragmatic, unlike his emotion-manipulated predecessor, Former President George W. Bush who, during his own eight years in office, watched as Iran continued its movement to hate rhetoric extremism without doing a single thing.

Our response to the growing threat of terrorism around the world and the al-Qaeda attack from Afghanistan and Pakistan on Sept. 11, 2001 was a half-hearted assault on Afghanistan – which had little oil – and all out war against Saddam Hussein, an avowed enemy of both Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Mullahs, and of al-Qaeda.

What is the proper response to the turmoil in Ira

Pragmaticism, not calls for war or airborne bombings by us or our taxpayer funded ally, Israel.

The proper response to the tyranny in Iran is the continued building of a world alliance against the Iranian despot, who may or may not have legitimately won the elections last week.

Isolate Iran. Build up world support using Ahmadinejad’s oppressive and brutal response to the civilian protestors and dissidents, many of whom are remnants of a tyrant who preceded Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs there, the dreaded murderer, the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

Pahlavi’s regime, funded by the United States, murdered hundreds of thousands of Iranian civilians while we sat back and watched. In fact, today’s protests take place on a cake-bed of bloodshed that has been Iran’s history.

The difference only is that when the “dictator” is our American ally, we close our eyes and turn away indifferent as we did during the Shah’s reign or terrorism and as we do during Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinian refugees and civilians occupied by the Israeli military since the 1967 war.

When the dictator is not our friend, we beat the drums of “action” and we give green lights to others to achieve their own selfish goals, like allowing Israel, which has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons to destroy Iran’s nuclear industry.

President Obama’s clarity and strategic thinking is allowing this country to step back from the yelping of the media and the conservative right, and to instead develop a strategy that will allow us to manipulate events in Iran to give the people, not the Ayatollahs and their henchman Ahmadinejad reason and cause to shield themselves from domestic criticism.

We can become the excuse that allows Ahmadinejad to rant his ugly anti-Semitic rhetoric and hatred and feed the paranoia of many in Iran, or, we can become the rock that erodes the base he has in Iran and help to build the voices of protestors who presumably would bring Iran into a Democracy rather than into another bloodied Shah-ruled tyranny.

It’s sad to witness the deaths of any civilians. Too bad Americans can’t seem to find it in their alleged compassion to show the same kind of concern for civilians killed by governments in all countries in the world, not just in those whose leaders we despise.

But it would be sadder if we allowed a knee-jerk anger driven by regional political selfishness to push us into a conflict that would only turn Ahmadinejad into a martyr and a hero who inspires the expansion of terrorism the same way Bush helped to build the al-Qaeda terrorist industry in Iraq through his naïve and stupid war.

(Ray Hanania is the 2009 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award winner, and a Chicago based radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)

This post has already been read 65 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com