President Obama’s idea of waging “aggressive personal diplomacy“? Attacking President Bush for blustering belligerence:
But he asserted that Iran’s support for militant groups in Iraq reflected its anxiety over the Bush administration’s policies in the region, including talk of a possible American military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.
Yup. That explains Iranian aggression for the last 30 years against the United States.
Meanwhile, Israel seizes 500 tons of Iranian weapons on Wednesday:
Israel displayed on Wednesday the contents of the ship it seized off Cyprus – crates filled with rockets, missiles, mortars, anti-tank weapons and munitions – the largest such haul in the country’s history. Israel’s claim that the weapons came from Iran were bolstered by Iranian markings on the sides of the containers and what it said was a document proving the ship had set off from an Iranian port.
Israel has not publicly shown the document, however, nor offered evidence to back its assertion that the weapons were headed for Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters.
“Hezbollah categorically denies it has any connection with the weapons which the Zionist enemy claims it seized,” the group said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Beirut on Thursday.
There was no comment from Lebanese officials.
Israeli defense officials said the arms cache would have given Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war against the Jewish state in 2006, enough firepower to sustain a full month of fighting on the scale of that war.
However, the officials also said the weapons would not have significantly enhanced Hezbollah rockets’ ability to reach deeper into Israel, as the haul consisted of weapons already in Hezbollah’s possession.
The defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the military has yet to formally comment on the potential value of the shipment’s contents to militants.
Iran has never acknowledged giving weapons to Hezbollah. Proof of large-scale Iranian weapons shipments to its proxy forces on Israel’s borders could reinforce Israeli demands for tough action – possibly even a pre-emptive strike – against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Israel sees Iran as its biggest threat because of what it believes to be Tehran’s ambitions to acquire atomic weapons. Iran says its nuclear program seeks only to generate energy.
Anyone believe that?
Apparently, President Obama’s allure is losing its luster from Iranian dissidents themselves. Pro-Democracy protesters are echoing the “you’re either with us, or with the terrorists” language of President Bush:
Today, the fundamentalist government in Tehran held protests to commemorate the event, as usual burning the American flag and encouraging shouts of “Death to America.”
This time, pro-democracy protesters — many wearing the movement’s signature green — were heard to shout, “Death to dictators.”
But the demonstrators, who risked beatings, imprisonment and even death to stage their rebellion, also had a message for the White House.
Witnesses said the protesters could be heard chanting: “Obama, Obama — either you’re with them or you’re with us.”
The Obama administration has so far been reluctant to convey American support for the demonstrators, fearful it would undercut the protest movement and allow President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad (who some claim can be seen in the 1979 photo above as a young revolutionary) to brand the pro-democracy movement as the work of foreign agitators.
So the White House has so far kept its distance from the movement as the West attempts to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear facilities.
Is it too much to ask of our president that he promote peace by showing support for freedom and democracy across the globe? That he take the time out of his busy schedule to recognize historic significance and symbolism in the advancement of democracy?
Munitions seized by Israeli authorities on a ship near Cyprus, are presented in the port of the Israeli city of Ashdod, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. Israeli commandos seized a ship Wednesday that defense officials said was carrying hundreds of tons of weapons from Iran bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas, the largest arms shipment Israel has ever commandeered.(AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov ) (Tsafrir Abayov – AP)