Wednesday, August 11, 2004

One of the constant themes of this past millennium was the conflict between Islam and Christianity on the world stage. The Crusades were and attempt at unilateral intervention by the western powers at the request of the Eastern Roman Empire against the Caliphate of Islam. The Ottoman Empire carried the banner of Islam to Vienna. The Reconquista of Spain was at the expense of Al'Andalusia.

For the past couple of centuries, things have gone rather downhill for Muslim polity. Central Asia was divided between China and the Russian Empire. The standard bearer for Islam for 500 years, the Ottoman Empire, was carved into statelets by the West. Even worse, Kemal Attaturk made Turkey into a secular 'western' looking nation by charging his military to control the extreme adherents of Theocracy.

But then, in 1979, the tide began to turn.

Throughout recorded history there is one Nation, one Empire, one region that has been the chief adversary of Westerrn civilization: The Empire of Iran and Not Iran, or Persia thanks to Herodotus. Agamemnon. Darius. Xenophon. Xerxes. Marathon. Thermopalyae. Later in history there was the first Cold War, between the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) and the Sassanid Emprire of Iran.

More important than the names, or the dates is the fact that the People of Iran remembered. And when Khomeni promised them renewed greatness by overthrowing the 'American puppet government' of the Shah, well, we know the results of that.

But in many ways, that single event can be considered the resumption of the war of ideas between Islam and the West that was the inheritor of a much older conflict.

Now things have changed again.

The other day, Iran delivered an outright ultimatum to the 'EU-3' group in regards to nuclear disarmament. Instead of halting their pursuit of Nuclear weapons in a negotiated, reasonable, 'nuanced' manner, they have effectively told the EU-3 group to take a hike.

Why would they do this? With the American military on all sides and an Israel ready to strike at the first sign of imminent danger? The only reasonable conclusion is that Iran all ready has working nukes. And now, they have a ballistic missile system that can hit Israel directly.

In my opinion, this means the Theocrats of Teheran are ready for their final gamble. A winner takes all roll of the dice. If they succeed, if they destroy Israel and survive the experience (we know that Israel will vaporize as much as she can as she goes down), they will inherit all that remains of the Muslim world. If Teheran declares war on Israel, every Muslim government that fails to do so as well will most likely fall to internal revolution, and join the jihad - and yes, I'm including Iraq in this. We may be about to witness a pointless orgy of destruction ranging from Cairo to Islamabad. And to be frank, I'm not certain there is anything we can do at this point. The IAEA has failed. Non-proliferation has failed. The West has ultimately failed.

I think, given time, the people of Iran would have removed the Theocracy that they stumbled into. But 'time to let things develop' is a luxury in the Middle East that may have just expired.


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