Saturday, October 28, 2006
Argentinian prosecutors say they have established a chain of command from the very top of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Hezbollah operatives for the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in 1994. That attack killed 85 people and wounded more than 200. Proportionate to population, an attack in the United States would need to kill more than 600 people and wound more than 1600 to have a similar impact.
Assuming the Argentinians have done good work, several implications spring to mind (offer your own in the comments). First, we should not mince words: By any measure of law, Iran has made war on Argentina. By dint of Hezbollah, Iran is able to project power across the continents and hit Buenos Aires. Argentina has no corresponding ability to strike back. What lessons will it draw from this?
Second, let us do away with this idea that Iran should not be held accountable for the actions of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is the means by which Iran can project power far beyond the range of its missiles.
Third, in the eyes of the Iranian government, opposition to Israel is the same thing as the desire to kill Jews. There is no distinction between the official Iranian anti-Zionism and a desire to kill all Jews everywhere, no matter how much Ahmadinejad might try to dress it up. The Buenos Aires attack took place under an allegedly "reformist" president who was siezed of none of messianic fantasies of the current character.
Fourth, Michael Totten writes that "[t]he international movement to turn the screws on the Party of God is only gaining momentum." Let's hope so.
Fifth, this indictment fosters the political division in Latin America, doesn't it? It is an embarrassment for Hugo Chavez, who has been sucking up to the Ahmadinejad government at every opportunity. One is almost forced to speculate whether Argentina was not at least a little motivated by a desire to cut Chavez down to size. Unfortunately, I'm too ignorant of Argentinian procedure and politics to know whether that speculation is viable.
Thanks to Fausta for the Totten link.
Two helpful things to remember about Argentina:
1. More than any other South American country, Argentina's population is of European origin.
2. Argentina was the only South American country to join the U.S. and its allies in the 1991 Gulf War.