Thursday, February 23, 2006

Iran's Propaganda Machine

Today the president of Iran blamed the U.S. and Israel for yesterday's shrine bombing:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Western powers like the United States and Israel that they would face the wrath of Muslims following the devastating bombing of a Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Iraq.

Echoing Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ahmadinejad pinned the blame for Wednesday's Samarra shrine bombing on "Zionists" and foreign forces in Iraq.

"These heinous acts are committed by a group of Zionists and occupiers that have failed. They have failed in the face of Islam's logic and justice," Ahmadinejad said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"But be sure, you will not be saved from the wrath and power of the justice-seeking nations by resorting to such acts," he said to cries of "Death to America" "Death to Israel" from a crowd of thousands of supporters in central Iran.

Given his history of outrageous statements, this isn't terribly surprising.

It is, however, a very damaging charge. Though it is entirely untrue, and radical, western-culture-hating insurgents are to blame for the bombing, there are plenty of people in the Arab world who may not get this information, let alone radical Islamists who would gladly believe Ahmadinejad's lies rather than accept the truth.

I expect a swift counter-statement from the rest of the World's leaders, but I only hope that the message gets to those who matter.