In an interview with a British news agency, Iranian president Ahmadinejad made his position very clear. Some key points:
- The U.S. should withdraw from Iraq to avoid further defeats
- Iran stands ready to fill the vacuum when the coalition troops leave (i.e. send in Iranian troops)
- Iran denies it is working on a nuclear weapon, but refuses inspections
- Israel is an “invader” and “cannot continue its life”
He is a very smooth talker, but it’s not difficult to grasp his vision for a post-war Iraq as an Iranian client state with a fundamentalist Islamic government, dedicated to the overthrow of Israel. Add oil money from Iraq/Iran to the mix, and a continued push toward developing nuclear technology, and you get the picture of what the Middle East might be like 25 years from now. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly made his vision for the future very clear. Are we listening?
I’m not saying that this means that we should leave our troops there for a few more years, or that that would even change anything. But we do need to understand the stakes, and have a long-term vision for the Middle East.