In a speech on Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded directly to Barack Obama's video mash note from late last week. According to the Associated Press: "Khamenei, wearing a black turban and dark robes, said America was hated around the world for its arrogance, as the crowd chanted 'Death to America.'"
Hmmm, so much for Obama's commitment to a showing of "mutual respect" between his administration and the terror-sponsoring mullahs.
Khamenei: "Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged."
The Spirit of Man:
I am not overly concerned with liar-in-chief Obama's naive and dangerous approach towards the current Iranian regime. What I'm really concerned about is his stupid approach will extend the life of already dying mullahs. I know that crazy Islamofascists of Tehran won't stop being themselves. Because if they did, they wouldn't be called crazy or Islamofascists and their regime crumbled faster. And as I thought, they just laughed their butts off when they heard Obamble's stupid message. I wonder how far Teleprompter in Chief will go to appease the regime. ...
Iran's government surely read the New Year greeting as a sign of weakness on the part of the U.S., and that's why they responded the way they did. The changes Iran demands are not like rearranging White House furniture. You don't want to know what the ayatollahs want.
Is it really appropriate to reward the Islamic Republic at this time? Iran is the country that meddles in Iraq, which U.S. troops hope to leave soon. A message such as this can be read as an invitation by Iran to do what the ayatollahs wish in Iraq. Iran is also the country that messes with Lebanon, and it's a country that frightens the Gulf states.
The Islamic Republic doesn't even treat its own people well. A 29 year-old blogger just died in Evin prison. Omid Mirsayafi had been jailed for criticizing Khamenei. And it doesn't treat Americans so well. Roxana Saberi, who probably voted for Obama, is still being held in Iran. It's unclear why she's being held, but some have said the Iranian-American journalist is accused of trying to buy wine.
Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog:
In an interview with Beirut-based NBN TV this afternoon I argued that this statement by Obama may be an opportunity for the Iranian decision-makers to consider a u-turn on strategic matters, but the fact is that the regime feels it has the upper hand everywhere in the Middle East. Why would they make concessions if their perception is that the US is already withdrawing from Iraq, is requesting their help in Afghanistan and is not committed to support democracy in Iran? In my recent book The Confrontation: Winning he War against Future Jihad, I recommended a full fledged support to forces of change inside Iran as a strategic path to influencing Tehran. Without internal leverage over the regime it is less likely that American new messaging would bare fruits. What we are witnessing now is an experiment with the Iranian regime which may harden the regime even further, unless Ahmedinijad loses the forthcoming election next June. But let's keep in mind, that power, real power in Iran, is in the hands of Khamenei. And I don't think the Ayatollah is interested in de radicalizing his own regime.
Times Online has more.
Car bomb attack fails in Israel. Debka: 'By a fluke, the Free Galilee Brigades failed to bring off a multiple-casualty bomb attack on the Saturday night crowds at the Haifa Lev Mifratz shopping mall on March 21. But DEBKAfile's military sources report that security officials fear that the shadowy group, based in northern Israeli Arab villages and Jerusalem, is spreading its wings after killing 12 Israelis in a string of attacks since 2003. The small blast which alerted the Haifa mall's security guards to a white Subaru parked outside the building was rigged to detonate 1,000 kilos of explosives with ball bearings in several packets hidden in the trunk in a chain reaction. By good fortune, the mechanism failed and no-one was hurt. Had it worked, the casualty count would have run to scores. The mall's shops and cinemas were cleared in seconds. Lacking an advance tip-off, Israel's counter-terror agencies were caught off-guard.'