Tags: Broad-Based | Anti-terrorism | Coalition | Still | Dream

A Broad-Based Anti-terrorism Coalition Is Still a Dream

Tuesday, 05 February 2002 12:00 AM

A few months ago, the liberal American media were applauding all those nations whose leaders had officially declared their support for the U.S.-led anti-terrorist coalition.

It was very clear from the beginning, however, that such countries as Iran, which have been traditional sponsors of international terrorism for many decades, will not be our reliable partners in the fight against terrorism.

It is no surprise that defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday accused Tehran of helping the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters to flee from the U.S. military assault on Afghanistan. "We have any number of reports that Iran has been permissive and allowed transit through their country of al-Qaeda," Rumsfeld said.

Liberal American politicians have said that Iran initially cooperated when the U.S. began its war on terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks. But recently Tehran has been trying to exercise influence in Afghanistan that would undermine a new internationally-backed broad-based Afghan government and the campaign against terrorism.

According to media reports, shortly before the city of Herat, Afghanistan, fell to opposition forces in November, some 250 senior Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters fled off-road in a convoy of 50 vehicles, crossing into Iran.

They made their escape after a high-ranking Iranian official, connected to supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini, had been dispatched to Afghanistan to offer secret sanctuary to Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives.

There is no doubt that Iranian officials decided to provide hospitality to terrorists with the support from such old friends as Russia and Red China, whose governments also declared their participation in the anti-terror coalition.

It could not be considered a coincidence that at the same time disclosure of Iranian support to terrorists became known, Russian officials increased their criticism of President Bush's targeting of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil."

On Feb. 4, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Russia would help the U.S. to identify threats such as those cited in Bush's "axis of evil" remarks, but also cautioned against "imaginary" dangers.

"We would like to cooperate and identify all threats, if any," he said after meeting Bush at the White House. "Of course, we should identify dangers, real dangers rather than imaginary."

A day earlier, at a conference in Munich, Germany, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov also challenged Bush's statement and warned that disagreements over who was a terrorist could undermine the U.S.-led coalition.

He also accused the West of "double standards" for failing to condemn the drive for independence of the Chechen people, considered by Moscow as terrorists, separatists and religious extremists.

"Our greatest concern today is the existence until the present time of double political standards with regard to separatism, religious extremism and fanaticism," Ivanov said. Moscow has its own list of "rogue states," he said, including U.S. ally Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, who Moscow accused of funding the Chechen rebels.

"Not many people in the West like the fact that we have some commercial ties with the countries which you describe as rogue states," Ivanov said.

There is no doubt that he was referring to weapons of mass destruction, technologies and materials supplied by Russia to sponsors of international terrorism, who continue to flaunt their hostility toward America and to support terror worldwide.

President Bush in his State of the Union Address made a short list of these nations: Iran, Iraq and North Korea. From now on, we can be sure that their time will come. Maybe not today or the next day, but soon enough, if they continue to support terror and threaten the peace of the world.

They have now been warned that we will fight against terror everywhere and anytime and will do it with the assistance of our true friends and allies.

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A few months ago, the liberal American media were applauding all those nations whose leaders had officially declared their support for the U.S.-led anti-terrorist coalition. It was very clear from the beginning, however, that such countries as Iran, which have...
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Tuesday, 05 February 2002 12:00 AM
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