There I was, nonchalantly scanning the Khaleej Times when a story I had read nothing about in the Western press caught my eye.
The Khaleej Times, a newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, reported that Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, speaker of the Iranian parliament, had just concluded a trip to Lebanon and Syria, a friendship mission.
Big deal, you say. Well, it is a big deal, a very big deal. I'll tell you why this trip is important, why it is important for the Arab world and important for us in the Western world.
- It is important because Iran and Syria are the two biggest supporters of terror in the world today.
- It is important because Iran sponsors terror in Lebanon and Syria perpetrates terror in Lebanon and the UN is still stymied in its investigation into the execution of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri.
- It is important because both Iran and Syria are ultimately responsible for much of the terror that takes place in Iraq today.
- It is important because Iran and Syria are the two most unpredictable and dangerous and volatile countries in the Middle East.
- It is important because both Iran and Syria have hopes and plans and probably secret plants to go nuclear.
- It is important because both Iran and Syria will probably not hesitate to use their nukes against the West and against Israel.
- It is important because unlike terror, this nuclear weapons race is a real existential threat.
In Lebanon Haddad Adel met with several Hezbollah leaders including Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the top Hezbollah leader. He also met with his counterpart, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri, and with the president and with the prime minister of Lebanon. In Syria Haddad Adel met with top leaders and officials including Bashar Assad, the president of Syria and he even held a press conference while there.
Local Arab media paid a lot of attention to this visit. According to the joint Iranian/Syrian statement that was released the ultimate objective of this diplomatic mission was to find "ways of confronting pressure against Iran and Syria... against the ambitions of America and Israel." The pressure spoken of is the sanctions put on both Iran and Syria by the United States. The joint message made clear that "the two countries relations would remain strong" and that "the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries" would continue.
President Assad was quoted by a source as saying that the United States is "creating fear and permanent concern among those two countries."
In response to questions about Israel initiating a pre-emptive strike against Syria that were asked of Haddad Adel while he was still in Syria, the speaker said: "We'll teach Israel a lesson it will not forget if it attacks."
Nothing but differences and distinctions exist between Iran and Syria. Iran is a theological dictatorship. Syria is a secular Bathist dictatorship. Iran is Shiite and Syria is Sunni. They do not even share a language. And yet, on this visit there was a shared language. There was camaraderie. The parties were open, blunt and to the point in a region that regularly thrives on innuendo, that is guarded, veiled and secretive.
What drove these countries, Iran and Syria, to show a united front? Hatred. Hatred of the West, a mutual desire to destroy Israel, shared sponsorship of terror.
This liaison, this visit, was very important. I would go so far as to call it historic. It scares me.
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