Monday, June 20, 2005

I Guess Bush IS Changing Things in the Middle East

Too bad it's not necessarily for the better. Apparently, thanks to Bush's rhetoric about Iran, a hard-line ultra-conservative is now in a surprise 2-way run-off with a moderate former president for the top office in Iran.

Iran's spy chief used just two words to respond to White House ridicule of last week's presidential election: "Thank you."

His sarcasm was barely hidden. The backfire on Washington was more evident.

The sharp barbs from President George W. Bush were widely seen in Iran as damaging to pro-reform groups because the comments appeared to have boosted turnout among hardliners in Friday's election - with the result being that an ultraconservative now is in a two-way showdown for the presidency.


"Unknowingly, (Bush) pushed Iranians to vote so that they can prove their loyalty to the regime - even if they are in disagreement with it," said Hamed al-Abdullah, a political science professor at Kuwait University.

In 2002, most Iranians were indignant when Bush placed their nation in an "axis of evil" with North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Since then, U.S.-led pressure over Iran's nuclear program has put even liberal Iranians on the defensive.

Bush's pre-election denunciations seemed to do the same. Iranian authorities claim Bush energized undecided voters to go to the polls and undercut a boycott drive led by liberal dissidents opposed to the Islamic system.

The unexpectedly strong turnout - nearly 63 per cent - produced a true surprise in the No. 2 finish of hardline Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, He will face the top finisher, moderate statesman Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a Friday run-off.


"You only have to look at the comments" by Bush to understand that he "seeks hostility" against Iran, Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad is the ultra-conservative dude. Oh well, maybe he won't be so bad. Maybe when they say he's conservative, they mean he'll just be like an Iranian George W. Bush... Oh shit. We're doomed.

Seriously, though, hopefully he'll lose the run-off. Now if we can just get Bush to keep his stupid lipless mouth shut...

BushCo seem to think that everything they do has a positive result in the Middle East, or at least that every positive step in the Middle East is a direct result of their policies (which they're not). Think they'll claim responsibility for the daily suicide bombings in Iraq, the hard-line conservative resurgence in Iran, the election victories by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and near-universal negative public opinion toward the U.S. in the Middle East?

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