Cartoon Rage and Nuclear Intimidation

The longer the farcical Cartoon Jihad goes on, the more it seems to be guided by an overall strategic purpose. Not since Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on the table at the UN General Assembly in 1960 have we seen a combination of psychological intimidation with a nuclear threat. Khrushchev's goal was to scare the West into submission. The Cartoon Jihad has the same goal.

Consider these facts:

1. The original Danish cartoons never intended to insult Islam. They were, in fact,  too mild for the radicals, and were therefore "spiced up" by two imams in Denmark — by adding a web printout of a bearded man in a pig mask (from an AP news story); a photoshopped picture of a dog mounting a praying Muslim; and a badly drawn picture of a man in Arab dress with the Danish word "pedofil."

These fraudulent and deliberately insulting pictures are utterly different from the whimsical Danish drawings. They were clearly designed inflame Muslim hypersensitivities, such as bestiality in a place of prayer, Mohammed portrayed as a pig; and Mohammed's known marriage to a young girl. They are Islamofascist provocations that have nothing to do with the gentle Danish drawings.

2. The cartoon rage was therefore deliberately provoked. It is established that the "dossier" (republished here) was then shopped to the grand mufti and Arab League head in Egypt. It was then passed out at an Organization of Islamic Conference summit meeting in Mecca in December.  Iran's president Ahmadinejad and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia were there, representing Shiite and Sunni radicalism. The Cartoon Jihad may have been planned at that time.

3. The cartoon rage is still going on, five months after the cartoons were published, and long beyond the trivial provocation. Why? As Condoleezza Rice has pointed out, mobs do not spontaneously burn embassies in Iran and Syria. In places like Pakistan and Indonesia a struggle is taking place between pragmatic and Islamofascist factions. If the fascists win in Pakistan, they will control nuclear weapons: An Al Qaida Bomb.

4. Timing. A window of opportunity will soon close for Western efforts to stop Iran's nuclear development. Within a month or two, according to Israeli intelligence, Iran will have uranium enrichment up and running. It already has missiles; indeed, it could transport a suicide nuke by ship or plane. Iran may not have a nuclear capacity comparable to France's, but where the French may lack the desire to use weapons of mass destruction, Iran does not. Ahmadinejad's slogan is "with martyrdom everything is possible."

5. This is therefore a crucial time for Iran to help whip up Muslim rage around the world to intimidate the West. No Western alliance against Iranian nuclear weapons facilities is likely in the present circumstances.

6. Likewise, Syria has come under severe pressure in connection with its proven complicity in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri.  Syrian mobs burned the Danish and Norwegian Embassies in Damascus two weeks ago. Syria's Assad can only gain when the West loses.

7. Although the Saudis fiercely disagree with Iran on Shiite doctrine, they share a veneration for Mohammed. The cartoons therefore present a perfect opportunity for both wings of Islamic radicalism to make common cause against the West. Only last month Shiite mosques were being blown up by "Al Qaida in Iraq." Now the Saudi regime is allowing its Wahhabis followers in Pakistan and Indonesia to join the cartoon jihad.

8. Meanwhile, Muqtada El Sadr, Iran's puppet in Iraq, has just thrown a roadblock in the way of Iraqi negotiations toward its first legitimate government. This sabotage move coincides exactly with Iran's final rush to nukes.

Radical Islamists have a lot of reasons to believe they can win by intimidation. They only need to read the New York Times every day. As the Democrats and the media keep pushing for American retreat from Iraq, that country becomes more and more strategically vital. Both wings of Islamic fascism need to undermine democracy in Iraq, and intimidation is the cheapest way to win their objectives.

The made—up cartoon rage is a pure test of will. With Bill Clinton calling for prosecution of the cartoonists, and Al Gore in Saud Arabia (!) accusing the US Government of abusive behavior against Arabs, we have failed the test already. Their will is prevailing over ours.

But if the West crumbles so easily against cartoon rage, what will it do when it is faced with Iranian nukes? Ahmadinejad and the mullahs are watching and learning.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor.

The longer the farcical Cartoon Jihad goes on, the more it seems to be guided by an overall strategic purpose. Not since Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on the table at the UN General Assembly in 1960 have we seen a combination of psychological intimidation with a nuclear threat. Khrushchev's goal was to scare the West into submission. The Cartoon Jihad has the same goal.

Consider these facts:

1. The original Danish cartoons never intended to insult Islam. They were, in fact,  too mild for the radicals, and were therefore "spiced up" by two imams in Denmark — by adding a web printout of a bearded man in a pig mask (from an AP news story); a photoshopped picture of a dog mounting a praying Muslim; and a badly drawn picture of a man in Arab dress with the Danish word "pedofil."

These fraudulent and deliberately insulting pictures are utterly different from the whimsical Danish drawings. They were clearly designed inflame Muslim hypersensitivities, such as bestiality in a place of prayer, Mohammed portrayed as a pig; and Mohammed's known marriage to a young girl. They are Islamofascist provocations that have nothing to do with the gentle Danish drawings.

2. The cartoon rage was therefore deliberately provoked. It is established that the "dossier" (republished here) was then shopped to the grand mufti and Arab League head in Egypt. It was then passed out at an Organization of Islamic Conference summit meeting in Mecca in December.  Iran's president Ahmadinejad and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia were there, representing Shiite and Sunni radicalism. The Cartoon Jihad may have been planned at that time.

3. The cartoon rage is still going on, five months after the cartoons were published, and long beyond the trivial provocation. Why? As Condoleezza Rice has pointed out, mobs do not spontaneously burn embassies in Iran and Syria. In places like Pakistan and Indonesia a struggle is taking place between pragmatic and Islamofascist factions. If the fascists win in Pakistan, they will control nuclear weapons: An Al Qaida Bomb.

4. Timing. A window of opportunity will soon close for Western efforts to stop Iran's nuclear development. Within a month or two, according to Israeli intelligence, Iran will have uranium enrichment up and running. It already has missiles; indeed, it could transport a suicide nuke by ship or plane. Iran may not have a nuclear capacity comparable to France's, but where the French may lack the desire to use weapons of mass destruction, Iran does not. Ahmadinejad's slogan is "with martyrdom everything is possible."

5. This is therefore a crucial time for Iran to help whip up Muslim rage around the world to intimidate the West. No Western alliance against Iranian nuclear weapons facilities is likely in the present circumstances.

6. Likewise, Syria has come under severe pressure in connection with its proven complicity in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri.  Syrian mobs burned the Danish and Norwegian Embassies in Damascus two weeks ago. Syria's Assad can only gain when the West loses.

7. Although the Saudis fiercely disagree with Iran on Shiite doctrine, they share a veneration for Mohammed. The cartoons therefore present a perfect opportunity for both wings of Islamic radicalism to make common cause against the West. Only last month Shiite mosques were being blown up by "Al Qaida in Iraq." Now the Saudi regime is allowing its Wahhabis followers in Pakistan and Indonesia to join the cartoon jihad.

8. Meanwhile, Muqtada El Sadr, Iran's puppet in Iraq, has just thrown a roadblock in the way of Iraqi negotiations toward its first legitimate government. This sabotage move coincides exactly with Iran's final rush to nukes.

Radical Islamists have a lot of reasons to believe they can win by intimidation. They only need to read the New York Times every day. As the Democrats and the media keep pushing for American retreat from Iraq, that country becomes more and more strategically vital. Both wings of Islamic fascism need to undermine democracy in Iraq, and intimidation is the cheapest way to win their objectives.

The made—up cartoon rage is a pure test of will. With Bill Clinton calling for prosecution of the cartoonists, and Al Gore in Saud Arabia (!) accusing the US Government of abusive behavior against Arabs, we have failed the test already. Their will is prevailing over ours.

But if the West crumbles so easily against cartoon rage, what will it do when it is faced with Iranian nukes? Ahmadinejad and the mullahs are watching and learning.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor.