Iran's latest American hostages

Michael Ledeen:

Rarely have so many journalists, politicians and commentators so totally missed a headline. There are now five American hostages in Iran. Each case has been largely treated by itself, almost as if it were an oddity, something requiring a special explanation, instead of another piece in a luminously clear pattern whose meaning should be intuitively obvious to us all.


Iranian and Iranian-supported terrorists have been trying unsuccessfully to capture Americans in Iraq for some time (a hostage-taking operation failed last September, for example), but they found that the Americans fought back. They have now snatched unarmed Americans within Iranian borders. Several of them have been charged with espionage. Esfandiari has been accused of an additional crime: being married to a Jew. In the words of a website closely tied to President Ahmadinejad, Esfandiari is “married to Shaul Bakhash, a Jew, (and) is one of the leading figures in the international Zionist lobby planning the overthrow of the Iranian regime, including the Zionist regime’s plans to attack Iran.”

Actually, Esfandiari is one of the leading figures in the intellectual/scholarly opposition to the Bush administration, Azima works for an organization that has been a feckless voice of confusion and a frequent critic of American policy in the Middle East, and Tajbakhsh and Shakeri are advocates of dialogue with Iran. I don’t know anything about Levinson’s politics or religion.

Not that the actual views of the hostages have anything to do with their plight; they are hostages simply because they are Americans.


Finally, there is the ongoing war against America, which has been waged from Tehran since 1979, and which the mullahs firmly believe they are winning. They are supremely confident that the United States will be driven out of Iraq — largely by terrorists armed, funded, trained, and guided by Tehran — by the end of Bush’s tenure. They are similarly optimistic about Afghanistan, where the Karzai government and NATO military officers are increasingly outspoken about Iran’s role in arming both the Taliban and terrorists associated with Gulbadin Hekmatyar. As Amir Taheri has recently pointed out, the Iranian hand is manifest in lethal activities from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, and Gaza. The capture of American hostages is an integral part of that strategy, aiming blow after blow against the perceived tottering giant whose fall will open the floodgates of jihad against the infidel West.

Ledeen is upset about the lack of attention to the hostages in Iran, but my guess is that the Iranian religious bigots are even more upset. They would love to have an ABC special every night about America held hostage and pressure on the Bush administration to make concessions to free them. He does make a good point about the wickedness of this charter member of teh axis of evil. Meanwhile CNN provides more evidence of Iran's deal with the small satans of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.


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