Monday, March 3, 2008

One Way Diversity

It's always a good exercise to double-check any quote by changing the people or groups in it to see if it can stand the scrutiny.

Let's change that first quote a bit and see if it sounds a hell of lot different:

"No one likes them," said Sarkozy, who was in Berlin for a two-day visit. "This is the wish of regional nations, that is the withdrawal of foreigners from this region."

It sounds a LOT worse and would not be tolerated if a European or American head-of-state said such a thing. As a matter of fact no leader would dare say such a blatantly xenophobic statement in the West, yet it is a common refrain , accepted and even supported in the West when a middle-eastern despot says such things.

Note that he is not just saying that outside militaries must leave, but ALL foreigners are not welcome. If this was not true then the middle east would have flourishing communities of minorities, ethnic, racial and religious, in their oil rich world.

No calls against him for being 'anti-immigrant' and racist?

Hardly, he instead is viewed as rightful , a patriot to his country, a true revolutionary against foreign oppressors .

Iranian leader: 'Foreigners' must leave Iraq

  • Story Highlights
  • Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wraps up historic two-day trip to Iraq
  • Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian president to visit Iraq
  • Ahmadinejad tries to build new ties with Iraq, says U.S. is spreading terrorism
  • Ahmadinejad demands 'major powers' leave Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading home from Iraq after a two-day visit, again touted the closer relations between Iraq and Iran and reiterated his criticism of the United States.

"No one likes them," said Ahmadinejad, who was in Iraq for a two-day visit. "This is the wish of regional nations, that is the withdrawal of foreigners from this region."

Ahmadinejad was in Iraq for a two-day visit, a highly symbolic visit that follows trips to Iran last year by top officials of Iraq's Shiite-led government, who have been fostering a closer relationship with predominantly Shiite Iran since the Saddam Hussein regime was toppled.

His visit was greeted warmly by Iraq's Shiite Muslim leadership, who have had longtime links with Iran that predate the overthrow of Hussein. At the same time, many Sunni Muslims in Iraq dislike the Iranian regime and have demonstrated against his visit.

In a press briefing on Monday, Ahmadinejad noted that both countries have signed memorandums of understanding, such as economic and border agreements, and will sign many more.

The Iranian president made digs at the United States. He contrasted his trip, which was advertised in advance, with the "stealth" visits of others, a reference to visits by U.S. officials, who don't broadcast their visits to Iraq for security reasons.

Ahmadinejad shunned the security measures followed by many other leaders on visits to Baghdad, riding from Baghdad's airport in a civilian-style sedan -- and not an armored military vehicle or helicopter -- to central Baghdad.

His official welcome and meeting with Talabani was at the presidential house outside of the heavily-fortified International Zone where most high-level events in Baghdad are held.

And his early Monday visit to the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine in Kadhimiya, the Shiite district in northwestern Baghdad, served to underscore his point.

He repeated his criticism of the United States that Iran was backing violence in Iraq. The United States has accused Iran of supporting some insurgent groups in Iraq, including supplying explosively-formed penetrators, the deadliest and most sophisticated type of roadside bomb.

"We do not care about their statements and remarks because they make statements based on erroneous information. We cannot count on what they say," Ahmadinejad said.

"We can offer them a friendly recommendation. We think that leveling allegations against others will not resolve the problem Americans are facing in the region."

On Sunday, Ahmadinejad met with Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, and the country's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

Although Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980 after a territorial dispute, and the two countries fought an eight-year war, Ahmadinejad said the nations share a common history and he addressed what he called the common problems of terrorism.

"We think that terrorism is something as an issue detrimental to all parties," he said, noting that Iran, Iraq and Turkey have all been hurt by terror.

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