Saturday, November 03, 2012

While Our "Enemy" Iran Offers To Send Emergency Aid To The U.S. To Help In Recovery From Hurricane Sandy, Our "Ally" Israel Has Extended No Offer

Despite being subject to an endless and unprecedented campaign of vilification by the U.S. government, Iran has chosen to overlook this in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The New York Times reports that Iran has offered assistance in recovery efforts.

Mahmud Mozaffar, who leads Iran’s Red Crescent Organization, told the semiofficial Fars News Agency that his men stand ready to board planes and fly to the United States help the flood-stricken people of America. “If American authorities agree, we can send our rescuers with equipment and tools to American cities in the shortest period of time,” Mr. Mozaffar said. And this is not the first time Iran has offered to help us in a recovery effort; in June 2010, Iran’s Foreign Ministry and the Revolutionary Guards Corps said they were ready to help out the United States in controlling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Because Iran is prone to earthquakes, Iran's Red Crescent has extensive experience in disaster recovery, so their presence would be useful.

But the federal government reports no corroboration of the offer from any other source yet. Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the State Department, said on Wednesday October 31st, “We have seen reports in the media, but at this time have received no official offer of assistance from the Iranian government or any Iranian entity.”

In contrast, as posters on Stormfront and the Ron Paul Forums quickly pointed out, Israel, who is touted as our "ally" in the Middle East, has yet to extend any official offer of aid, although they are not reluctant to accept $3 billion in assistance from us each year.

Of course, there is no question that the Iranian government seeks to reap propaganda value from this offer. After all, they've been under political siege from the U.S. and Israel for nearly eight years now, and they might see this as an opportunity to relieve some of the pressure. But so what? Considering the experience the Red Crescent has in disaster recovery, this appears to be a serious-minded offer, and if we are serious about resolving our differences with Iran peacefully, we should consider accepting it. It could be a first tentative step towards the relaxation of tensions and the eventual establishment of a normal diplomatic relationship. And concerns that Iran might send a couple of intelligence officers with their recovery team are negligible; we could easily counter that. According to documents obtained by Wikileaks, Iran used the Red Crescent to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries such as Lebanon in 2006 during the war with Israel, but the Red Crescent has denied this.

The U.S. has summarily rejected an offer of aid by a known terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, who is wanted in connection to the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Saeed said his charitable organization is willing to send relief, food, medicine and rescue experts if allowed by the United States, citing guidance by the prophet Muhammad in the Qu'ran.

The U.S. has extended disaster recovery assistance to Iran in the past despite having no official relationship. In 2003, we sent a C-130 military transport plane with a rescue team and an ambulance to the southeast Iranian city of Bam where 25,000 people died in a devastating earthquake.

Of course, if Iran was truly interested in relaxing tensions, they would tone down their rhetoric against Israel and quit supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. Constant calls for regime change in Israel do not exactly endear the Israelis to Iran, and give the Israelis a continuing incentive to remain joined at the hip with the United States. Imagine how the political dynamic in the Middle East would change if the Arab and Muslim nations figured out that the best way to stop American imperialism in the Middle East and relieve us of the corresponding burden of empire would be to accept the existence of Israel and develop peaceful relations with it.

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