May 11, 2006

About That Letter

Iran Declares War

President Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush, widely interpreted as a peaceful overture, is in fact a declaration of war. The key sentence in the letter is the closing salutation. In an eight-page text of the letter being circulated by the Council on Foreign Relations, it is left untranslated and rendered as "Vasalam Ala Man Ataba'al hoda." What this means is "Peace only unto those who follow the true path."

It is a phrase with historical significance in Islam, for, according to Islamic tradition, in year six of the Hejira - the late 620s - the prophet Mohammad sent letters to the Byzantine emperor and the Sassanid emperor telling them to convert to the true faith of Islam or be conquered. The letters included the same phrase that President Ahmadinejad used to conclude his letter to Mr. Bush. For Mohammad, the letters were a prelude to a Muslim offensive, a war launched for the purpose of imposing Islamic rule over infidels.

And more here.

'THE whole world is mov ing towards God," Ira nian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to his American counterpart, George W. Bush. "Would Your Excellency not wish to join?"

In Tehran, the Persian text of the letter has become a favorite topic at dinner table conversations and is often the source of much mirth because of its flowery style, its numerous spelling and grammatical errors and, above all, the insight it offers into the mind of a man who clearly sees himself as an agent of the Hidden Imam in hastening the end of the "Infidel" domination of the world.

Initially, the letter was supposed to be a private message from the Islamic Republic to the Bush administration. But once Washington had dismissed it as irrelevant to the issues on hand, its text was leaked to reporters in Tehran.

Ahmadinejad's epistolary exercise seem merely another of his quirks. But it must be seen as yet another sign that the new leadership in Tehran is determined to provoke a direct confrontation with the United States in the hope that, plagued by internal problems, the Americans will either back away or be humiliated.

Posted by Ithildin at May 11, 2006 12:34 PM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE