Et Tu, Hamid? Afghan President Karzai Cozies Up to Iran's President Ahmadinejad
The REUTERS caption to this photo read, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) greets his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Tehran, Iran May 27, 2006." At Yahoo News!, one may view lots of other news photos of Karzai in Iran, posing with Ahmadinejad and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (with a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini on the wall in the background). Those same photos are no doubt being rapidly disseminated throughout the Islamic world, in which Ahmadinejad is seen as the heroic foe of the Great Satan, the United States of America.
Hamid Karzai is the man whose country the United States helped free from the Taliban. Hamid Karzai is the man who the United States then supported to become the first President of a liberated Afghanistan.
Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is the President of a country that the world believes is moving as rapidly as possible to obtain nuclear weapons. He is promoting himself as the leader of the Islamic jihad against the United States. He has advocated wiping Israel off the map. It is widely suspected that his regime supports insurgents in Iran, in order to destabilize the US-supported national unity government there, and provoke civil war. The Iranian goal is either to create a Shia-dominated Iraq friendly to Iran, or an independent Shia state in what is now the southern half of Iraq. Ahmadinejad's regime provides funds to buy the explosives that kill American troops in Iraq. He no doubt would love to provide the same assistance in Afghanistan. The United States has no more formidable enemy in the world than Ahmadinejad and his regime.
The purpose of Karzai's visit is reportedly to encourage Iranian business investment in Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Iran historically have close ties. I am sure that the Iranian investment funds are badly needed. But why now, why now of all times? Is this the gratitude the U.S. receives for liberating Afghanistan?
It is at least possible that Karzai's visit to Iran was blessed by the Bush Administration. President Bush may even have requested that Karzai serve as a backdoor conduit for a diplomatic overture.
But unless and until we know that to be the case, all I can utter is, "Et tu, Hamid?"