Who benefits the row over Mohammad Cartoons?

iran cartoons mohammad denmark flag burning

An Iranian throws a stone at the Danish embassy, in protest against cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad published in European newspapers, in Tehran, Iran February 10, 2006. Note security police observing in front.

Last week while the international community was busy reprimanding Iran for trying to acquire nuclear weapons, by referring it to the UN Security Council; demonstrations erupted throughout Middle East and Europe condemning the publication of cartoons of prophet Mohammad 4 months earlier in a Danish news paper.

While many Muslim community leaders invite their followers to calm and peaceful protests, Iran and Syria seem to be busy trying to become the heroes of the Muslim world (read fundamentalists) by pumping fuel to the violence.

Speaking to Iranian air force personnel, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday “the West’s publication of the prophet Muhammad cartoons was an Israeli conspiracy motivated by anger over Hamas’ win in the Palestinian elections.”

To get even, an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, has announced a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust.  The newspaper made it clear that the contest was a reaction to European newspapers’ publication of cartoons of the prophet and “to test whether the West will apply the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide against Jews as it did to the caricatures of the prophet Mohammad.”

Clearly it seems Tehran is fishing for an opportunity to divert international attention away from its nuclear ambitions which seems like the tactics Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic, used to reinforce his power strongholds.

After eight years of war with Iraq in the 1980s, during which Khomeini constantly declared that Iran would continue the war until Bethlehem was conquered (he wanted to conquer Iraq first and from there go to Israel,) when he had to end the war, to divert attention from his failure, he created mayhem by digging up a year old, not so popular book called “the Satanic Versus” from almost nowhere.  He issued a religious decree that the book is blasphemous and that the author, Salman Rushti, should be killed for writing the book.

The controversy raised by the decree, although internationally created chaos for Iran’s already troubled diplomatic relations with the West, created so much sympathy in between Muslims world (read fundamentalists) for his regime that it diverted the attention from him losing the war he promised he would fight for ever if he had to.  

Although the original publication of Danish cartoons may be simply an irresponsible and unthoughtful act of a newspaper publisher ignorant to sensitive issues, the reprints throughout Europe do seem suspicious, and the violence and attacks and Embassy burning are definitely directed by the Grandfather of fundamentalism and terrorism, the Tehran mullahs.