It is time for terror institutionalization: it might happen more and more often to Western politicians that they will be shaking the hands of people on Interpol's "wanted" list -- or at least the hands of some leaders who have been publicly praising - and probably also financing - certain multiple-killers of women, children, and tourists.
The Iranian regime is sending a very precise message, in spite of all diplomatic norms, by appointing Ahmad Vahidi as Iran's Minister of Defense. Vahidi is on Interpol's "wanted" list : he is a former commander of the "Quds Force" of the Revolutionary Guards, the unit in charge of Iran's overseas operations that on 1994 carried out the bomb attack on the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured some 200: people still remember the huge devastation -- the death, the pain -- caused by the bomb , and the same images relayed in so many cities: Jerusalem, New York, Mombasa, Madrid, London, Mumbai...
With Vahidi's appointment, Ahmadinejad is signaling that killing innocent people is moral and good, and that terrorist attacks are rewarded when they take place in big cities far away from the Middle East. The Iranian regime's choice has a lot to do with its evident involvement in international terrorism, a reminder that sounds like a promise.
Terror still remains a matter of praise: it has now passed from the iconographic representation of the suicide bombers with the rifle, inside the houses and mosques , to being considered normal , a CV element. And, at the same time, we gape, or even worse , we dialogue with this new culture of death, adopting a policy of appeasement.
Meanwhile, Libyans took to the streets to welcome home Abdel Basset al-Magrahi, who was just released from British jail. H e was held for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, where 270 persons were killed. Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi received him yesterday and welcomed him with a big embrace; then he thanked everyone, Gordon Brown, the Scottish Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, for their "brave decision." Libya, i.e. its leader, has accepted the formal responsibility for the Lockerbie attack. But there are those who keep following a Syrian-Iranian track, claiming that at the time of the tragedy, no one was interested in accusing Syria of being involved because of the coalition against Saddam Hussein for the First Gulf War. These are only uncertain theories, just suppositions. Syria, however, remains another country that has always demonstrated a very close relationship with Hezbollah and Hamas through Iranian sponsorship -- and with an American and French policy of the outstretched hand that tries all the time to rehabilitate and promote them.
The mechanism works like this: if I praise my terrorists, you will do more and more to redeem me, and eventually you will yield to my conditions.
On July 2008, Hezbollah praised beyond all measure the swap of the corpses of the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers with one of the fiercest terrorists you can imagine, Samir Kuntar, who in '79, during the Nahariya terrorist attack, killed a 4-year-old child by smashing her skull against the rocks with the butt of his rifle. But Nasrallah has welcomed him back as a hero and turned him into a model citizen, an example to be emulated. In spite of this, Europe, and in particular the United Kingdom, which has started secret contacts with Hezbollah, now prefer to treat Hezbollah as a popular party - which it is exactly what it claims it is - and trying for the umpteenth time to seek an impossible compromise with it .
Another fundamental chapter concerns Fatah, the so-called moderate part of the Palestinian leadership, chaired by Abu Mazen, and which recently held its congress in Bethlehem: President Obama considers Fatah the main interlocutor of his outstretched hand policy. But the Fatah convention shouted for the joy when famous negotiator (moderate, obviously) Ahmed Qurei, alias Abu Ala, presented as a hero the terrorist Khaled Abu Usba, a man who , in 1978, attacked two buses on a road near Haifa and killed 35 passengers -- Israelis and tourists. Is this crowd of important delegates an interlocutor for peace? Is this the reason why ithe Europeans are obsessed with releasing Marwan Barghouti, a jailed criminal serving five life sentences , and whose large popularity is due to his role as commander during the Second Intifada?
John Brennan, President Obama's adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that "even if we condemn and we oppose the illegal tactic of terror, we must recognize and relate to the legitimate rights of the common people that terrorists claim to represent."
What is certain is that Megrahi, Vahidi, Kuntar, and Abu Usba all symbolize the hatred against the West. And even if we understand it very well, this will not help us when Vahidi, as Minister of Defence, will have an Iranian atomic bomb.
This article was first published in Il Giornale on August 23, 2009.