Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Letters from Iran


I'll be interested to see the contents of this letter, assuming its ever released. There's an angle I haven't heard yet that I think should be pointed out, dealing with Islam. Islam does have conditions by which war is justified ... in fact, conditions under which Allah demands that infidels be smited. Much of the current 'terrorism' climate in Islam is the perversion of these elements, originally in the religion for protective reasons, into the focus of all Islam, not just of its protection.

Like all religions, Islam is primarily a religion of peace ... its a study in human interaction with the divine, just as any other religion is, and the majority of its focus is spiritual, like other religions. When was is necessary, under Islamic rules a leader must do everything possible for peace, before actually engaging in war. Once war is decided and declared, it is complete, total, and can be quite brutal ... prior to the point of declaration, in theory, a good Muslim must always be working towards peace.

One of the time honoured methods for this, a symbolic gesture that goes back to the days of Salahadin or earlier, is the envoy of peace. This offer is always genuine, though in many cases, history shows it is calculated to be an offer the other side cannot accept. bin Laden has done this a couple of times ... the latest letter from Iran appears to be very similar.

While its hard to tell what's actually in the letter, since it hasn't been released, the tone of both sides is pretty clear its an overture about the legitimacy of Iranian action. Given that, and the historical symbolism of the envoy of peace, its hard for me not to see this letter is Iran's way of saving face when (or if ... is there even an if anymore, honestly?) hostilities do start.

There are rules for war for a good Muslim leader ... this letter seems to me to fit into one of those rules. That shouldn't go unnoticed by us, IMO.


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