Chavez "helping out" Ahmadinejad?
Today James Tarranto posts,
'Those Palestinian Animals'In the past few days I have received questions from several people asking about the rumors that Hugo Chavez is sending some of his thugs to "help out" Ahmadinejad. This rumor has also been mentioned in a couple of Spanish-language cable TV shows, particularly in view of the frequent direct flights between Caracas and Tehran.
The Jerusalem Post reports that some Iranian dissidents claim the Tehran regime has imported Palestinian terrorists to help crush the opposition:"The most important thing that I believe people outside of Iran should be aware of," the young man went on, "is the participation of Palestinian forces in these riots."The Post includes an apposite disclaimer: "Amid the violence, confusion and government restrictions on communication, the accuracy of conflicting accounts is hard to ascertain." But certainly these claims are no less credible than Roger Cohen's "reports" about happy Iranian Jews.
Another protester, who spoke as he carried a kitchen knife in one hand and a stone in the other, also cited the presence of Hamas in Teheran.
On Monday, he said, "my brother had his ribs beaten in by those Palestinian animals. Taking our people's money is not enough, they are thirsty for our blood too."
It was ironic, this man said, that the victorious Ahmadinejad "tells us to pray for the young Palestinians, suffering at the hands of Israel." His hope, he added, was that Israel would "come to its senses" and ruthlessly deal with the Palestinians.
I have not been able to find any actual evidence to confirm these rumors. The ties between Iran and Venezuela are many, and strong as ever. However, evidence of Chavez's backers in Iran is yet to be found.
As to the issue of future Venezuela-Iran relations: I expect that Iran will continue to expand its influence in the hemisphere, regardless of any electoral outcome.