Robert Fisk: 'America's aggression is fuelling extremism', says Iran's ex-president

Here is a sort of journalism that is all but non-existent in mainstream US media.
By Robert Fisk in Chicago
Published: 04 September 2006
As the West's "war on terror" burns across the Muslim world, one of Islam's most principled leaders - the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami - issued a grave warning yesterday from the very heart of America, the country whose troops and allies are fighting Islamists across the Middle East in a war that is costing thousands of Muslim lives.

"The policies of the neo-conservatives have created a war that creates more extremists and radicals," he told The Independent in Chicago. "The events of 9/11 gave them this ability to create fear and anxiety ... and to create new policies of their own and now events are creating an expansion of extremists on both sides. A struggle is under way to dominate this world multilaterally ... We are a witness to war - with suppression from one side and extremist reaction in the form of terror from the other."

Mr Khatami might appear an improbable figure in the breakfast room of one of Chicago's smartest hotels, dressed in his black turban and long gown, his spectacles giving him t+he appearance of a university don - which he once was - rather than the seer of Iran, a man whose demands for a civil society and democracy at home were overwhelmed by the ascetic clerics who surround the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Yet he is enormously important in the Sunni as well as the Shia Muslim worlds as a philosopher-scholar, which is probably why the Bush administration gave him a visa, and his message was the sharpest he has ever delivered to the Muslim world and the secular West.


If "America's aggression is fuelling extremism", is it possible that positive action taken by America will subdue the problem with extremism? For example, if the USA military gets serious about reconstruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure, and repairs the water systems, sewage systems and trash management - if they see fit to build schools and hospitals - will the insurgency be lessened? I suggest that it is certainly, at the very least, worth a try - stop the bleeding, no more violence - no more killing in my name.

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