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April 29, 2011

Irwin Cotler is doing it again

The Canadian Charger

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While much of the world clamours for action to stop the slaughter in Libya, Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler is calling for immediate action by the Canadian government to combat what he calls "the increasingly threatening Iranian regime."

Speaking to a capacity crowd at the Beth Zion Synagogue in Cote St. Luc recently, Cotler said: “We wanted to engage the community. We needed to sound the alarm in what I call the critical mass of threat in Iran: the nuclear threat, the threat of state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, the terrorist threat and the threat of massive domestic assaults.”

It sounds like Iraq all over again, but then why it shouldn’t? Thanks to the George Bush administration, pre-emptive wars have become good politics for some of those with a political agenda.

Meanwhile, as the civil war in Libya escalates, with Gadhafi's heavily armed regime bombing and strafing civilians and lightly-armed, ill-trained  rebels, fighting for freedom and dignity against a brutal tyrant, innumerable voices in the western media are compelling their leaders to act, with the common refrain: “We can't stand idly by and do nothing.”

Led by U.S. President Obama, who loudly declared that Gadhafi “needs to step down from power and leave,” western world leaders have voiced their outrage at the carnage the world is witnessing in Libya.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon have added their voices, declaring that they find Gadhafi's actions unacceptable and calling on him to stop immediately and begin negotiations with the opposition.

However, they have backed their rhetoric with limited action: The Harper government has frozen Gadhafi's assets in Canada, and along with other western world leaders, called for the International Criminal Court to investigate Gadhafi and his regime.

While western world leaders agree that more needs to be done in Libya, they dither about military options, such as a no-fly zone, arming the rebels and a military invasion, and the ramifications and costs of such actions. 

But Canadian MP Irwin Cotler is unequivocal in calling action against Iran. To bolster his belief that time is quickly running out as the “rogue” nation of Iran continues to increase its stranglehold in the Middle East and North Africa, Mr. Cotler points to the two warships Iran sent through the Suez Canal- something the country hasn't done since 1979.

This, Mr. Cotler says is Iran's most recent attempt to assert its dominance and provoke the international community.

All the while, Libya burns and Mr. Cotler ignores it, preferring to concentrate on Iran. 

“Iran is upping the ante all the time. They are in continuous defiance of the international community,” said Cotler.

“In my view, Iran has emerged as the leading threat to international peace and security, to regional and Middle East stability, to Israel and the Jewish people and increasingly and alarmingly so to its own citizens. Putting the warships through the Suez Canal is just one of many instances of threats, provocations and tragically actual actions themselves.”

Whether justifiable or not, the world has come to realize that there is a hierarchy of victimhood in the western world, with the Holocaust taking precedence over numerous other mass murders that have occurred throughout history.

For example, The Armenia Genocide is widely acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, as scholars point to the systematic, organized manner in which the killings were carried out to eliminate the Armenians, during and after World War I; and it is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust. The word genocide was coined in order to describe these events.

And, although it cannot be called genocide per se, western historians now estimate that Chairman Mao murdered upwards of 30 million Chinese people during his 27-year reign of terror, yet he was welcomed into the United Nations and the international community with no condemnation at all; and would anyone dare ask the present Chinese government for an apology?

Now, Mr. Cotler is taking the hierarchy of victimhood one step further by circulating a petition that for every 25 signatures, he would be able to table and speak to another Iranian issue on the floor of the next House of Commons.

With media reports of Gadhafi's secret police terrorizing Tripoli's population and killing indiscriminately, Mr. Cotler chooses to bring the Canadian government's attention to Iranian government abuses of human rights.

Moreover, he's insisting that the Canadian government's priority should be on potential, rather than current threats to the world community.

Meanwhile, people continue to die in increasing numbers in Libya, with no end in sight.

With a long history of sponsoring terrorism against western citizens, a Libya - in whole or in part - under Gadhafi would be a failed, isolated and dangerous place ruled by a vengeful tyrant and a likely abettor of terrorists.

Where should the Canadian government's priorities lie?

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M. Elmasry

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