Monday, August 06, 2007

History comes around... and how!

Salaam, my long-lost pal: Ortega (left) greets Ahmadinejad
Image from AFP
If you are a keen history student, you will remember the Iran-Contra Affair in 1987. In short, that was when the Reagan administration sold arms to Khomeini's government in Iran (a sworn enemy of the US and with whom they had no diplomatic ties) to finance the Contra rebels in Nicaragua who were fighting the government. Scruples were brushed aside with ease on both sides. America did not bother selling arms to Iran, who was then fighting Iraq, as long as it stoked the heat on Ortega. And Iran did not question the credentials of its suppliers, even if that included the Great Satan, as it struggled to wipe out Saddam Hussein. It needed the weapons urgently. (In fact, Iran even imported arms from Israel during the Iran-Iraq war!) Daniel Ortega, known for his anti-American stance, came to power in the 1984 elections were perhaps "the freest and fairest" in Nicaraguan history.

Now that Ortega is back, he is getting close and personal with none other than the firebrand anti-American Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, Iran's president. The two have just signed a barter deal under which Iran will help Nicaragua develop its infrastructure and the latter will supply Tehran with farm products. Your past does indeed come to haunt you - in this case the US. It has already warned Nicaragua that closer ties with Iran will come at the expense of its ties with Washington.


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