The Islamic Republic itself is expected to send 200,000 pilgrims, representing almost 10 percent of the total. Saudi officials claim that some 5 percent of the Iranian pilgrims have always been identified as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Corps and the Islamic Republic’s various intelligence services. This year, however, the profiles of Iranian applicants for pilgrimage visas indicate that more than 20 percent may belong to the military or security services.
To these must be added professional street-fighters from the various branches of the pan-Islamic Hezbollah movement, which Iran created in the 1980s as a way to “export” Khomeinism to other Muslim countries. The movement’s best-known branch, the Lebanese Hezbollah, has announced it will sending over 3,000 pilgrims this year – all paid for by Iran.
When you have read that piece, turn to the Boston Globe’s latest torpedo in the water directed at Mitt Romney. Scott Helman joins with a various anti-Romney voices to try and build a case that Romney has a problem in 2008 because of what he said in 1994.
The simple fact is that the first post-9/11 contested primary season on the GOP side will be dominated by national security, not social issues, and understanding of the war against jihadism, whether from Sunni or Shia extremists, will be the key to capturing the Republican nomination.
Generals have often been accused of fighting the last war. Journalists these days seem intent on fighting the last campaign. The serious party is looking for serious debate on the war and the country’s defenses. Romney’s letter from 1994 will have as much impact as John McCain’s role in the Keating Five controversy or Rudy’s policies as an Associate Attorney General in the early ’80s (did he sign off on the Bob Jones’ brief?)
The same washing of the slate post 9/11 will even help Hillary get free of much of the Clinton-era dross, except the national security record of her husband. (Is Sandy Berger advising her?)
A handful of extreme pro-life activists allied with an even smaller number of radical bloggers aren’t going to define the terms of the campaign of 2008 for the GOP. Not only are they immunizing Romney on the old issues, they are underscoring just how tone-deaf the MSM has become about the GOP grassroots.