The Vacuum

This clip examines the reception of Ahmadinejad’s recent quote about the “power vacuum” in Iraq.

AHMADINEJAD: Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in
the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help
of neighbours and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help
of the Iraqi nation.

IN PERSIAN: Amadegi (Readiness) dareem (we have) khala’e (vacuum of)
ghodrat ra (power) be komake (with the help of) mellathaye (nations of)
mantaghe (the region) va (and) hamsayegan (neighbors) az jomle (among
them) arabestan ([Saudi] Arabia) por koneem (to fill).

This quote was continually repeated by some lawmakers and analysts (see clip) as a reason not to withdraw from Iraq. As the IHT notes:

His mentioning a Saudi role may have sought to allay
regional fears that Ahmadinejad would want to dominate in Iraq. Even
though Riyadh and Tehran have not cooperated in the past, it “doesn’t
mean it can’t happen,” Ahmadinejad said

However, the second half of the quote—where US ally Saudi Arabia is
mentioned—was curiously missing from every instance where Ahmadinejad
was quoted by lawmakers such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
This selective—and incomplete—quoting reveals a biased attitude which
does not serve the interests of an informed public or US troops in the
region; it also paves the way for continued enmity and unnecessary
violence between the US and Iran.

Some newspapers like the New York Post Published this story with inaccurate and deceptive headlines such as Iran Threatens to Make Power Grab.
The declaration of an unabashed Iranian “power grab” appears to be
contradictory to other statements in the speech. Whatever one may think
of the veracity of Ahmadinejad’s statements, they claim respect for Iraqi
independence, the impossibility of imposing foreign dominance, and the
intent to help—all incongruous with announcing a “power grab.”

Other quotes from that speech which were left out of the dialog in Washington:

“The Iraqi nation is anti-occupier and has a 7000-year history of
civilization. They [the occupying powers] cannot establish their

“The occupying powers today declare openly that they are after
weakening the legal and people-based government of Iraq and that they
don’t want Iraq to be independent.”

“We offered to help, but the presence of bad leaders at the head of the powers is preventing the correction of paths.”

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