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January 23, 2007

What To Do About Iraq? Target Iran - The 'Central Bank Of Terrorism In The Mideast'

Topics: Iran
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US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, says that in addition to its nuclear ambitions, Iran continues to be the central bank of terrorism in the Middle East. And apparently, Iran is "flexing its muscles to be the dominant country" in the region, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "exporting his radical philosophy." Burns' use of the term "central bank of terrorism" here is meant quite literally; on January 9 of this year the U.S. Treasury Department designated an Iranian state-owned bank as a supporter of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

However, none of what Burns or the U.S. Treasury Department says is anything we haven't known and/or suspected for years. Take for example these excerpts from a South Florida Sun Sentinel piece written in Oct 2004:

Let's review some information about Tehran's rulers:

The mullahs' leaders have kept up their overt rhetoric to fuel insurgency in Iraq, while covertly they provide logistical support as well as manpower. Millions of dollars in material support and thousands of intelligence agents, revolutionary guards and mercenaries have found their way into Iraq across the long porous borders between the two countries.

In mid-June a group from Teheran called "the Committee Commemorating the Martyrs of Islam's Global Movement" claimed that they registered about 15,000 Iranians, including members of the mullahs' intelligence agencies, for suicide bombing operations in Iraq, as well as in other lands of the region.

On June 25, Pakistani border police arrested some 18 men trying to sneak into Pakistan on false Bangladeshi passports, three of them being Iranian agents. About the same time, Iraqi authorities rounded up eight Iranian intelligence officers in Najaf, and one other, a high-ranking officer in the Revolutionary Guards, was caught while attempting to sabotage an oil pipeline.

Iran's mullahs have plenty to gain from the unrest, instability, political turmoil, and economic failures of Iraq and Afghanistan among other countries in the region. The exportation of Iran's Islamic revolution serves to cover-up the mullahs' own instability and fragile position in Iran and is the flip side of the coin of their ongoing policy of domestic suppression.

Peace and stability in Iraq and throughout the entire region is only possible through an all out confrontation of Iran's regime. The mullahs' hope is that in this election year the United States will not take the lead in any initiations beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Banking on this, the Iranian regime is pushing its luck on both fronts: extending suppression inside Iran and exporting fundamentalism and terrorism outside Iran, particularly into Iraq.

Taking a step further back in time to 1994, Rafsanjani and other retired Iranian government officials were formally accused of masterminding the bombing of a Jewish community center. The AMIA building in Buenos Aires was flattened in an explosion that killed 85 people and wounded more than 200 other civilians.

Chief Prosecutor Alberto Nisman believes the foot soldiers who carried out the attack were Hezbollah operatives from Lebanon. But Argentine investigators also found ample evidence to indicate orders for the bombing were signed, sealed and delivered from Tehran.

Police are convinced the TNT used to make the AMIA truck bomb was smuggled into Buenos Aires through the Iranian embassy's diplomatic pouch. And the indictment stipulates the Islamic republic's intelligence officers were intimately involved in the process of target selection and mission planning.

These arrest warrants dispel any notion this act of terrorism might have been the unsanctioned work of an unauthorised cabal in Tehran. Rather than a rogue operation, the arrest warrants requested by Argentine prosecutors reveal an official rogue's gallery that extends to the highest echelons of Iranian government.

Beyond Rafsanjani, this wanted list includes the names of former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velyati, intelligence minister Ali Fallahian and Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenai was also implicated in the planning sessions for the bombing attack, but escaped indictment through the principle of sovereign immunity.

Other chilling facts about Iran's history of terrorism that earn Iran the label of arguably the world's most dangerous nation and the greatest threat to world peace Include:

November 04, 1979 American diplomats were taken hostage and held for 444 days in Tehran.

1980 A car bomb detonated in London killing two people. Kourosh Fouladi, a MOIS member was arrested and imprisoned until 1989 for carrying out the attack. In 1996 Fouladi became a member of Iran's Majlis (Parliament).

April 1983 A truck loaded with explosives blew up in front of the American embassy in Beirut. Sixty-one were killed and 120 more were injured.

August 1983 An Air France 747 jumbo jet was hijacked after it took off from Vienna Airport en route to Tehran. The plane was blown up by the hijackers on the tarmac of Tehran's Mehrabad Airport.

October 23, 1983 The headquarters of the U.S. Marines in Beirut was destroyed in a suicide attack by Iran's terrorist surrogates, resulting in 241 dead, 80 seriously wounded.

March 1984 William Buckley, an American citizen living in Lebanon, was abducted by Iranian terrorist surrogates. He was secretly taken to Tehran, where he was killed in 1985 by the Revolutionary Guards.

December 03, 1984 Peter Kilburn, a librarian at the American University of Beirut, was abducted by Iran's terrorist surrogates. He was killed in1986.

May 22, 1985 Michel Seurat, a French writer, was kidnapped by mullahs' agents in Lebanon. He was murdered three years later by the hostage-takers.

June 1985 A TWA Boeing 727 was hijacked en route to Rome and Athens and was diverted to Beirut. One of the passengers on board who was a diver in the U.S. Navy was executed on the plane by the hijackers.

July 1985 Two bombs planted in two restaurants in Kuwait resulted in the death of 10 people and the injury of 80.

November 09, 1985 French police discovered a suitcase containing machine guns, handguns, grenades and bullets in the luggage of the Iran Air crew in Roissy Airport.

February 07, 1986 German police announced that two suspected Iranian terrorists abandoned their car and fled after they were pursued by the police. Their car had been used in previous terrorist attacks in France, and weapons and documents were discovered in the car.

March 18, 1986 Tunisian authorities announced that a terrorist group linked with Iran had been uncovered and 20 of its members had been arrested. The group called itself Hizbollah Al-Mokhtar.

August 28, 1986 A large quantity of explosives, plastic bombs, and weapons was discovered in the luggage of Iranian "Pilgrims" arriving in Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj Pilgrimage. Saudi police arrested 100 of the undercover agents sent by the mullahs' regime

September 1986 A wave of bombings in public places shocked Paris. Fouad Ali Saleh was convicted of killing 12 and injuring hundreds. He was arrested in March 1987 while transferring explosives into a car in Paris.

July 1987 A DC-10 plane belonging to Air Afrique was hijacked by terrorists of the mullah regime. During the hijacking of the plane a French passenger was killed in the Vienna Airport. The president of Switzerland said the Iranian government was responsible.

August 01, 1987 Agents of the Iranian regime staged a riot in Mecca during the Muslim annual Hajj pilgrimage as part of a wider plan to destabilize the Saudi regime. The Saudi government said 402 persons were killed and 650 were wounded; 85 Saudi policemen were among the dead.

August 01, 1987 Embassies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in Tehran were occupied by government-organized mobs, and a diplomat was killed.

April 05, 1988 A Kuwaiti 747 jumbo was hijacked in Bangkok and landed in Mashhad, eastern Iran. One of the mullahs' terrorists of Lebanese origin boarded the plane in Iran and led the terrorist operation. During the 15-day ordeal, two passengers were killed by hijackers.

February 14, 1989 Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious decree) to kill Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born British author, for writing Satanic Verses.

May 27, 1989 The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that a 14-man group trying to infiltrate Turkey from Iran to carry out terrorist attacks had been arrested. The group's leader, Esmat Kamal, had been involved in the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Ankara.

July 31, 1989 Colonel William Higgins, an American officer working for the United Nations in Lebanon, was abducted and executed by the Iranian regime's agents. A video recording of his hanging was given to international news agencies.

1989 During the Muslim annual Hajj pilgrimage, three bombs were exploded around the holy site of Mecca. Scores of people were injured.

December 23, 1989 Mehrdad Kowkabi, an Iranian, was charged with the attempted arson of a London bookshop and planning a bomb attack in connection with Salman Rushdie.

January 30, 1990 French Television Channel 1 broadcast an interview with Lotti Ben-Khala, a terrorist agent who was trained in Iran. He said the mullahs planned a terrorist attack on a French nuclear facility that would have resulted in 10,000 deaths.

July 03, 1991 The Italian translator of Satanic Verses was stabbed and injured. The assailant said that he was an Iranian who was seeking Rushdie's whereabouts.

July 21, 1991 Professor Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses, was stabbed to death.

This is only a partial list. For a more comprehensive list of Iran's terrorist activity and hostility, go to Iran Terror Database and the ITD List of Assassinations. We could continue with more and more examples of Iran's sponsorship and involvement in world wide terrorism, however, I believe that our point here has been made: Iran has been at war with the United States since 1979, and has been conducting a war with Western civilization and the non-Islamist world ever since.

In other words, what the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs is saying about Iran has been known by the free world for a very long time, and not one damned thing has been done about it. Not a damned thing.

So what should we do about Iran? Is there anything we could and should do to both win in Iraq and bring an end to Iran's spread of terror and ultimately world wide nuclear war? The answer is to do what Robert Tracinski describes as "go wide."

According to Tracinski, we are fighting the wrong war in the wrong place, though not in the way critics of that war complain. We are trying to fight a regional war by limiting ourselves to a local conflict and we are fighting that war in Baghdad, when it has its source in Damascus and Tehran. This approach is going to go nowhere - fast. We need to look at the problem in the context of the region. The options of "go big," "go long" or "go home," suggested in an internal Pentagon review of the war that was requested by Bush as part of his attempt to sidestep the Iraq Study Group, are too narrow in scope to address what is in fact a regional problem. Like Tracinski says, there is only one way to correct this massive strategic blunder -- and that is to go wide:

[...] Going big means dramatically increasing the number of U.S. combat troops in Iraq, giving us the ability to further subdue Sunni areas like the Anbar Province and enabling us to crack down on the Shiite militias who are stoking Iraq's sectarian conflict. Going long means committing more resources to the long-term process of training Iraqi forces and building the stability of the Iraqi government. Going home means withdrawing U.S. troops.

We all know Bush isn't going to accept the third option. America is not going to go home. Going long might be a nice aspiration, but Bush has only two years left in office. He has no idea who his successor will be and what he (or she) will do. If he wants to succeed in Iraq, he has to do something now. So we can expect President Bush to go big, ordering a "surge" in U.S. combat troops in Iraq.

However, going wide solves the problem at the source:
[...] Going wide means recognizing that Iraq is just one front in a regional war against an Islamist Axis centered in Iran -- and we cannot win that war without confronting the enemy directly, outside of Iraq.

Going wide means recognizing that the conflict in Iraq is fueled and magnified by the intervention of Iran and Syria. One of the reasons the Iraq Study Group report flopped was that its key recommendation -- its one unique idea -- was for America to negotiate with Iran and Syria in order to convince these countries to aid in the "stabilization" of Iraq. This proposal wasn't so much argued to death as it was laughed to death, because it is clear that Iran and Syria have done everything they can to de-stabilize Iraq, supporting both sides of the sectarian conflict there.

It is obvious that both regimes have a profound interest in an American failure and retreat in Iraq. After all, if America can successfully use force to replace a hostile dictatorship with a free society, then the Iranian and Syrian regimes are doomed. So as a matter of elementary self-preservation, they have done everything they can to plunge Iraq into chaos, supporting guerrillas and militias on all sides of the sectarian conflict.

Just last week, a U.S. official confirmed new evidence "that Iran is working closely with both the Shiite militias and Sunni Jihadist groups." Most ominously, Iran has brazenly provided training and weapons to the Shiite militias -- who carry rifles straight off the assembly lines of Iranian weapons factories -- and these militias have emerged in the last year as the greatest threat to U.S. troops and to the Iraqi government.

How can we quell the conflict in Iraq, further suppress the Sunni insurgents, and begin to dismantle the Shiite militias if we don't to anything to stop those who are funding, training, and supporting these enemies? Just as we can't eliminate terrorism without confronting the states who sponsor terrorism, so we can't suppress the Sunni and Shiite insurgencies in Iraq without confronting the outside powers who support these insurgents.

Every day, we see the disastrous results of fighting this war narrowly inside Iraq while ignoring the external forces that are helping to drive it. To fight one Shiite militia tied to Iran -- Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army -- we have recently signaled our support for an Iraqi political coalition that includes another Shiite militia tied to Iran, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its Badr Brigades.

And so it should be no surprise that a recent U.S. military raid on Hakim's headquarters netted two Iranian diplomats and members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards -- the outfit responsible for supporting global terrorism. That's what happens when we fight the symptoms in Iraq rather than fighting the disease.

Going wide also means recognizing that more is at stake in this war than just the fate of Iraq. This is a war to determine who and what will dominate the Middle East. Will this vital region be dominated by a nuclear-armed Iran, working to spread Islamic fascism? Or will America be able to exert its military influence and political ideals in the region?

[...] A few of our leaders have put together the big picture. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, for example, Sen. Joe Lieberman warned that "while we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States." Similarly, President Bush warned us last year that "the Iranian regime has clear aims: they want to drive America out of the region, to destroy Israel, and to dominate the broader Middle East."

But these leaders have so far avoided advocating the use of military force against Iran. No one is willing to follow the implications of the big picture to the only rational conclusion: we are already in a regional war with Iran, and we need to start fighting it as a regional war. And the most effective place to fight that war is at its center, by targeting the Islamist regime in Tehran.

The time has come that unpleasant as it is, "Targeting the Islamist regime in Tehran" is the only way to engage the regional war that we never wanted but have been involved in, all along, throughout the entire WOT. And in spite of Ahmadinejad's spin that there is no chance of a military attack by the United States against Iran and that the US is neither in a position nor does it have the capability to attack Iran, if we listen to Defense Secretary Robert Gates - it may have already begun.

Related:

To Win in Baghdad, Strike at Tehran

What to Do About Iran? by Amil Imani
U.S. Designates Iranian Bank as Weapons Proliferator

Posted by Abdul at January 23, 2007 5:19 PM



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