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Monthly Archives: February 2007

I Told You There Would be Defections…

February 28th, 2007 - 11:19 pm

Have a look at this fun story from the Turkish press:

A

NKARA – Turkish Daily News
Ankara’s diplomatic and political circles are currently filled with gossip over a missing Iranian, thought by some to be a spy.

Iranian citizen Ali Rızari Asqhari, 63, who recently retired from the Iranian Defense Ministry, disappeared in Istanbul on Feb. 7, daily Hürriyet reported on Monday. Iran has made a diplomatic move, yesterday sending a delegation to Turkey to obtain more information on the missing man.

According to the story in Hürriyet, on Feb. 6 two foreign citizens made a reservation for Asqhari for three nights in the Ceylan Hotel, paying cash. Asqhari then arrived in Istanbul on Feb. 7 and promptly vanished. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has not commented on the case, saying only that “it is very sensitive. intelligence services matter and the Interior Ministry are dealing with the issue.”

A high-level bureaucrat from the Istanbul police department said, “We are trying to find out whether he left or was taken. Interpol has issued a yellow bulletin in accordance with the requests by Iranian officials,” Hürriyet reported yesterday. The same individual reportedly added, “The lost Iranian man is someone who worked on sensitive jobs in Iran. Whether he was involved in nuclear activities is being looked into. But it is clear that since he arrived in Istanbul via Damascus he must have had a very important appointment.”

So a guy from the Iranian Defense Ministry goes missing in Istanbul, and the mullahs are concerned enough to send a team to investigate. Let’s hope the guy’s in Langley, and that he knows something useful.

Or maybe he’s in Lodon. Or Jerusalem. That’s fine too.

It’s a symptom of a regime that is clearly under great stress, and not coping particularly well.

The Double Standard

February 28th, 2007 - 2:35 pm

If you were fighting a war, you’d want your enemy held to the strictest possible standards, while you had a free run at him, right?

Right.

And so it is with the Iranians:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will pursue Kurdish rebels inside Iraq’s borders if the Baghdad government fails to expel them from frontier zones, the head of the elite force warned on Wednesday, cited by AFP.

“I warn the Kurdish movements of Iraq and Iranian anti-revolutionary armed rebels linked to foreigners that the Iraqi government must expel them from the region,” said Yayha Rahim Safavi, according to the Mehr news agency.

“Otherwise, the Revolutionary Guards will view it as its right to chase and neutralise them beyond borders to defend its own security and that of the Iranian people,” he said.

Meanwhile, the likes of Senators Biden, Clinton, Levin and Reid insist that we must not, under any circumstances, cross into Iran to kill those who are killing us.

In other words, Iranian sovereignty is absolute, but Iraq is wide open for any terrorist who wants to go there.

Senator Levin, the latest convert to neoconservatism, yesterday said he believed we should go after Iranian and Syrian terrorist training camps and sites where weapons destined for use against our troops were assembled or manufactured.

Maybe he’d like to explain how that can be done without crossing the border?

God bless Andy Cochran, the meister of the Counterterrorism blog, and one of a hardy band of serious people who refuse to be gulled by the wishful thinking of the Intelligence Community and their accomplices in the academy and the dying mainsteam press. He looks at recent events in Iraq and goes straight to the bottom line: “Captures in Iraq in recent days highlight the continued prevalence of foreign fighters and funding for Al Qaeda and other terrorists from Iraq’s “neighbors” in the Muslim world.” He’s talking about

a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq emir in Baghdad, three “suspected foreign terrorist facilitators” in operations near Samarra, and eight more in “a foreign fighter safe house” west of Mahmudiyah. DoD announced on February 25 that Iraqi Ninewa Special Weapons and Tactics Team arrested “a suspected member of a foreign fighter smuggling network” who is “believed to be part of a network facilitating the movement of foreign fighters, arms and money into Iraq” that support insurgent attacks targeting Iraqi civilians and Iraqi Security Forces. And another raid in Mosul led to the discovery of “a large amount of Egyptian and Syrian money and false passports and identification cards.” Last week, Iraqi police captured Issa Abdul-Razzaq Ahmed, who had traveled to neighbouring countries, especially Syria and the UAE, to collect funds for militant operations in Iraq. Ahmed was one of the most wanted Al Qaeda-connected terrorists in Iraq.

And Andy draws the proper conclusion: don’t be taken in by the Saudis’ vaunted “Sunni strategy.” Some of those foreign fighters are getting Saudi support, as well as from the Sunni Gulf states who lavish money on the terrorists in the foolish hope that the bad guys will forever stay away from their casinos, brothels and upscale restaurants and hotels. We can’t simultaneously support Sunni terrorists (‘cause the Saudis told us so) in Lebanon, while fighting them in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re just not tricky enough for that.

Meanwhile, CNN tells us that the head of Qods Force operations, General Mohsen Chirazy (no doubt it’s “Shirazi,” meaning he comes from Shiraz), is still in American custody. It’s very good news.

Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chirazi, said to be the third-ranking officer in the Iranian Quds Force, was arrested in late December during a raid at the home of a man connected to the leader of the top Shiite party in Iraq with deep ties to the Iranian government, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, according to U.S. officials.

The Quds Force is a paramilitary arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and has helped direct attacks on Iraqi and U.S. forces inside Iraq, President Bush, Defense Secretary Gates and other senior military leaders have said.

I hope General Shirazi is explaining all the details of his job to our interviewers. He undoubtedly knows a lot about Iran’s international reign of terror, from Iraq to Yemen, from Europe to South America. He might even help us track down Imadh Mughniyah, the operational chief of Hezbollah, who was last noted at a confab in Tehran with Ramadan Shalah (head of Islamic Jihad) and Moqtada al Sadr, the boy wonder of Iraqi radical Shi’ism.

Perhaps Secretary Rice can explain to us, slowly and clearly, why we should be negotiating with these bastards instead of supporting regime change in Tehran? Those lucky enough to escape their clutches–such as Ardeshir Dolat–understand that you can only lose by negotiating with terrorists.

Have a look at these excellent thoughts from Ardeshir Dolat. He knows. Condi should have him over for tea.

Iraq and Iran

February 25th, 2007 - 12:28 pm

Damien Cave has an article in today’s NY Times that is a first-rate job of reporting what is known, and discussing what is not known (but is necessary to know in order to understand what is happeniing) regarding Iran’s role in Iraq and how Iraqi figures from Maliki to Sadr are coping with the confusion, fear, and uncertainties regarding American behavior and intentions.

A lot of it jibes with my own information, particularly Cave’s description of Iran’s support for Sadr’s top assistants. I’ve been told that Iran has long since lost confidence in Sadr–apparently the sort you can rent, but not buy, and not a great revolutionary talent at that–and is trying to control the Mahdi Army through his nominal subordinates. Cave reports that Sadr has dismissed some of these.

On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that Sadr would directly defy the wishes of the mullahs, and the “purge’ is unlikely to have been directed against Tehran’s favorites.

This analysis extends throughout the Iraqi leadership, Sunni and Shi’ite alike. None of them can afford a direct confrontation with the Iranians, especially since they cannot possibly believe that the United States is in for the long term. Every Iraqi leader knows that we are going to leave, either quickly, as the Democrats urge, or a bit later, as so many of our military leaders have said. The Iranians aren’t leaving, so any sensible Iraqi leader is going to take out insurance, and try to make the Iranians happy. The Iraqis are walking a tightrope, some of them hoping we leave quickly so that they don’t have to make these terrible choices, others hoping we leave because they want Iran to win, and others hoping we stay a long time, and that in the interim there’s regime change in Tehran.

The news from Iraq always has to be read against this background, and bravo to Mr. Cave for doing such a fine job.

The Biggest Blunder I Can Imagine

February 21st, 2007 - 10:20 am

The mullahs, clever devils that they are, have truly outwitted themselves. They are creating a “tourist’s paradise”…for women only.

Iran is seeking to create a paradise for female tourists by turning an island on a northwestern lake into male-free zone, the press reported on Wednesday.

All public transport, restaurants and facilities on the island — on the gigantic Oroumiyeh lake close to the Turkish border — will be staffed only by women, officials said.

“The island of Arezou (Wish), one of the 102 islands in the Oroumiyeh Lake, will be equipped especially for women,” a municipal official in the West Azerbaijan province, identified only as Aghai, was quoted as saying by the Tehran Emrouz newspaper.

“There will be no men on the island,” he said.

I really can’t imagine anything much stupider than that. The real revolution in the Middle East–and above all, in Iran–will undoubtedly be led by women, and now the mullahs are putting them together. Can we call it a critical mass? Let’s hope.

A Quick, Snide Remark

February 20th, 2007 - 10:55 pm

I have to say that I find Carl Levin beyond bumptious. He’s one of those immensely self-satisfied people who look in the mirror every morning and coo. His campaign against Doug Feith is a monumental waste of our money. It’s based on nothing but hot air, and at the end of the day he’s angry at Feith because the man committed the crime of…thinking.

Pfui.

Mullahs Lie, People Die

February 19th, 2007 - 11:01 am

Iran has predictably accused the United States of supporting Balouchi terrorist attacks against the Revolutionary Guards Corps. I doubt anyone out of range of the moonbats will believe it, and the Iranians’ behavior shows that they don’t really believe it either. As Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs shows, the Iranians’ “evidence” is a total hoax. Charles calls it “a blatant Photoshop fraud.” (LGF is down at the moment, but I’ll give you the link as soon as it comes back up).

UPDATE: the LA Times swallows it whole. Here it is.

Claiming they were pictures of weapons seized at terrorist headquarters in Zahedan, FARS actually ran doctored photos, which were designed to reinforce the claims made in parliament, that “The arsenals used in the criminal act were US-made, while the documents and proofs show that the terrorists were supported and led by the US.” In addition, the mullahs claim to have confessions from the “terrorists” that they received “all-out support” from the United States.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit reports that the mullahs have already identified, tried, convicted and executed one of the “terrorists.”

MORE: And Kamangir summarizes the legal process nicely:

Name: Nasrollah Shanbhe Zehi (نصرالله شنبه‌‏زهی).

Date of Committing the Crime: 14 February 2007.

End of the Investigations: 15 February 2007 (less than 24 hours after arrest).

End of Trial and Issue of the Verdict: Unknown (probably it was an “order”).

Date of Announcing the Verdict: Unknown.

Date of Appeal: Unknown.

Date of Retrial: No retrial in Allah’s government.

Date of Execution: 19 February 2007 (less than four days after the end of investigations).

I wonder if the American journalists who were so eager to challenge the detailed presentation of actual physical evidence of Iran’s murderous actions against coalition forces in Iraq, will expose the mullahs’ blatant falsification. I rather doubt it. And I don’t expect the paladins of the dying media to draw the obvious, and important conclusion: the mullahs are facing discontent so deep that their internal enemies are resorting to very dangerous acts of violence against the instruments of repression.

The War of the Persian Succession rages on. And we are absent, except in the falsifications of the Islamic Republic.

I wonder if they’re as smart as they think they are. Do they think it enhances their security if large numbers of Iranians come to believe that the United States is killing the oppressors? Not bloody likely. It’s more likely to encourage those tens of millions of Iranians who dream of freedom. Careful what you lie about, dear Ali, you may be digging your own grave.

Daniel Johnson, writing in the Weekly Standard from London, notes with sadness and alarm that the European elite have now admitted their failure to negotiate an end to the Iranian nuclear program. Not only that, but they let out of the diplomatic bag the dirty little secret that it’s always been about nuclear weapons.

So the Europeans know–in all likelihood they’ve always known–that the Iranians are building atomic bombs, and intend to use them against Israel. Against the Jews. Johnson says that if that happens, he’ll pack up and leave Europe, as well he might. I’m tempted to ask him why he needs to wait. British Jews now constitute the largest single group of immigrants to Israel, having seen the graffiti on the walls and in the newspapers of their finlandized country.

But Johnson, and others like him, are still kidding themselves about Europe. They think the appeasement of Islamic Fascism is primarily the result of the long campaign against Israel and Zionism. Here’s Johnson:

Why is the E.U., which makes so much of its humanitarian credentials, which sees itself as a creature of the Enlightenment, so seemingly indifferent? The answer, I fear, lies in the process that has deprived Israel of legitimacy and branded Zionism as a relic of European imperialism. That process has been grinding away for decades, but only now is it becoming plain that Europe’s vast superstructure of collective atonement for the Holocaust has been hollowed out from within. The calumny that Israel–the most liberal and egalitarian country in the Middle East–is an “apartheid state” has hardened into a conviction. The mud has stuck.

The campaign against Israel and the rising tide of antisemitism are two faces of the same medallion. Anybody who has studied the rise of National Socialism recognizes the symptoms, above all the dehumanization of the Jews, accompanied by the big lies about Jewish control of this and that, from the banks to the newspapers.

In retrospect, we can see that Europe set on this course at the turn of the twentieth century, then indulged their antisemitic fantasies until they were defeated in war. We then had a happy interlude, when antisemitism was so discredited by Hitler and rendered taboo as a result of defeat. That interlude is now over, and the Europeans are reverting to form. The surrender of citizens’ freedoms to the state is, after all, the essence of totalitarianism, and it is no less ominous today–wrapped in the sweet words of the nanny state–than it was in the 1930s, when it was accompanied by the racist chest-pounding of the leaders of the Third Reich.

Islamic antisemitism has been folded into this tradition, and European governments are all too happy to make room for their evil.

After printing a series of false accusations against me, the popular and authoritative Iranian web site, Baztab, has done two things of note. First, it published my response in full, and displayed it prominently on their web page. Second, they replied to me in a very different tone. They dropped their earlier accusations–on my sources and my presumed ties to Iranian groups here in America–and shifted to the question of relations between the United States and Iran. The key paragraph is this:

Closing eyes to the obvious reality that Iran has a system that enjoys nationwide support…with massive political, economic, cultural and military power, that it has deep and extensive influence in the region, that it is firmly consolidated and that it cannot be brought down to its knees through sanctions or military attack, has made some circles in the United States to go for a confrontational policy toward Iran. there is no doubt, however, that such a policy would bring down the US from its standing as a super power once it gets a militaristic nature.

In other words, we’re the big kids on this block, our people love us, this regime won’t be brought down by sanctions or bombs, and you’d best come to terms with the regime if you want to maintain your status as a superpower. Baztab does not echo the constant refrain of Ahmadi-Nezhad and Khamenei, that Iran is hell-bent on destroying America; it is rather of the Baker-Hamilton-Biden-Pelosi persuasion: Why can’t we just work this out together?

The answer is simple enough. We can’t work this out because the Islamic Republic has declared war on us, not the other way around. Iranian agents and Iranian weapons are killing Americans. Until a few weeks ago, American soldiers were not even authorized to kill Iranian military personnel in Iraq, let alone cross the border to attack Iranian terrorist training camps or industrial facilities where shaped explosives are put together.

The good folks at Baztab surely know what every Iranian knows: that if there were free elections in Iran, the entire regime would be replaced with a free government, and the new leaders would terminate support for terrorism, redirect the oil revenues to national reconstruction, and join the civilized world. I oppose military action against Iran, as well as sanctions–aside from those specifically aimed at the kleptocrats who have ruined the country and pauperized the people. I support freedom for Iran.

In addition to its sweet reasonableness to me–which reflects the views of many regime leaders that they’d better stop provoking Bush, lest the United States finally develops a serious Iran policy. Ergo, they’re launching a charm offensive–Baztab has been critical of some of Ahmadi-Nezhad’s policies, and has now joined the ranks of hundreds of other publications to be censored by the regime. It is now an officially banned website.

Pity. But that’s what happens when you pretend to be free in the tyrannical Islamic Republic. Many of their countrymen and women have given their limbs and lives for freedom, and the guys at Baztab have fallen into the crossfire that characterizes the War of the Persian Succession.

They’re welcome to come to the American Enterprise Institute and have a wide open debate. Assuming they’re free to travel, of course.

The War of the Persian Succession Continues

February 15th, 2007 - 9:44 pm

I’ve argued over at NRO that you can’t understand events in Iran these days unless you put them in the context of the fierce power struggle within the regime for the succession to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Physical attacks against the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij–the prime instruments of repression–are taking place all over Iran, and the political war between the two men who fancy themselves the logical tyrants of the Islamic Republic–Rafsanjani and Ahmadi-Nezhad–is heating up by the hour.

On Thursday, for example, a former Cabinet member named Marashi, who happens to be Rafsanjani’s brother-in-law, called upon the Parliament (Majlis) to investigate Ahmadi-Nezhad’s counterproductive accomplishments in foreign policy, calling the president either incompetent or treacherous. I have a link from an Iranian friend, and it’s in Farsi.

It’s a dangerous game for Rafsanjani to play, since Ahmadi-Nezhad is supported by a lot of men with guns. On the other hand, Rafsanjani really has no alternative.

A great moment for us to call for regime change, don’t you think?