Writing in The Washington Post Glenn Kessler reports that US intelligence intercepts between Al Qaeda members in Iran and Saudi Arabia relating to the recent terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia are being used to justify support for a proposal to try to destabilize the Iranian government.
The Bush administration, alarm-ed by intelligence suggesting that al Qaeda operatives in Iran had a role in the May 12 suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia, has suspended once-promising contacts with Iran and appears ready to embrace an aggressive policy of trying to destabilize the Iranian government, administration officials said.
If there are Al Qaeda members in Iran who were involved in the attacks in Saudi Arabia are they living in areas of Iran that are firmly controlled by the Iranian government? Did any part of the Iranian government know what these Al Qaeda people in Iran were up to? It is not at all clear.
Iran has an elected government and then separately various organs run by the Ayatollahs. Keep that in mind when reading this latest report of arrests of Al Qaeda members in Iran.
Iran has informed the US that it has detained suspected members of the al-Qaeda network, but it is not yet known if they are the same activists thought by the Bush administration to have played a direct role in last week's suicide bombings in Riyadh, a US official said yesterday.
Are these the most important Al Qaeda members who were arrested? Were they arrested under orders of the elected leaders or under orders of the Ayatollahs?
The extent of State Department acquiescence or opposition to this proposal is not clear as different news reports provide different accounts of State's position. The Pentagon wants to use MEK fighters in Iraq as part of the plan to bring down the ayatollahs.
The Pentagon plan would involve overt means, such as anti-government broadcasts transmitted to Iran, and covert means, possibly including support for the Iraq-based armed opposition movement Mojahedin Khalq (MEK), even though it is designated a terrorist group by the state department.
The biggest problem I have with this proposal is that I agree with those who think that Iran is not in a pre-revolutionary state. Writer Elizabeth Rubin holds this view as well. I am skeptical about whether the Iranian people are deeply opposed to the regime in large enough numbers to revolt. What happens if the US tries to destabilize Iran and the Ayatollahs respond by jailing all the reformers and viciously opposing street protests? It is quite possible that there will not be enough popular support for an uprising to succeed.
Meanwhile 130 of the 290 members of the Majlis legislature in Iran wrote a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei calling for reform.
Some 130 reformist lawmakers called on Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to accept democratic reforms for the ruling establishment to survive.
This latest letter is signed by fewer people than the 153 who signed another letter calling for reforms a couple of weeks ago. It is not clear to what to make of that.
Update: Coverage in The New York Times reiterates the uncertainties about Iranian government connections to Al Qaeda and also skepticism that a revolution in Iran would stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Among other things, they note that George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, has testified that even the secular "moderates" in Iran favor development of nuclear weapons.
The secular ideology which the North Korean regime uses to govern can be defeated. Secular ideologies are provably wrong using empirical evidence because secular ideologies are not otherworldly. North Korea's people, given enough information about the world, could be convinced that communism is nonsense. But trying to convince Middle Easterners that Islamic political ideology is wrong effectively requires convincing them to abandon beliefs in the supernatural. That is much more difficult to do.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 May 25 12:50 AM Axis Of Evil|