2003 October 14 Tuesday
Bin Laden Son Protected By Clerics In Iran
Writing for the Washington Post Douglas Farah and Dana Priest report that Osama Bin Laden son Saad bin Laden is one of many al Qaeda members living in and working from Iran.
Like other al Qaeda leaders in Iran, the younger bin Laden, who is believed to be 24 years old, is protected by an elite, radical Iranian security force loyal to the nation's clerics and beyond the control of the central government, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials. The secretive unit, known as the Jerusalem Force, has restricted the al Qaeda group's movements to its bases, mostly along the border with Afghanistan.
Osama Bin Laden has had on-going contacts with Iran spanning years.
Gunaratna said that an analysis of bin Laden's satellite telephone calls from 1996 to 1998 showed that more than 10 percent were placed to Iran, demonstrating the ongoing contacts with Iran during that time.
What is amazing about this story is that Iran's support for terrorists continues even after 9/11 and even after the overthrow of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. So far nothing the United States has done has intimidated the mullahs who rule Iran. To them it is business as usual. The United States still is not openly threatening Iran with a military attack and the Iranians think they can get away with what they are doing both in terms of support for terrorists and in terms of nuclear weapons development.
Once the Iranians manage to build functional nuclear weapons the ability of the US to restrain Iran will decline considerably. The United States will then be in the position of having a nuclear-armed enemy that supports terrorists that have carried out attacks on American soil. It seems likely that more terrorist attacks will have to happen before there is sufficient political will to deal with either North Korea or Iran.
Iran is just terrifying right now and it gets worse every day they get closer to nukes. I really hope that the Bush administration has some secret plans for dealing with them, but I fear that they don't.
One intriguing possibility is that Iran is hoping to be attacked - not invaded and conquered, but selectively attacked by either the US or Israel.
The purpose would be to activate latent nationalism in a currently anti-government citizenry, thereby allowing the Ayatollahs to continue their rule. An Iranian friend of mine is convinced that such an attack would switch the citizenry from their near revolutionary mood to a nationalistic mood.
This might explain their calibrated level of provocation, letting Al Quaeda work there but with limits, supporting unrest in Shiite Iraq, allowing Ansar al Islam a cross-border sanctuary, and a policy of both overt and covert development of nukes.
An Israeli precision strike on known nuclear sites would be a great boon to the current rulers - especially if they also have other sites that are better hidden (say, underneath major cities).
Some sort of American belligerency because of the support for terrorism, especially Al Quaeda, might have a similar impact.
I also suspect that Israel will not allow Iran to get deliverable nukes, no matter what the cost. With Rafsanjani not-so-subtly calling for an unprovoked nuclear attack on Israel, the Israeli's have to be very nervous. You can be sure that at any point in time, at least one of their modified nuclear harpoon carrying submarines is on station near Iran!
Why is it that people say the Iranians are anti government, have you done some sort of iranian national poll. The current iranian election had a turn out of 60+%. I don't know where you get your crap information from( most probably from anti-iranian propaganda groups). Iran has the right to develop nuclear technology if it wants, because the USA does not have some moral right to preach to others(remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki).The USA has killed 30,000+ civilians under the pretext of WMD's in Iraq. The Iranians have a right to be scared from the biggest warmonger nation (USA) after hitler's germany.