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Jewish World Review June 30, 2004 / 11 Tamuz, 5764

Michael Ledeen

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The Fears of the Terror Masters: If we want a peaceful Iraq we will have to confront the mullahs


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Late on the night of June 24th-25th there was an "accident" in southeastern Iran, near Zahedan, in that fascinating area of "Iranian Baluchestan" down where Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan merge. According to Agence France Press, quoting local Red Crescent sources, a fuel truck "lost control and crashed into a police post, with the explosion engulfing other trucks, cars and buses."

But the pictures of the incident are not those of a truck out of control. It all took place at a border crossing, at a customs inspection station. At the time of the explosion there were eleven trucks parked there, and several of them were carrying explosives for the construction of bombs. They were headed for Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they would be delivered to the forces of Gulbadin Hekhmatyar, the terrorist chieftain who has long killed on behalf of the mullahs.

The explosion engulfed the entire column, which is why — as some of the pictures show — the columns of the customs building were shattered. Friends of mine in Iran insist that the trucks were deliberately blown up by Iranians hostile to the regime. In any event, the next day — the 25th — Pakistani border police arrested some 18 men trying to sneak into Pakistan. Fifteen of them were traveling on false Bangladeshi passports; the other three were Iranian agents. All are currently being interrogated by Pakistani authorities.

Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities have 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.

As you see, the Iranians are frantically increasing their efforts to drive Coalition forces out of Iraq, to wreck the Iraqi economy — and especially to inflate oil prices, which the mullahs hope will bring down the Bush presidency — and to destabilize the fragile Karzai government in Afghanistan. They, and their Syrian and Saudi allies, are doing this because the liberation of Iraq is indeed threatening the authority of the remaining terror masters in Tehran, Damascus, and Riadh. The entire region is bubbling from the heat of democratic revolution, and you can see the fears of the terror masters as they steadily increase the repression of their own people. Syrians can now listen to accurate news broadcasts and calls for freedom from the new radio station launched by the Syrian Reform Party, which has prompted new crackdowns from the Assad regime. And in Iran, despite the unfortunate claim of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage that the mullahs preside over a democracy, one international organization after another has exposed the monstrosities carried out daily by the murders who govern the Islamic Republic. Hands of Cain, an organization fighting capital punishment everywhere, awarded the People's Republic of China its award as top executioner for 2003, with Iran solidly in second position. Hands of Cain noted that 98.7 percent of all executions in the world last year were carried out by dictatorial, illiberal, or authoritarian states.

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Just as in the case of terrorism, if you want to win the war against the world's leading executioners, you must fight for the spread of freedom.

The same holds for an independent press. According to Reporters Without Borders, Iran again wins the laurels for the greatest enemy of a free press. More than 120 newspapers have been banned since 2001, more than 50 journalists have been detained and 11 are still in detention, making Iran the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East," the organization wrote in a letter to the European Union, which has appeased the mullahs for years. The letter bitterly continued. "One wonders what to make of the Iranian government's remark on 20 June that it is the European Union that should learn from Iran about human rights."

And, of course, there is the question of the Iranians' crash program to produce atomic bombs. It seems that no quantity of evidence, and no number of lies from Tehran, will convince France, Germany, and Great Britain to take any serious steps toward preventing this great catastrophe. Even our own leaders — by far the most aggressive in the so-called Western world — are only calling for stricter inspections and possibly a few additional sanctions, measures that would not seriously cripple the Iranian atomic project. But such proposals are indigestible to the feckless Europeans.

Western intelligence agencies are playing along. Just a year ago, our own experts along with those in Europe and Israel, were warning that Iran might conceivably produce an atomic bomb in three to four years, and possibly even less. I was warned by Iranians I respected that the ayatollahs had demanded a bomb by the end of last year, but that was clearly wrong. Now I am being told that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been promised success within a few months. Meanwhile, Western agencies have become more optimistic. They are now saying that Iran can't produce nuclear weapons until — at the worst — the end of the decade.

It is academically interesting, perhaps, to log the benchmarks so that we can evaluate the quality of such "intelligence," but it's madness to assume that we can fine tune this one. We have always been surprised at the speed with which others can build nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and South Africa all joined the nuclear club much faster than we anticipated. The Iranians are fully capable of fulfilling this project, and their deceptive abilities are extraordinary. No Western leader should rely on the projections of his spymasters. We elect governments to protect us against worst-case scenarios, not sooth us with cheery forecasts.

Whatever the timing of the bomb, the dimensions of the Iranian threat are already clear enough for all to see. We now believe that Abu Musab al Zarkawi is the deus ex machina of the terror war against us in Iraq. He is working hard in Iran where he has created yet another organization for the ongoing jihad. It is called Jamiat al Jihad wa Altawheed (the Jihad and Unity Society). Watch for it, it's a growth industry.

If we want a peaceful Iraq we will have to confront the mullahs. There is no other way.

Faster, please.


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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, ""The War Against the Terror Masters," Comment by clicking here.

Up

06/29/04: The Iraqis and the Neocons: Arab democracy is a work in progress
06/23/04: Ready for $60-a-Barrel Oil?: The Iranian election strategy at work
06/15/04: Iran is making trouble, and finessing it is a dangerous strategy
06/02/04: Reagan Seen Plain: He changed the world 06/02/04: Quattrocchi's Killers: We are dealing with a truly international terror network
05/25/04: The Agency Rides Again: Angleton on Chalabi
05/24/04: Lying into the mirror: Misunderstaning the war on terror
05/18/04: Kristof’s Iran
04/19/04: The Iranian Hand: Regime change in Tehran is necessary for peace in Iraq
04/15/04: Dealing with the Libyans: Is Khaddafi about to cash out?
04/08/04: From Tyranny to Freedom: Democracy in Iraq has precedent
03/18/04: Drifting, Dangerously: We must support freedom
03/02/04: Once Upon a Spymaster, Part II: Returning to a conversation
02/24/04: The Great Iranian Election Fiasco: What actually happened; what we must do
02/20/04: Stalinist Mullahs: The Iranian regime is in open battle with its own people
02/11/04: The Jihadis' Primal Scream: Zarkawi's "Yaarrrhhh!"
02/04/04: Inelegant Lies: Making sense out of mullahs
02/03/04: Potemkin WMDs? Really?
01/27/04: The Jihad on Iraq: Bad analysis and bad policy
01/20/04: Our Moment of Vainglory: A p.c. mess
01/06/04: Aftershocks: The West must read the meter in Bam and Tehran
12/02/03: Managing Iraq: We can't continue this way
11/26/03: Back to the Angleton Files
11/25/03: The Turks, Italians & us — never again
11/06/03: Regional Struggle: Fighting narrow vision in Iraq
11/04/03: Unpunished Failure: What are we waiting for?
10/21/03: Curses: Diamonds and Naples
10/15/03: Into the Quagmire: Important days ahead for Iran
09/18/03: The Ayatollahs’ bomb: An invulnerability strategy
09/12/03: You can't make peace until the war is won
09/11/03: Ron Paul, dishonorable congressman
09/03/03: The Latest Horrors: Still organized
08/29/03: The Peace Trap: Back to the war, please
08/27/03: Angrier and Angrier: Self-deception, big-time
08/25/03: Iraq's terrorists have friends in high places
07/10/03: The Future of Iran: Armitage might want to rethink that "democracy" line
07/02/03: Looking Toward July 9: Independence Day in Iran?
06/24/03: Iran: Back the freedom fighters
06/17/03: The Iranian Revolution, 2003: Regime change in the air
06/05/03: Academic Standards: A Middle East scholar has his way with the truth.
05/28/03: The Moment of Truth? U.S. policy could determine Iran's destiny
05/15/03: Iran's Path: Stopping the mullahs in their tracks
05/13/03: The Nuclear Axis of Evil: The people solution
05/08/03: Inside the Dark: Applebaum's ‘Gulag’
05/06/03: Tough Guy: Powell's curious priority list
05/01/03: Desert Shame Redux: Want a free Iran and a free Syria? We have to fight for it
04/25/03: Timing Is Everything: We have a narrow window in Iraq to win Shiite support
04/15/03: Political war can remove terror masters in Syria and Iran
04/07/03: The Others: We have miles to go in eliminating the Axis
04/02/03: French Lies: Take the foreign minister at his word
03/31/03: Why muzzle Saddam's foes?
03/28/03: The post-war terror threat
03/26/03: All Fronts: Military war, political war, psychological war
03/24/03: More Bad News for Daschle: Taking out terror of all nationalities
03/21/03: The Killer Pneu: Virus terror from China
03/13/03: Iran: Nuclear suicide bombers?
03/11/03: A Theory: What if there's method to the Franco-German madness?
03/05/03: The Iranian-Election Revolt: The people speak. The West won't listen
02/19/03: The willful blindness of those who will not see
02/12/03: The Europeans Know More Than They Now Pretend? They choose to dawdle and obstruct
02/03/03: Monumental failure: Nelson Mandela had promise
01/30/03: Elevation: The president knows what it's all about
01/29/03: No Leader: France's Chirac is all about personal interest
01/28/03: The Axis of Evil Redux: Same place, a year later
01/27/03: The Return of the Ayatollah: Washington could afford a little more attention on Iran
01/13/03: How we could lose
01/09/03: Fish are Better than Women: Gauging U.S. priorities
01/07/03: The Shape of Things to Come: The terror masters are now waiting for us
12/20/02: A Prophecy for the New Year --- Faster, please!
12/16/02: Scud Surrender: The "W" factor
12/13/02: The Heart of Darkness: The mullahs make terror possible
12/12/02: The Real War
12/09/02: Tom Friedman's Reformation: His Iran
11/26/02: How Tyrannies Fall: Opportunity time in Iran
11/22/02: The Blind Leading the Blind: The New York Times and the Iranian crisis
11/13/02: The Temperature Rises: We should liberate Iran first --- now
11/05/02: End of the Road: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, on his way out
10/29/02: The Angleton Dialogues, Contnued: What George Tenet doesn’t know
10/24/02: The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues
10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen