Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review July 20, 2004 / 2 Menachem-Av, 5764

Michael Ledeen

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Are you sitting down? Iran is a terrorist state | The organizers of the Council on Foreign Relations special task force to promote the appeasement of Iran must be cursing their uncommonly bad luck. They scheduled a meeting in Washington today to call for increasing normalization of relations between the United States and Iran. With a fine eye for dark comedy, the Council persuaded two relics of the catastrophic Carter years to appear: Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Gates. The principal advocate of the policy, however, is undoubtedly the president of the Council, Richard Haas, who has long seen rapprochement with the mullahs as an "historic opportunity" for the United States. Haas was the head of Colin Powell's Policy Planning Staff.

Whatever chances they had of successfully advancing appeasement were shattered over the weekend, as some talkative source at the 9/11 Commission told the old media (notably Time and Newsweek) that there was new evidence documenting the longstanding relationship between al Qaeda and Iran, including the fact that ten of the 9/11 terrorists had crossed Iran from Saudi Arabia the year before the attacks in this country, and the Iranians were careful not to stamp their passports, so that the Iranian connection could not be documented.

To be sure, the Commission leaker was careful to say there was no proof that the Iranians were witting of the 9/11 conspiracy, but that is hardly a surprise. Given the track record of CIA's "intelligence" on the role of the mullahs in the terror network, it would have been astounding if we had had any such evidence.

News stories on Sunday reminded readers that Richard Clarke had written that there was considerable evidence of collusion between Osama and the mullahs, and Asharq al-Awsat reported on the 15th that "more than 384 members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are present in Iran, including 18 senior leaders of Osama bin Laden's network." These terrorists were not, as the Iranians were quick to pretend, under arrest. Nor, as Iranian officials put it the day after, had the al Qaeda groups been destroyed. Many were living in villas near Chalous on the Caspian Sea, while others were in Lavizan, either in or near a big military base.

Donate to JWR

As luck would have it (and for this information I am indebted to the redoubtable Dan Darling), Chalous is the locus of a major underground nuclear facility that has been heavily reinforced of late, while Lavizan houses the Shiyan Technical Research Facility within one of the largest Revolutionary Guards bases in the Central Province.

What a surprise! Terrorists at Iranian military bases! Who ever would have imagined such a thing? Well, aside from here, which has long proclaimed Iran to be the safest of havens for Osama & co., the Iraqis not only imagined it, they knew it. Listen to the fine Iraq blogger at Iraq the Model early in July: "An Iraqi military check point...was subjected to Iranian fire on Friday.... Colonel Dhafir Savah Al Timemi mentioned that this was the 4th time the Iranians have opened fire on Shehan check point during the last week in addition to several other aggressions...Colonel Timemi said also that Iraqi border guards have captured 83 Iranians who were trying to cross Iraqi-Iranian borders illegally...."

And of course there is the ongoing slapstick routine at the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency, which constantly finds Iran cheating on its promises to tell all and show all about its atomic project, but never does anything to impose its will, bringing to mind Groucho's classic words, "I've got principles. And if you don't like them, I've got other principles."

This is all very inconvenient for Haas, Brzezinski, and the others who keep deluding themselves into believing that we can make a reasonable deal with the mullahcracy in Tehran. This is a very dangerous delusion, akin to Neville Chamberlain's conceit that he had achieved peace with Hitler, when, as Churchill put it, given the choice between war and dishonor, Chamberlain chose dishonor and got war. The Council is making the same humiliating choice.

Meanwhile, the mullahs and the other terror masters in the region quite sensibly continue to wage war against us. At the recent meetings in Tehran between a Syrian delegation led by President Bashar Assad and the Iranians, including Supreme Leader Khamenei and top deputies including strongman Rafsanjani, the head of intelligence Yunesi, several leading officials of the Revolutionary Guards, and Foreign Minister Kharazi, the two sides agreed on five key points:

  • A common strategy involving Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah to thwart American plans for the democratization of the Middle East;

  • Coordination of joint operations against the Coalition and the interim government in Iraq;

  • Coordination of political strategy to influence groups and countries that oppose the American presence in Iraq;

  • Planning for revenge should Israel attack Iranian nuclear, chemical or missile sites, or Syria's chemical and missile sites, or Hezbollah bases;

  • Full cooperation to prevent the reelection of President Bush, including all possible measures (such as sabotage of oil pipelines and terminals) to drive up the price of oil.

    Advocates of rapprochement with Iran should be running from their announced principles as fast as they can.

Those of you who have followed along these little therapy sessions of mine know of my despair regarding this administration's fecklessness concerning the mullahs. It has pained me enormously, especially because I still believe that this president has a solid understanding of the evil of the Islamic Republic, despite the efforts of the State Department — even after the departure of Haas — to convince him that a really good deal is just minutes away. I have been reduced to begging "faster, please," but I have long since recognized that nothing would happen until after the elections (a potentially suicidal policy). Now the London Times has found a nameless someone in the Bush administration who promises that a second term for W. would bring vigorous support of democratic revolution in Iran, and decisive action against the atomic project. It is beyond me why anyone would take seriously such claims, given the fact that after four years in office this administration still has no Iran policy, and the deputy secretary of State, Richard Armitage, has never backed off his claim that Iran is a democracy, nor has he been gainsaid by any other top official. I certainly hope the Times is right, but I have my doubts. I'm afraid we're not going to get serious about Iran without another 9/11.

In the 20th century we were often saved from our own isolationism and self-delusion by our enemies, who attacked us and thereby resolved our foreign policy debates in favor of honorable self defense. Check this one out with the Germans regarding World War I, with the Japanese regarding World War II, with Stalin regarding the Cold War, and with Saddam concerning two Gulf wars. Osama bin Laden made a terrible mistake on 9/11, sealing the doom of the Taliban and a goodly number of his own killers, and depriving the remnant of vital support. If the Iranians approved yet another attack on Americans or on American soil, they might, let's say it as delicately as possible, no longer benefit from the benevolent shelter offered by the Middle Eastniks in the CIA and State, supported by the likes of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Maybe that would finally produce an Iran policy worthy of the name: support for democratic revolution against the mullahs. But Khamenei's and Rafsanjani's experience with the United States leaves them pretty sanguine about that risk, because every time we come up with some devastating bit of information on Iran, we immediately follow it with "but that doesn't mean that the leaders knew about it, or that it was the actual policy of the regime." You find half of bin Laden's family and top assistants in Tehran? Not to worry, maybe the mullahs didn't know. You discover that that 9/11 band crossed Iran and were assisted by the border guards and customs officials? Not to worry, that wasn't necessarily the actual policy — this from the lips of the acting director of Central Intelligence on Fox News yesterday. Scores of Iranian intelligence agents are found in Iraq, some in the act of preparing bombs? Some bright bulb in the intelligence community puts out the line that Iran is actually helpful to us, and has actually restrained Hezbollah. We find Iranian involvement in the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia? The evidence is quashed by the Saudis, with the complicity of State and large sectors of the intelligence community.

So why should the men in the blood-soaked turbans fret over the consequences of aiding and abetting yet another murderous assault against Americans? I'm unfortunately betting on the second half of October, based on their happy experience with the Spanish elections last March.

Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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.


07/13/04: The Great Intelligence Committee Report: Some mysteries remain unsolved
06/30/04: The Fears of the Terror Masters: If we want a peaceful Iraq we will have to confront the mullahs
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