Monday, July 14, 2008

US Aiding Al-Qaeda Inside Iran

Murky, Byzantine, call it what you will. The simple fact is that as the Bush administration winds down towards the end of its second term, pressure for a "regime change" inside Iran is intensifying.

The result, according to one former middle east CIA operative, is that the United States is actively funding resistance groups inside Iran who oppose the current regime. In a tragic repeat of the failed US policy in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Bush administration is trying to undermine the Iranian government by supporting groups with ideological and structural links to Al-Qaeda.

The policy has emerged following last year's decision by the US Congress to provide up to $400 million for "covert operations" inside Iran aimed at gathering intelligence on Iran's nuclear-weapons programme and also destabilizing the country's religious leadership through the active support of a number of radical and minority opposition movements.

The operations are jointly carried out by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and involve partnerships with organisations that under normal circumstances would be enemies in America's war on terror. These include:

  • Baluchi nationalists - described by former CIA operative Robert Baer as "Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran" and who also "cut off the heads of nonbelievers - in this case Shiite Iranians." Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists include Ramzi Yousef, jailed for his role in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the masterminds behind 9/11. Baer goes on to say, "The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.”
  • The Iranian People's Resistance Movement, also known as the Jundallah, is, according to Vali Nasr of Tufts University, “ a vicious Salafi organization whose followers attended the same madrases as the Taliban and Pakistani extremists. They are suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and they are also thought to be tied to the drug culture.” (As an aside, recent drugs raids inside Iran may be part of the ongoing battle between the government and Jundallah.)
  • The M.E.K. (Mujahideen-e-Khalq) has been on the State Department’s terrorist list for more than ten years and yet at present is allegedly in receipt of arms and intelligence from the United States in its proxy war against the Tehran government
  • The Kurdish PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) has been operating against Iran from bases in northern Iraq for several years and is also in receipt of funding from the US. In recent weeks, there has been a marked increase in the number of PJAK armed engagements with Iranian police and military units.

Source: New Yorker

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