Friday, February 23, 2007

Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains

Tehran accuses the US of staging covert operations from Pakistan to provoke ethnic and religious violence, and even the breakup of Iran. Tehran is also angered by what it sees as a US-Pakistan nexus manipulating the Afghan situation. Iran could retaliate against NATO in Afghanistan, or try to make Pakistan accountable. Both are bad options.

A Good Article
By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"........The Iranian outburst was, conceivably, prompted by the spurt of trans-border terrorism inside Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province, which borders Pakistan. Ten days ago, a militant group called Jundallah killed 11 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in an attack in the city center of Zahedan. Iranian state media reported that the attack was part of US plans to provoke ethnic and religious violence in Iran. Balochs are Sunnis numbering about 1.5 million out of Iran's 70 million predominantly Shi'ite population.

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi alleged that in the recent past, US intelligence operatives in Afghanistan had been meeting and coordinating with Iranian militants, apart from encouraging the smuggling of drugs into Iran from Afghanistan. He said the US operatives were working to create Shi'ite-Sunni strife within Iran.

American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has copiously written about recent US covert operations inside Iran. With reference to the incidents in Zahedan, Stratfor, a think-tank with close connections to the US military and security establishment, commented that the Jundallah militants are receiving a "boost" from Western intelligence agencies. Stratfor said, "The US-Iranian standoff has reached a high level of intensity ... a covert war [is] being played out ... the United States has likely ramped up support for Iran's oppressed minorities in an attempt to push the Iranian regime toward a negotiated settlement over Iraq.".....

A Washington conference last year brought together representatives of Iranian Kurdish, Balochi, Ahvazi, Turkmen and Azeri organizations with the aim of forming a united front against the Tehran regime. An influential US think-tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), went a step further and prepared a report from the neo-conservative perspective on what a Yugoslavia-like federated Iran would look like......

"The Pentagon is especially interested in whether Iran is prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kinds of faultlines that are splitting Iraq and that helped to tear apart the Soviet Union with the collapse of communism," Bradley wrote......

The irony is that Afghanistan is being put to use as a launch pad by the US for sponsoring terrorism directed against Iran, when the raison d'etre of the US occupation of Afghanistan during the past five years has been for the stated purpose of fighting a "war on terrorism". Besides, Iranian cooperation at a practical level went a long way in facilitating the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Even Iran's detractors would admit that during the past five years, Tehran has followed a policy of good-neighborliness toward the Kabul government, no matter Washington's dominance over President Hamid Karzai. In fact, Iran figures as a major donor country contributing to Afghanistan's reconstruction......"

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