Monday, October 31, 2005

Surprise! Iran wants the destruction of Israel (and America, England, France, Italy...)

Michael Ledeen, The National Review:
Mirabile dictu, as they used to say before Dante — all of a sudden everyone has noticed that Iran really wants the destruction of Israel. "What took them so long?" you may well ask (as I certainly do). Just a month ago, on September 28, there was a monster parade in Tehran featuring the country's armed forces. One of the high points of the parade was a collection of the Shahab 3 missiles, the ones designed to carry nuclear warheads, and they were adorned with catchy slogans like "The Zionist regime must be destroyed," and "Death to America." READ MORE

Four military attaches walked out in protest: the French, the Italian, the Greek and the Polish. But that was about it. The Western world had made its point by bravely abandoning the parade grounds. I didn't see any nasty condemnation of the warmongers in Tehran, I don't remember even the toothless jaws of the United Nations condemning the Islamic republic, and I certainly saw nothing vaguely resembling an effective policy to bring down the mullahs before they go for our exposed veins and arteries, even though Her Majesty's Government had long been aware that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were arming, training, funding, and guiding terrorists from Khuzestan across the Shatt-al-Arab into southern Iraq, and that Iranian-intelligence officers were openly advocating the creation of an Islamic republic in the Shiite south, along Khomeinist lines.

Indeed, on September 12 Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that "officials from the Revolutionary Guard have recently met with leaders of Ansar al Islam and the Jihad organizations...near the Iranian-Iraq borders. They discussed the acceleration of military operations against the British forces in the south of Iraq." It didn't take long to confirm this information. Richard Beeston of the London Times wrote on the 20th that the Brits had reason to believe that new attacks against British forces in southern Iraq "is being orchestrated with weapons and encouragement from Iran."

By October 9, Con Coughlin was writing in the London Telegraph that a British diplomat traveling from Baghdad to London "unwittingly strayed from his brief and started laying into the Iranians with a gusto not seen in the British diplomatic service for decades. The Iranians, said the diplomat, were colluding with Sunni Muslim insurgent groups in southern Iraq..."

Notice that he said "Sunni." We already knew about Shiite, as in Moqtadah al Sadr, and SCIRI's Badr Brigades, most of whom were trained in Iran over the past two decades. If any of you has any friends over at CIA (my last buddy left a few weeks ago), point it out to them, please.

While you're at it, you might also point out that one of Iran's favorite terrorist organizations, Islamic Jihad, is having its moment in court in south Florida, and an interesting bit of information unexpectedly crept into the record. Mr. Kerry Myers, an FBI agent, was asked by the defense attorney whether Islamic Jihad had done any mean things outside Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank (as if terrorism against Israelis doesn't count, you know). Myers pointed out that IJ had threatened the United States. The attorney asked if there had ever been an actual action by IJ. And Myers burst out with "I can tell you there was a plot to commit terrorist acts in the United States. It was interdicted, I believe."

I have long since lost track of how many Iranian U.N. "diplomats" have been tossed out of this country after being caught photographing New York tunnels, bridges, subway stations, and monuments.

But nobody does anything to take the terror war to the Iranians. The Iranian people suffer, demonstrate, protest, and die, but not a single Western country has come up with a serious Iran policy. Not even the flash of recognition at Ahmadi Nezhad's speech has, so far at least, driven any Western leader to call for the liberation of Iran.

Meanwhile, Cicero magazine in Germany has published two long articles that confirm what I have long said, namely that al Qaeda receives enormous support from Iran. According to the BKA, Germany's FBI, Iran "provided Zarqawi with logistical support on the part of the state." Like other al Qaeda leaders, Zarqawi went from Afghanistan to Iran, and set up his training camps and safe houses in Zahedan, Isfahan, and Tehran. He was the driving force behind the Madrid bombings and those in Bali, and Iranian support was given throughout. After all, according to the Cicero article, the coordination of jihadi groups from all over the world is coordinated from Iran. "They live in secure housing of the Revolutionary Guards in and around Tehran. 'This is not detention or house arrest,' concludes a high-ranking secret-service employee. 'They come and go as they please.' "

According to the Germans (echoed by the celebrated Spanish judge, Balthazar Garzon), the jihadis are organizing attacks against the West, including the United States. The newspapers are full of snapshots of the jihad-to-be.

In France, there are reports that an al Qaeda cell has smuggled two surface-to-air missiles into the country. And Al Watan, an often reliable Saudi newspaper, said that French counter terrorist forces had found a deadly poison in the home of one of the cell members.

In Holland, seven presumed Islamic terrorist were arrested in the Hague after an armed struggle.

Back in July, a terror network in the Hague was dismantled, leading to the discovery of documents showing deals for night-vision goggles, helicopters, and over one million gas masks, apparently destined for Chechen terrorists.

A few days ago, four young men, described as "of Mid-Eastern descent and deeply devout Muslims," were arrested in Copenhagen and charged with planning a suicide terrorist attack in the near future against the United States or British embassy in Sarajevo. Two more men were arrested the next day, prompting the BBC, ever concerned to debunk the very idea that we might be at war with jihadis, noted that "the case comes at a time when Denmark is experiencing severe problems in relations with its Muslim community," devoted four paragraphs to a discussion of caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish paper, and concludes brightly with "it is in this atmosphere that the arrest of six, 16-20-year old Muslims on what appears so far at least to be very flimsy evidence may serve to further alienate the Muslim community of Denmark."

On October 16, the London Times reported that the British government had found that Zarqawi has created a new group in Britain that is recruiting fighters for the jihad in Iraq, and that returning jihadis may be planning attacks.

In Italy, there are continuing reports of close working relations between Italian mafias, especially the Neapolitan camorra, and al Qaeda.

This is what we're up against. It is a frenetic network of fanatical terrorists, supported by a group of mad mullahs hell-bent on our destruction. Forget about the microanalysis of the Iraqi 'insurgency.' This is not primarily a war conducted by angry Baathist remnants of Saddam's bloody regime; it's much bigger than that, and the epicenter of the whole thing is in Tehran, and its ideology is brutally enunciated by Ahmadi Nezhad.

Britain, France, and Italy are at least expelling some of the jihadis, along with some of the most fanatical religious leaders. We are not, so far as one can see, doing even that. And we are certainly not taking any of the obvious, rational, and thoroughly justifiable steps to provide political and economic support to the most potent enemies of the world's most dangerous terrorist regime: the Iranian people.

Sooner or later, one of these many schemes will succeed, and we will have a new version of September 11th. Perhaps only then will our dithering leaders resume fighting the war against terror, a war currently limited, to their shame, to a defensive struggle within the boundaries of Iraq, while they move against us on a global scale.

Faster, please.

— Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.