July 16, 2007

Al Qaeda in Iran

By Noah Pollak

It is long past time that one important piece of fantastical rubbish be finally sent on its way: this is the idea that Islamists maintain some kind of fastidious ethnic and theological separatism when it comes to who they're willing to work with on killing people. The co-option of Hamas and Islamic Jihad (Sunni Arab) by Iran (Shia Persian) is one piece of reality that intrudes on this comforting notion; so is the Iran-Syria alliance, along with the reality of Iranian support for both Shia and Sunni insurgents in Iraq.

A final nail in the coffin comes today from Eli Lake, the New York Sun's talented national security reporter (and good friend). Eli's scoop is about the National Intelligence Estimate, an unclassified summary of which will be released today, but whose classified final working draft concludes that:

One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.

Iranian hospitality toward Al Qaeda is not a new story -- but what is new is the apparent fact that one of two Qaeda leadership councils meets in Iran, and with the complicity of the regime. As Eli notes:

An intelligence official sympathetic to the view that it is a matter of Iranian policy to cooperate with Al Qaeda disputed the CIA and State Department view that the Quds Force is operating as a rogue force. "It is just impossible to believe that what the Quds Force does with Al Qaeda does not represent a decision of the government," the official, who asked not to be identified, said. "It's a bit like saying the directorate of operations for the CIA is not really carrying out U.S. policy."

Stories like these reinforce another very basic idea: terrorism has a return address.

Posted by Noah Pollak at July 16, 2007 10:20 PM
Comments

one of the main characteristics of the ME is that about the only thing that unites the players in the region is the hatred towards israel and the US. take those away, at they'd all be at each other throats.

it's been obvious, therefore, that the many dividers should be exploited. instead, not only do not israel and the us do anything along that line and, but they do things that further unites them.

i reiterate: it's not that the islamists are winning, it's that the west is losing through ignorance, stupidity and cowardice.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 11:14 PM

I have no doubt that Iran and Al Quaeda have some sort of cooperation. The Iranian regime sees the U.S. as an existential threat, and will partner with virtually anybody to counteract it. Even while Al Quaeda elements are mercilessly slaughtering shi'a muslims in Iraq.

On the other hand, as FP points out, one of the great weaknesses of the Muslim middle east is that they have only a limited ability to cooperate with each other. This stands in stark contrast to the seemingly indefatigable unity of the west, even in the face of major disagreements, like the Iraq War. In disagreement with FP, I believe that the west is right now doing exactly the right thing to exploit these divisions - trying to separate the PA and Syria from the Iranian axis with a combination of threats and peace talks. If we just went in and beat their brains in, it would have the opposite effect.

As I said earlier, I am cautiously encouraged by what is happening with the Abbas government. Syria, likewise, if Assad wasn't such a dim bulb (I've heard that he is) would realize that in the long run he has nothing to gain and everything to lose from an alliance with Iran.

Posted by: MarkC at July 16, 2007 11:54 PM

mark,

we must agree to disagree, and facts are on my side.

the west is hardly united, it is pathetically divided particularly on the iraq war, including within the us. and read melanie phillips' latest article on brown's new uk govt.

abbas was never in a major way in iranian's camp and separating syria from iran is a fool's errand that only idiots like bush and olmert can believe in. besides, these 2 are not what i meant by exploiting the divisions.

do yourself a favor and read the latest links i posted in the Polling Gaza thread for more evidence.

Posted by: fp at July 17, 2007 12:08 AM

The alliance between the Syrian regime and the Iranian regime is not evidence for Sunni-Shi'a cooperation. The Syrian regime is dominated by Alawites, who follow a version of Shi'a. The regime remains "secular-nationalist" for much the same reason the Iraqi Ba'ath regime remained "secular-nationalist". If you are a religious minnority (Alawite in the first case, Sunni Arab in the second) ruling over a majority of a different persuasion (Sunni Arab in the first case, Shi'a Arab in the second), the "secular-nationalist" move is necessary.

That being said, cooperation is no more impossible across the Sunni-Shi'a divide or the secular-nationalist - Islamist divide than it was for, say, Hitler and Stalin against Poland and the Baltic states.

Osama used to be very much against cooperation with Shi'a. No doubt he has come to reconsider his position.

Posted by: Lorenzo aka erudito at July 17, 2007 12:25 AM

because the behavior of the west facilitates rather than inhibits such cooperation.

consider, for example, how things would be today had the us not invaded iraq but, instead, were free to take action against iran (for which the WMD claim is not a lie). would that have played into the weakened OBL's hand and created the circumstances for his coop with iran? would syria have allied itself with iran in such circumstances? how would the saudis have behaved?

the fact of the matter is that america has exacerbated its decline by the stupid and incompetent move on iraq.

Posted by: fp at July 17, 2007 12:43 AM

It is just impossible to believe that what the Quds Force does with Al Qaeda does not represent a decision of the government

The same can be said about Pakistan so let's go to war with Pakistan.

Posted by: novakant at July 17, 2007 04:19 AM

Of course this new NIE says that Al-Qaida and Iran are working together. The Bush administration believed this no matter what anyone else has said, and they have been building to this very point these past few months.

Notice the timing of this release. Timing is everything in politics.

Just yesterday Senator Reid called the Republicans' bluff and is forcing them to filibuster all that they want. Suddenly we get a new NIE declassified. Huh...

What is Al-Qaida's actual relationship with Iran? Who knows exactly. But I'm putting my chips that they are not working together all that much, seeing that Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia is doing all they can to kill Shi'ites that have Iranian backing and all. Furthermore, Iran was quite helpful to the United States after 9/11 with regards to Afghanistan and Al-Qaida.

But this administration really is deranged and will believe whatever the hell they want to believe. And unfortunately, it seems, so do many Americans.

Posted by: Dan at July 17, 2007 04:52 AM

No Dan, you are quite wrong.

Noah emphatically stated in his introduction that his chum's piece in the New York Sun is "a (sic) final nail in the coffin..." of the idea that Al Qaeda and Iran are not in cahoots.

It's all here in black and white. It must be true. As Noah says, Terror has a return address. So let's bomb it.

Posted by: Microraptor at July 17, 2007 05:18 AM

This is one of those arguments that is more informative about the person making it than about the subject being argued. Someone who believes in identity politics will find it perfectly natural to think Sunni and Shia could never cooperate on anything. Nevermind that in the real world Baathism is literally the Arab branch of (atheist) Nazism, (sunni) Palestinian terrorists happily accepted sponsorship from the (atheist) Soviet Union, the USSR was succeeded in that role by (shiite) Iran, and extremists today are funded by Iran, (sunni) Saudi Arabia, and others with plenty of distinct ideologies, including a large if unintentional contribution from (atheist) Europe.

And that's before we even begin to address the weird circumstance where Islamists abroad claim to attack the US for its postmodern culture, while muslims living in the US are arguably the most well-adjusted Islamic diaspora in any western country, especially compared to the UK, France and others that some believe the US should emulate in public policy.

Posted by: Stacy at July 17, 2007 06:03 AM

Iran and Syria are not the main issue. The real issue is Saudi Arabia. As the LA Times just reported on Sunday - "About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said."

The 9/11 bombers were mostly Saudi and Egyptian as well. The irony is we devote all our attention to attacking the hostile regimes in Iraq, Syria and Iran - but the real terrorist threat comes from Islamists from our "allies" - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.

Posted by: vanya at July 17, 2007 06:33 AM

And that's before we even begin to address the weird circumstance where Islamists abroad claim to attack the US for its postmodern culture, while muslims living in the US are arguably the most well-adjusted Islamic diaspora in any western country

Why do you find this weird? The ability of normal Muslims to integrate into and thrive within our culture is precisely why Islamists consider the US such a threat. The Islamists don't want muslims to integrate into the world community.

Posted by: vanya at July 17, 2007 06:37 AM

Regarding the war effort, when any part of our intelligence apparatus produces a report that reflects negatively on the Bush administration or any part of the war effort, it is quickly cited by those on the left as proof of Bush's incompetence, dishonesty and/or failure of the war effort. The veracity of this intelligence is taken as unassailable -- its accuracy beyond dispute.

For instance, recent intelligence reports from the CIA stated that Al Qaeda had rebuilt its capabilities to pre-9/11 levels and that it is concentrated in tribal areas of Pakistan. These reports were pounced upon as proof that the war against terror was a failure -- because we haven't destroyed Al Qaeda and bin Laden -- and as proof that we are wasting our time fighting in Iraq because Al Qaeda is actually elsewhere.

However, when an intelligence report from the administration reflects positively on any of Bush’s claims or the war effort, the left immediately dismisses it as a fabrication designed solely to manipulate public opinion in support of the war or to affect politics.

It is an interesting phenomena, particularly since these same people accuse Bush of cherry-picking intelligence, publishing only the intelligence that supports his claims while brutally suppressing intelligence that does not.

I don't know whether or not Bush cherry-picks intelligence, but even if he does that doesn't make it right for his critics to do the same. One cannot simply assume the truth of one's positions and then use that assumption to rule in or out various intelligence reports.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 17, 2007 06:39 AM

>>>Notice the timing of this release. Timing is everything in politics.

Maybe so. And? Does that make it any less factual? This substitute for a real argument is so childish and tiresome.

When Democrats drop bombshells just before an election, do you question the "timing" and the "true motives" the way you do everytime Bush bats an eyelash? Or do you expect it to be debated on the merits. The info is either true, or it isn't. You can't dismiss it with the usual sidestepping and red herring about "timing".

There are only 365 days in a year. Information could be released on any given day of the year and somebody will always scrutinize the "timing" (as if that has any bearing on the facts). If you take issue with the facts, then argue them.

People are sick and tired of the conspiraloons and their highschool-level politics purporting to know the "true motives" of people and blaming everything on the illuminati and the "timing" and whining about the American "sheeple." Grow up.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 06:58 AM

Vanya wrote:

The ability of normal Muslims to integrate into and thrive within our culture is precisely why Islamists consider the US such a threat.

It's off-topic, but I'd like to bring something to your attention.

While I agree that we have not had the problems that the UK and France have seen with their Muslim communities, I question whether this is due to our Muslims being "better integrated". Since 9/11, there has been quite a string of what one paper called, "Sudden jihad syndrome" in the US.

- Febuary, 2007, Sulejman Talovic, an 18-year-old Bosnian Muslim immigrant, opened fire in a Salt Lake City shopping mall and managed to methodically murder five and wound four others with a shotgun. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Talovic attended Friday prayers at a mosque about a block from the mall.

- A 30-year-old Muslim man, Naveed Afzal Haq, went on a shooting rampage at a Jewish community center in Seattle, announcing "I'm a Muslim-American; I'm angry at Israel." He murdered one woman and injured five more.

- An Egyptian national, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, murdered two and wounded three at an Israeli airline ticket counter at LAX.

- A bearded 21-year-old student, Joel Hinrichs, blew himself up with a backpack filled with TATP (the explosive of choice in the Mideast) outside a packed Oklahoma University football stadium not long after he started attending the local mosque.

- A 23-year-old student, Mohammed Ali Alayed, slashed the throat of his Jewish friend in Houston after apparently undergoing a religious awakening (he went to a local mosque afterward).

- The D.C. snipers — John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, both black Muslim converts — picked off 13 people in the suburbs around the Beltway as part of what Muhammad described as a "prolonged terror campaign against America" around the first anniversary of 9/11, which he had praised.

- Omeed Aziz Popal of Fremont, Calif., hit and killed a bicyclist there then took his SUV on a hit-and-run spree in San Francisco, mowing down pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks before police caught up with him, whereupon the Muslim called himself a "terrorist."

- A 22-year-old Muslim, Ismail Yassin Mohamed, stole a car in Minneapolis and rammed it into other cars before stealing a van and doing the same, injuring drivers and pedestrians, while repeatedly yelling, "Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill" — all, he said, on orders from "Allah."

- A Nashville cabbie made anti-Semitic statements and praised Adolph Hitler’s campaign against Jews during a religious argument that culminated when he ran over one of the passengers as he left the taxi, witnesses said during a hearing . The cab driver, Ibrahim Ahmed, said Hitler was “trying to rid the world of Jews,” the alleged victim, Jeremie Imbus, told the court.

- A 22-year-old Iranian honors student, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, deliberately rammed his SUV into a crowd at the University of North Carolina to "punish the government of the United States" for invading Iraq and other Muslim nations.

You can add to this list the recent plans to murder soldiers at Fort Dix as well as an unknown number of additional jihadist plans uncovered and stopped by the FBI.

The main stream media has carefully ignored this string of Muslim violence and murders. Even the FBI is anxious to tell us, after each such event, that this is not terrorism.

Well, it is not as organized or as deadly as, say, the London Tube bombings or the Paris riots, but is that due to lack of intent?

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 17, 2007 07:02 AM

The 9/11 bombers were mostly Saudi and Egyptian as well. The irony is we devote all our attention to attacking the hostile regimes in Iraq, Syria and Iran - but the real terrorist threat comes from Islamists from our "allies" - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.

This tired old meme again? Ok, we'll try again. That's because there's a difference between the government of Saudi and Pakistan vs extremist elements in the population. In other words, if 99% the population of Pakistan is hostile to us, yet the GOVERNMENT is friendly, they are our ally. We go to war against hostile governments, not populations. See? Thus, declaring friendly governments in Saudi and Pakistan countries would be more than useless, it would severely hurt us. Kay?

The exact same principle applies to Iran, where the government is hostile, but the population isn't-- because we make war on government, NOT populations. I hope that helps. But I know it won't. Memes never die.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 07:17 AM

Thus, declaring friendly governments in Saudi and Pakistan as hostile would be more than useless, it would severely hurt us. Kay?

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 07:19 AM

If you read the quoted section carefully, all it says is that Al Queda has had meetings in eastern Iran. There are plenty of anti-Iranian terrorist groups that operate inside the country), who also happen to conduct meetings inside the country.

There was a report just a few days ago where Al Queda was threatening to attack Iran.

As far as I can tell, Iran has been fighting radical wahabism far longer and more sincerly than perhaps any other country in the world.

Posted by: tg at July 17, 2007 07:22 AM

fp
Yes, the electorate of the USA is divided. No, taking out Saddam and Co. was not a bad idea. Yes, we are still in position to deal with the Iranian situation. No, most ME citizens do not want an American force presence. HOWEVER, that very force presence is allowing the sane people to break through the mullah propaganda and see that the Islamists are really outlaws and unclean spirits. But that breakthrough takes a long time. YEARS!!! Got get a shake and a burger and enjoy a good laugh at something of no consequence. Think POSITIVE!

Posted by: John at July 17, 2007 07:56 AM

tg,
LOL!! Iran has been chanting "Death To America" for 30 years now. Islamofascism takes many forms, wahabism merely one. It strikes me that these radicals aren't really concerned for Islam. It seems rather a much more ancient creed of tribal territorialism that is using the unifying and controlling force of religion as a weapon. It worked for Mohammed.

Posted by: John at July 17, 2007 08:03 AM

So.
The drumbeat for another war, this time in Iran, continues from the same people who guaranteed us that invading iraq was preventing "A mushroom cloud" over Cleveland.

I guess two botched occupations are not enough for the NeoConservative crowd. They want to add another country, more than three times larger than Iraq, to Bush's list of failures.

I can only assume that the neoconservatives will tell us that the invading American forces "will be greeted as liberators" when they march into Tehran.

Posted by: Philadelphia Steve at July 17, 2007 08:08 AM

Who said anything about invading Iran? And "another war"? It is all one war, many battles. "Botched occupations"...LMAO!!! Go back to Mother Sheehan for some more moonbat milk, Steve, the only mushroom cloud around here is in your head.

Posted by: John at July 17, 2007 08:17 AM

Philadelphia,

damn, you people are so easy. Did Israel occupy Iraq when they destroyed Osirak? You probably thought that was a terrible idea too, huh? We didn't move 3 carriers groups into the persian gulf to occupy Iran. Bombing the crap our of their nuclear facilities will do just fine.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 08:17 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/17/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at July 17, 2007 08:22 AM

The USA will be hit again. War is hell. If that scares you, run away. Stomping the Islamofascists into the dirt is well worth the price IMHO.

Posted by: John at July 17, 2007 08:22 AM

Even the FBI is anxious to tell us, after each such event, that this is not terrorism.

The definition of terrorism implies organized support and funding. These people were acting on their own - not that it minimizes the intent.

Posted by: I Blame the Parents at July 17, 2007 08:24 AM

Even the FBI is anxious to tell us, after each such event, that this is not terrorism.

The definition of terrorism implies organized support and funding. These people were acting on their own - not that it minimizes the intent.

Posted by: I Blame the Parents at July 17, 2007 08:24 AM

Now THIS is news!!!;P
http://news.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,30000-1275554,.html

Posted by: John at July 17, 2007 08:35 AM

Somehow, I am unsurprised to hear that AQ is meeting in Iran. But I really, really wish it wasn't turning up in an NIE. Because the administration appears (from what one can see) to be determined to get a war with Iran going before they leave office. (Never mind the practical difficulties of supporting such an effort - like where would the forces come from? Let alone the negative impacts everywhere else in the world.)

But this certainly provides the perfect rationale for a war with Iran:
- AQ is meeting in Iran. Therefore bomb them!
- We're bombing one part of Iran. Therefore bomb lots of other parts while we're at it!
- We've bombed Iran. Therefore might as well send ground troops in from both Iraq and Afghanistan!

No doubt the Congressional authorization from half a decade ago can be used to justify such an attack. After all, it apparently means whatever the administration wants it to mean.

But I keep thinking, suppose we just approached Iran the same way that we did the Soviet Union in the altter parts of the Cold War? The USSR had all the big guns on the side of the government, too. But their empire fell anyway.

Posted by: wj at July 17, 2007 08:40 AM

There is nothing in the released NIE material which says that Iran is hosting meetings of Al Qaida. Nothing. It is only in the unseen "classified" version in which these details supposedly appear. Of course, Eli Lake of the estimable (and read by no one) New York Sun says he knows what's in it. Does that mean that someone within the intelligence community has spilled the beans (whatever happened to "Loose Lips Sink Ships?), or does it mean that a two-bit reporter from a two-bit newspaper supported by right-wing funds has made it all up? That's where my money is, friends...

Posted by: landreau at July 17, 2007 08:50 AM

But I keep thinking, suppose we just approached Iran the same way that we did the Soviet Union in the altter parts of the Cold War? The USSR had all the big guns on the side of the government, too. But their empire fell anyway.

So a 70-year Cold War, with dozens of proxies wars and untold millions dead around the globe as a result, is what you offer as a preferable alternative to taking out Iran's nuke facilities? LMAO! Bush Derangement Syndrome at its finest! Boy, you people are desperate.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 08:52 AM

Even the FBI is anxious to tell us, after each such event, that this is not terrorism.

Now itis hard to define the terrorism

Posted by: seduction at July 17, 2007 08:54 AM

Carlos says We go to war against hostile governments, not populations.

This is precisely why our current anti-terror strategy is worse than useless. It's not 1934 any more. "Governments" in the Middle East are to a shocking extent irrelevant since they are corrupt and isolated, and have very little control over large elements of their populations. Well funded Saudi wahabists clearly present a far greater danger to the lives of US citizens, than the Syrian or Iranian governments do, and are far less amenable to traditional diplomatic pressure. We've already seen clearly in Iraq that taking out the hostile government actually makes the problem worse. I agree that declaring war on our "allies" is not the answer either. But believing that attacking Iran and Syria is going to cow Saudi and Egyptian Islamists into submission is beyond stupid. This is precisely why treating terror as a "war" is counterproductive and dangerous. The answer is focusing on intelligence and black ops, playing divide and conquer with the various terrorist groups rather than encouraging them to ally against us, and encouraging real democratic elements in Egypt and Saudi rather than allowing the corruption to fester the way we did in Iran. If we keep following the present course we won't even have friendly governments in Saudi, Egypt or Pakistan much longer.

Posted by: vanya at July 17, 2007 08:58 AM

Carlos, I've noticed that invoking "Bush Derangement Syndrome," for all its sometime merits, has gotten to be too much of an easy way out. Personally, I'm a conservative, and a life-long Republican. Does that make me a stereotypical candidate for the Syndrome? Somehow, I don't think so.

The fact is that Bush has made a slew of mistakes. Which doesn't mean that he's always wrong -- although he has been reluctant enough to acknowledge them that his credibility is a bit low. And attacking Iran would, IMHO, be another one.

Are you saying that you think
1) it would be a good idea?
2) that Iran wouldn't take bombing its territory (even if AQ was meeting there unsanctioned)?
or
3) the administration does not intend, and will not, make such an attack?

Not to mention, if we did so, where do you suppose we could come up with the troops any time soon?

Posted by: wj at July 17, 2007 09:25 AM

But believing that attacking Iran and Syria is going to cow Saudi and Egyptian Islamists into submission is beyond stupid.

Vanya,

Attacking Iran or Syria isn't for the purpose of cowing islamists, it's for the purpose of cowing Assad and Ahmadinejad. They are a problem different and distinct from the islamists, and should be treated accordingly.

There are two basic threats in the middle east-- 1) hostile governments, 2) islamic terrorism. We have to deal with both, not ignore one for the other.

Problem is, the solution to one may aggravate the other, and vice versa. There's no way around that. Iraq is a perfect example. But that doesn't mean either problem should be ignored. It just means there are no good choices, only bad ones. That's why the middle east is a foreign policy nightmare! Hello! There are no pat answers, and if folks want to blame and second guess, that will happen no matter who's in charge, whether Bush or Jimmy Carter.

So what "reforms" do you suggest? You want to encourage democracy in Egypt, but abandon democracy in Iraq? LOL. Makes a whole heck of a lot of sense!!! Iraq long ago proved the Left doesn't give a RAT'S ASS about "reforms". It's a buzzword to you, and you're unwillingness to stand by Iraqi democracy more than proves that, as far as I'm concerned.

You say wahabists are a greater threat than Ahmadinejad. Even if true, and? That's why we have the Saudi government (our ally)-- to deal with the wahabi threat. The Iranians and wahabis are two separate and distinct threats and should be dealt with accordingly-- not ignore one in favor of the other.

You say Iraq is worse now. Well, I don't know about worse, but certainly we've replaced one problem for another, I won't deny that. Yet better one Ahmadinejad than two as far as I'm concerned.

The current war on terror does include black ops and intelligence. But you don't see them in the headlines BECAUSE they are covert black ops and intelligence. So please stop monday morning quarterbacking our military and intelligence officers. They are risking their lives and dying anonymously while you ignorantly second guess them.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 09:59 AM

wj,

I didn't invoke BDS as an easy way out. I think I was more than clear about why dealing with Iran the way we dealt with the USSR is more than ridiculous. We fought a "cold" war with the USSR because any other type of war with them would have meant the destruction of the human race. The same is not true of Iran. Decades-long cold wars are not an option anymore.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 10:06 AM

>>>Not to mention, if we did so, where do you suppose we could come up with the troops any time soon?

Not to mention that little red herring has been answered and disposed of ad nauseaum. Bombing nuke facilities from the air doesn't require even one pair of boots on the ground. That won't stop somebody else from raising the exact same red herring again in about 6 minutes though.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 10:28 AM

I'd be a lot more hopeful about the "bomb the nuke facilities from the air" approach is I was more confident that our intelligence about where all of them are. And if I thought that such a bombing run would be the effective end of the matter.

But I'm not confident about the quality of our intelligence from inside Iran. And I don't believe that such a bombing run would have no consequences a) in Iraq, b) in Afghanistan, and c) on the oil supplies from around the Gulf.

You may be much more optimistic than I on both counts, of course. But I would sure hate to bet anything important on it. Unless you have some specific reasons to be optimistic that I just haven't come across....

Posted by: wj at July 17, 2007 10:54 AM

The ability of normal Muslims to integrate into and thrive within our culture is precisely why Islamists consider the US such a threat.

Tell that to the French:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110009151

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 11:03 AM

wj,

I'm not optimistic about anything in the middle east. Whatever we do-- or not do-- will have dire consequences. Iran is an islamic theocracy with regional designs. Bombing them is bad, not bombing them is worse. Enough said.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 11:10 AM

I think perhaps I wasn't clear in my point about the level of integration of US muslims versus their counterparts in Europe. I'm not claiming that US muslims are more enlightened. If anything the majority are analogous to antebellum southern slave owners, or upperclass German Nazis -- perfectly polite, warm people who will be happy to explain why "those people" need to be kept in their place, if you would just give them the chance.

I believe the difference is that the US and Canada offer a healthy economy and negligible religious discrimination. Muslims aren't ghettoized or limited to hereditary resident-alien status as they are in Europe and elsewhere, so the bigotry doesn't coalesce into violence. I also suspect the relatively conservative US society is more congenial to conservative Muslims than postmodern Europe.

Posted by: Stacy at July 17, 2007 11:25 AM

I don't believe the alledged facts being allegedly reported here. If Iran was cooperating with Al-Quieda, and we had genuine evidence, you can bet your behind it wouldn't be being hid in classified versions of the NIE. We have very publicly accused Iran of all kinds of things. We would hardly stop at this.

People like the New York Sun like to write columns about we have evidence that Saddamn was cooperating with Al-Quieda too - using as their main data set evidence that Ansar-Al-Islam was operating in what is now Kurdistan in the 1990's, ignoring that Saddamn, thanks to a no-fly zone that was aggressively pushed into a no-drive zone, had no more control over Kurdish Iraq in the 1990's than the Maliki government does right now. Heck, even less than that.

It doesn't surprise me that Al-Quieda has activity in Iran. Al-Quieda's senior leadership is based in the country next door, Pakistan, where a number of militant Sunni groups are in the middle of an violent struggle to destroy the Iranian government and separate its nearest province (ethnic Baluchi? I forget).

It's kind of like claiming you have evidence that Al-Quieda is cooperating with the Maliki government in Iraq, or the Seniora government in Lebanon - because, after all, Al-Quieda members have been spotted in those two countries!!! What other conclusion can we draw!!

Posted by: glasnost at July 17, 2007 12:08 PM

Here's some more evidence of Al-Queda-Iranian partnership .

Psych.

Posted by: glasnost at July 17, 2007 12:14 PM

Psych.

Interesting. It appears to me Iran is playing both sides against the middle, and AQ doesn't like that. Helping the Shiaas against AQ, and AQ against the U.S. This wouldn't be unprecedented or even unusual in a conflict like this.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 12:24 PM

See, if you were an objective interlocutor, Noah, and you were aware of stuff like the above link, you would do your audience the favor of bringing of starkly contrasting evidence like the above. You could still reach any conclusion you wanted: all you'd have to do is justify it. You're either ignorant of this widespread and front-and-center conflict, which takes place all over Arab media as well as on the battlefield, or else you're deliberately choosing not to expose your readers to it.

Neither reflects well. Selective education isn't.

Posted by: glasnost at July 17, 2007 12:24 PM

Vanya said:

"Governments" in the Middle East are to a shocking extent irrelevant since they are corrupt and isolated, and have very little control over large elements of their populations. Well funded Saudi wahabists clearly present a far greater danger to the lives of US citizens, than the Syrian or Iranian governments do, and are far less amenable to traditional diplomatic pressure. We've already seen clearly in Iraq that taking out the hostile government actually makes the problem worse.

This is a contradiction. If it were true that governments in the middle east are "irrelevant" and have "very little control" over their populations, then removing Hussein wouldn't have "made the problem worse" in Iraq.

And if the government of Saudi Arabia, for example, were truly friendly toward us, those "well-funded wahabists" wouldn't be funded at all. They are getting that funding from the Saudi government, who has total control over all of their oil revenues, which is virtually all the revenue they have.

Nor can it be true that the government of Pakistan is friendly toward us -- not if they are tolerating within their borders the presence of the Taliban and a resurgent Al Qaeda, including bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, et al. And not if they refuse to let us launch air strikes and/or send in ground troops to kill the bastards.

Vanya also claimed:

But believing that attacking Iran and Syria is going to cow Saudi and Egyptian Islamists into submission is beyond stupid.

I disagree completely. If both the governments and populations of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt knew -- beyond all doubt -- that permitting terrorist organizations to function in their borders or supporting them financially or otherwise carried with it the risk of an overwhelming and devastating attack by the full might of America's military -- completely unleashed the way it was in WWII against Japan, for instance -- those governments -- and for the most part, the populations as well -- would be doing everything in their power to stop all such terrorist activity, including inviting us to make air strikes on selected areas of their country or invading with ground troops if necessary to kill the bastards. If those countries knew they faced the kind of destruction we visited on Japan in WWII, support and all funding for terrorist organizations would quickly cease.

The one thing despots and tyrants want is to remain in power and they will generally do whatever it takes to accomplish that.

But what have we done since 9/11 to create this kind of motivating fear in regimes that are clearly tolerating and funding terrorist organizations within their own borders?

Bush promised to retaliate and destroy the terrorists. But what kind of retaliation did we inflict?

Bush’s first act was to began an immediate campaign of appeasement by praising the enemy’s ideology. Bush hailed Islam as a “great religion” and invited prominent Muslim clerics to break the fast of Ramadan at the White House.

We declared that this great religion had been hijacked by a tiny minority who were misrepresenting the “true meaning” of Islam. We declared that we accepted the claim that the vast majority of Muslims simply want to live in peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world.

We properly named our initial military action, “Operation Infinite Justice”, but that was quickly dropped because we agreed with the Muslim claim that “only Allah can dispense justice”, thereby legitimizing the notion that religious claims take precedence over our own decisions.

We declared the entire population of the middle east off limits to attack. Thus, the millions that openly celebrated the 9/11 slaughter, the vast collection of Islamic authority figures and imams who for decades had been praying for such destruction on American soil, all of these people were declared off-limits and immediately granted safety.

We agreed that we, the United States, would bear the moral responsibility for any civilian deaths that might occur during our retaliation -- when in fact, and in justice, such moral responsibility must rest with the aggressors that make the retaliation necessary. Here we handed the terrorists a great victory, a victory they could never have achieved on their own: We granted them the right to use human shields -- the right to hide in and among the hordes of Muslims that populate the middle east -- the right to hide safe and secure from our military forces.

Then, out of all the nations known to be complicit in supporting terrorism, including the king of all state supporters, Iran, a nation that is racing to acquire a nuclear weapon to make good on the “Death to America” chant spoken by huge crowds of Iranians at government rallies -- out of all the nations, including Saudi Arabia, who is funding the wahabists and establishing madrassas all over the mid-east to spread Islamic propaganda -- out of all these potential targets we chose to go after the absolute pipsqueak of them all: Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Furthermore, we chose not to attack this pipsqueak directly and with all the weapons we have at our disposal. Instead we used only a tiny fraction of our power and fought through local warlords, who were allowed to make whatever deals they wanted to with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, deals to allow them to slip over the border into Pakistan and escape the few forces we had in country.

We didn’t even dare to drop bombs without also dropping food and medical supplies at the same time, supplies some of which doubtless ended up in enemy hands.

Yes, the Taliban and Al Qaeda thoroughly deserved to be destroyed. But by attacking such a pipsqueak, and by doing so in a manner that let many of them escape, we provoked the opposite of deterrence: a sigh of relief spread across the middle east. America was indeed still a paper tiger without the moral courage to use her overpowering forces.

After Afghanistan, what did we do next?

To be sure, there was plenty of tough talk from President Bush. “You are either with us or you are with the terrorists” he proclaimed as he promised to go after an “an axis of evil”. But once again, rather than go after the biggest threat, Bush chose to attack the relatively secular nation of Iraq.

The attack on Iraq was justified. Hussein was indeed a threat to America; since the invasion, we have learned that he was intent on weaseling his way out of the UN sanctions so he could start-up his WMD program once again.

But the manner in which we have conducted the entire Iraq campaign has done nothing but reinforce our image as a paper tiger.

- Our soldiers fight under ridiculous rules of engagement that explicitly place a higher value on the life of an Iraqi civilian than on the life of an American soldier.

- We continue to allow the insurgents and terrorist to hide safely among civilian populations. Our military is forced to hunt the terrorists the way the police hunt criminals. When terrorists take over a town like Falluja, do we flatten it immediately with massive carpet bombing? No, we give the terrorists plenty of time and notice that we are coming -- so they can escape to another town.

- We capture terrorists and then the Iraqi government lets them go.
.
- Iran openly manufactures advanced IEDs that the insurgents use to kill our troops -- and we do nothing about it.

- Syria permits suicide bombers from all over the middle east to cross into Iraq from their side of the border -- and we do nothing about it.

- We grant the populations of Afghanistan and Iraq the right to from whatever kind of government and chose whatever kind of leaders they wish, and when they form theocracies that enshrine Islam as the law of the land and elect leaders openly sympathetic to Iran -- we do nothing about it.

- When thugs like Sadr form death squads and attack our troops -- we do nothing about it.

We have created the opposite of deterrence: we have created in the minds of the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and Iran the firm belief that they have nothing to fear from America, that it is okay to continue funding terrorists and allowing them to exist within their borders.

We are attempting to fight under suicidal constraints that grant the terrorists every advantage. The notion that we cannot use our overpowering military force because doing so will “solidify the people behind their leaders” is asinine. What solidifies people behind a regime is when it successfully attacks or defies America and gets away with it. What solidifies resistance is a half-assed, limited, partial, appeasing effort to fight under JAG-policed rules of engagement that grant the enemy the right to use any civilian as an unassailable human shield.

We cannot win this way.

To stop the international jihad requires that we throw-off the self-imposed constraints that are now killing us. We must recognize that the right of self-defense gives us the moral right to destroy those who are threatening to destroy us. If a man points a gun at your head, you are not obliged to wait until he pulls the trigger before invoking your right to self-defense -- you can morally shoot him before he shoots you.

We must recognize that in any war, the moral responsibility for all civilian deaths rests squarely with the aggressive regime that makes the war necessary. This does not mean that civilians can be killed gratuitously. But it does mean that if civilians must be killed as part and parcel of the process of destroying those that threaten us, it is not we who must be held accountable -- it is the party that makes our actions necessary, the party that created the threat in the first place.

The civilians of a nation that is threatening its neighbors do not have the right to expect the citizens of the other nation to commit suicide by waiting until the threat is actualized. Nor can they demand perfect targeting by those civilians. There is no right to purchase your own safety and freedom by demanding that others give up their safety and freedom. You cannot demand that others accept risks to their lives so that you can avoid any risk to yours. There is no right to be used as a human shield. There is no right to expect to suffer no consequences from the fact that the government of one’s nation is proposing the destruction of another country.

Accordingly, we should target the biggest sponsor of state terrorism on the planet -- Iran -- and do to it exactly what we did to Japan in WWII. We can do so strictly with air power, without an invasion and without an occupation. There is no need to hang around and attempt nation building -- we simply promise to monitor the situation and return to revisit the destruction should any new threat emerge.

We then tell the rest of the mid-east that if we uncover any evidence of terrorist activity within their borders or any evidence that they are providing any kind of moral or financial support to the bastards, we will visit the same level of destruction on their nation.

I don’t think we’ll have to take down anyone other than Iran. I think the authoritarian regimes in the middle east will put a lid on the jihad in a real hurry.

And please, spare me the standard knee-jerk response that such an attack is genocide. I'm not advocating the killing of Iranians because they are Iranians; I'm advocating the destruction of the Iranian regime because it is bent on OUR destruction and because ending it, and ending it spectacularly, will probably put an end to the support of terrorism by other middle eastern regimes.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 17, 2007 12:56 PM

Helping the Shiaas against AQ, and AQ against the U.S.

What is Al-Quieda? Who are the middlemen claiming that a given set of agents, even terrorists, are in fact Al-Quieda? Hamas is undertaking violent reprisals against Islamic extremists in Gaza this week for bombing Gazans who like internet cafes. Those extremists almost certainly include people that were once in Hamas, or once hung out with Hamas. They may even be talking to Hamas members right now. None of those super-extremist Gazans, for the sake of assumption, have ever attacked the U.S., but they sure talk as though they like Osama. Are they Al-Quieda? If Hamas people have contacts with them, is Hamas supporting Al-Quieda?

You could probably leak an article about that, but you'd be misleading. Because Al-Quieda wants to attack the US, and Hamas wants no part of it. Neither does Iran.

With Iran surrounded by militant non-state Sunni groups on all sides, and all of these Sunni groups operating in the same underground as various Al-Quieda affiliates, there are going to be non-state Sunni groups on Iranian territory, and Iran will probably be talking to them. They can't get away with not talking to their enemies anymore than we were able to avoid talking to Sunni insurgents in Iraq - or the Sadrites.

But "helping Al-Quieda against the US" - meaning deliberately cooperate in plans to attack the US mainland - is something we haven't seen any state on the globe do so far, not even the Taliban.

On the other hand, if we're just talking about blowing up US soldiers in Iraq, then Iran is already helping Shias do that, with no need or reason to help its battlefield enemies do so simultaneously.

Posted by: glasnost at July 17, 2007 12:58 PM

in any war, the moral responsibility for all civilian deaths rests squarely with the aggressive regime that makes the war necessary.

I'll bet five hundred dollars, payable one year from today, that I can find a literally equivalent quote from Osama Bin Laden or Ayman Al-Zawahiri. We'll use an escrow service and let Mike Totten be the judge as to whether the quote is functionally equivalent, i.e. expresses the exact same moral principle. Or, in this case, justification.

Posted by: glasnost at July 17, 2007 01:04 PM

glasnost wrote:

I'll bet five hundred dollars, payable one year from today, that I can find a literally equivalent quote from Osama Bin Laden or Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Sure you can. Posturing as the victims of aggression is a standard Islamist tactic. Osama bin Laden considers the troops we sent to Saudi Arabia to help them and the Kuwaitis eject Hussein from Kuwait in 1991 to be "aggression" on our part.

His definition of aggression is the presence of any infidels on "Muslim land". His line of reasoning is quite clear and goes like this: As far as he is concerned, the government of Saudi Arabia is illegitimate and cannot give permission for US troops to come there. Hence, the U.S. did not really have permission to be in Saudi Arabia in 1991. Hence, we are the aggressors. Hence, his attack on 9/11 was purely retaliatory in nature.

If you want to accept the notion that our action in ejecting Hussein from Kuwait is the moral equivalent of Al Qaeda flying jetliners into office buildings, go right ahead. That's exactly what bin Laden and company are counting on.

After Katrina, one of the looters who was black said his looting was justified because he had been “oppressed” all of his life. You are free to buy into that justification as well. It is equally valid.

The fact that nut cases can dream up all sorts of imagined wrongs -- and then claim that those wrongs give them the right to strike back at society -- proves nothing. It certainly doesn't invalidate our right to self-defense.

Posted by: Michael Smith at July 17, 2007 03:29 PM

>>>What is Al-Quieda?

You didn't ask who AQ was when you cited Al-Jazeera. Now suddenly when any neocon mentions AQ you no longer know who AQ is. LOL. Fine. I've become accustomed to the disingenousness. The answer is there is the Iraqi insurgency, and then there is AQ. The latter consists mostly of foreign fighters. That is AQ. Same in paleostine. Foreign fighters are more than likely AQ, but they might also be Hesbollah, or Iranian special forces.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 04:30 PM

>>>But "helping Al-Quieda against the US" - meaning deliberately cooperate in plans to attack the US mainland - is something we haven't seen any state on the globe do so far, not even the Taliban

Come come now. I didn't say Iran was helping AQ attack the U.S. mainland. Nor have I seen anybody in the administration make that claim. But they are helping the insurgency and AQ in Iraq fight U.S. forces there.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 04:35 PM

On the other hand, if we're just talking about blowing up US soldiers in Iraq, then Iran is already helping Shias do that, with no need or reason to help its battlefield enemies do so simultaneously.

I don't agree with your logic. The reach of shiaa militias is limited. They are only opposing the U.S. in shiaa areas. Yet Iran needs non-shiaas to oppose the U.S. in the rest of Iraq. That's where the sunni insurgency, as well as AQ, comes in. It's a tangle over there obviously.

Posted by: Carlos at July 17, 2007 04:59 PM

Al-Quieda wants to attack the US, and Hamas wants no part of it.

Jerusalem Post, November 8 2006:
Hamas' military wing on Wednesday called on Muslims around the world to attack American targets after an apparent misfiring of an IDF artillery shell in the Gaza Strip.

"America is offering political, financial and logistic cover for the Zionist occupation crimes, and it is responsible for the Beit Hanoun massacre. Therefore, the people and the nation all over the globe are required to teach the American enemy tough lessons," Hamas said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

Posted by: mertel at July 17, 2007 07:16 PM

Time Magazine, Oct 13, 2006
In furtive, underground meetings held in the West Bank and Gaza, a growing number of Hamas commanders say they are running out of patience with the U.S. and want to strike back.

"The U.S. has become very hostile to the Palestinians," one Hamas field commander told TIME. "We shouldn't stand by idly while the Americans are plotting against us."

Posted by: mertel at July 17, 2007 07:19 PM

One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.

I am honestly surprised that anyone thinks this is news.

Look at it from their point of view: it is January 2002. Mazar-e-Sharif has fallen. Northern tribes supported by US airpower are sweeping south, and formerly-loyal locals are now turning on you in hopes of collecting the very large bounties being paid for al Qaeda fighters, or just in hope of not being targeted by 'the bombs that never miss'.

Do you

1) stand your ground and go to paradise or Guantanamo?

or

2) flee to fight another day?

For those not paying attention, most of al Qaeda's leadership chose #2, including Bin Laden, Zawahari, and Mullah Omar. Based on their example, it is reasonable to conclude that most of their followers did the same.

So the plan is to flee.

Your options are

1) Run north, to former Soviet states run by governments who are delighted to have the US to operate from bases in their territory, and would be very happy to collect on those large bounties.

2) Run south or east to Pakistan, where the population (in the tribal areas, at least) may be sympathetic, but who's government has a competent internal security force and is cooperating with the USA

3) Run west to Iran, where the government's semi-official motto is "Death to America!"

Do I need to state the obvious?

In case anyone thinks I am speaking ex ano, or am jumping to conclusions without supporting evidence, here's a story from 2002-

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,198857,00.html

...and 2003-

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0728/p01s02-wome.html

(if you only follow one link, follow that one)

...and one from 2004 regarding the 9/11 commission's findings-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4191-2004Jul21.html

What I don't get is why so many lefties are acting like all of this is a new revelation that must have been manufactured by Bush to justify another war.

Case in point-

I don't believe the alledged facts being allegedly reported here. If Iran was cooperating with Al-Quieda, and we had genuine evidence, you can bet your behind it wouldn't be being hid in classified versions of the NIE. [...]

No, it's being 'hid' in the CSM, WaPo, and Time.

Apparently nobody reads the MSM anymore.

Posted by: rosignol at July 17, 2007 10:22 PM

"if you were an objective interlocutor, Noah"

Obviously Noah is not objective, because he does not agree with glasnost.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 18, 2007 12:18 AM

With respect, I think there's an aspect to Iranian culture which might be overlooked in this thread: it isn't monolithic in any regard and it includes ethnic Arab tribes, which have been problematical to the Iranian government.

It's quite possible that al Qaeda IS operating in Iran but to what end?

I believe al Jazeera itself was banned there and might still be. They were accused of inciting rebellion among the Arab groups in the Southwest.

Here are a couple of links:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/24/news/web.0124iran.php

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3EC09F90-D829-4FD9-B4CE-DD5078468EED.htm

Apparently this region is not only oil rich - but the Arab tribes, according to the second piece, are expressing interest in seceding from Iran. There have been bombings and other violence there.

Also Iran is holding territory - islands - in the Persian Gulf which are contested and may have belonged in the past to Arabs.

http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-236/0707077018174058.htm

Posted by: Sophia at July 18, 2007 12:19 AM

Michael Smith,
the Iranians do not "go chanting in huge crowds". They have to pay for buses packed and payed for moonbats in distant backward areas to create that effect in your mind. It is very similar to the "masses" in communist countries. In Iran you get even a dinner and city tour granted by "masses makers". Chanting and shopping free tourist agency.

Posted by: Czechmade at July 18, 2007 04:28 AM

Ros, your logic ain't bad, and yet the overwhelming consensus of intel is that they all went to Pakistan. That's a great article from 2003 in CSM, a publication I respect, but Zawahiri is in Pakistan. We've tried to kill him there recently at least once. The article is wrong.

So why did they all go to Pakistan instead of Iran? And why are they still in Pakistan instead of Iran, even though we know they're there? Is it, perhaps, because Iran is not, in fact, a hospitable environment for them?

I've read stories about the Sunni fanatic groups in Pakistan that run raids into Iran to blow up Iranian border installations. Those are the people Al-Quieda is palling around with. If there are Al-Quieda members in Iran, they're certainly hiding amongst alienated minorities in the Iran-Pakistan border, and more interested in blowing up Iran than the U.S.

Posted by: glasnost at July 18, 2007 07:38 AM

Sure you can. Posturing as the victims of aggression is a standard Islamist tactic.

You don't get it, Mike. You absolutely, fundamentally don't get it. The point is that your original quote is a word-perfect example of the total absence of morality or empathy that is the signature characteristic of terrorist organizations. Unless you consider morality to be, "he hit me first, so I can do whatever the f*ck I want."

Let's put it up again, shall we?

in any war, the moral responsibility for all civilian deaths rests squarely with the aggressive regime that makes the war necessary

Your "solutions" to modern problems all seem to start with killing a million or two civilians in the next couple of weeks/months. Those are sort of like Osama Bin Laden's solutions. Maybe that's why your absolutist logic reminds me of his. To make the point more clearly: you sound like a terrorist. Your logic is indistinguishable, as is your overwhelming paranoia and obsession.

Shall we put the quote up again?

in any war, the moral responsibility for all civilian deaths rests squarely with the aggressive regime that makes the war necessary.

You're loathsome. Go away. Get some help.

Posted by: glasnost at July 18, 2007 07:50 AM

glasnost,

You are funny. Are you a clown/comedian in real life? Or just an angry nobody spewing idiocy? In any war involving the USA it is the moral responsibilty of the USA to come out on top. Like with the USSR and its idiotic glasnost and perestroika (sp?). LMAO!!! You are not loathsome, but you are pathetic....and trivial. Now entertain me with some more of your foolish rantings.

Posted by: John at July 18, 2007 02:20 PM

Ros, your logic ain't bad, and yet the overwhelming consensus of intel is that they all went to Pakistan.

Please excuse my skepticism at your in-depth familiarity with the CIA's files on al Qaeda.

Would you happen to have any supporting evidence you can reveal, or even logical reasons why a group of people who hate and fear the United States would not seek refuge in a country who's semi-official motto is "Death to America"?

That's a great article from 2003 in CSM, a publication I respect, but Zawahiri is in Pakistan. We've tried to kill him there recently at least once. The article is wrong.

How does the presence of Zawahari in Pakistan- or any other country- prove there are no al Qaeda in Iran?

So why did they all go to Pakistan instead of Iran?

Who says they all went to Pakistan? Some al Qaeda, sure. All of them? No.

And why are they still in Pakistan instead of Iran, even though we know they're there?

We do not know any such thing. I am beginning to think you are being deliberately obtuse.

Is it, perhaps, because Iran is not, in fact, a hospitable environment for them?

Glasnost, what you are doing is called 'speculation', not 'reasoning', 'logic' or even your usual 'making an unsupported assertion and refusing to supply evidence because it would take too long to google it'.

You used to be much better at this.

Posted by: rosignol at July 18, 2007 07:15 PM

Ok, Ros, you asked for it, you got it. Here's General Petraeus. Not because I went to find it for you, but because it happened to cross my path today:

http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/Transcript_Page.aspx?ContentGuid=484182dc-bf7c-42a7-ac74-9e270a9ef0f2

David Petraeus to Hugh Hewitt:

DP: Well, there is an al Qaeda affiliate, I think is the best way to put it. Certainly, they’re under the overall banner of al Qaeda, an element formerly Ansar al Sunna, some of their members, another group affiliated with al Qaeda, that is located in Northwestern Iran, just east of the Iraqi border, east of the Iraqi-Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah. They have come into Iraq. Our operators and Iraqi operators have conducted strikes against them. And we believe, in fact, that Iran may have actually taken some steps against them as well. They’re not sitting there at the invitation of Iran,

If you think Iran and Al-Quieda are on the same side, you are either not tapped into the situation , or else ignoring piles of evidence on purpose. They're not play-fighting to throw us off the trail.

Read this.

Then read
this.

Now, construct a coherent theory of Al-Quieda cooperation with Iran that takes into account the active and persistent killing of each other by each other.

Posted by: glasnost at July 19, 2007 05:20 PM

First link didn't work.

http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370046

Posted by: glasnost at July 19, 2007 05:31 PM

glasnost,
Ansar al Islam is in Northwest Iran,
you moron. They run in Iraq under the banner of al Qaeda. The Iraqi leadership in question is in Tehran/ eastern Iran. Your condescending attitude merely highlights your obtuseness. It is no longer entertaining.

Posted by: John at July 19, 2007 05:46 PM

If you are really concern with the situation PLEASE read and learn MORE. Not all Shi'a and Sunni branches are the same. As a matter of fact there lots of Sunnis living in southern and northwestern part of Iran (minority group that it is believed that their right has been neglected by the government like many other minority groups in Iran such as Turks, Balouch, Chrisians, Jews,...) , which are more like the branch of Sunni people in Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Syria and many other Muslim countries, but the Wahabi branch (the branch of Sunnis mostly in Saudi Arabia) is the most conservative among Muslims and it is in their "to do list" to kill Shi'as to go to heaven and erase their other sins. Iran has been under attach from this branch for so many years from Afghanistan and Pakestan, and they have killed so many people in Iran [a group name Jundallah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jundallah)], which is believed to be supported by US [ http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/04/abc_news_exclus.html ]. And even during the time that US was a closed ally with Taleban, Iran was the biggest enemy of them because of its own security.
Iran is bad , evil, ..., no problem with that and in my opinion there are so many concerns US can peak on like nuclear weapon, human rights issues, lots of terrorist attacks in France and Argentina... but the most stupid thing is to link it to al qauda!!! It means that you have no idea about Muslims and middle east. Iran has the power in Iraq, Iraqi government is Shi'a, Iran is happy and now what it wants is a stable shi'a ally in neighbour country instead of an old enemy (Saddam) , it is Saudi Arabia's misery that a Sunni government has been handed to a shi'a government. GET REAL!

Posted by: Sarah at July 22, 2007 04:48 AM

wahabists working with Iran huh....news to anyone who knows anything about that region.

Posted by: t rog at August 17, 2007 05:29 AM

the truth is that most of the people in Iran are normal people like most of the people in the U.S. A small minority is used to war monger and kill and create fear for the elites to do what they want to us. People are such suckers and dupes....its how they've moved your puppet strings for centuries. "wake up"?

Posted by: matt at August 17, 2007 05:32 AM
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