Thursday, July 08, 2004

Iran Update: Remember July 8

July 8 marks the fifth anniversary of the Iranian mullahcracy's massacre of protesting university students. The security forces are apparently out in force to prevent the Iranian people from commemorating the anniversary and voicing their displeasure with the mullahs. Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi & Elio Bonazzi at National Review Online have more, while Roger L. Simon has information on how you can help.

As I have commented before, it is vital that the US stand behind the Iranian people and support them in their struggle for freedom. Just as the Khomeini revolution of 1979 fueled the rise of radical Islamism throughout the region, so a democratic revolution in Iran would help spark further democratic change in the Islamic world. Just as important, it would spell the end of the mullahcracy, a symbol of anti-Americanism and radical Islamism. The Iranian regime continues to speed ahead with its nuclear program, and remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism.

Within the last week, two ominous stories surfaced that demonstrate the continued terrorist threat posed by the mullahcracy. On June 29, US authorities announced the expulsion of two security guards from Iran's UN mission in New York, for activities consistent with terrorist surveillance of sensitive sites. They were the third set of guards expelled for such activities within the last two years. On Monday July 5 in Baghdad, US and Iraqi forces apprehended two individuals carrying explosives who claimed to be Iranian intelligence officers.

As the Washington Post noted in a June 22 article, a group called the "Army of Martyrs of the International Islamic Movement" recently appeared in Iran:

The group, which claims to be private, began gathering the signatures of Iranians who would be willing to become suicide bombers. So far, the group says, 15,000 people have completed a one-page form headed "Preliminary Registration for Martyrdom Operations." The form has space for a phone number and asks applicants to indicate whether they would prefer to explode themselves against U.S. forces in sacred Shiite Muslim cities in Iraq or Israeli forces in the Palestinian territories, or to kill Salman Rushdie, the author who went into hiding for years after a religious edict demanded his death for mocking Islam in his book "The Satanic Verses."

Such threats may not seem like a big deal, but it is important to remember that Iran has a history of successful terrorist attacks against American targets, from the US embassy in Beirut in 1983, to Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia in 1996. Just as worrisome, as the Post reported on June 26, is that the mullahcracy has ties to al-Qaeda that go back over a decade.

Last October, the Post reported that Osama bin Laden's son Saad was in Iran and playing an active leadership role in al-Qaeda:

Like other al Qaeda leaders in Iran, the younger bin Laden, who is believed to be 24 years old, is protected by an elite, radical Iranian security force loyal to the nation’s clerics and beyond the control of the central government, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials. The secretive unit, known as the Jerusalem Force, has restricted the al Qaeda group’s movements to its bases, mostly along the border with Afghanistan.

Also under the Jerusalem Force’s protection is Saif al-Adel, al Qaeda’s chief of military operations; Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, the organization’s chief financial officer, and perhaps two dozen other top al Qaeda leaders, the officials said. Al-Adel and Abdullah are considered the top operational deputies to Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri, who communicate with underlings almost exclusively through couriers.

The best allies that America has in the struggle against the mullahs are the Iranian people themselves. We must stand by them and do everything possible to help, while isolating the mullahcracy. American military action in Iran is neither feasible nor desirable. However, if we fail to aid the Iranian people in their drive for democracy, we may find that force is the only option we have left.


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