According to the London Sunday Telegraph (Feb. 25), the CIA is supporting opposition militias in Iran rooted among national minorities “that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.” Such methods include “bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.” The terrorist actions, funded directly from the CIA’s secret budget, are conducted by discontented Azeries, Kurds, Arabs and Baluchis who collectively comprise about 40% of Iran’s population.
The paper quotes Fred Burton, a former State Department counter-terrorism agent: “The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime.” That is to say, the US is deliberately exploiting ethnic divisions in Iran to destabilize the country -- precisely what it has accused Iran of trying to do in Iraq.
On May 6, 2006, a Baluchi group called Jondollah attacked Revolutionary Guards in the city of Zahedan, killing 11. According to Fars news agency, the weapons used in the attack were British and American made. That is to say, the Iranians could probably display physical evidence of US meddling in Iran as persuasive as the “made in Iran” IED components recently put on display by anonymous US officials in Baghdad.
The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) is a curious organization of self-styled “Islamic Marxists” opposed to the Tehran regime that has several thousand fighters in Iraqi camps. Once under Saddam’s wing, fighting on the Iraqi side in the Long Iran-Iraq War, they have been under U.S. protection since the 2003 invasion. According to Douglas Pike, who heads the Global Security think tank in Washington, “A faction in the Defense Department wants to unleash them. They could never overthrow the current Iranian regime but they might cause a lot of damage.” The really curious thing here is that the MEK is on Washington’s own list of international “terrorist” organizations!
The newspaper indicates that a Baluchi Sunni group called the Brigade of God, which kidnapped and killed 8 Iranian soldiers last year, has been “taking American money.” It also mentions Pejak, a Kurdish party linked to Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (also listed as “terrorist” by the State Department) as a possible recipient of US aid. Pike declares, “The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted [sic] up over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity.”
That is to say, if the US can accuse Iran of abetting “terrorism” in Iran by aiding Shiite militias, the Iranians can accuse the US of the same sort of activity. It can even cite the western press and US security experts in pressing its charges, and note the extraordinary hypocrisy of working with people whom it has itself declared “terrorists”!
The paper does note dryly that the terrorist “operations are controversial” but doesn’t explain exactly who’s uncomfortable with them. The CIA? The Defense Department? The Office of the Vice President? (“We have to work the dark side, if you will,” Dick Cheney has famously stated.) The State Department? Telegraph journalists? Such “dark side” involvements, plainly violating international law and inviting universal revulsion, ought to be condemned in editorials and investigated by Congress and world courts. They ought to cause not controversy but outrage among the American people.
Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
Other Articles by Gary Leupp
* AIPAC Demands “Action” on Iran
* From Cana to
Qana: From the Wedding Then, To a Slaughter of Innocents Now
of the Holocaust”: More Disinformation on Iran
* “Ideologies of
Hatred”? What Does Condi Mean?