October 31, 2011 1 Comment
Extensive range of covert operations envisaged by US Congress
by Ismail Salami
October 31, 2011
The US secret agenda for tightening its vice-like grip on the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken on an apparently new form after the anti-Iran alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, raised many eyebrows among experts and analysts around the world.
With a strong penchant for pushing for tougher action on Iran, the Obama administration has already imposed a series of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, a Republican-controlled congressional committee has recently heard testimony demanding an extensive range of covert operations against the country.
The operations, which range from cyber attacks to political assassinations, are speculated to be conducted under the feeble excuse that Iran was the alleged architect of an assassination plot against the Saudi envoy to the United States. By political assassination, the US congressmen unconsciously mean the liquidation of the Iranian nuclear scientists, an act they actually started long ago.
Retired Army Gen. John Keane told a hearing of two key subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday, “We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now. Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who kill others.”
Also, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) poured some pearls of wisdom over others and called for “sober, reasoned discussion.”
“Iran’s leaders must be held accountable for their action,” she said, “but we cannot take any reckless actions which may lead to opening another front in the ‘War on Terror,’ which the American people do not want and cannot afford.”
Naturally, the US government, in essence, cannot afford to wage another war at least in view of the economic woes it has wrought upon the American citizens, regardless of other influencing factors.
The stone that started rolling fell into the hands of New York Congressman Peter King who made an extremely bizarre comment. He suggested that the US should kick out Iranian officials at the UN in New York and in Washington and accused them of being spies, ignorant of the fact that the UN is considered an independent international body and that the US has no authority to ‘kick out’ diplomats accredited there en masse.
Overwhelmed with a sense of false eagerness, he renewed the anti-Iran alleged assassination ploy and said excitedly, “So you have the assassination of a foreign ambassador, you have the willingness to kill hundreds of Americans — this is an act of war,” King said, “I don’t think we can just do business as usual or even carry out sanctions as usual.”
The volley of vitriolic words against Iran which issued from Mr. King reeks of blind enmity long egged on by other hawks in Washington.
In point of fact, the anti-Iran moves practically started in 2007 when US Congress agreed to George W. Bush, the then US president, to fund a major increase in covert operations against Iran. According to the intelligence officials who spoke to the Blotter on ABCNews.com, the CIA was then given a presidential approval to commence its covert ‘black’ operations inside Iran. To that effect, over four hundred million dollars were allocated in a Presidential Finding signed by George W. Bush. The ultimate goal of the finding was to cripple Iran’s religious government and the operations involved throwing support behind minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchis and other opposition groups as well as amassing intelligence about Iran’s nuclear sites.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, the intelligence officials confirmed that Bush had signed a “nonlethal presidential finding”, giving the CIA carte blanche to engage in any sabotaging activities including a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions in order to destabilize and eventually achieve regime change in Iran.
“I can’t confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime,” said Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA senior official, an expert on Iran and the Middle East (ABCNEWS.com May 22, 2007).
In June 2007, The New Yorker magazine also ran a similar story by Seymour Hersh, confirming that the finding had been signed by Bush and intended to destabilize the Islamic government.
“The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”
From an intelligence point of view, the fact that the US government is resorting to covert black operations against Iran rules out the possibility of a military strike against the country.
According to reports, US ambassadors in Islamabad have repeatedly asked for opening a consulate in the province of Baluchistan, a suspicious demand from the US. In 2011, the call was renewed by US ambassador Cameron Munter to Islamabad. Persistence in this demand is to be taken seriously. Baluchistan is strategically important as it is a harbor for the anti-Iran terrorist group, Jundullah, in the first place and a separatist Pakistani province in the second place.
In fact, Washington greatly favors the establishment of a ‘Greater Baluchistan’ which would integrate the Baluch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran. Military expert Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters suggests that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: ‘Greater Baluchistan’ or ‘Free Baluchistan’ (June 2006, The Armed Forces Journal). As a result, this would incorporate the Baluch provinces of Pakistan and Iran into a single political entity which can be tailored to suit the interests of Washington.
So it seems that the US harbors two main ulterior motives if this demand is answered. First, it can fulfill its dream of establishing the Greater Baluchistan, consolidate firm presence in this separatist part of Pakistan and secondly, it will be in a position to avail itself of this influence to carry out its sabotaging activities within Iran.
Earlier in 2007, the Blotter on ABCNews.com revealed the role of the US government in backing the terrorist Iranian group , which is responsible for a number of gruesome assassinations of the Iranian civilians on the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The terrorist group spares no efforts in sowing the seed of terror in the southern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan and their lust for murder and cruelty knows no remission. The victims the group has so far claimed include many women and children who have become the direct target of their killing. In July 2010, the group mounted a pair of suicide attacks on a major Shi’ite mosque in the city of Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan Province, killing dozens of worshippers and wounding over 100 people.
Although US officials deny any ‘direct funding’ of the terrorist group, they acknowledge that they are in contact with the leader of the group on a regular basis. A similar terroristic attack was launched by the same group on a mosque in Zahedan in May 2009, which led to the martyrdom of many worshippers.
Sadly enough, Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) implicitly supports the group and reportedly shelters some of its high-profile members in coordination with the CIA.
Isn’t it paradoxical that Jundullah, a terrorist group and an offshoot of al-Qaeda, is directly funded by the US government which keeps bandying about its so-called ‘war on terror’ in the world?
This is enough to cause the US to hang its head low in shame and humility.
Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian author and political analyst. A prolific writer, he has written numerous books and articles on the Middle East. His articles have been translated into a number of languages.