Diplomatic Blackmail, Hostage-Taking: Irans Main Instrument To Advance Its Foreign Policy
"If the oppressed people of Lebanon do not take hostages, then what else can they do? - Irans former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Nov. 7, 1986
In the 1980s, Tehran perfected the art of using hostage-taking as a profitable instrument of advancing its foreign policy. Iran, indeed, has used terrorism as part of its overall policy of exporting fundamentalism and expanding its sphere of influence in the Middle East and beyond.
It is no different in Iraq today.
Irans clerical regime exploits religion to legitimize acts of terror by calling them divine duties. The mullahs promise the perpetrators of such actions "a place in heaven." This religious factor generates intense hatred and catastrophic results. Some of the most devastating blows have been delivered through suicide missions.
Although not new to the world, terrorism has acquired qualitatively different dimensions since Irans Islamic fundamentalist government came to power in 1979. The doctrine of Bast (expansion) of the Islamic Revelation has been the cornerstone of their foreign policy since the early days of the clerical rule.
In a book entitled Principles of the Foreign Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the tasks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been defined as:
Noting in particular the far-reaching and enormous objectives of the Islamic Republic with regards to the export of revolution and the liberation movements, social groups and even ordinary citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must adopt guidelines needed to coordinate the activities of different organs involved in the field of foreign policy.
All subversive activities in any given country are carried out with the involvement or knowledge of the local Iranian embassy there. In Islamic countries, Tehrans diplomatic offices establish ties with indigenous fundamentalist Islamic forces. They provide these forces with pro-Iranian propaganda and gradually sustain them with financial support.
The images of the victims and the targets are for the most part associated with Tehran. The grim faces of hostages pleading with their governments, hijacked planes sitting on the tarmacs, collapsed buildings and charred bodies, even of children, are too frequent to ignore.
The occupation of the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979 signaled an ominous beginning and gave the world a glimpse of what was yet to come. The 1980s witnessed the tragic saga of the U.S. and other Western hostages held captive by Tehran's proxies in Lebanon, where the mullahs bargained with the West, not only to reap economic windfalls, but to harvest political concessions.
In late 1980s and early 1990s, the clerics realized that they could gain more from releasing rather than keeping the hostages. True to their colors, Iran appeasers rushed to cheer Tehrans reformation and penchant to use its good offices. The cheerleading provided cover for normalizing relations with an otherwise loathsome regime.
Tehran has also used terrorism as an effective means to communicate with the Western world. When the departure of an Iranian cargo ship from an Italian port was delayed for a few days because an Iranian sailor had requested political asylum in 1986, Tehran retaliated by preventing Italian nationals, including diplomats, from leaving Iran.
And when Iran-Swiss relations soured over the arrest of a top Iranian terrorist in Switzerland in 1992, a Swiss businessman disappeared in Tehran, only to turn up as hostage a few days later.
Even today, Tehran uses the same technique. Last September, when the Scotland Yard detained Irans ex-ambassador to Argentina Hadi Soleimanpour for his role in the 1994 Jewish Center car bombing, Iranian agents carried out drive-by shootings against the British Embassy in Tehran. A few weeks later, a court in London released Soleimanpour on the basis of legal technicalities.
Today in Iraq, from all indications, Tehrans proxies are behind much of the abduction of foreign nationals. The objective is to coerce other members of the Coalition to cut and run, leaving the United States isolated in the country. The ever-unscrupulous mullahs then offer to act as an arbiter in the chaos and anarchy that they themselves have fomented in the first place.
The Lebanon experience of the 1980s should serve as a stark reminder that any leniency towards Tehran and its creeping meddling in Iraq would only serve to consolidate Iranian influence in that country. We should meet Tehrans challenge head-on. Relying on the good offices or good will of Americans most dangerous nemesis would be an exercise in futility.
USADI Dispatch is a weekly commentary of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran http://www.americandaily.com/item/5543
PENTAGON PAL GAVE IRAN SECRETS: MAG
The NY Post
May 3rd, 2004
BY DEBORAH ORIN
WASHINGTON - U.S. spy agencies claim Iraqi leader Ahmed Chalabi, who has close Pentagon ties, may have given Iran's ayatollahs some top-secret tips on U.S. actions in Iraq and that could "get people killed," it was reported yesterday.
The Newsweek report claims electronic intercepts show Chalabi gave Iran "sensitive" tips about U.S. political plans in Iraq - but gives no details - and says there are "indications" that Chalabi leaked details of U.S. security operations.
A Chalabi aide dismissed the report as "absolutely false" - and some Pentagon officials countered that Chalabi had provided information that saved American lives. The anti-Chalabi leak to Newsweek appears to be part of the behind-the-scenes struggle for power and influence in Iraq when sovereignty is transferred on June 30, leading to elections next year.
Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress, has been favored by some Pentagon officials to become leader of a free Iraq - but the CIA and State Department have a long and intense dislike for him.
"Rushing to judgment and cutting off this relationship could have unintended consequences," one Pentagon official said.
But the CIA and State Department are pushing the claim that Chalabi is playing a double game with Iran's fundamentalist ayatollahs, Newsweek said. http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/23620.htm