Skip to comments.'We Will Cut Them Until Iran Asks For Mercy'
Posted on 01/14/2006 5:46:28 PM PST by blam
'We will cut them until Iran asks for mercy'
By Massoud Ansari
Deep in the lawless triangle connecting Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, eight terrified Iranian soldiers are being held hostage by a Sunni group that is vowing to "slaughter" them if Teheran does not bow to its demands.
"We will chop their heads once our deadline is over," Abdul Hameed Reeki, chief spokesman of the Jundallah or Brigade of God group, told the Sunday Telegraph, slowly drawing an index finger across his neck to demonstrate the seriousness of his intent.
The deadline for the men is tomorrow.
The emergence of a fanatical Sunni group operating inside Iran's south-eastern border poses a startling new threat to the country's Shia clerical regime.
It already faces a crisis with the West over its nuclear ambitions, the risk of pre-emptive Israeli strikes and the undermining by a Sunni-dominated insurgency of the pro-Iranian regime which has begun to emerge in neighbouring Iraq.
Now, Iran's own Sunnis, who number six million of the country's 68 million population and are the majority in some south-eastern provinces, are becoming restless - and groups like Jundallah are emerging from the shadows.
The eight members of the Iranian border security police were kidnapped by the group near the Gadarnahouk post in the Sarawan region and south-eastern city of Zahedan last month. Now, they find themselves being offered as bargaining chips in exchange for the release of 16 of their captors' colleagues, jailed by the Iranian government.
In his first media interview, Hameed, 27, said: "If they release our men, we will release soldiers but if they don't, we will chop their heads off and will send them as a gift to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [the Iranian president]."
The desolate plains of Ribat, which straddle the border with Pakistan and are infested with bandits, drug traffickers and rebel tribesmen are the perfect place for an insurrection.
Armed with assorted rifles, hand grenades and a few anti-aircraft guns, the group has been operating from Iran's lawless borderlands for the past four years.
They claim to have killed 400 Iranian soldiers in hit-and-run operations. Teheran's Shia government has accused the US of supporting the Sunni group and is trying to persuade President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to intercede on behalf of the eight hostages.
But the Jundallah deny any link with either the US or the Pakistani government. Although they hold out little hope of their 16 members being freed, they hardly appear to care. "If they hang all the 16 of our colleagues, we do not mind because we know they would be martyrs and will go straight to heaven," said Hameed.
Killing the hostages might be necessary, he suggested, to deter Iranian soldiers from killing innocent Sunnis, who he claimed were being persecuted by Mr Ahmedinejad's hard-line regime. "We will cut them, cut them and cut them until they ask for the mercy and Teheran is compelled to give us our political rights," he declared.
He said that Iran, which announced this week that it was breaking seals on three nuclear plants in order to resume sensitive nuclear fuel cycle work, was just a "screwdriver turn away from manufacturing a bomb". He added: "Once they do it, they will become a mad elephant and will be a real threat to the world peace."
Although Jundallah had just 1,000 trained fighters, he said, it had the dedication needed to defeat the Iranian army - particularly if some help were to prove forthcoming from the West.
"Our determination is mightier than the mountains and if we are provided with a little back-up from outside, we have the guts to take over, if not Teheran, but at least the Sunni majority province of Iranian Baluchistan within a week's time," he said.
Another option, he added, was to assassinate Iranian leaders, perhaps even Mr Ahmadinejad. The group has already been accused by the Iranian government of an attack on presidential security forces last month.
It supplied two compact discs to the Sunday Telegraph, showing chilling footage of their captives being paraded and threatened.
The group says it is spurred by the way that Iran's 90 per cent Shia majority and its government, dominated by Shia clerics, persecutes its Sunni population and denies them their rights.
"No Sunni has a right to become a president, prime minister or even a minister in the Iranian government," said Hameed.
"Between 12,000 and 15,000 Sunnis in the Iranian Baluchistan province have been hanged and scores jailed since the Shia revolution of 1979," he claimed, adding that human rights organisations were prevented from reaching areas to verify the figures.
"Only the centre of Iran is dominated by the Shia, while Sunnis are in the majority along three sides of the border and all of them are victims of the reign of terror."
All the senior figures of Jundallah had been motivated to found and join the group by injustices they had experienced personally, said Hameed. Its leader, Abdul Malik Baluchi, 25, launched the group after his brother and uncle were killed in separate encounters with the Iranian police.
Nasir Kurd, 28, said he joined after his brother was convicted and hanged on "trumped up" charges and his wife was raped and killed in front of him by Iranian soldiers. The Iranian government was offering a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest, Hameed said.
Asked whether the satellite telephone he was holding might not lead to his being located, he allowed himself a smile. "We are not fighting against America," he said.
Support for Jundallah was growing, he said. "There are hundreds of others who are desperate to sign in, but we ask them to wait because we do not have enough weapons or camps."
Hameed said Jundallah would not be satisfied until full political rights had been secured for Iran's Sunnis and a more democratic government installed. "This is just the beginning We will fight till the day of persecution is over."
"Can't we build a huge strategic toilet and just flush the middle east down it."
Wouldn't work. The middle east is already toilet-bowl central. Flushing it down would just churn the S##t.
The Shia, and the Sunni, each consider the other group to be apostate, which is *worse* than being an infidel...
No, because crazy people never know they are crazy.
Islam. The religion of peace.
Scary, isn't it?
*sigh* That's what everyone keeps telling us.
Baluchistan is well suited to guerilla ops.
What's the area like? Similar to Hindu Kush? I don't know anything about this region.
Yeah, and I throw up a little bit every time I hear it.
"We will turn them one against the other." - George W. Bush, addressing the nation following the terror attacks of 9/11/01
Interesting! Thanks for posting.
Pretty forbidding country, a lot of it. There are successive ranges between the coast and the northern mountains, like southern Arizona or southwestern New Mexico, say. There are wide sand deserts. There are high mountains in the north at the tri-border area where Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan meet. There are small fishing settlements along the coast, and villages dotting the interior wherever the land is fertile enough to support livestock.
Baluchistan is a province in Pakistan. It borders Iran....the Baluchis are Sunni muslims of the Wahabbi kind.
It doesn't seem as if the Iranian forces are equipped to handle a fight in this terrain. I wonder if the kidnapped soldiers were the whole outpost on the border. As they say, one can only await further developments with great interest!
Wow! Formidable place.