Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Danger from Iran

I read Executive Orders by Tom Clancy in 2002. Clancy is the man who is simply more imaginative (key word there) than any person in government. In 1994, he wrote Debt of Honor, which ended with a Japanese airline pilot flying a jumbo jet into the Capitol while Congress was in session, killing all the Congressmen. Most of the Washington intelligence and counterterrorism geniuses couldn't even conceive such a thing on 9-11-01.

In Executive Orders, Clancy wrote about an Iranian plan to attack the US through biological weapons and a long-term plan to kill the president through a sleeper agent who became part of the Secret Service's presidential detail.

Today, the executive director of the invaluable MEMRI analyzes the signals from Iran that the mullahcracy wants to initiate or at least foment an attack in the US and the Iranians' view of US Muslims:

There are growing indications that Iran may be planning an attack on American soil. These indicators are not secret — they appear in speeches,newspaper articles, TV programs, and sermons in Iran by figures linked to the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other government officials, all discussing potential Iranian attacks on America, which will subsequently lead to its destruction.

A report on May 28 in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that an Iranian intelligence unit has established a center called “The Brigades of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening.” The paper claimed that it had obtained a tape with a speech by Hassan Abbassi, a Revolutionary Guards intelligence theoretician who teaches at Al-Hussein University. In the tape, Mr. Abbassi spoke of Tehran’s secret plans, which include “a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization.” In order to accomplish this, he explained,“There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them.”

It was reported that America expelled two Iranian security guards employed by Tehran’s U.N. offices on June 29, after the mission was repeatedly warned against allowing its guards to videotape bridges, the Statue of Liberty, and New York’s subway system.This was the third time the Iranians have been caught in such activities, which could be connected to the sites mentioned in potential plans to attack America.

Mr. Abbassi’s speech further detailed that “[Iran’s] missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader [Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations.” In fact over the past few months, Mr. Khamenei has been vocal about the impending “destruction of the U.S.” In May, he was quoted in the Iranian paper Jomhouri-Ye Eslami as saying that “the world will witness the annihilation of this arrogant regime.” On July 5, in front of a crowd chanting, “Woe to the enemy if Khamenei commands me to wage jihad,” Mr. Khamenei said, “If someone harms our people and invades our country, we will endanger his interests anywhere in the world.”

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“Time bombs within America” is how Iranian lawmaker Hamid-Reza Katoziyan described Muslims within America, who could be behind future terrorist attacks here. Speaking on Iranian TV channel Jaam-E-Jam 2 on July 27, Mr. Katoziyan warned: “The whole group of people belonging to the Arab community and . . . Muslims living in the U.S. are currently, in my opinion, in a special situation. Perhaps they do not walk the streets with weapons in their hands or attach bombs to themselves in order to carry out a suicide operation, but the thought is there.”

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The report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States asks: “September 11 was a day of unprecedented shock . . . The nation was unprepared . . . How can we avoid such tragedy again?” Taking seriously Iran’s threatening words and actions is an important first step.

It's time for more echoing of Michael Ledeen's refrain on taking out the mullahs in Iran: faster, please.

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