Saturday, February 10, 2007

White House To Accuse Iran of Harboring Al Qaeda

The Bush administration's attempts to prepare the American public for a possible attack upon Iran will soon involve allegations that Iran is harboring members of Al Qaeda.

One problem with this info-op, Iran has been capturing and holding high-value Al Qaeda operatives when they can, and have offered -- with no success -- to hand them over to the United States (in exchange for appropriate consideration, of course).

This has been widely reported for several years, but what makes it noteworthy now is the planned PR campaign to allege that Iran is in cahoots with America's deadly enemy.

Last week, the CIA sent an urgent report to President Bush's National Security Council: Iranian authorities had arrested two al-Qaeda operatives traveling through Iran on their way from Pakistan to Iraq. The suspects were caught along a well-worn, if little-noticed, route for militants determined to fight U.S. troops on Iraqi soil, according to a senior intelligence official.

The arrests were presented to Bush's senior policy advisers as evidence that Iran appears committed to stopping al-Qaeda foot traffic across its borders, the intelligence official said. That assessment comes at a time when the Bush administration, in an effort to push for further U.N. sanctions on the Islamic republic, is preparing to publicly accuse Tehran of cooperating with and harboring al-Qaeda suspects.

The strategy has sparked a growing debate within the administration and the intelligence community, according to U.S. intelligence and government officials. One faction is pressing for more economic embargoes against Iran, including asset freezes and travel bans for the country's top leaders. But several senior intelligence and counterterrorism officials worry that a public push regarding the al-Qaeda suspects held in Iran could jeopardize U.S. intelligence-gathering and prompt the Iranians to free some of the most wanted individuals. ...

U.S. officials have asserted for years that several dozen al-Qaeda fighters, including Osama bin Laden's son, slipped across the Afghan border into Iran as U.S. troops hunted for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. U.S. and allied intelligence services, which have monitored the men's presence inside Iran, reported that Tehran was holding them under house arrest as bargaining chips for potential deals with Washington.

Last fall, Bush administration officials asked the CIA to compile a list of those suspects so the White House could publicize their presence. ...

Since al-Qaeda fighters began streaming into Iran from Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, Tehran had turned over hundreds of people to U.S. allies and provided U.S. intelligence with the names, photographs and fingerprints of those it held in custody, according to senior U.S. intelligence and administration officials. In early 2003, it offered to hand over the remaining high-value targets directly to the United States if Washington would turn over a group of exiled Iranian militants hiding in Iraq.

Some of Bush's top advisers pushed for the trade, arguing that taking custody of bin Laden's son and the others would produce new leads on al-Qaeda. They were also willing to trade away the exiles -- members of a group on the State Department's terrorist list -- who had aligned with Saddam Hussein in an effort to overthrow the Iranian government.

Officials have said Bush ultimately rejected the exchange on the advice of Vice President Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who argued that any engagement would legitimize Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism. Bush's National Security Council agreed to accept information from Iran on al-Qaeda but offer nothing in return, officials said.


Here is the framework in which the administration's propaganda program involving Iran/Al Qaeda links will be presented:

Bush administration officials pointed to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1373, which state that harboring al-Qaeda members constitutes a threat to international peace and security, and authorize force to combat that threat. The resolutions compel nations to share any information on al-Qaeda suspects and give the United Nations authority to freeze the assets of suspects and those who provide them with safe haven.

Two U.S. officials said the administration plans to argue that Iran is violating those resolutions. A team of senior U.S. officials has been holding briefings for visiting European diplomats on the issue while administration lawyers prepare options for holding Iran in violation of U.N. resolutions.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a matter of time before we start to hear about the newest terrorist offshoot group, "al Qaeda in Iran". Anything to get us thick-headed Americans to believe that al Qaeda and Iran are in cahoots, just like in Iraq...allegedly.

And regarding this talk of Iran's weaponry finding its way into the hands of Iraqi insurgents...you'd think a military operation that's been in Iraq for the last FOUR years could find a way to seal off the border between Iran and Iraq. I mean, it's not exactly rocket science to believe that there would be a RISK there. So, either our military leadership is incredibly inept (not a stretch) or they had no desire to secure the border. Hmmm.

More of the same chicanery and propaganda coming from our glorious leadership.

DrewL

2/11/2007 9:18 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

Al Qaeda in Iran. Sheesh! That would be funny if it weren't so dammed serious.

But I wouldn't put it past the administration to start hyping such a threat. That is not much of a stretch from the "Iran is harboring AQ" meme.

And the American people would just eat it up.

2/12/2007 8:53 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I'm not so sure the American people would just eat it up this time.

2/12/2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Candace:

You are certainly right that the American public has acquired a newfound (and justified) scepticism about Bush administration claims about the "war on terror", but Al Qaeda is in a special category of its own.

The administration knows this, and reaches for that bogeyman whenever the chips are down.

That's how we got the dubious "Al Qaeda in Iraq" which did not exist before the U.S. invasion. The whole Zarqawi story was used as a U.S. military information operation to try to keep the American people from losing support for the mission when it started to go bad in late Summer 2003.

2/12/2007 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, "al Qaeda" allows the administration to shroud its true aims in a mist of terrorist propaganda in order to gain public support. Al Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks (allegedly); therefore, attaching their name to any other issue (person, place or thing) assigns by default a host of evil properties to that issue (person, place or thing).

Ingenious, really. Makes one wonder who's REALLY behind al Qaeda. Hmmmmm.

DrewL

2/15/2007 11:07 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

Al Qaeda is the all-purpose, all-weather threat.

Effective in all seasons.

Very convenient...

2/16/2007 9:43 AM  

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