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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Iran’s war with the U.S.

Just as the United Stated was at war with the old Soviet Union during the USSR’s 1980s invasion of Afghanistan, Iran is now at war with the United States in Iraq and elsewhere.

U.S. involvement was in the context of the Cold War, i.e., they never declared war against the USSR, but provided arms, training and other support to the Saudi Arabia- and Pakistan-backed mujahedeen resistance. In a similar manner, Iran fights the United States and its allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israeli-occupied territories, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Qatar, Argentina, Bosnia and elsewhere.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is at the forefront of its secret international operations against the United States. The most dangerous group within the IRGC is its external operations force, the Al-Quds Force (QF), which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. On October 25, 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department named the QF a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

The QF operates primarily inside the territory of its neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan. Its activities focus on training and supplying weapons to local groups, which are fighting U.S.-backed regimes and the U.S. military and its allies. QF training includes reconnaissance to pinpoint targets, small arms training, small unit tactics, operations procedures for terrorist cells and communications skills. Furthermore, QF operatives teach assassination techniques and how to use improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.

Iran also uses the QF to spread its Islamic revolution to other countries.

In 1996, a truck bomb attack on the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia claimed the lives of 19 Americans. A federal judge ruled that the government of Iran bore responsibility for the attack. In the 1990s, Iran’s Al-Quds Force (QF) was blamed for supporting Bosnian Muslims against Serbian forces in former Yugoslavia.

The QF was also directly involved in the attack on the Jewish community building in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1994, when a Hezbollah operative drove a car bomb into the building, killing 85 people. In 2006, Argentina’s General Prosecutor Alberto Nisman concluded in a report that the decision to attack the building was taken by the Iranian administration.

The QF reportedly has long been providing Lebanon’s Hezbollah with all types of support, including training, guidance and arms. In addition to running training facilities in Lebanon, the QF has trained more than 3,000 Hezbollah operatives at its own facilities in Iran.

Like Hezbollah, the Palestinian terror group Hamas is also a beneficiary of Iran’s generosity in the form of money and training at facilities in Iran. Last September, a Hamas commander in Gaza confirmed to the Sunday Times that since 2005 his organization had sent 150 operatives to Iran for training by the IRGC, and 150 more were currently undergoing courses.

Recent reports point to the alleged existence of a network of Iranian spies throughout the oil-rich Gulf states, waiting for a signal from the Iranian leadership to destabilize local regimes.

The Gulf News interviewed an exiled former Iranian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, who claimed that Iranian “sleeper cells were in place, ready to become operational.”

Other reports suggest that a large espionage network might be deploying in Kuwait. One Kuwaiti Member of Parliament said in September that 25,000 QF members were living in Kuwait, disguised as workers.

Instability in Pakistan, a country that has nuclear weapons that could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists, is causing considerable concern. Iran’s QF’s strategy of forming Hezbollah cells across the Middle East, combined with Iran’s own nuclear program, is as alarming.

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