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McCain was right: Iran’s help for Sunni terrorism



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The four million Democrats eligible to cast ballots today in the crucial, delegate-rich Pennsylvania primary might like to consider the following.

The repeated claim by Barack Obama and his supporters in the media that Shia Iran doesn’t help Sunni terror groups is wrong — very wrong — and yet again reveals their ignorance of foreign affairs, an ignorance that may prove extremely dangerous were Obama to become president.

While Shia and Sunni extremists do of course have deep theological differences they cooperate in at least a dozen countries on a political and terroristic level to work against the interests of the United States.

The following are a few examples of Shia Iran helping Sunni militants. Amir Taheri, who was formerly the executive editor of Kayhan, Iran’s largest daily newspaper and remains one of the leading experts on Iran in the world, tells me the following:

* In AFGHANISTAN, Iran has financed and armed the Sunni Hizb Islami (Islamic Party) since the 1990s.

* In the former Soviet republics (and now independent states) of TAJIKISTAN and UZBEKISTAN, Iran has for years supported two Sunni movements, the Rastakhiz Islami (Islamic Awakening) and Hizb Tahrir Islami (Islamic Liberation Party).

* In AZERBAIJAN, Tehran supports the Sunni Taleshi groups against the Azeri Shia majority (who are pro-American).

* In ALGERIA between 1992 and 2005, Iran financed the Sunni terrorist group, The Front for Islamic Salvation (FIS).

* In 1996, a suicide attack claimed the lives of 19 American servicemen in Al Khobar, in eastern SAUDI ARABIA. The operation was carried out by the Hizbullah in Hejaz, an Iranian-financed outfit, with the help of the Sunni militant group “Sword of the Peninsula.”

* In 2000, Sunni groups linked to al-Qaeda killed 17 U.S. servicemen in a suicide attack on USS Cole off the coast of YEMEN. A Shia militant group led by Sheikh al-Houti, Iran’s man in Yemen, helped with the operation.

* There are no PALESTINIAN Shia, yet Tehran has become the principal source of funding for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian Sunni terror groups.

* Indeed, Iran is now the chief direct state funder of HAMAS. The new Iranian budget, which came into effect on March 21, allocates over $2 billion to the promotion of “revolutionary causes.” Much of the money will go to Hamas and Hizbullah.

* In PAKISTAN, the Iranian-financed Shia Tehrik Jaafari last year joined a coalition of Sunni parties to govern the Northwest Frontier Province. The fact that the Sunnis and Shiites elsewhere in Pakistan continue to kill each other did not prevent them from developing a joint, anti-U.S. strategy that included the revival of the Afghan Taliban and protection for the remnants of al-Qaeda.

* This month, Tehran is hosting what is billed as “THE ISLAMIC CONVERGENCE CONFERENCE,” bringing together hundreds of Shia and Sunni militants from all over the world, under the auspices of Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Taskhiri.

* Many TALIBAN LEADERS and several al-Qaeda figures are reported to spend part of the year in a compound-style housing estate near the village of Dost Muhammad on the Iranian frontier with Afghanistan. Tehran has declared large segments of eastern Iran a “no-go” area, even for its own state-owned media.

* The 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT states that Tehran was in contact with AL-QAEDA at various levels before the 2001 attacks. Tehran has admitted the presence of al-Qaeda figures in Iran on a number of occasions before and since then. Iran has arranged for the repatriation of at least 13 Saudi members in the past five years. At least one of OSAMA BIN LADEN’s sons, Sa’ad, has lived in Iran since 2002.

* Iran also works with many Christian and atheist groups to further its interests against the U.S. These include the Baath party in Syria, ex-Gen. Michel Aoun Maronite Christian faction in Lebanon, and the Colombian FARC. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has awarded the Muslim title of “brother” on Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Iran maintains close links with Communist North Korea.

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If it was only one, or two, or even three, of Obama’s close advisers who have adopted anti-American positions, one might possibly excuse Obama. But Obama has chosen to surround himself with many such persons.

Again, if Obama had appointed even one reliable, experienced Democrat, such as Richard Holbrooke, to his foreign policy team, one might feel more comfortable that he won’t make disastrous foreign-policy mistakes if elected. But he hasn’t.

As an intelligent man, Obama is no doubt capable of mastering foreign policy but it will take some time; and while he’s doing so, in an extremely dangerous world, it may well prove a very costly education for the rest of us.

(For a longer version of this piece, please click here.)



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