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Calvin Freiburger

Iran Thinks They Can Get Away With Funding Terror Attacks – And They’re Probably Right

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Posted on September 6 2010 6:00 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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Ever since Operation: Iraqi Freedom began, the Left has been sneering that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq obviously had no significant ties to Islamic terrorism. But the appeasers were wrong then, and now we must ask whether or not we’re going to ignore the jihadist connections of another Middle-Eastern tyranny. At the Daily Beast, Reza Aslan reports that Iran may be offering rewards for those who sow chaos in the West Bank:

Iran may have orchestrated last week’s brutal attacks by Hamas militants against Israeli settlers in the West Bank in an attempt to derail the Middle East peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. That is the provocative possibility raised by a recently released report by Strategic Forecasting (STRATFOR), a global intelligence company that provides news updates and analysis. STRATFOR cites unnamed sources claiming that Iran communicated directly with militants from both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—without the consent of the leaders of either organization—and offered a substantial amount of money for attacks on specific targets.

The report has yet to be vetted by U.S. or Israeli intelligence, and STRATFOR’s own analysis raises the possibility that the sources could be spreading disinformation. But if the account is true, it is a sign of just how pervasive Iranian influence has become in the region. According to STRATFOR, Iran’s purpose for orchestrating the attacks was not only to derail the peace talks but also to demonstrate the loyalty of Hamas and the PIJ to Tehran. The report further suggests that Iran wanted to send a message to the U.S. that it has greater influence over Hamas than even Syria—which, while it houses the organization’s leadership-in-exile, has nevertheless signaled its willingness to cooperate in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Aslan points out that Iran has been a strong, open supporter of Hamas since at least 2006, to the point that many think of Hamas as an Iranian “proxy arm” which the state can use as leverage against Israel. While being careful to point out several reasons the latest reports may not be completely true (among them Iran’s obvious interest in spreading rumors that inflate their perceived power), he rightly notes that the report drives home the fact that, whatever prospects Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations may have, they’re always going to be undermined as long as third parties with no interest in peace have the power to interfere.

Despite what some fundamentally unserious politicians might tell you, Iran’s actions aren’t simply motivated by self-defense; Iran wants domination of the Middle East. That means you can bet that if US forces leave Iraq before the country’s military and political structure are solid enough to protect themselves, Iran will work to undo everything we’ve fought for over there. Indeed, there’s reason to believe Iran is extending similar offers to Taliban fighters—with American soldiers in Afghanistan as the targets:

The Sunday Times described how a man it said was a “Taliban treasurer” had gone to collect $18,000 from an Iranian firm in Kabul, a reward it said was for an attack in July which killed several Afghan government troops and destroyed an American armored vehicle.

The treasurer left with the cash hidden in a sack of flour, the newspaper said, and then gave it to Taliban fighters in the province of Wardak. In the past six months, the treasurer claimed to have collected more than $77,000 from the company.

The Sunday Times said its investigation had found that at least five Kabul-based Iranian companies were secretly passing funds to the Taliban.

Iran’s murderous meddling in other Middle Eastern affairs raises two questions our commander-in-chief cannot help but confront if he truly wants to protect the United States: first, how successful do you really expect peace talks with such a regime to be, and second, how much—how bloodily—do people get to walk over the United States and her allies before facing any kind of meaningful consequence?

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Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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