10 years ago
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The Counterterrorism Blog has an interesting commentary on whether Iran helped to bag Zarqawi by giving up his location. They say:
In fact, a credible Moroccan newspaper, La Gazette du Maroc, is affirming that Zarqawi was caught thanks to Iran and was the first gift to the US.
Sounds like a conspiracy theory? Maybe not.
Citing Iranian sources and Iraqi sources close to ex PM Alawi, the paper states that Jordanian intelligence may have gotten help from Iran in pinpointing Zarqawi’s location. A few weeks ago the Iranian FM met with King Abdullah in Amman to allegedly negotiate the deal.
Then a few days later the Iranian FM was in Bagdad meeting with Iraki PM AL Maliki and allegedly US Ambassador Khalilzad.
Coincidence or not the US position softened around that time when for the first time Secretary of State Rice announced a possible ouverture to Iran.
People close to Reza Pahlavi, the Shah’s son, also believe that Zarqawi was indeed handed by Iran as part of a package.
Keep in mind that this info is really very speculative but might not be as far fetched as one thinks.
I don’t think that this is far fetched, but it still seems of dubious quality to me. I have serious doubts about it. First, U.S. and Iraqi (but mostly U.S.) forces have interdicted Iranian IED supplies at the border for many months now. It is a well-known fact that much of the IED technology and materiel being used in Iraq comes from outside Iraq, and more specifically, from Iran.
Iran stands to gain by a Shia-led Iraq, as Iran is a Shia theocracy. While it might have been strange bedfellows for the Iranians to assist Zarqawi, Iran benefited (or so the thinking went) from the insurgency and the potential undoing of the democracy being put into place in Iraq. There was a very pragmatic reason for Iran to assist Al Qaida in the terrorism it perpetrated.
So the question is, why would they do it? I see no compelling reason. It is a non-starter (in southern-speak, “that dog won’t hunt”) to say that Iran wanted an end to the violence and a stable government, just as long as the government was Shia. An end to the violence would mean that the U.S. is no longer distracted from what will be the main focus of 2007 — Iran. Further, certainly Iran was not foolish enough to believe that the gift of an individual, no matter how important, would dissuade the U.S. from preventing a nuclear Iran.
However, let’s assume for a moment that this is real. Certainly, one is forced to believe, Condi and W are not wobbly enough to actually amend foreign policy over something so significant as a nuclear Iran (which has implications not just for the region, but for the next century) for the sake of an individual. In fact, this would seem to be counter to the thinking heretofore. The U.S. has not gone wobbly over peace between Pakistan and India, even for the sake of Osama (I am not saying that Pakistan has offered Osama for the sake of warring with India; but it is important to remember that the U.S. has made “friendly” with India over their nuclear program, to the chagrin of Pakistan).
It makes for an interesting thought-experiment, but it seems to me to be counterintuitive.
Update #1: Matt Drudge is reporting that:
Iran’s supreme leader rejects nuclear talks with the US, saying not beneficial
Tue Jun 27 2006 09:25:10 ETIran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected the prospect of talks with the United States on the nuclear program, saying nothing would be gained, state television reported Tuesday.“Negotiations with the United States would have no benefit for us, and we do not need them,” the television quoted Khamenei as telling Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
I think that this confirms my view.