Iran's Threat to Coalition Forces in Iraq

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Raymond Tanter- According to the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, Tehran provides the Lebanon-based Hizballah with "funding, safe haven, training, and weapons." Such support, estimated at $80 million per year, has given Iran a terrorist proxy of global reach. According to Iranian dissident sources (and confirmed in part by U.S. intelligence), Tehran tasked Hizballah with sending agents and clerics across a major portion of southern Iraq, not only from Syria, but from Iran as well. According to Mohammed al-Alawi, Hizballah's chief spokesman in Iraq, the organization's agents act as local police forces in many southern cities. Overall, Tehran seems to be using Hizballah to supplement its own penetration of local Iraqi governing offices and judiciaries. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is establishing armed underground cells across the Shi'i southern region of Iraq, often using the Iranian Red Crescent as a front. According to the State Department, some al-Qaeda operatives have obtained safe haven in Iran. U.S. intelligence believes that one such operative is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for whose capture the State Department is offering up to $5 million. The devastating earthquake that struck Iran in December 2003 renewed the debate over whether Washington should resume its quiet dialogue with Tehran. Prior to resuming any dialogue, Washington should not only insist that Iran expel al-Qaeda, but also demand that Ansar al-Islam, Hizballah, and the IRGC's Jerusalem Force withdraw from Iraq.

2004-01-27 00:00:00

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