Sunday, June 11, 2006

Michael Ledeen on Iran & Terrorism

I sometimes think I should call my blog "Michael Ledeen Watch" since I blog about this American Enterprise Institute scholar's work so often lately. Dr. Ledeen's writings are critical to understanding the bigger picture of the War on Terror; and his latest column at NRO, Iran Connects the Dots attests to this fact.

There are several illuminating nuggets of wisdom contained in this piece. Among them, the following stand out:

1. The terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed by coalition forces on Wenesday, was more important than most media reports have indicated:
"Zarqawi played on a global scale. Reports from Canada recount contacts between the ‘home-grown’ terrorists arrested by the Mounties and Zarqawi himself (See the ‘Mississauga News,’ June 7: ‘The arrest of 17 said to be the latest stage in dismantling a terrorist network that’s linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi...’). Those arrests seem linked to those carried out in Atlanta, Georgia, by the FBI, and to other arrests in Sarajevo, England, and Denmark. It will be surprising if we don’t find Zarqawi’s claw prints in several of those venues, as the Canadians have said."
2. The coalition operation that resulted in Zarqawi's death was more significant than much of the media reported:

"We have probably just lived through the greatest global counterterrorist operation in history. In Iraq alone, some 16 or 17 terror cells were attacked at the same time as Zarqawi was killed. And the wave of arrests — just yesterday the Swiss reported they had broken up a cell planning to attack an El Al passenger plane — is like nothing I have seen before, bespeaking an encouraging degree of international cooperation. It goes hand in hand with the devastating campaign in Iraq against the terrorist leadership. Zarqawi is just the latest to fall; most of his top associates had been eliminated over the course of the past several months.

"The global operation seems to have been prompted by the discovery that the terror masters had ordered a worldwide assault, and so far the West has proven equal to the challenge."
3. Most importantly, Dr. Ledeen points out Zarqawi's connection to Iran, the terrorist regime that is the ideological, tactical, and financial center of Islamic terrorism in today's world:

"I first noticed him some years ago, reading the German and Italian press. Several terrorist cells in those countries had been rounded up, and court documents showed that in both countries the network had been created from Tehran, by Zarqawi."

"Despite his intonations against the Shiites, and his manifest efforts to promote civil war in Iraq, Zarqawi was happy to work with the radical Shiite regime in Tehran, and they were happy to work with him. It is quite wrong to view him as a leader of one faction in a religious war; his promotion of religious conflict was simply a tactic designed to destabilize Iraq and drive out the Coalition. He and his Iranian backers/masters were desperate to promote all manner of internal Iraqi conflict: Kurds against Arabs, Turkamen against Kurds, anything that worked."

"Shortly after the liberation of Afghanistan, I wrote that al Qaeda had been effectively destroyed, and that we should stop talking about al Qaeda as if it were the most important component in the terror network. I argued that we should conceive of terrorism as a kind of galaxy, with numerous components — ranging from Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the rump of al Qaeda and, most importantly, Hezbollah — who worked together, organized a division of labor, and were held in their orbits and epicycles by the Iranian intelligence apparatus, from the official ministry to the specialized units in the Revolutionary Guards."
In summarizing, Dr. Ledeen, writes:

"A week ago Director of National Intelligence Negroponte gave a very interesting interview to the BBC in which he reiterated what everybody knows: ‘(the Iranians) are the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world.’
"So how come we're not going after them?"

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