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The “Persian Puzzle,” Eh?

September 29, 2009

By Michael S. Smith II, SCHotline Contributing Editor
(Produced for The Free Enterprise Foundation, this piece is published here with the author’s expressed consent.)

“Iranians are clever politicians and highly intelligent in their negotiations — and never to be trusted. In the Middle East people don’t like Persians (Iranians) because they are known as liars,” advised an expert on radicalization from a leading nonprofit terrorism research organization during an exchange of e-mails regarding a September 29 news report on the highly anticipated meetings between Iran and five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. The focus of the report was Reuters’ announcement that Iranian officials intend to refuse to participate in any discussions about Iran’s nuclear program during the upcoming meetings in Geneva scheduled for October 1, 2009.

“Of course, what would you have expected?” he asked, adding:  “They read the news,” and, accordingly, the Iranians are merely being responsive to the way “the U.S. government is giving them space.” He then noted Zbigniew Brzezinski’s recent recommendation that the U.S. should shoot down any Israeli planes detected to be en route to Iran is only further cause for the growing Iranian bravado of late.

“Europe and the U.S. right now are Chamberlains and think that keeping the peace with Iran will work. Look back 70 years:  The war just started one year after Chamberlain was waving his null and void paper.”

He then forecast Israel will strike sites part of Iran’s nuclear program(s).

“I just don’t know when, but they have to — it is an existential threat,” he explained. “It is not a direct threat to the U.S., so I can understand the Democrat’s (sic) hesitation. But it is a threat to the U.S. interests in the region.”

“More interestingly:  I think the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia and probably even Egypt and Jordan, will give Israel over flight rights and maybe share intelligence if it [plans] to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”

Still, he contends there is difficulty if there is to be an attack.

“The Iranians will rally behind their leaders, because the nuclear issue is one of national pride. An attack on the nuclear facilities which will be presented to the public as a civil energy development — and not as a nuclear arming program — will stir up the nation and they will forget the recent problems during the elections. If the analysis of the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities is that this regime in Iran is lacking public support by the week, they might be willing to wait for a couple of months to see how it plays out.

“An attack on the nuclear facilities will be a push back for the opposition, but it might be necessary in the eyes of the Israelis as, for them, it is a matter of the future of the Jewish state. Iran has no [intercontinental ballistic missiles] that can and will reach the U.S. They are only interested in [midrange ballistic missiles] which, of course, can only reach Israel, Egypt, Turkey, etc.”

As a follow-up to the recent revelations regarding the detection of a second nuclear facility in the Iranian city Qom, on September 28 Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin revealed deep-cover British MI-6 agents who helped bring to light information about the once-secret underground uranium enrichment plant at Qom, information made public during the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, have quietly announced to world leaders their discoveries of five more similar facilities in Iran.

According to information provided by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, those facilities, like Qom, are staffed by nuclear scientists from Iran’s main weaponization program known by the acronym Metfaz, which is headquartered at 180 Western Avenue in the Pars district of eastern Tehran.

The report contained in the bulletin noted details of the MI6 discovery were hand-delivered to Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, over the weekend by Sir John Scarlett. Accordingly, “They contained a detailed picture of what was being built at the five new plants.” Furthermore, a senior intelligence source said the data came from “an Iranian nuclear scientist’s smuggled laptop, defectors and satellite imagery.”

Now the question is fast becoming:  Can the world wait for diplomatic engagements of Iran led by the U.S. and other Western powers to take the long course toward nowhere that they inevitably will?

Taking into consideration America’s commitment to doing what is needed to transition Afghanistan into a state that is no longer helmed by extremists like the leaders of the Taliban, it is only a matter of time before Americans will become acquainted with one very difficult reality that has developed in Afghanistan, and it is a reality that must be considered by Commander in Chief Obama as he devises his strategy for America’s pursuits in the Middle East and Persia.

That reality is:  Iranians today are playing by the same strategy book the U.S. wrote to expel Soviet invaders from Afghanistan in the 1980s, except Americans are now the invaders as far as the Taliban is concerned — and Iran is now the Taliban’s primary benefactor.

Given such, in their discussions about next steps in Afghanistan defense strategists need not ask whether it is prudent to directly engage the Taliban. Instead, they should be asking how the U.S. and NATO can work together to eradicate its members on the whole.

Allowing the Taliban to continue to retain any parts of Afghanistan as their home base will prove tantamount to handing the country over to Iran in the long-run, something the U.S. is already basically doing in the case of Iraq.

As evinced by the longstanding relationships between Iran and both Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran enjoys playing a game of exerting extraterritorial influence over places of both ideological interests (i.e. areas adjacent Israel) and geopolitical interests (i.e. oil-rich Iraq and opium-rich Afghanistan) via Iran’s terrorist organization emissaries, on the list of which the Taliban in Afghanistan has become the latest addition.

Put in this context, President Obama and other world leaders ought to start considering just what Iran’s nuclear weapons program will become — the big stick Iran will shake at the U.S., Russia, India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Israel and any other nation that will challenge Iran’s commercial and ideological interests in its neighboring countries and beyond.

Iran does not need nuclear weapons to expand Iran’s territory. Whether demarcated by map lines or not, Iran is doing that just fine without them.

Iran, however, will use the nuclear weapons program it is no-doubt trying to develop to retain its ever-growing influence over countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and it may even use the weapons produced by that program to try to “wipe Israel off the map.”

For this observer there is no mysterious “Persian Puzzle” to ponder. That puzzle is quite transparent if the observer knows who is really moving the pieces, and Iran increasingly wants to be that player.

What is puzzling is why the Obama administration does not appear to comprehend how all of the pieces fit together, and, more important, what needs to be done to prevent Iran from redrawing the maps of both the Middle East and Persia.

The question for leaders like President Obama must become:  Can the world really afford for Iran to do just that?


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