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Margolis: Iran U.S. whipping boy

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    Those who deceived America into attacking Iraq may be at it again. Iran new U.S. whipping boy By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2004
      Those who deceived America into attacking Iraq may be at it again.

      Iran new U.S. whipping boy
      By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor


      Did Iran help al-Qaida stage the Sept. 11 attacks on the United

      Perhaps, suggested the U.S. 9/11 commission. It claimed Iran allowed
      eight al-Qaida future airplane hijackers to pass through Iran from
      Afghanistan between seven and 11 months prior to the attacks on

      Unnamed senior Bush administration officials also claim Iran proposed
      collaborating with al-Qaida in 2000, but was rejected by Osama bin
      Laden. "Maybe we attacked the wrong country," one of the dimmer
      lights in Congress ruefully observed.

      There has been no real evidence produced that Iran knew of the 9/11
      attacks or assisted them. In fact, the Bush administration has still
      never produced the white paper promised by Colin Powell in late 2001
      proving bin Laden and al-Qaida were behind 9/11.

      Why would Iran, knowing it was in Bush's gunsights, join in a
      monstrous terrorist attack that, if linked to Tehran, could have
      conceivably brought U.S. nuclear retaliation?

      This column has long predicted the Bush administration would
      orchestrate a pre-election crisis over Iran designed to whip up
      patriotic fervour in the U.S. and distract public and media attention
      from the Iraq fiasco.

      Growing clamour

      The growing clamour over Iran's nuclear intentions, with rumblings
      about air strikes against Iran's reactors in the fall, may prove to
      be a part of just such a manufactured crisis.

      Remember, these latest fevered claims about Iran come from the
      same "reliable intelligence sources" and neo-conservative hawks who
      insisted Iraq had a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that
      threatened the U.S., with intimate links to al-Qaida.

      The Iran-Afghan border is 1,000 km of wild, broken terrain that is
      extremely difficult to police. Large numbers of smugglers cross this
      border on countless hidden trails, bringing hashish and gems into
      Iran. The U.S., with fleets of planes, helicopters and sensors,
      cannot stop a flood of undocumented Mexicans crossing its own
      southwestern borders.

      Why should the poorly equipped Iranians do any better?

      Didn't these same 9/11 hijackers also enter the U.S. unchallenged? Of
      course. They slipped unnoticed into Iran and the U.S. No one knew
      their intentions. This is the most likely explanation.

      Iran does not have a unified government. This nation of 72.5 million
      is afflicted by feuding factions that have produced a state of
      political chaos. Iran has certainly been involved in acts of
      terrorism, notably against Jews in Argentina.

      And militants from the intelligence service or Pasdarann
      (Revolutionary Guards), might have let al-Qaida mujahidin slip across
      the border without Tehran's knowledge.

      But far more important are two key facts that most media and the
      government aren't telling you.

      First, Iran and al-Qaida were bitter enemies.

      In Afghanistan, al-Qaida ardently backed the Pushtun-dominated, Sunni
      Taliban movement, which hated Shia as heretics and killed large
      numbers of them. Shia Iran (and Russia) armed and supported the
      Taliban's greatest foe, Ahmad Shah Massoud and his Northern Alliance,
      composed of Dari (a Persian dialect)-speaking Tajiks, Afghan
      communists, and Shia. Massoud was a long-time collaborator with
      Soviet/Russian intelligence.

      After the Taliban killed a group of Iranian intelligence agents, Iran
      almost invaded Afghanistan to overthrow them.

      Just before 9/11, al-Qaida assassinated Massoud.

      Iran quietly aided the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that overthrew
      the Taliban, and jailed scores of al-Qaida members, including one of
      bin Laden's sons.

      Active Iranian co-operation with al-Qaida seems illogical. Of course
      my enemy's enemy is my friend, and collaboration was theoretically
      possible, but Iran derived no benefit whatever from the 9/11 attacks -
      - quite the contrary.

      Second, the Bush administration and former Clinton officials are
      trading accusations that the other was responsible for failing to
      take action against al-Qaida and its Taliban allies prior to 9/11.

      But what no one admits is that both administrations sent millions in
      aid to the Taliban until four months before 9/11.



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