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Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2002 / 8 Teves, 5763

Michael Ledeen

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The Heart of Darkness: The mullahs make terror possible | A terrorist by the name of Abdullah S. (name withheld for some reason I can't quite fathom) was arrested in Germany, along with 13 other members of a Palestinian Islamic group called al Tawhid. Since last April, Abdullah has been very cooperative with German authorities, who have brought the entire group to trial on charges of planning suicide terrorist operations in Europe against Jewish and American targets, and also against the German Army.

The case was reported in Die Zeit on the 5th of December, and its absence from the American press is yet another indication of the lackluster performance of our journalistic paladins. For the head of al Tawhid is a chap called Mohammed Sarkawi, and Sarkawi is simultaneously a top officer of al Qaeda, and he lives and works in Tehran. Abdullah S. has pointed out to German intelligence officers that al Tawhid could not function without the active support of the Iranian regime. And he has provided many chapters and many verses with pithy details that all go to support the picture of Iran I have presented in The War Against the Terror Masters. and in this ongoing series in JWR. To wit:

— Sarkawi is a Palestinian with a Jordanian passport, and he supervises terrorist training camps near Herat and Kabul, thus confirming the ongoing role of Iran/al-Qaeda in organizing and running terrorist operations in Afghanistan;

— According to German intelligence, Sarkawi is a key figure in the "reorganized al-Qaeda" as well as one of the major coordinators of Iranian-sponsored terrorism in Europe. His group, al-Tawhid, has arranged false documentation for more than 100 al Qaeda fighters who escaped from Afghanistan during the war, provided them with funds, passports, and safe haven (near Tehran), and then organized their movement out of Iran to other areas, some in the Middle East, others — as Abdullah S. demonstrates — in the West;

— German prosecutors now realize that Iran is a major center for al Qaeda, and they have identified roughly a dozen camps around Tehran where al Qaeda terrorists are taken care of by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. These camps are part of an elaborate underground railroad: The terrorists and their families are moved out of Afghanistan and Pakistan into Iranian Baluchistan and then into Iran proper. From there they go by air or land either to Beirut or to Damascus (the State Department's "ally" in the war against terror), and then into the Bekka Valley of Lebanon to one of the legendary centers of Hezbollah terror, ein Hilweh. Once their training and phony identities are completed, they move on;

— The Germans have now confirmed that there have been meetings and that there is ongoing cooperation between al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and Hezbollah's chief of operations, the equally legendary Imad Mughniyah. Not only are they cooperating on terrorist operations, but they are working closely to secure their wealth: Al Qaeda and Hezbollah work together to move gold and diamonds from Karachi to Sudan, via Iran.

In short, there is now public information to confirm what I have long asserted — and what the CIA and others have long denied — namely that there is a working relationship between Hezbollah and al Qaeda, and that this is all made possible by the Iranian regime.

Die Zeit tells us that the German government is very upset by these discoveries, because the Germans, like many Europeans, thought they'd bought off the mullahs, and it's distressing to them to find the Iranians planning suicide terrorism on the soil of the motherland. And there's more. A German news agency reported a week ago of the seizure, by German Customs agents, of a shipment of 44 electronic switching modules (worth roughly $75,000) "that could be programmed to detonate a nuclear bomb." These handy German products were headed from Stuttgart to Singapore, with an unknown final destination. What's the connection? "An article published today in Focus Magazine potentially implicates two Iranian men, one of whom carries a Swedish passport."

Meanwhile, the estimable David Rose in the latest Vanity Fair calmly and carefully lays out a very convincing case of close working relations between Iraq and al Qaeda. He tells us that his sources in the United States intelligence community speak of "hundreds" of reports of contacts between al Qaeda terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks and Iraqi intelligence officials "in the United Arab Emirates." That would most likely be Dubai, the Iranian colony that, along with Iranians in town, has been laundering Saddam's money, handling Saddam's illegal oil exports and generally providing an all-service, one-stop help station for Iran and Iraq. All of which points to yet another point I have stressed: It is a mistake to think of Iran and Iraq as scorpions in a bottle. They, along with the Syrians and the Saudis, are working together against us (which is why we will find ourselves in a regional war once we start the campaign against Iraq).

It's always nice to be vindicated by events, but I don't want further vindication in the weeks and months ahead, if, as I fear, it costs the lives of young Iranians fighting for freedom in their country and the lives of young Americans fighting the war against the terror masters.

Iran is the heart of darkness. Enough already. Do it now.

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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, The War Against the Terror Masters. Comment by clicking here.


12/12/02: The Real War
12/09/02: Tom Friedman's Reformation: His Iran
11/26/02: How Tyrannies Fall: Opportunity time in Iran
11/22/02: The Blind Leading the Blind: The New York Times and the Iranian crisis
11/13/02: The Temperature Rises: We should liberate Iran first --- now
11/05/02: End of the Road: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, on his way out
10/29/02: The Angleton Dialogues, Contnued: What George Tenet doesn’t know
10/24/02: The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues
10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen