Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheney's new "redirection" plan: Iran/Contra and the creation of al-Qaeda all rolled into one.

Sy Hersh was on Fresh Air yesterday and as I listened to what he was saying about W. & Co.'s new Middle East strategy the top of my head almost blew off. He was discussing his latest article in the New Yorker about the administration's new "Redirection" plan for Iraq. In essence, the plan is to blame Iran for everything that's gone wrong in Iraq, gang up with the "moderate" Sunni governments in the region against the Shiites (The Iranians) and fund radical Sunni jihadi groups in Lebanon, who the Saudis have convinced Cheney are less of a danger to us than Hezbollah is.

The most amazing thing about all of this is that Cheney wants to basically expand the sectarian civil war going on in Iraq into Lebanon. The Saudis are absolutly adament that the Syrians are never getting back into Lebanon and Iran's influence must also be eliminated. This means doing everything possible to stop Hassan Nasrullah and the Shiites from gaining power. If that means backing jihadis with blood on their hands, upsetting the delicate political/ethnic balance in Lebanon and possibly causing another civil war; so be it. The Siniora government must be kept in power at all costs! So much for the Cedar Revolution and democracy on the march.

Hersh quotes Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, saying: "It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger -- Iran or Sunni radicals. The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line." [Aren't the people who are killing most of our people in Iraq Sunnis?]

Naturally, the Saudis would push this line of thinking, they're all on about the "Shiite Crecent," but you'd think that after 9/11 Cheney & Co. would have a greater appreciation of the dangers of employing Sunni jihadis who have a nasty habit of not going away once they're done doing our dirty work.

But not to worry: "[Saudi Prince] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that 'they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at--Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians . . ."

They can control these groups? Right. But terrorism is A-OK as long as it's in the name of freedom, I guess. So if we're funding and encouraging terrorist groups in Iran to blow up Iranians, that's OK too.

The Daily Telegraph reported last week that:

"America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme. . . The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.

Such a policy is fraught with risk, however. Many of the groups share little common cause with Washington other than their opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . . . The Baluchistan-based Brigade of God group, which last year kidnapped and killed eight Iranian soldiers, is a volatile Sunni organisation [nsd] that many fear could easily turn against Washington after taking its money."

Where have I heard that before? Isn't this how al-Qaeda got their start? The Saudis really kept a tight leash on them. Who will keep an eye on the Brigade of God Group or put Iran back together again once we're done setting all the various ethnic groups at each other's throats? Not W. & Co. they'll be out of office.

In the mean time, they'll just keep blundering around the Middle East creating chaos without telling anyone about what they're up to. Not surprisingly, Hersh reports, the administration hasn't bothered to clue Congress into what they're up to. They're using Saudi money to get things done, much like Ollie North & Co. did back in the 80's. In fact, Elliot Abrams, W.'s national security adviser for democracy in the Middle East [Ha,ha], was an Iran/Contra co-conspirator who isn't about to repeat old mistakes.

Hersh writes:

"Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal 'lessons learned' discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. . . As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: 'One, you can't trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can't trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office'—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said."

Is anyone in Congress paying any attention to any of this?


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