Friday, September 19, 2008

Iranian General Killed in Ethnic Resistance Clash

Fars News Agency is reporting that Brigadier General Mohammad Sar-Golzaie and three other Iranian security forces were killed in clash on Thursday night with the Sunni militant group Jundullah (Soldiers of God) in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Jundullah claims to be fighting for Sunni rights in Iran, but it is considered a terrorist organization by both Iran and Pakistan and believed to have links to Al Qaeda.

Seymour Hersh claimed in July this year that the U.S. government has supported Jundullah as part of covert operations inside of Iran under a policy of "my enemy’s enemy is my friend." A previous report by ABC News in April 2007 said, "U.S. officials say the U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or 'finding' as well as congressional oversight. Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states."

ABC News then reported in May 2007 that Bush had authorized a "non-lethal" covert operation in Iran to destabilize the Iranian government. Seymour Hersh argued in "Preparing the Battlefield" that in late 2007 at the same time the updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was being released, "Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran... These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership." A Presidential Finding is highly classified but must be issued in order get covert intelligence operations underway. At a minimum, it must be made known to both the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate, as well as to the ranking members of Intelligence committees in both chambers. Once approved, monies can be re-aportioned in appropriations bills and relevant appropriations committee members briefed. According to Hersh, both the Democratic and Republican leadership were willing, in secret, to go along with the Administration's covert operations expansion.

1 comment:

lotf ali said...