Friday, March 9, 2007

An IRGC General Goes Missing & Bad Things Start to Happen for Terhan

Amir Taheri looks at the importance of the defection of Ali-Reza Askari to America and ties it in to a spate of bad events for the Iranian theocracy that have happened of late

'A VERY big fish" - so Tehran sources de scribe former Deputy Defense Minister Ali-Reza Askari (sometimes called "Asghari" in the West), who disappeared in Istanbul on Sunday. Askari's disappearance fits an emerging pattern. Since December, the United States and its allies appear to have moved onto the offensive against the Islamic Republic's networks of influence in the Middle East:

* Jordan has seized 17 Iranian agents, accused of trying to smuggle arms to Hamas, and deported them quietly after routine debriefing.

* A number of Islamic Republic agents have been identified and deported in Pakistan and Tunisia.

* At least six other Iranian agents have been picked up in Gaza, where they were helping Hamas set up armament factories.

* In the past three months, some 30 senior Iranian officials, including at least two generals of Revolutionary Guards, have been captured in Iraq.

All but five of the Islamic Republic agents seized in Iraq appear to have been released. One of those released was Hassan Abbasi, nicknamed "the Kissinger of Islam," who is believed to be President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's strategic advisor.

Among those still held by the Americans is one Muhammad Jaafari Sahraroudi, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander wanted by the Austrian police in connection with the murder of three Iranian Kurdish leaders in Vienna in 1989.

All this looks like a message to Tehran that its opponents may be moving on to the offensive in what looks like a revival of tactics used in the Cold War.

This is all good news. You can read the rest of Mr. Taheri's article here.

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