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October 12, 2004
Iranians Preparing To Infiltrate Iraqi Electoral Process

The Washington Times reports this morning that the Iranian mullahcracy has made plans to infiltrate Iraq during Ramadan, spreading their Qumian brand of Shi'ite radicalism and disrupting elections in the south:

A top Iranian dissident living in Paris says up to 800 clerics and theology students from Iran are in the process of infiltrating cities in neighboring Iraq in time for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins Friday.

Ayatollah Jalal Ganje'i, a prominent critic of the Iranian regime, said in an interview with The Washington Times that the influx is part of continuing efforts by Tehran's power brokers to exploit the crisis in Iraq in order to set up a sister fundamentalist Islamic republic.

The religious leaders, dispatched by the Islamic Propaganda Organization, plan to use the holy month to propagate militant Islamic views, he said, with the goal of strengthening Iraqi political groups whose philosophy and aims coincide with those of Iran's theocratic regime.

The cleric said the religious leaders will take their message into Kut, Nasariyah, Amarra, Najaf, Basra and Baghdad, joining a massive network of other Iranian agents already in Iraq, many in armed underground cells.

"I expect the violence to increase, and this will also set the stage for further meddling in upcoming Iraqi elections," said Ayatollah Ganje'i, who is affiliated with the National Council of Resistance, a State Department-designated terrorist group.

Iran has spent over $70M working the Shi'a in southern Iraq to their radical philosophy, a surprisingly small amount considering the stakes involved. They have brought books, pamphlets, CDs, and thousands of clerics to spread the gospel of fanaticism and oppression to the weary Iraqis. Donald Rumsfeld notes that the Iran/Iraq border provides little barrier to the Iranian infiltration, and that the traditional Ramadan pilgrimages give religious cover to even greater efforts by hardliners to impose their radical theology over the newly-liberated Iraqis.

The US must pursue a multi-front strategy in order to counter this effort. First and foremost, the US has to bolster the standing and activities of the pro-democracy Iranian activists in order to keep the mullahcracy focused at home rather than abroad. We also need to get better control of the border area in order to stem the tide of infiltrators from Iran. The Allawi government needs to enlist Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to battle the Iranians on a theological basis. After all, Sistani has much to lose if Teheran gets its grip on the Iraqi Shi'a, including control of the holy Shi'ite sites.

But the eventual solution is the first -- the overthrow of the radical mullahs by the indigenous efforts of pro-democracy, pro-Western forces already extant within Iran. That would solve a number of problems in Southwest Asia, and it should remain a primary focus for US policy.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 12, 2004 7:49 AM

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