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April 2, 2006
Terrorists Terrorize When Attacked, Film At 11

The Washington Post wants to sound a cautionary note in their front-page report on the consequences of military action against Iran. Dana Priest writes that any attempt to eliminate Iran's nuclear capacity through military strikes would result in an eruption of terrorist attacks against Western assets, especially American and Israeli:

As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes on its nuclear sites by deploying its intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide.

Iran would mount attacks against U.S. targets inside Iraq, where Iranian intelligence agents are already plentiful, predicted these experts. There is also a growing consensus that Iran's agents would target civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, they said. ...

The Iranian government views the Islamic Jihad, the name of Hezbollah's terrorist organization, "as an extension of their state. . . . operational teams could be deployed without a long period of preparation," said Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism.

Who doesn't already know this? And who doesn't already know that Iran has sponsored terrorist attacks on Americans for years, as well as funded most of the Islamist terror groups operating in the Middle East? None of this comes as a shock to anyone who has watched the news even occasionally for the last twenty years, and the notion that terrorists will retaliate if attacked is not a gigantic leap in tactical or strategic thought.

The question before the US and the West is not whether to take action if it means a retaliation through terrorist channels. That question harbors the seeds of appeasement and surrender. After all, if we are afraid to act in our own defense merely because terrorists might attack us even more as a result, we will have handed terrorists an overall victory -- and we will be forced to knuckle under to their demands to avoid the confrontation that might result in their retaliation.

Terrorism, right now, is a given thanks to the decades of precisely this kind of paralysis that preceded 9/11. What we need to decide is when to stop threats from forming into existential dangers, and Iran's nuclear program and missile technology combines to bring that point ever closer. Iran already supports the terrorism that Priest reports, in Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), the Palestinian territories (Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah's subsidiary), Syria, and elsewhere. Priest also warns about an American attack leading to an operational alliance with al-Qaeda, but that train has already arrived at the station, according to last year's State report on terrorism:

Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2004. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Iran continued to be unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida members it detained in 2003. Iran has refused to identify publicly these senior members in its custody on "security grounds." Iran has also resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its al-Qa’ida detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for interrogation and/ or trial. Iranian judiciary officials claimed to have tried and convicted some Iranian supporters of al-Qa’ida during 2004, but refused to provide details. Iran also continued to fail to control the activities of some al Qa’ida members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

During 2004, Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli terrorist activity, both rhetorically and operationally. Supreme Leader Khamenei praised Palestinian terrorist operations, and Iran provided Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups -- notably HAMAS, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command -- with funding, safe haven, training, and weapons. Iran provided an unmanned aerial vehicle that Lebanese Hizballah sent into Israeli airspace on November 7, 2004.

Iran pursued a variety of policies in Iraq during 2004, some of which appeared to be inconsistent with Iran’s stated objectives regarding stability in Iraq as well as those of the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) and the Coalition. Senior IIG officials have publicly expressed concern over Iranian interference in Iraq, and there were reports that Iran provided funding, safe transit, and arms to insurgent elements, including Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces.

What the Post warns about in today's entry is already reality. What we need to determine is if we have the will to confront it and stop it. Iran has provided most of the funding of Islamist terrorism since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah and put the Islamists in power in Teheran. Now they almost have their hands on nuclear weapons, a point which may put them beyond our reach. The real question isn't whether Iran might step up its attacks after we eliminate this nuclear capacity -- it's whether we will ever be able to stop Iranian terrorist activity at all once the mullahs have the bomb.

The window is closing. That's the real story.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 2, 2006 9:50 AM

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Captain Ed has the same reaction that I did upon reading the Washington Post's front page story that if the United States attacks Iran then Iran will launch terror attacks. Who doesn't already know this? And who doesn't already know that Iran has sponsore [Read More]

Tracked on April 2, 2006 11:40 AM

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Captain Ed notes that the Washington Post thinks an attack on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities would result in dire consequences for the US: As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they beli... [Read More]

Tracked on April 3, 2006 12:14 AM


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