Iran’s Moves on
Terrorism Escalation Show Caution But Resolve
Analysis. By GIS Staff
clerical leadership, clearly in close cooperation with other
Islamist groups, including al-Qaida, appears to be
moving resolutely forward in its moves to provoke a
confrontation with the West — particularly the US, Israel
and Russia — but has stopped short, so far, from using
formal Iranian military or Revolutionary Guard units to
attack US military units in Iran. However, for the first
time, Iran has apparently deliberately left clear
fingerprints of involvement in terrorist operations against
Russian and Israeli targets in the first week of September
This move appeared to be
designed to provoke a US response against Iran, presumably to galvanize support
inside Iran for the clerical leadeship.
See Defense & Foreign
August 20, 2004: Iran’s Clerics Attempt to Regain Control of Strategic
Confrontation With US by Forcing the US Into a Direct War.
August 23, 2004: Further Indications of Iranian Leadership Preparations
for War With US.
August 24, 2004: How
Iran Planned the an-Najaf
Escalation in Iraq as Build-Up to Major Conflict.
There appears to be clear
recognition in the Iranian and al-Qaida leaderships that it was necessary
to force a confrontation with the US before the November 2, 2004, US elections,
in order to defeat incumbent US Pres. George W. Bush. However, the fact that the
Islamist forces decided not to proceed with attacks against the Athens Olympics
and the New York Republican National Convention, despite the fact that
substantial terrorist forces and weapons were known to be in place for both
events, highlighted the fact that it was probably perceived that such attacks
could have, in fact, been counterproductive for the Islamists. The attacks could
have galvanized support for Pres. Bush.
The fact that the Bush
election campaign has moved so strongly into the lead, and that opposition Sen.
John Kerry’s chances of overturning the Bush Administration were now less of a
prospect, will also contribute to the decisionmaking framework for the Iranian
and al-Qaida leadership. In other words, it may be that one or more
terrorist “spectaculars” may not remove Pres. Bush from office.
However, if the Iranian-al-Qaida
team failed to undertake any significant shows of strength before the elections
in the US, then Pres. Bush in the US, Prime Minister John Howard in Australia
(election October 9, 2004), and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK (election
before mid-2004), could all claim that they were winning “the war on terrorism”.
As a result, the Islamist leadership is obliged to make moves which would
attempt to show that the so-called “war on terror” has not succeeded, or that
the Western leaders have made their populations more safe.
The current escalations of
Islamist terrorism, involving HAMAS operations in Israel, al-Qaida/Iranian
operations against Russia (the two downed Russian airliners and the attack and
hostage taking against a Russian school in Beslan, North Osettia), and escalated
attacks inside Iraq with Iranian links to the weapons, showed that Iran was
taking a “safe route” in the escalation against the US.
Meanwhile, the Iranian's
World Islamic Organization for Remembering the Shahids (martyrs) was
reported in an Iranian daily on September 2, 2004, as unveiling “today, in
Tehran's main cemetery, a monument commemorating those who conducted the most
recent martyrdom operation in Israel”. The group's spokesman said that the
“commemoration ceremony for the martyrs will take place ... next to the monument
commemorating Khaled al-Islambuli”. It is assumed that the “most recent”
operation refers to HAMAS operations in Beersheva, Israel.
The Beersheva attacks, in
particular, conformed exactly to what Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily
forecast in the late July 2004 piece about Palestinian Authority Pres. Yasir
Arafat trying to end the “stalemate”, aided and directed by Tehran and Damascus.
That piece also cited a telephone conversation between Khaled Mashaal (HAMAS/Damascus)
and Arafat posted on the HAMAS website. The Beersheva attack, after many
failed attempts, was the beginning of the attempted “strategic breakout”.
See Defense & Foreign
Affairs Daily, July 27, 2004:
Pres. Arafat Urges Major Anti-Israel Strike.