On December 15th Iran was the victim of yet another terrorist attack by the US-backed “Jundallah” terror group (or “Soldiers of God”), which is also thought to receive support from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).
The role of US, Saudi and Pakistani cooperation in nurturing terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan is ‘legendary’ by now. But their cooperation against Iran is less well known.
According to Brezinski: “it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”
It is more than a little twisted, but ISI and CIA have the distinction of having raised the Islamists in their own bosoms. The Saudis too have acted as nursing maids, ensuring that Wahhabi extremism is alive and kicking. Real hard too.
The latest civilian victims of US-backed terror were 39 Iranian worshippers blown to high heavens courtesy of Jundallah’s targeting of the Imam Hussain mosque in Chabahar. The same US-backed terrorist group had attacked another Iranian mosque on July 15th this year with two deadly blasts in Zahedan killing 27 civilians who were celebrating the birthday of Imam Hussain . Around a year earlier, on 28 May, the same group had killed around 20 people at a mosque in Zahedan just days before the vote in the contentious Presidential elections last year. Iran’s security forces found and defused another bomb near the blast site.
But the US-backed terror group’s biggest hit was in October 2009 when at least 42 were killed in a mosque in Pisheen, including 7 commanders of the Revolutionary Guards. That attack led to the arrest, trial and execution of Jundallah’s leaders, the Rigi brothers. Interestingly, Iran was able to arrest the Rigi brothers without any known bloodshed in a show of cunning and strategy that put the American intelligence services to shame. Regardless, the terrorist group’s leader was quickly replaced, and their terror attacks against Iranian civilians resumed.
The Sistan and Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan is the least developed region of Iran with a long and violent history of drug smuggling and human trafficking. This is also a major source of funding support for the Taleban and other Wahhabi terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. This close political and military connection between the Saudis, regional Wahhabi terrorists, Pakistan’s ISI and the CIA was initiated by USA’s president Carter back in the 1970s, but it was properly consummated by Reagan. The difficult marriage of convenience among such international terrorists continues to date with much marital conflict and numerous extra-marital affairs….
The situation in the border region between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan has deteriorated through a combination of neglect by Tehran and the provincial authorities; similar neglect by Islamabad; terrorist funding and training by CIA and ISI as well as the Saudis. Tens if not hundreds of Iranian security personnel are murdered or maimed by heavily armed traffickers and terrorists every year. Security is poor and lawlessness abounds. Women are regularly kidnapped and taken across the border, and few people dare venture out after dark even by car. On September 16th this year, a bank employee and five soldiers were kidnapped by the group. They were taken from a bus headed to Zahedan from Chabahar.
But the US-backed terrorists’ reach goes further than the border region alone. In October this year, the group apparently kidnapped Amir Hussein Sherani Bin Mohammad Sherani whom they described as a senior nuclear official. But Iran’s authorities said he was a private contractor.
Jundallah is thought to have been formed around year 2003. Balochis certainly have many legitimate grievances against central government in Iran. However, along with a portion of Iran’s Arabs and Kurds as well as the Mujahedin (MEK), Jundallah constitutes a useful pawn in the American game of regional dominance. Rigi’s confidence grew so much over the years of terrorist activities that on April Fool’s day in 2007 he gave a live interview to that quintessential mouthpiece of American propaganda, Voice of America. VoA’s misinformation sank to the level of introducing Rigi as “Leader of the Iranian people’s resistance movement” during the said interview. April Fool’s day certainly has a mysterious effect on some.
Just a couple of days later, ABC News reported the following on Rigi:
“He used to fight with the Taliban. He’s part drug smuggler, part Taliban, part Sunni activist,” said Alexis Debat, a senior fellow on counterterrorism at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant who recently met with Pakistani officials and tribal members.
“Regi is essentially commanding a force of several hundred guerrilla fighters that stage attacks across the border into Iran on Iranian military officers, Iranian intelligence officers, kidnapping them, executing them on camera,” Debat said.
Interestingly, USA recently placed Jundallah on its terror list, and even condemned the latest terrorist attacks by the same group that they have nurtured. This was seen by some as a gesture of goodwill toward Iran in the lead up to the current nuclear negotiations.
However, this change in American posturing is more likely to be connected to deals made over the Maleki government in Iraq after a long period of dispute. It is also indicative of America’s need for Iranian support in Afghanistan.
Having basically lost Iraq to Iran, USA is now more focussed on maximising its gains (or minimising its losses) in Afghanistan. For this purpose, USA appears to be signalling a willingness to ‘sacrifice’ Jundallah as a pawn.
Iran’s unusually stern warning to Pakistan in reaction to the latest Judallah terror attacks can also be interpreted in this light. Iran’s bargaining position against USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia has been strengthened in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. And Iran has successfully brought Turkey into nuclear negotiations. This gives the President added confidence in demanding concrete action from the Pakistanis against Jundallah terrorists operating on her soil.
Postscript: a couple of days after writing this piece, news of arrest of the Jundallah leader was (rather quietly) published: