Iran: Tribal Rebellion in the East Gets Nasty

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February16, 2007: Iran has instigated an arms race in the Persian Gulf. The Arab nations across the water have placed orders for more than $100 billion in weapons, mainly from the U.S., Europe and Russia. This is several times what Iran can afford to buy. While Iran has a greater population, and military tradition, the clerics running the country for the last two decades have trashed the economy with corruption and mismanagement. Iran's weapons are several decades older than those used by their Arab neighbors.

February 14, 2007: A car bomb was used to attack a bus load of Revolutionary Guards, traveling near the Pakistani border. A Baluchi separatist organization took credit. Just across the border, is the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, where tribal rebels would like to incorporate Iranian Baluchis into an independent Baluchistan. In addition to the tribal politics, the Baluchis are Sunni Moslems, and have long been victims of religious persecution by Iranian Shia Moslems.

February 13, 2007: Iraq is closing the main border crossings with Iran and Syria for 72 hours, to support anti-terrorist operations in Syria. The closings will interrupt attempts by terrorists based in Syria and Iran, to reinforce their forces in Iraq.

February 11, 2007: The commander of the Revolutionary Guards (the palace guard for the clerics running the country) announced that Iran had produced a new stealthy UAV, with a range of 700 kilometers, that is being used to spy on neighboring countries. Also mentioned was that the Revolutionary Guard naval commando force had recently sent underwater swimmers to engrave Revolutionary Guard symbols on the side of an American warship. No proof for either of these claims was provided. The government regularly makes claims like this, apparently to boost civilian morale.

February 10, 2007: Iran has arrested two senior al Qaeda leaders, who were moving from Pakistan to Iraq via Iran. Normally, the Iranians would look the other way. But now they are arresting these travelers, and keeping them captive, apparently as bargaining chips for future negotiations with the United States. Iran already has a number of al Qaeda members imprisoned, although some are let go from time to time.

February 9, 2007: The U.S. presented physical evidence of Iranian manufactured bombs, and other Iranian weapons provided to anti-American Iraqis, and used to attack Americans. It's estimated that about five percent of American casualties were caused by these Iranian weapons, and technical advice provided by Iranian military personnel. Among the weapons Iran provided were Austrian made 12.7mm sniper rifles. Eight hundred of these were exported to Iran last year, over American protests, for use by the Iranian national police (to battle drug smugglers on the Afghan border). But about 12 percent of the 800 sniper rifles have found their way into Iraq, and recently been captured by American forces.

February 7, 2007: The UN is punishing Iran by suspending most of its technical programs relating to nuclear energy. This is mostly symbolic, but it does make it clear that the UN considers Iran in violation of international agreements.

 

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