by Keith Johnson
Iran seems an unlikely culprit for the series of attacks that have occurred in South Asia and the Caucus region of Eurasia, according to Ashrin Adib-Moghaddam of the Guardian.
“What would be the motive?,” asks Ashrin. “The argument that Iran is retaliating for the murder of five civilian nuclear scientists in Iran is not plausible. If Iran wanted to target Israeli interests, it has other means at its disposal. It is hard to imagine that the Iranian government would send Iranian operatives to friendly countries, completely equipped with Iranian money and passports – making the case against them as obvious as possible.”
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is reader in the comparative and international politics of western Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of several books including Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic and A Metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations
In his most recent article, Adib-Moghaddam goes on to point out that even the Israelis have confessed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are a professional, highly trained and politically savvy group. “So why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation?,” Adib-Moghaddam queries. “And why India, Georgia and Thailand, three countries that Iran has had cordial relations with during a period when Iran is facing increasing sanctions spearheaded by the United States? A few days ago, India agreed a rupee-based oil and gas deal with Iran and resisted US pressures to join the western boycott of the Iranian energy sector. As a net importer of 12% of Iranian oil, India’s total trade with Iran amounted to $13.67bn in 2010-2011. What would be the motive for damaging relations with one of Iran’s major trading partners and regional heavyweights?”
The most recent attack came Tuesday in Bangkok. According to the New York Times, “Witnesses said three men, who appeared to be foreigners, fled a house in the Sukhumvit neighborhood of Bangkok after an explosion in the early afternoon destroyed the house’s roof. One escaped and another was detained at the city’s main international airport. The fourth suspect, a woman, was not at the house at the time of the explosion, but is being sought because she rented the house and was occasionally seen there, the police said. Witnesses and the police said the third man who left the house, bleeding and seemingly disoriented, lobbed two explosive devices, one at a taxi and later another at approaching police officers, and the second blast severed the man’s legs and wounded several Thais.”
Of course this would be a non-story if the “foreigners” had been of any other persuasion, but since the Thai government claims to have found Iranian passports on two of the three suspects, the Israelis have jumped on the story to exploit it as an act of terrorism.
“The attempted terror attack in Thailand proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to operate in the ways of terror and the latest attacks are an example of that,” said Defense Minister Ehud Barak. “Iran and Hezbollah are unrelenting terror elements endangering the stability of the region, and endangering the stability of the world.”
What a joke! Even the New York Times admits, “It was possible that the men were simply arms smugglers, drug traffickers or gangsters in a city known as a hub of illicit activity.”
In a recent article for Antiwar.com, John Glaser writes, “Barak’s statement illustrates Israel’s frenzied eagerness to paint Iran as a global terrorist menace, since the Thai intelligence agencies don’t think the incident was an act of terror, especially since it seems more like three idiots playing with explosives and blowing themselves up. Furthermore, what possible interest the Iranian government has in blowing up a rented cottage and a taxi in Bangkok, Thailand has escaped the [Israeli] version of events.”
Glaser continues by pointing out that, “The attacks came just days after NBC News broke a story in which an unnamed U.S. official revealed that Israel funded, trained, and armed the Iranian terrorist dissident group Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) in carrying out assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.
He concludes by saying, “That Israel would have the temerity to condemn acts of covert terrorism is hypocritical.”