Written by Esmaeil Abnar
April 14, 2008
By Lt. Cdr. Esmaeil Abnar
In an interview with the BBC, the top US Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, stated, "The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone ... were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets." He reiterated that the groups carrying out these attacks were funded and trained by Iran’s infamous Qods Force. There can now be no doubt that Iran’s tactics in Iraq are leading to the deaths of many coalition troops and this simply must not be allowed to continue.
The rocket attacks on Baghdad’s Green Zone coincided with a military operation by the Iraqi army in Basra. This operation was aimed at removing the influence of rivalling Shiite militias. The ensuing stalemate showed that the Iraqi military was unable to handle the growing insurgency in Basra.
The events in Basra and Baghdad had one clear winner: Iran. Mahmoud Othman, a member of Iraq’s Parliament and a Kurd, told CNN that what happened "is another victory for Iran." "They make problems," Othman said. "Then they end it the way they like."
Unfortunately, it seems that the British have yet to realize the threat posed by Iran as it arms and funds militias to destabilize the fledgling democracy as they ruled themselves out of assisting the Iraqi army in any form of heavy fighting. Regrettably, the British government seems to be retaining the policy of appeasement that it has followed vis-Ã -vis the Iranian regime for over a decade.
As the situation in Iraq deteriorates and the death toll rises, the US search for a solution to the crisis of the Iranian regime grows ever more necessary. As Iranian elections showed a growing stronghold for Iran’s fundamentalist faction, confrontation in Iraq looks likely to grow. However, the Iranian people showed their clear contempt for Iran’s rulers in their wholesale boycott of Iran’s elections and it seems that the Iranian opposition movement offers an option which must not be overlooked.
The largest opposition group that exists is the Mujahedeen e Khalq (MEK), a group with considerable support which has the capabilities to bring about change in Iran. This group has in fact greatly assisted the democratic process in Iraq as the majority of the Iraqi population tries to root out the Iranian regime’s destructive influence in their nation.
However, rather than support the MEK as a solution to this crisis, the US administration continues to label it as ‘terrorist’. Both the United Kingdom’s High Court and the European Court of Justice have ruled that the decision to ban the MEK was “unlawful”. This terror tag is not only legally unjustified, but it seems to be the greatest political blunder in our struggle against this Iranian regime. It is astonishing that at a time when Iran continues to murder US troops in Iraq, while continuing full throttle in its nuclear weapons program, we are restricting the work of the Iranian opposition group which the regime views as its greatest threat.
Clearly the time has come for this error to be withdrawn and the MEK immediately removed from the US blacklist. This removal will not only allow the Iranian opposition to oppose this Iranian regime, but it will send a clear message to Tehran that the US administration will not allow the Iranian regime to continue its destructive behavior.
The MEK and the Iranian opposition can bring change in Iran and they must now be allowed to do so.
Lt. Cdr. Esmaeil Abnar is a retired Iranian navy officer who served for 18 years in the Shat al-Arab waterway prior to 1979.
Cdr. Abnar was born near the Shat al-Arab in the port city of Abadan in Khuzestan Province and knows the area very well. During his time in the Iranian Navy he became a supply officer and later a senior official in the Navy's personnel and public relations departments. He also participated in naval courses in Norfolk Base, Virginia, and Amphibious Base, San Diego, in the United States