While some quarters of the Americans foreign policy apparatchik (and a sizable number of Iranian-Americans) will send out three cheers for the big news of the day, that is, the killing of several senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders (read about it here and here) the news should be the cause of great concern for other Iran observers.
The bombing, which killed a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Noor Ali Shooshtari, was claimed by a Sunni seperatist group with links to Pakistan working out of the eastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan called Jundallah (The Soldiers of God). Despite these claims, several of Iran’s ruling elite have proclaimed the act to be the work of American and British clandestine services.
Determining the true culprit, whether it be Sunni separatists or Western powers, will take some time. However, the Iranian government is not without reason in laying blaim on the US and Britain. It was only last year that ace investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in The New Yorker magazine that the Bush Administration had begun pouring funds into covert activities aimed at destabilizing the Iranian regime. As Hersh wrote, “The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.”
In recent months, questions have emerged as to whether or not the Obama Administration had put an end to the Bush era program in Iran. No clear answers have emerged.
Alas, relations between nations are the same as human to human relations, violence begets violence. If the United States and Britain do nothing to assure the Iranians that they had no part in today’s terrorist acts we may see an escalation in violence spurred on by the Iranian Guards in a number of places including, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Israel. News that does not portend well for those wishing for peace and stability in the region.
Moreover, the news of the terrorist attacks is terrible timing for Mir Hossein Mousavi and the countless youth of the Green Wave made famous last June in their street opposition to the ruling parties aligned with President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei. The regime could use today’s attacks as an excuse for the continued mass jailing of dissident reformers claiming them to be “un-Iranian,” actions similar to what was done to the (so-called) American left in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and fists, as President Obama likes to say, will be unclenched. Time will tell.