Here in the Midwest, we’ve got lions and tigers and bears running around today, and even other animals, like monkeys, that aren’t members of the NFC North.
In the Middle East, it seems everyone’s rolling out the usual suspects to impugn in the Scary Iran Plot. The most humorous is Bahrain’s use of David Ignatius to send Obama a message. Not only did Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa warn that, “This is really serious. It’s coming to your shores now” and repeat Saudi allegations that Gholam Shakuri had a role in opposition to the Bahraini King (though, in calling Shakuri only an “important ‘Iranian interlocutor’,” the Foreign Minister actually sounded more measured than the Saudis).
But then the Foreign Minister throws in a jab at Ahmad Chalabi.
Khalifa mentioned one more name of interest to American observers of the Middle East — the Iraqi Shiite politician Ahmed Chalabi. Lobbying by Chalabi played an important role in mobilizing the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003; since then he’s been jockeying for power in Baghdad and, increasingly, tilting toward Iran on regional issues.
The peripatetic Chalabi has now taken up the cause of Bahrain’s Shiite community, pressuring the government in Manama and even, at one point last spring when the political confrontation was intense there, proposing to organize a rescue “flotilla” to deliver aid, on the model of the Turkish flotilla that tried to enter Gaza last year.
“We would regard him as an Iranian agent, no doubt,” said Khalifa.
To be fair, this sounded like a throwaway, not a direct response to Scary Iran Plot. Except to the extent that Scary Iran Plot is about the Sunni-Shiite fight for hegemony in the Middle East, the one we first disturbed by going to war on Chalabi’s say-so.
Still, I was waiting for someone like Chalabi or Manucher Ghorbanifar or Michael Ledeen to show up in this tale, so I’m please to find Chalabi here, like an old friend.
Interpol has found new evidence showing that the number two suspect in connection with the alleged Iranian government’s involvement in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington is a key member of the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), the Mehr News Agency has learnt.
Gholam Shakuri was last seen in Washington and Camp Ashraf in Iraq where MKO members are based.
The person in question has been travelling to different countries under the names of Ali Shakuri/Gholam Shakuri/Gholam-Hossein Shakuri by using fake passports including forged Iranian passports. One passport used by the person was issued on 30/11/2006 in Washington. The passport number was K10295631.
The accusation got picked up by the NYT, which in turn got a denial from the MEK.
The opposition group itself dismissed the Mehr report as nonsense. Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman, said in an e-mailed response that “this is a well-known tactic that has been used by the mullahs in the past 30 years where they blame their crimes on their opposition for double gains.”
So after we had the United States lecturing other countries about illegal assassinations and rule of law, we’ve got one terrorist organization (albeit one whose material supporters in the US rather remarkably aren’t treated like the material supporters of other terrorist organizations) accusing another terrorist organization of crimes.
There are times I’m really comforted that my neighborhood has nothing but Lions and Tigers and Bears running around.