The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction

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9780312376550: The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction
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The War Against the Terror Masters is a must-read guide to the terrorist crisis. Michael A. Ledeen explains in startling detail how and why the United States was so unprepared for the September 11th catastrophe; the nature of the terror network we are fighting--including the state sponsors of that network; the role of radical Islam; and the enemy collaboration of some of our traditional Middle Eastern "allies";--and, most convincingly, what we must do to win the war.

The War Against the Terror Masters examines the two sides of the war: the rise of the international terror network, and the past and current efforts of our intelligence services to destroy the terror masters in the U.S. and overseas. Ledeen's new book also visits every country in the Near East and describes the terrorist cancers in each. Among many revelations that will attract wide attention: *How the terror network survived the loss of its main sponsor, the Soviet Union. *How the FBI learned from a KGB defector--twenty years before Osama's bin Laden's murderous assault--of the existance of Arab terrorist sleeper networks inside the United States. *How moralistic guidelines straight-jacketed the FBI from even collecting a file of newspaper clippings on known terror groups operating in America. *How the internal culture of the CIA, and severe limitations on its ability to operate, blinded us to the growth of terror networks. And much more.

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About the Author:

Michael A. Ledeen, a noted political analyst and highly knowledgeable about the Near East, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprises Institute. He is the author of Machiavelli on Modern Leadership and Tocqueville on American Character. A contributer to The Wall Street Journal, he lives and works in Washington, D.C.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Iranian Time Bomb
1THE TORTURE MASTERSAt the very least, you could have given me a glass of water. Animals are slaughtered more humanely than this.--Atefeh Rajabi, sixteen years of age, about to be hanged for "adultery," August 15, 2004 
Absolutely, we do have political prisoners. There are those who are in prison for their beliefs.--"Reformist" president Mohammad Khatami, April 28, 2004 
 
 
In the months following his successful revolution against the shah, the Ayatollah Khomeini consolidated his domestic power through the use of four basic techniques:* The first, common to all modern fascist movements, was the constant mobilization of the masses. The mobilization exploited the symbolsand doctrines of Islamic fundamentalism, and the techniques of twentieth-century mass movements, from monster rallies, constant incitement to hatred of the revolution's "satanic" enemies (of which the United States and Israel were the prime examplars), and, once Saddam attacked and the bloody Iran-Iraq war began, constant reference to martyrdom. A fountain in downtown Tehran was stocked with red liquid, to represent the blood of the martyrs.* Second, the regime devoted constant attention to the needs of the most impoverished sectors of the society. In a sort of Shi'ite version of Robin Hood, money, food, and housing were seized from the old elites and redistributed to the very poor. Khomeini even exempted the poor from paying taxes, and they were provided with free transportation. The regime's largesse was extended to workers as well, especially those in the oil fields, whose salaries were quickly and dramatically increased. This ensured the loyalty of the lower classes and kept the well-to-do constantly concerned about their own well-being.* Third was total, uncompromising war against anything having to do with the West. As the Talibanwould famously do in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Red Army, Khomeini banned music. Western books were removed from the schools and often burned. Above all, a strict segregation of the sexes was imposed throughout the educational system. Women would no longer be permitted to teach boys, and women were subjected to the humiliations described earlier: polygamy was reinstituted (with the additional fillip that "temporary marriages"--perhaps long enough for an afternoon tryst--were legalized, in order to finesse charges of adultery), along with the veil, and divorce initiated by women was made far more difficult.* Fourth was the use of the judicial system as an instrument of terror. As so often happens at moments of dramatic change, the institution was marked by the ghoulish personality of its first leader, the Ayatollah Khalkhali. He had two nicknames, the Butcher of Kurdistan, and the Cat Killer. The first was earned in a murderous campaign against the Kurds in mid-1979. Khalkhali had hundreds of them lined up and executed by firing squads en masse. The second derived from rumors that the man was literally mad and relieved his mental torment by strangling and dismembering cats. Hetreated his human victims with the same compulsive violence; a year and a half after the seizure of power, he told an interviewer that he had probably ordered the execution of four or five hundred "sinners." 5 In the first seven months of Khomeini's rule, the revolutionary tribunals killed off more than six hundred people, including many who had wielded great power under the old regime.This method of seizing and maintaining power has subsequently been used as a template for the export of the revolution. The mullahs have attempted to export the revolution to many countries, from Saudi Arabia to Bosnia, each time using a mixture of religious proselytizing and terror. By and large, these efforts have failed, but the one great foreign success of the Islamic Republic6--the creation of Hezbollah in Lebanon--clearly follows the revolutionary model. Hezbollah is at once a political party, a philanthropic organization that pays particular attention to the poor, and the world's most lethal terrorist organization. In its domain in southern Lebanon, the"party of Allah" enforces the rules of a Khomeini-style theocratic state and enthusiastically spreads the faith by preaching, paying, and bullying the populace. These practices are well-known in Lebanon, and they are spreading. Iran's strategic Siamese twin, Syria, recently approved Shi'ite proselytizing, and the Iranians quickly sent mullahs to preach the virtues of Khomeinism, sweetening the prospects of eternal salvation with cash grants of $10,000 per convert.Hezbollah's political strength in Lebanon rests on the many acts of charity and public works performed in its stronghold: housing construction, education, health care, and charity. That system is brilliantly conceived to achieve a double objective, just as Khomeini's was. At the same time it delivers much needed assistance to the needy, it creates a mass base of true believers who then assist in recruiting terrorists for both domestic and foreign operations, while concealing the clandestine activities of the armed party. Its efficacy in Lebanon was demonstrated in the summer war of 2006, when Israel--whose ability to gather intelligence on its enemies is legendary--was amazed at Hezbollah's discipline, logistics, military technology, and imaginative tactics. All had effectively been concealed from Israeli military intelligence and Mossad.When the Israelis sat down after the war to analyzethe "lessons learned," they realized that Hezbollah and Iran had created a model for consolidating power, then striven to apply it all over the Islamic world. Once they looked at Iran in that way, the Israelis saw that the Hezbollah model was being installed on their own border: "The Iranians have been working to create a model in Gaza via Hamas that is similar to Hezbullah's southern Lebanon model ... the same system that supports civil affairs ... also creates a civilian infrastructure for terror." 7 That terror is aimed against both internal and external enemies.Modern tyrannies have invariably dehumanized entire classes or races, to impose their will on the pure and faithful and rally them to wage war against their foes. This is not a random process; Nazi dehumanization of the Jews, Communist dehumanization of the capitalist bourgeoisie, and the Islamist dehumanization of the "crusaders and infidels" are totally at peace with their official worldview. As Natan Sharansky reminds us, the regimes that support terror against foreign foes also direct terror at their own people, and thus it is no accident that Iran is at once the world's leading supporter of international terrorism and one of the cruelest oppressors of its own people.In the Iranian case, the external enemies are primarily the Jews, Zionists, and Americans, the lesser and greater Satans against whom the divinely inspired Islamic Revolution constantly fights. The internal enemies comprise anyone who challenges the wisdom or legitimacy of the regime ... and women, who are viewed as the ultimate source of corruption. Khomeini was a supreme misogynist, and the laws of the Islamic Republic single out women for special horrors and humiliation.WOMENThe oppression and even torture of Iranian women was an integral part of the Islamic Revolution and is embodied in the strictures of Khomeini's constitution for the Islamic Republic. A woman's worth is officially defined as half of a man's. Iranian law provides for the payment of "blood money" in the case of violent crime or accident, and harm to a man costs twice as much as the same damage to a woman. A man killed in an automobile incident gets twice as much as a woman killed in the same event. Incredibly, if a pregnant woman is killed, the guilty party pays the full assessment for the dead male fetus but only half as much for its mother.Women are systematically dominated by men in everyaspect of civil life. No Iranian woman, no matter how old or distinguished, can marry without her father's or paternal grandfather's consent, or if that cannot be obtained, the approval of a religious tribunal. Mothers don't count. Indeed, although a woman is only recognized as a citizen once she is a mother (and therefore has no legal standing so long as she is single), mothers have no say in the marriage of their children. It is all in the hands of the men.Given this absolute authority, in many cases young girls (the legal age for marriage is thirteen) are married off to older, even elderly men, because of financial advantage. This sort of treatment also takes place at the opposite end of the age line: girls are instructed to marry young boys (who are eligible at fifteen). Unsurprisingly, a high percentage of divorces involve partners who married when they were under nineteen years of age.Men can divorce their wives whenever they wish, but women must prove that the husband has misbehaved, which includes drug addiction, conviction for crimes, or failure to provide for the wife's subsistence. Since the men are invariably favored by the courts, women often find it impossible to get a divorce without the husband's cooperation, and this generally requires them to formally renounce their legal right to financial support. In Qom, for example, a recent study found that more than 90percent of divorced women had either abandoned all claim to support or had negotiated a reduction.Almost all of the tiny handful of Iranian women in positions of authority (only 4 percent of the members of the recently elected parliament are female, and not one was a candidate for a leadership position) endorse the subordination of women.8 One such parliamentarian, Nayereh Akhavaran, remarked, in fine Khomeini-style rhetoric, "Man's right to divorce comes from the fact that because women are emotional, they may destroy everything. But with the right to divorce in man's hands, they will stop the destruction of the family."The same prejudicial treatment applies to guardianship of children. Iranian civil law denies women the right to legal guardianship; the father always rules supreme, and he cannot ever delegate parental authority to his wife. If he dies, control passes to his own father. And if both are absent or dead, the child then becomes a ward of the state, never of the mother. Mothers, even married mothers, cannot do any of the routine things they do in the West: they can't open a bank account in their children's name, can't approve medical treatment, can't even buy a house for their children. Indeed, even if a house ispurchased with the father's full approval, the mother has no rights with regard to it, while the father can do whatever he wants.Women have no right to own property, and a wife only receives a fraction of her husband's estate when she is widowed, and of course sons receive twice as much as daughters. If there was more than one wife, the same fraction of the estate--one-eighth or one-fourth, depending on whether there were children--is divided among the widows. As usual, if the situation is reversed, and the wife dies first, the widower gets double: one-fourth or one-half of the estate.The most humiliating case is if there are no children and the husband dies. The widow gets the usual one-fourth of the estate, and the rest goes to the Islamic Republic. As a leading Iranian feminist puts it, "The government is closer to that man than his wife with whom he has lived an entire lifetime."Everything is patrilineal, even citizenship. If an Iranian woman marries a foreigner, the children are not considered to be Iranian, unless the mother has received special approval from the Interior Ministry, and she may even lose her own citizenship.Polygamy is fine for men (up to four "permanent" wives are permitted, plus a limitless number of "temporary" partners) but denied to women (and the chair of theParliamentary Women's Faction endorses polygamy: "This is eventually in the interest of women, and women should accept it"). Consequently, men rarely if ever stand trial for adultery, while female adulterers are subject to the barbaric practice of stoning to death. Not surprisingly, most of the cases of women murdering their husbands stem from the man's infidelity, whatever the largesse of the "temporary marriage" proviso. Here again, the double standard is in full force. Women who murder their unfaithful husband are punished, while a man will go scot-free if he kills his wife if he discovers--or even imagines--that she has been intimate with other men.Finally, just as the Jews were once forced to wear distinctive clothing, so Iranian women must wear the hijab. This applies to all women, whatever their religion. Muslims, Baha'is, Christians, and Jews all must dress in the same way.No surprise, then, that laws have been drafted to reduce the number of women admitted to university study, and to forbid travel outside the Islamic Republic for single women. No surprise, either, that Iranian activists are quietly circulating a petition calling for equal rights for women. Their objective is to gather a million signatures and then submit it to the parliament. The regime dreads this--it is hardly a secret, having appeared on many blogs and been announced in public meetings in the majorcities--and anyone caught soliciting signatures goes straight to jail.The brutal treatment of Iranian women by the mullahcracy occurs daily, not in isolated cases. As Iran Focus reported on March 2, 2005, "At least fifty-four Iranian girls and young women, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, are sold on the streets of Karachi in Pakistan on a daily basis," according to "a senior women's affairs analyst ... speaking to a state-run news agency." The analyst, Mahboubeh Moghadam, added that there are at least three hundred thousand runaway girls in Iran right now, the result, in Moghadam's words, of "the government policy which has resulted in poverty and the deprival of rights for the majority of people in society."Moghadam suggested (and remember that this did not come from a samizdat network, but from a broadcast on Iranian national radio) "that such a task was very difficult to carry out without some sort of government green light."Professor Donna M. Hughes, at the University of Rhode Island, one of the few Western scholars reporting on these horrors, says that the enslaved women are typically sold to people in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, such as Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. But the slave trade is not limited to the Islamic world.Police have uncovered a number of prostitution andslavery rings operating from Tehran that have sold girls to France, Britain, and Turkey as well. One network based in Turkey bought smuggled Iranian women and girls, gave them fake passports, and transported them to European and Persian Gulf countries. In one case, a sixteen-year-old girl was smuggled to Turkey, then sold to a fifty-eight-year-old European national for $20,000.There are countless examples of the maltreatment of Iranian women, but none so dramatic as the case of a foreigner of Iranian origin who tried to expose the regime's systematic oppression of those seeking greater freedom for all Iranians.In the summer of 2003, a middle-aged Iranian-Canadian journalist named Zahra Kazemi was arrested in Tehran while taking photographs of regime hoodlums beating up young people demonstrating against the regime. A few days later she turned up dead in a local military hospital. The regime denied requests from...

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