Just Foreign Policy News
February 23, 2010
Haitian Garment Workers Should Get $5 a Day
Americans want to help Haiti; Democrats control the U.S. Congress; the Haitian Parliament has passed legislation saying Haitian workers should be paid at least $5 a day; and specific legislation that provides preferential access to the U.S. market to garments from Haiti is already U.S. law. Therefore, the following policy reform ought to be a slam dunk: Haitian garment workers whose products receive preferential access to the U.S. market under the HOPE II Act ought to be paid at least $5 a day.
Derrick Crowe: Reporters Blow It On "1,000 Deaths in Afghanistan" Story
The Reuters and AFP stories announcing the 1,000th American death in Afghanistan are wrong, Crowe notes. All of these stories cite iCasualties.org. The front page of the site does have a number in the table that’s at 1,000. This number is for all of "Operation Enduring Freedom," which includes the Philippines, the Horn of Africa, and other areas. icasualties.org’s current figure for "U.S. Fatalities in and around Afghanistan" currently stands at 930.
Support the work of Just Foreign Policy:
1) Rep. Kucinich wrote to Defense Secretary Gates, demanding that the U.S. comply with its obligation to protect Afghan civilians under international law, following a US attack on a civilian convoy reported to have killed 27 civilians. Kucinich demanded information on the decisions that led to the strike within two weeks, threatening to force a House vote demanding release of documents on the strike.
2) NYT Op-Ed Page Editor David Shipley has revealed that the author of the "mystery op-ed" demanding more civilian deaths in Afghanistan works for Pentagon contractor Booz Allen, writes Glenn Greenwald in Salon, noting that Booz Allen "has more overlapping ties with the Pentagon than virtually any other corporation on the planet." Shipley’s answer strongly suggests that the NYT purposely sought out an Op-Ed to urge more civilian deaths in Afghanistan.
3) Nadir Nadery, commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said if the reports on US Special Forces airstrike that reportedly killed 27 civilians are true, "this is the worst case since McChrystal has announced his new strategy of reducing the use of air power," the New York Times reports. A strike requested by German forces in Kunduz on Sept. 4 on two fuel tanker trucks that had been seized by the Taliban killed more than 90 people. But, Nadery noted, "In Kunduz, the target was legitimate militarily but the bombing was disproportionate, 70-plus civilians died, but at least it was a justified military target." In that case, the chief of staff of the German armed forces resigned over accusations that the German military withheld information about the civilian deaths, and the case provoked an inquiry in Germany’s Parliament.
4) The Taliban still enjoys deep support in Marja, and the Afghan government is almost universally loathed, the Washington Post reports. "The Taliban provided us with a very peaceful environment," said a tractor driver. "They did not bother us. We were very happy with them here." Mohammed said police corruption and malfeasance led residents to support the insurgents. "They were not corrupt like the police," he said.
5) An analysis of multiple polls of the Iranian public from different sources finds little evidence to support claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not actually win the presidential election, that the majority of Iranians perceive their government as illegitimate, or that the majority favor regime change, the Program on International Policy Attitudes reports. Even Mousavi supporters say they believe that Ahmadinejad is the legitimate president and affirm the Islamist nature of the regime. Mousavi supporters, like the general public, were quite negative in their views of the US government and were strongly committed to Iran’s nuclear program. A majority of Mousavi supporters did favor diplomatic relations with the US, and were ready to make a deal whereby Iran would preclude developing nuclear weapons through intrusive international inspections in exchange for the removal of sanctions. However, this was equally true of the majority of all Iranians. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, said, "Our analysis suggests that it would not be prudent to base US policy on the assumption that the Iranian public is in a pre-revolutionary state of mind."
6) Turkish police detained three of the country’s highest-ranking former generals as part of a vast investigation into a shadowy ultranationalist movement accused of planning to overthrow the Islamist-inspired government, the New York Times reports. The case revolves around a suspected conspiracy by secular ultranationalists who are accused of developing several plots to attack civilian targets, like a mosque in central Istanbul, and to provoke a crisis with neighboring Greece, with a goal of paving the way for a coup. The Constitution, adopted after one of the military’s coups, assigns the army to intervene in politics to defend of the republic, a vaguely defined responsibility that has until now been read as granting the military unconditional immunity. But the Turkish military has been criticized by the EU for its influence in civilian politics.
8) NATO training teams are putting together Afghan military units based on ethnic percentages set by the Afghan government based on the population, the Washington Post reports. Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, set the percentage targets for each brigade: the Pashtun target is 44 percent of the unit; the Tajik, 25 percent; the Hazara, 10 percent; Uzbek, 8 percent; and all others, 13 percent.
9) Martin Kramer, affiliated with Harvard’s National Security Studies Program, the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, and President of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, has posted a speech in which he urged solving the Palestinian refugee problem by population control: "stopping pro-natal subsidies to Palestinians with refugee status," writes M.J. Rosenberg on Huffington Post. "Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim, undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza’s runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have. That may begin to crack the culture of martyrdom, which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men," Kramer said.
10) Iranian authorities have arrested the leader of the terrorist group Jundallah, the Washington Post reports. A British spokesman said the UK welcomed the arrest. Abdul Malik Rigi "is a terrorist responsible for despicable attacks which have killed many innocent Iranians," a Foreign Office spokesman said. "The U.K. has always condemned such actions." He said Rigi’s arrest "would be a blow to terrorism and would be unreservedly welcomed by Britain." The U.S. apparently did not "welcome" the arrest, although the U.S. has denounced acts claimed by Jundallah as terrorism in the past.
1) Kucinich Challenges Sec. Gates on Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan
Press Release, Ofc. of Rep. Kucinich, Feb 23
Washington – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a vocal critic of the war in Afghanistan, yesterday wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates demanding information on the decision-making process and the underlying intelligence that led to a NATO attack on a civilian convoy. Media reports indicate that 27 civilians were killed, including women and children and many more were injured.
"The U.S. government has an obligation to protect civilians under international law. As Secretary of Defense, you have an obligation to ensure that all military operations conducted in Afghanistan are conducted in accordance to such laws…
"Please provide information about the events leading up to the air strike … a detailed description of how it was determined that the civilians traveling by minibus were Taliban insurgents, and the protocol for ordering this airstrike and all other airstrikes," wrote Kucinich in the letter.
Kucinich demanded a response within two weeks, citing "the gravity of the situation and the tragic loss of life." Kucinich added, "The United States must demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting civilian lives in Afghanistan, and the results of this investigation are vital to ensure that an adequate system of oversight and accountability is in place."
Kucinich warned, "If necessary, I will direct the request for information via a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives." A Resolution of Inquiry is a procedure to force a House vote to force the release of documents from the Executive Branch. Under House Rules, a Resolution of Inquiry must be referred to committee and acted upon within 14 legislative days.
2) The NYT on its "kill more civilians" Op-Ed writer
The Op-Ed Page Editor’s explanation of this bizarre piece raises more questions than it answers
Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Feb. 22, 2010
Last week, I wrote about the mysterious Op-Ed writer, Lara M. Dadkhah, published by The New York Times, who urged that the U.S. be less restrained about slaughtering Afghan civilians with air attacks (when Dadkhar reads things like this from today – "Airstrike kills dozens in Afghanistan . . . Ground forces at the scene found women and children among the casualties" – she presumably thinks: "yes, that’s exactly what we need more of"). As I noted, beyond how deranged the argument was, virtually no information was disclosed about Dadkhah herself, who was allowed to tout her work for a "defense consulting company" without even specifying who it was. The Hillman Foundation’s Charles Kaiser asked NYT Op-Ed Page Editor David Shipley about this strange matter and received this reply:
‘We found Ms. Dadkhah from work she did in Small Wars Journal, work that was part of her Ph.D. dissertation at Georgetown. Ms. Dadkhah only recently took a job at Booz Allen. We tend not to mention the names of companies – as it can run the risk of seeming self-promotional. I thought it was sufficient to have the author say, as she did high up in the piece, that "While I am employed by a defense consulting company, my research and opinions on air support are my own." It’s worth underscoring that Ms. Dadkhah’s research regarding close air support came entirely from her doctoral research, and that these are issues she has written about over the the last couple years for Small Wars.’
Shipley’s answer strongly suggests that Dadkhah did not submit her Op-Ed unsolicited, but rather, the NYT purposely sought out an Op-Ed to urge more civilian deaths in Afghanistan ("We found Ms. Dadkhah from work she did in Small Wars Journal"). Why would they do that? Maybe tomorrow the NYT Editors can actively solicit an Op-Ed urging the use of biological agents and chemical weapons on civilian populations in Yemen. After that, they can search out someone to advocate medical experiments on detainees in Bagram. Perhaps the day after, they can host a symposium on the tactical advantages of air bombing hospitals and orphanages as a means of keeping local populations in line.
Beyond that, Dadkhah’s employer – Booz Allen – has more overlapping ties with the Pentagon than virtually any other corporation on the planet. The very idea that Dadkhah’s employment with a company that has its hooks in virtually every aspect of war policy need not have been disclosed, when she’s advocating greater use of air power, is absurd on its face. And Shipley’s claim that the companies which employ Op-Ed writers are not typically mentioned by the NYT is insultingly false; just today, Newt Gingrich’s short Op-Ed contribution is accompanied by this tagline: "founder of the Center for Health Transformation, a health-care policy consulting firm." Yesterday, the NYT published an Op-Ed from the "former general counsel of the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses," and throughout the month, the NYT had Op-Ed writers identified as "chairman of Convers Group in Moscow," "a vice president at Microsoft from 1997 to 2004," and "the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop." Suffice to say, concealing the employer of the Op-Ed writer is not customary policy.
To summarize: the NYT Op-Ed Page decided, for whatever reasons, that it wanted to find someone to urge more civilian deaths in Afghanistan. The person it found to do that is someone about whom virtually nothing was known, yet works for one of the largest, most sprawling and influential defense firms in the nation, a virtual arm of the Pentagon, but they decided there was no reason to have its readers know that.
3) NATO Airstrike Kills Afghan Civilians
Rod Nordland, New York Times, February 23, 2010
Kabul, Afghanistan – An airstrike launched Sunday by United States Special Forces helicopters against what international troops believed to be a group of insurgents ended up killing as many as 27 civilians in the worst such case since at least September, Afghan officials said Monday. "The repeated killing of civilians by NATO forces is unjustifiable," President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet said in a statement. "We strongly condemn it."
The Special Forces helicopters were hunting for insurgents who had escaped the NATO offensive in the Marja area, about 150 miles away, according to Gen. Abdul Hameed, an Afghan National Army commander in Dehrawood, which is part of Oruzgan Province. General Hameed, interviewed by telephone, said there had been no request from any ground forces to carry out an attack.
The airstrike took place in an area under Dutch military control, and there were concerns over the possibility of political repercussions in the Netherlands, where the Afghan war is unpopular. On Saturday the government collapsed over an effort to extend the deployment of 2,000 Dutch troops in Afghanistan.
But a Dutch Defense Ministry spokesman in The Hague said Dutch forces were not involved in calling for the airstrike. The spokesman, who spoke in return for customary anonymity, did not say who had called for air support. NATO officials did not immediately identify the forces involved in the strike.
[…] Zemarai Bashary, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said the victims were all civilians. He said two Land Cruisers and a pickup truck carrying a total of 42 people were attacked by air near Khotal Chowzar, a mountain pass that connects Daykondi Province with Oruzgan Province in central Afghanistan.
Mr. Bashary said there were no Afghan forces known to be operating in the area where the airstrike took place, but an investigation was under way to determine who was involved. The cabinet statement, posted on the president’s Web site in English and Dari, said there were 27 dead, including 4 women and a child, and 12 people wounded. Mr. Bashary said only 21 dead had been confirmed so far, with 14 wounded and 2 missing, but he said those were preliminary figures.
[…] Last June, General McChrystal announced a shift in policy greatly restricting the use of airstrikes to reduce civilian casualties. The change meant airstrikes would normally be used only to save the lives of coalition forces when under attack, and would be carefully reviewed in advance.
"If the reports are true, this is the worst case since McChrystal has announced his new strategy of reducing the use of air power," Nadir Nadery, commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said Monday. "In Kunduz, the target was legitimate militarily but the bombing was disproportionate, 70-plus civilians died, but at least it was a justified military target."
A strike requested by German forces in Kunduz on Sept. 4 struck two fuel tanker trucks that had been seized by the Taliban, and it killed more than 90 people. It later emerged that most of the victims were civilians forced by the Taliban to participate in unloading the tankers.
The chief of staff of the German armed forces resigned over accusations that the German military withheld information about the civilian deaths, and the case provoked an inquiry in Germany’s Parliament.
4) New Mayor Delivers A Plea To Marja
Afghan official who will govern Marja pays first visit, makes plea to residents
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, Tuesday, February 23, 2010; A06
Marja, Afghanistan – The Afghan official responsible for governing Marja paid his first visit to this strife-torn community Monday, imploring residents to forsake the Taliban and promising employment programs as an inducement for local men to put down their weapons.
Haji Zahir, the newly appointed mayor of Marja, told a group of about 50 elderly men who had gathered at a gas station near the main bazaar that the large U.S. and Afghan military operation to flush out the Taliban is intended to bring "positive changes."
[…] But Zahir, a native of southern Afghanistan who has spent the past 15 years in Germany, elicited only a tepid endorsement from the men who gathered to meet him. Their questions made clear that the Taliban still enjoys deep support here, and that the Afghan government is almost universally loathed, illuminating the deep challenge facing Marines and civilian stabilization specialists as they try to establish basic civic administration.
"The Taliban provided us with a very peaceful environment," said Fakir Mohammed, 32, a tractor driver. "They did not bother us. We were very happy with them here." Mohammed said police corruption and malfeasance led residents to support the insurgents. "They were not corrupt like the police," he said.
One man accused U.S. and Afghan forces of responding to fire from AK-47 assault rifles, a weapon commonly used by the insurgents, with rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells. "Your government drops bombs on us," another said.
[…] But several residents said they were less interested in government services than being left alone. The principal cash crop in Marja is opium-producing poppy, and many farmers are wary that the establishment of local governance and a police force will put an end to what has been a lucrative way of life for them.
Halfway through the meeting, one participant stood and proclaimed himself a Talib. "I have nothing against the Americans, but I don’t like our government," farmer Ali Mohammed said to Zahir. "It steals all the money that the foreigners give us."
5) Analysis of Multiple Polls Finds Little Evidence Iranian Public Sees Government as Illegitimate
WorldPublicOpinion.org, Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, February 3, 2010
Indications of fraud in the June 12 Iranian presidential election, together with large-scale street demonstrations, have led to claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not actually win the election, and that the majority of Iranians perceive their government as illegitimate and favor regime change.
An analysis of multiple polls of the Iranian public from three different sources finds little evidence to support such conclusions.
The analysis conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland (PIPA), was based on:
– a series of 10 recently-released polls conducted by the University of Tehran; eight conducted in the month before the June 12 election and two conducted in the month after the election, based on telephone interviews conducted within Iran
– a poll by GlobeScan conducted shortly after the election, based on telephone interviews conducted within Iran
– a poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org (managed by PIPA) conducted August 27-September 10, based on telephone interviews made by calling into Iran
The study sought to address the widely-discussed hypotheses that Ahmadinejad did not win the June 12 election and that the Iranian people perceive their government as illegitimate. It also sought to explore the assumption that the opposition represents a movement favoring a substantially different posture toward the United States. The analysis of the data found little evidence to support any of these hypotheses.
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, said, "Our analysis suggests that it would not be prudent to base US policy on the assumption that the Iranian public is in a pre-revolutionary state of mind."
On the question of whether Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election, in the week before the election and after the election, in all polls a majority said they planned to or did vote for Ahmadinejad. These numbers ranged from 52 to 57% immediately before the election and 55 to 66% after the election. Steven Kull comments, "These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process. But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad."
[…] Going into the election 57% said they expected Ahmadinejad to win. Thus it is not surprising that, in several post-election polls, more than seven in ten said they saw Ahmadinejad as the legitimate president. About eight in ten said the election was free and fair.
[…] However none of the polls found indications of support for regime change. Large majorities, including majorities of Mousavi supporters, endorse the Islamist character of the regime such as having a body of Islamic scholars with the power to veto laws they see as contrary to sharia.
To address the possibility that the data collected within Iran may have been fabricated, PIPA compared the patterns of responses, including within subgroups, in data collected inside Iran to those collected by calling into Iran from the outside. Steven Kull comments, "The patterns of responses at many levels are so similar, whether the data was collected inside Iran or by calling into Iran, that it is hard to conclude that these data were fabricated."
Another concern is that Iranian respondents were not answering candidly out of fear of some type of reprisal for making statements in support of the opposition or critical of the regime, particularly in the post-election environment. As noted above, on some questions majorities expressed views that were less than fully laudatory of the government.
Still there was the fact that after the election, the numbers expressing support for Mousavi diminished suggests that some self-censoring may have been occurring. Thus PIPA put special emphasis on analyzing the responses of those who felt bold enough to say that they voted for the opposition on the assumption that they would be frank on other issues as well. While Mousavi supporters are less affirmative of the legitimacy of the regime than the public as a whole, still a majority says that they believe that Ahmadinejad is the legitimate president and affirm the Islamist nature of the regime.
Some analysts have suggested that if the opposition were to gain power this would lead to fundamental changes in the Iranian posture toward the US. Focusing on those respondents who said they voted for Mousavi, as an approximation of the opposition,
PIPA found that a majority were ready to negotiate with the US on a number of issues, while the Iranian public as a whole was more divided. However, Mousavi supporters, like the general public, were quite negative in their views of the US government and were strongly committed to Iran’s nuclear program.
A majority of Mousavi supporters did favor diplomatic relations with the US, and were ready to make a deal whereby Iran would preclude developing nuclear weapons through intrusive international inspections in exchange for the removal of sanctions. However, this was equally true of the majority of all Iranians.
7) Former Top Generals Detained in Turkish Coup Inquiry
Sebnem Arsu, New York Times, February 23, 2010
Istanbul – In one of the toughest actions against the powerful Turkish military in the history of modern Turkey, the police detained three of the country’s highest-ranking former generals on Monday as part of a vast investigation into a shadowy ultranationalist movement accused of planning to overthrow the Islamist-inspired government.
News reports identified the detainees as a former deputy chief of the general staff, Ergin Saygun; a former air force commander, Ibrahim Firtina; and a former naval commander, Ozden Ornek. They were detained at their homes in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said more than 40 people in all were taken into custody during the operations on Monday, including 14 other former high-ranking military officers.
The case, which has riveted Turks, revolves around a suspected conspiracy by secular ultranationalists who are accused of developing several plots to attack civilian targets, like a mosque in central Istanbul, and to provoke a crisis with neighboring Greece, with a goal of paving the way for a coup.
More than 200 people have been arrested so far in the case, including military officers, intellectuals, academics and writers who are outspoken critics of the government, and some have been held for months without charge. A first trial opened two years ago. The case is widely referred to as Ergenekon (pronounced ahr-GEN-eh-kahn) after the mythic Turkish valley that lent its name to the suspected conspirators.
[…] The Constitution, adopted after one of the military’s coups in 1980, assigns the army to intervene in politics to defend of the republic, a vaguely defined responsibility that has until now been read as granting the military unconditional immunity. But the Turkish military has been criticized by the European Union for its influence in civilian politics, as the country aspires to join the pact.
8) Deploying The Right Formula To Bolster The Afghan Military
To bolster Afghan ranks, U.S. encourages ethnic balance, pay raises
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Tuesday, February 23, 2010; A17
Recruiting to meet the goals for growing the Afghan army has to be stepped up even more to replace the 20 percent loss of troops each year from deaths, serious injuries and absences without official leave, according to a NATO official in Afghanistan.
The attrition level is "a little bit higher than we want, [and] that means that we have to crank in more in the recruiting base," U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Hogg, deputy commander of the NATO training mission for the Afghan army, told reporters last week. "Attrition is not just focused on soldiers going AWOL," he said. "It’s AWOL, it’s those killed in action, it’s those that are seriously wounded and unable to continue their military service."
[…] Trying to overcome the longtime problem of ethnic tensions within the army, the NATO training teams are putting together Afghan military units based on ethnic percentages set by the Afghan government. "It’s a sensitive, emotional issue between the Tajiks and the Pashtuns for a whole variety of reasons," Hogg said. One reason is that the Tajiks, a national minority, traditionally have held high positions in the military, until recently.
"We don’t have a lot of Pashtuns from the south," Hogg said, "so that’s a targeting area for us for recruiting." He added, "It’s a work in progress; we’ve got to balance out the Pashtuns right now."
Based on a survey, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, a Pashtun, set the percentage targets for each brigade, or "kandaks." The Pashtun target is 44 percent of the unit; the Tajik, 25 percent; the Hazara, 10 percent; Uzbek, 8 percent; and all others, 13 percent. "We do the same ethnic balancing for the leadership, but it is a challenge," Hogg said.
9) Is Harvard Prof Advocating Palestinian Genocide?
M.J. Rosenberg, Huffington Post, February 22, 2010
[In the early 1980s, Rosenberg was editor of AIPAC’s weekly newsletter Near East Report. From 1998-2009, he was director of policy at Israel Policy Forum, an American Jewish organization that works for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. -JFP]
This has to be seen to be believed. Dr. Martin Kramer, a fellow at Harvard’s National Security Studies Program, has posted a speech he delivered two weeks ago in Israel in which he urged solving the Palestinian refugee problem by population control i.e "stopping pro-natal subsidies to Palestinians with refugee status." In other words, starve the Palestinians so they don’t have babies and, he seems to be saying, starving the babies so they don’t grow up.
That will help reduce the terrorist threat by preventing Palestinian babies from becoming "superfluous young men." It is, Kramer says, those "superfluous young men" who become radicals:
"Aging populations reject radical agenda and the Middle East is no different. Now eventually, this will happen among the Palestinians, too. But it will happen faster if the West stops providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status. Those subsidies are one reason why in the ten years, from 1997 to 2007, Gaza’s population grew by an astonishing 40%. At that rate, Gaza’s population will double by 2030 to three million. Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim, undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza’s runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have. That may begin to crack the culture of martyrdom, which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men."
[…] This is right out of Jonathan Swift. Instead of arguing for jobs, economic opportunity, and self-determination to ensure that these baby boys can have productive lives, Kramer argues for preventing them from growing up. Watch the clip yourself. This guy, Harvard, Washington Institute of Near East Policy, and President of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem seems to be advocating genocide.
[The video is also posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smfbF_l0euo – JFP.]
10) Iran arrests Sunni rebel accused of links with U.S.
Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, Tuesday, February 23, 2010; 1:38 PM http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/23/AR2010022301173.html
Tehran – Iranian authorities have arrested the fugitive leader of the country’s main Sunni Muslim insurgent group, Iran’s minister of interior told reporters Tuesday.
Iran accused the United States of having supported the insurgent leader, while his group issued a statement claiming that the CIA was involved in his arrest. The United States denied both assertions Tuesday. "These claims are just plain garbage," a senior U.S. intelligence official said in Washington. [Mainstream US media have reported in the past that the US has supported Jundallah; it’s also noteworthy that unlike Britain – see below – the US did not "welcome" the arrest; but the U.S. has denounced acts carried out by Jundallah as "terrorist" in the past – JFP.]
Abdul Malik Rigi, 27, was captured in an unspecified third country, Iranian Interior Minister Mohammad Najjar said. Iran accuses Rigi of being the mastermind of numerous terrorist attacks that have killed dozens of people. Rigi, who for years has been Iran’s top fugitive, heads the Jundallah (Soldiers of God, or God’s Brigade) group, which says it supports the rights of a Sunni Muslim minority in Iran and operates in Iran’s southeastern border region.
Iranian authorities say the United States gives financial and organizational support to the group, which often posts al-Qaeda-like execution videos on the Internet.
[…] However, a Web site connected to Jundallah asserted that Rigi was arrested by the intelligence services of the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan, then handed over to Iran.
[…] A British spokesman told Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that London welcomes the arrest. Rigi "is a terrorist responsible for despicable attacks which have killed many innocent Iranians," Foreign Office spokesman Barry Marston said. "The U.K. has always condemned such actions." He said Rigi’s arrest "would be a blow to terrorism and would be unreservedly welcomed by Britain," IRNA reported.
[…] Rigi’s brother, Abdulhamid, was arrested in Pakistan in 2008 and extradited to Iran. In an interview with state television’s English news channel Press TV, he said that he and his brother had met CIA operatives in Pakistan who offered their group training, financial aid and safe houses in Afghanistan. Abdulhamid Rigi was scheduled to be hanged in October, but his execution was postponed for unknown reasons.
Just Foreign Policy
Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming US foreign policy so it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.