"The coordinated attacks appeared to mark an escalation in hostilities between Iran’s leadership and one of the nation’s many disgruntled ethnic and religious minorities, in this case the Baluchis. The southeast region, Sistan-Baluchistan, has been the scene of terrorist attacks in the past, and in April the government put the elite Guards Corps in control of security there to try to stop the escalating violence.
Iranian officials have accused foreign enemies of supporting the terrorist insurgents and repeated that charge Sunday. By midday, official news reports from Iran said that 31 people were killed and at least 28 injured." NY Times
So, the New York Times believes that Sunni Baluch tribesmen fighting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are terrorists? Perhaps the Times missed the event last year in which the US Government labelled the "Al Quds Force" of the IRGC a terrorist organization. The IRGC now embodies the power of the Shia Persian theocracy in Teheran.
Does the Times now believe that armed resistance to a government, any government is by definition "terrorism?" By that standard was George Washington a terrorist? Were the Machabees terrorists? How about Simon Bolivar, was he a terrorist? Was Emilio Aguinaldo a terrorist?
Have we become so much a status quo country that rebellion has lost its charm for us? "De Oppresso Liber?" I guess that is gone, gone with this …
"…it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.."
When they go around beheading people in daylight and waging suicide jihad I would say they are terrorists.
Jundullah IS a terrorist organisation.
To the Times, and the Post, for that matter, and most of the MSM, it is the METHOD of the attack that defines one. And the Times, and the MSM, decide, arbitrarily, what methods are kosher, so to speak, and what methods are not.
the first, clearly terrorist
“In one attack, a suicide bomber wearing a military uniform and an explosive belt entered a mosque where guard commanders were organizing a reconciliation meeting between local Sunni and Shiite Muslim leaders, according to the semi-official ILNA news service.”
the second, No, from the limited info
“A second attack took place on a road in the same area when a car carrying a group of Guards members was attacked and bombed”
So, you agree with Jonst that the tactics of operations establish “terrorism?” We give people the Medal of Honor for suicidal valor. That is what “above and beyond the call of duty” really means. Civilians were killed? I wouldn’t go there in search of an argument. Deliberate targeting of civilians in an attempt to change behavior through fear. That is terrorism. pl
I dealt with a few Baluch refugees from Iran while in Karachi (the largest Baluch city as well as the largest Pathan one — since both groups are mainly villagers), many years back. While some are Sunni, more than a few are Shia — many are “quietists” (to use a Christian metaphor), similar to Sufis.
Your comment about “defenders of the status quo” is on point. Since the Sovs left the scene, we seem to be increasingly of the “non boatus rockum” school, except in cases where we carry out full-scale attacks upon targets of opportunity.
Ah, I responded too quickly. I see the US govt has also declared this a “terrorist” act. They, the govt, are a bit more cynical about this than the MSM.
The MSM is influenced more by pseudo-aesthetic judgments. i.e. something is gallant, or not.
This kind of thinking is common the more one is removed from having to actually carry out acts of violence in the name of some cause. I think it fair to say that those more experienced with war—as a participant in war–not simply covering it, understand there is more ambiguity about these things than might at first meet the eye.
Governments tend to be influenced in these things by acts, and actors, that are effective in their attacks. i.e. if ‘it’ works, if it is painful and costly, it is more readily deemed a “terrorist act”. And indeed, often it is. But often there is a gray area. i.e. one man’s Wedding Reception, for instance, is another man’s King David Hotel. Or another man’s USS Liberty, for that matter.
Insurgents would be an appropriate term, yes?
On the other hand, most of us would not give much thought to characterizing any resistance to us in Iraq or Afghanistan as legitimate right? Even if civilians were not targeted they would be considered terrorists.
Aaaargh! Yes, there are Shia Baluch just as there are shia Kurds, but these Baluch must have been Sunni and not “quietists.” pl
” Deliberate targeting of civilians”. Yes, but as you know better than I Col, the devil is in the details.(Please note, I am not trying to be, nor, hopefully Col, am I being, pedantic here…sharing this insight with you, is, as they say in the law, ‘bringing coals to Newcastle’. My goal here is to articulate what is inside my mind on this issue).
That said, is deliberately targeting the infrastructure of modern society, with an eye towards, making life difficult and fearful for the populace “targeting civilians in an attempt to change behavior through fear”? i.e. we bomb water purification plants in Serbia’? Or the old standby, Dresden et al?
Even if it would be deemed not to be terrorism, the targets of attack could surely be forgiven for thinking it such.
Col. Sam Gardner (sic.?) has publicly observed that members of Jundullah have been captured with large amounts of hard-currency on them.
He further mentioned the videos left behind by them containing footage of an entire magazine of a Kalashnikov rifle being emptied into the head of a Revolutionary Guardsman.
The brother of Mr. Rigi, the leader of the Jundullah group, was married to a Shia woman from whom he had a son. The man killed his wife on the instructions of Mr. Rigi: “We are fighting the Shia”. Murdering one’s wife is not about changing the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Mr. Wayne White, in a different context, has publicly stated that US was using dredges of Afghan society in the creation of the Mujahedeen forces to fight the Communist Government of Afghanistan. He stated: “We knew what we were doing.”
Given the tribal affiliations of the civilian victims, I think that there will be years of personal and tribal vendetta among the Baluch for several years. I believe Jundullah will be destroyed by the Baluch themselves – they have gone beyond the pale – in my opinion.
Colonel, I am rather stunned by this comment. Do you really believe this was a ‘terrorist attack’ rather than attempt at provocation by proxy?
My point is that these are just words. Words invested with meaning by the speakers and the partisans or enemies of any particular cause.
Words are used so deliberately today as weapons that they no longer have any objective content.
“Terrorist” is a good example. To the supporters of the Palestinians the Israelis are terrorists and of course the reverse is true.
As someone said here, for the those who have participated in large scale and purposeful violence, the actual deeds are often very ambiguous in their meaning even if not to the victims.
Kieran. I have no idea if we put them up to it.
Jonst. The USG is calling this terrorism because it wants a favorable environment for discussions with Teheran.
Babak. I think the word you were looking for is “dregs.” Alas, one man’s drags are another man’s raw material.
All. Did someone refer these Pasdaran as “war heros?” wow! pl
Colonel, your point about the use of language is spot on.
As to the attack, it is difficult for me to understand a sophisticated attack like this, guided by excellent intel clearly, outside the context of ongoing US, Israeli, and other Western intelligence operations.
Seymour Hersh reported last year that the Bush administration had dramatically increased the budget for covert ops in Iran, including supporting Jundullah.
How does this look in Tehran?
I find the discussion logical. I would presume that Mr. Obama should rescind the Bush order/allocation [$ 400 million] for the destabilization of IRan, to make the continous talks with Iran more promising.
It is not only the USA/UK which comes under Irani suspicion with regard to the foreign currency, for there are others just as anxcious for regime change, most obviously, Israel.
I would much prefer that covert operations vs. Iran stop, lest we lead to unknowable consequences due to military action involving Iran. This desire does not include attempts at spying, a most natural behavoir pattern of every Sovereign.
Who put them up to it? How about the 21st century Jacobins using a private entity? This would help them derail the current nuclear neogotiations between US and Iran.
It seems that violent organiztions, whether terrorist or insurgent, need a source of funding which could be from a state or a wealthy individual(s). Whether the funder believes in the cause or not, he becomes a controling factor in the beneficary’s action. It is claimed that Rigi has been interviewed by VOA-Persian. This an interesting story to be played out.
Many Iranians are opposed to the governing system. This is a fact not subject to reasonable dispute. But I do believe most Iranians do think of the soldiers who defended the country during the war as heroes – whether regular army, or the “pasdaran.”
Clearly, even some of the best informed sources in the West fail to appreciate the indelible impact of the war on Iran’s international posture and national psyche. I know we have not forgotten from our own experiences that the soldiers in the trenches (rice paddies) have, with rare exception, clean hands. Irony……
Of course, the real terrorists have resided in Wall Stree and the City [London UK] – about 1 million people managed to wreck the whole world’s economy. Notable the lack of remorse: Goldman bonus pool for approx 25000 emplyees of some 23 billion dollars is larger than total government spending by all levels in Utah for 2009 for 2.500.000 citizens:
go down on comments to Hillbilly Daryl based on gov data [many interesting data there] It is n otable that without the TAXPAYERS’S MONEY [13 billion] via AIG, there would be no Goldman!
Since I am not Iranian I don’t feel anything good about them. pl
It is the Right of The People… The first thing I thought of was when George W. mentioned the peace of ’45 one time. I think our govt. thinks it is the only one that can redraw the political map of the world.
Wall Street and the London financial district don’t employee 1 million people; those that are employed there in the creative end of finance have had plenty of help over many, many years dismantling regulatory safeguards and creating an ideology of ‘free market’ finance.
Sunni? Probably, yes — but haven’t we been taught to be wary of those quiet, contemplative types? Remember the USMC tales of the amok among our Malay brethren about a century ago….
marines? marines? The jarheads were all on Samar, their boats, or in the Caribbean.
The Army fought the Moros on Mindanao and in the Sulu Archipelago.
The Moros would wind a little net around their testicles and then twist it so tight that they would go mad with the pain and charge right at you. They called this going ‘juramentado,” Yes Muslims, that means “Shahid.”
The service revolver in use, the .45 long case
Colt would not knock them down before they reached you. For this purpose, the .45 ACP round was created. pl
Once the critical bogeyman was communists, now it is terrorists, which seems code for whoever the powers that be feel needs to be the guiding fear (so business as usual can proceed).
Although I personally feel insulted by such simplistic propaganda efforts by media/govt, clearly their success at justifying so many things (e.g., Patriot act, or loss of freedom even in countries like Holland which did not have any attacks) suggests they work. Yet aside from the FOX crowd, it seems to have worn a bit thin.
I expect a new boogieman man to infest our language any day now to justify – – – – (fill in the blank).
Yeah, they were USMC stories, but the reality was at the USArmy level. Their testicles weren’t the only things that got wound up — they used to tightly wrap their arms & legs, even around their guts, to reduce the effect of knives & incoming rounds (understand some still do this in the jungles north of Zamboanga) — I had forgotten about the ACP, you’re right, of course.
Ah, A US Marine!
Well, we are dealing with my family’s history here.
Our dad, mine and Maureen’s, used to tell the story of the old sergeant major in his regiment (26th Cavalry, Phillipine Scouts) who had won the Medal of Honor in 1910 when a trooper. His troop had to capture a Moro stockaded village. Dismounted, they had nothing but carbines and pistols. This soldier volunteered to have them throw him over the wall. He was a stunted little man. They did that. He went over with a pistol in each hand. After a few seconds of shooting inside, the gate opened slowly, and they charged in over his prostrate body. Dad often drank with him in bars in Baguio. Camp John Hay was the home station for the 26th. pl
An interesting piece from last August about Jundullah being a wedge between Iran and Pakistan:
Pakistani media recently quoted analysts who feel that given the Pakistani army’s ongoing offensive against Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan, his cadres may flee into Balochistan and join forces with Jundullah to mount a stand there against Pakistani troops. In fact, of all the groups in Pakistan’s border region, it is Jundullah which has the terrain knowledge, tactical capacity and ideological indoctrination that could even render true Pakistan’s fears that the US-led operation in Helmand province of Afghanistan could lead to a spillover of some of the Afghan Taliban into Balochistan.
New website by the Leveretts, perhaps some useful data will emerge on it.
Isn’t there a lot of Afghan heroin being run through Baluch networks in this border region? So there seem to be plain old narco/smuggler types as well as Jundallah and other orgs. And where is the intersect point between the narcosmuggler types and the others? The heroin routes “reportedly” run across the border from Iran into Pakistan and then out by sea…etc.
Iranians say their counternarcotics ops have been cracking down on tnis so…a little revenge here??? What’s up??
How does this impact the supposed US supply line into southern Afganistan thru the port of Bandar Beheshti(Chah Bahar)? Those 100 shipping containers a day needed to supply US and other NATO troops are coming in somewhere and not thru the Khyber Pass.
Someone said much higher up in this thread:
“it is difficult for me to understand a sophisticated attack like this, guided by excellent intel clearly, outside the context of ongoing US, Israeli, and other Western intelligence operations.”
This attack does not strike me as any more (or less) sophisticated than the low cost suicide attacks commonmplace in lots of places for lots and lots of years. I don’t know who was behind this, and don’t mean to dismiss out of hand the notion that the attackers might have had foreign sponsors, but believe me the baluchis/iraqis/indonesians/pakistanis/afghans/insert “tribal” people of your choice here/ are capable of carrying out such attacks “outside the context of US and Israeli intelligence operations.”
There is no logical connection between the use of native assets by the attackers (brain power and courage, mostly) and the need for “sophisticated” planning and assistance from big brained foreigners.
I’ve seen the same logic put forth to “prove” that suicide attacks in Iraq were carried out by the US and, famously, to “prove” that the Mossad was behind 9/11 (since arab’s were too dumb to pull off such a “sophisticated” plan on their own.)
Since we are listing them, lets not forget Meshaal, Nasrallah and Castro Colonel!
With Jundallah it is difficult to make the call between rebellion and terrorism.
Certainly, when their actions have been aimed at civilians the question is moot. But since their ultimate goals are neither secession or self-rule, it is difficult to understand why they would carry out these actions on the basis of wanting more respect. They claim to be suffereing secterian persecution at the hands of the govt. but it is hard to put a finger on exactly what they mean.
The area is very poor but not remarkably by Iranian standards. And while the govt. of Iran can and has been accused of many abuses, the persecution of people of other sects and religions has not been an accusation levelled at it often.
So, if they are acting as a conduit for those looking to stir up trouble in the country, then yes they are terrorists. If they are acting upon actual greivances that the govt. is causing then no.
The 11th Cavalry Regiment was also on the island of Samar, I suppose keeping those marines out of trouble.
As for terrorist, as a term, it is debased currency through over-use. And, also, through under-use. Recall the “freedom fighters” we organized, sponsored and supported in their vicious forays into Nicaragua.
An observation. I wonder if the problem we seem to have in identifying and labelling our foes is a symptom of confusion as to our goals and objectives. A partial list from the past 8 years would include Sadaamists, militants, terrorists, dead-enders, Baathists, insurgents, jihadists, fundamentalist shiites, sunni fundamentalists, Mahdi Army, Taliban, warlords Hezbollah, Hamas, Syrians, Mullahs and on and on.
Money talks everywhere. There is a lot of money spread around by local transportation contracters. pl
The argument is not that native insurgents could not have pulled it off on their own. Sure, they could have. But it has been pretty clear for at least a year now that the US IS covertly supporting Jundullah. So an attack like this naturally raises suspicions.
Look at it another way. A known Iranian proxy takes out some senior US generals in Iraq. How does that look in DC?
The 11th Cavalry thing is news to me. As you probably know “C” Company of the 9th Infantry Regiment lost half its men to a surprise attack by the villagers of Balangiga on samar in 1901. The attack was led by the village parish priest who had been considered by the company commander to be his pastor. Following that a provisional battalion of marines were brought in to reinforce additional Army troops and they pretty much tore up the island. Their officers were later tried for various charges by an Army court-martial in Manila and acquitted.
As you say, understanding of this kind of thing is very much in the eye of the beholder. pl
Have we become so much a status quo country that rebellion has lost its charm for us? “De Oppresso Liber?” I guess that is gone, gone with this …
I would substitute the term “statist” for “status quo.”
For the most part, it has become impossible to discuss politics, law, or any other civic issue outside of the context of the nation state.
However, because of globalization, the nation state is becoming increasingly outmoded: too big to handle the little issues; while to small to handle the big ones.
In topic after topic, global warming, energy, finance, we see the federal government rushing around, putting out fires.
Meanwhile, Texas types dislike Hollywood culture and visa versa. Did I mention that Latin immigrants probably are diluting the impact of the Mayflower myth and Thanksgiving? Meanwhile, I live right next to West Virgina, where people actually seceded from the secession. And even we think Eastern Kentucky is pretty wild.
So, seeking consolation for all this, I regularly attend the Episcopal Church, from which the High Anglicans are now breaking off, seeking union with the African Churches in their struggle against the New England, Ivy League, politically correct branch.
I was just pointing out that “x must have had outside help because of the complexity of operation y” is almost always a logical fallacy.
As to the substance, I’m more inclined to believe this was Jundullah acting on their own than anything else, absent hard evidence to the contrary.
The Obama administration certainly did not want an assasination that eliminates people who are irrelevant to our security at the cost of making negotiations on something that is (at least in theory) relevant to our security — iran’s nuclear program — more difficult.
That is a nice prayer carpet, Col. Baluchi, I presume.
Is it yours?
“that rebellion has lost its charm for us?” It hasn’t for me. I am impressed by the Iranian Independence insurgency. The banner is the color of life, the method is civil demonstrations, the weapon is a camera phone, the goal is political evolution of a democratic republic, and, with unity, the victory is assured though battles remain to be engaged.
I think you’re attacking a straw man argument. Isolated from any other considerations, what you say is true.
But this is the single most successful attack Jundallah has yet conducted. It is not irrelevant that this is the first time (as far as my research goes) they have coordinated multiple successful attacks. And all this has to be seen in the context of ramped-up US support for the group.
Sure, the Afghans fought bravely and intelligently against the Soviets in Afghanistan – and they did so even more effectively thanks to our cash and Stingers. Local/foreign involvement are not mutually exclusive.
Did the Obama administration want this attack? My view: of course not. However, Obama has inherited a large number of covert action programs from the Bush administration, which have apparently not been terminated. It is very likely that money, training, weapons etc. from such programs (possibly channeled through Saudi and Pakistan) are an indirect causative factor in this attack.
Even if not, you can be sure the Iranians see it that way nonetheless. As we would were the tables turned.
I was just pointing out that “x must have had outside help because of the complexity of operation y” is almost always a logical fallacy.
I agree with you Dan. Were have we heard this before? I was puzzled by US conspiracy circles post 911. In many ways the idea that ultimately the CIA or other American circles or the Mossad must have pulled it off felt “racist”. “The Arabs” wouldn’t be able to do something like this? It feels ultimately like a variant of the “Arab mind”/the camel drivers/the-ones-that-from-sheer-dumb-luck sit-on-the-world’s-oil perspective on the Muslim world. It feels highly self-centered and arrogant.
But what do I know. Admittedly I was also very suspicious of the coherent narratives (not only the pre-Iraq war one) we were given slightly too fast it felt.
I don’t believe disagreeing with precisely what you wrote amounts to knocking down a straw man. (I’ll concede it’s a minor point in our disagreement. You’re inclined to believe some US involvement. Me? I’m not convinced.)
Every conflict that I’ve studied closely (caveat — not this one) has always been marked by improving tactics over time by the weaker party (the stronger party always seems to adapt more slowly). I don’t find it particularly implausible that they did this on their own (I of course don’t have access to any special information on this matter). They’ve also carried out attacks in the past — both suicide attacks with mass casualties and, if memory serves, the succesful kidnapping and execution of 15 Iranian cops a couple of years ago.
None of this proves or disproves US or anyone’s involvement. I frankly don’t know. Publically available information doesn’t tell me, and I don’t have sources of my own that would convince me one way or the other.
So that takes us to “ramped-up US support for the group.” Forgive my ignorance, but is this established fact? I remember Sy Hersh said it was so — that we were training them and the MKO (which i find ludicrously stupid at this point, if true) to destablize Iran with bombing campaigns.
This may be true. It could be true. But I don’t “know” it to be true. That’s my point in the nutshell — you say “it’s very likely” that US money helped cause this attack. Well, maybe.
It’s also very likely in my mind that it did not — and my first instinct is to focus on local grievances and the motivations of the attackers first. I don’t see evidence of any technology or planning ability that these folks could not have acquired on their own.
In other words, I am not saying “x must have had outside help because of the complexity of operation y”.
I am saying “x does, as a matter of fact, have outside help – and the complexity of operation y is probably not unconnected to that fact.”
Even if not, you can be sure the Iranians see it that way nonetheless. As we would were the tables turned.
Also true. I should shut up, if I don’t have enough time to look more closely into matters.
I agree, if it is true, it is sick. FOIA? No chance, I guess.
The information on US support for Jundullah is as solid as anything on covert action gets – an open secret. Not just Seymour Hersh and Bob Baer – the story is confirmed by Pakistani sources as well.
The money quote: “Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.”
The Leveretts write: “many experienced observers of U.S. intelligence activities in Central and South Asia believe that U.S. intelligence agencies have their own ties to Jundallah, and are using the group to foment instability – or, at least, the perception of instability – inside Iran.”
Alexander Cockburn reported last year that Bush’s finding on Iran authorized action “up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.”
Please let me retract the ABC reference. That particular story is tainted by association with Alexis Debat.
Here is a report in the Telegraph.
Glad you posted on this subject. Thought it was overlooked. Whatever definitional contribution has been made to the definition of “Terrorist” what does the event tell US about the state of organization and capability of the oppositon to the IRG? Is this possibly a straw in the wind or because of tribal issues should be discounted in its significance? Showing my ignorance I thought tribal issues in Iran were down to rug quality! What do we know about tribal identities and the ruling clicks in Iran? I have always viewed Iran as one of the real nations in that part of the world, am I incorrect? Others being Egypt and Turkey.
I confess to being ignorant on the matter of Company C, 9th Inf. and on the Phillipine Insurrection. I can report having quaffed champagne from a cup from the Samar silver service, part of the unit property of 1st squadron, 11th Armd Cav Regt. The story is that it was donated to the squadron in recognition of it’s service on Samar.
I can’t add anything to the Baluchistan discussion,except to comment that if the slain Republican Guard officers fought bravely in the Iran – Iraq War, then it follows that they’d be in the category of war heroes.
The US aren’t the only one conducting black ops. Asia Times’ M K Bhadrakumar suggests that the Saudis are interested in using the Baluchis as proxies against Iran, much like the Saudis appear to have previously used other Sunni groups in Lebanon against Hezbollah.
M K Bhadrakumar’s article can be found here: Saudi-Iranian hostility hits boiling point.
I would like to emphasize my point on the narcotics issue and the Afghan-Iran border situation, terrorism, etc.
Here is a just released UN report on Afghan narcotics production and its global implications:
In the days of Lord Curzon there had been a popular saying, ‘lift a mullah’s beard and you will find the Union Jack’. – from American Anti-Colonialism and the Dissolution of the British Empire, William Roger Louis, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 61, No. 3. (Summer, 1985), pp. 395-420, which you can find on the web.
The situation with terrorists’ beards is no doubt a bit more complicated, but finding the Stars and Stripes behind some of them ought to be troubling.
To Pat Lang and WPFIII: AS A FORMER MEMBER OF 1-11 ACR AND LIVING IN THE PHILIPPINES; I AM TRYING TO COMPILE A HISTORY OF THE FIRST SQUADRON IN SAMAR. ESP. ACTIONS OF A&D TROOPS. ANY HELP?
OH! I TOO HAVE DRANK FROM THE SAME SILVER CUP, BUT IT WAS PHILIPPINE “RHUM”!
THANKS FOR ANY REASEARCH GUIDENCE. THANKS AND: ALLONS! GUNNER, (D 1-11 66-67)
I did not know that the 11th was in the Insurrection. I suggest that the Army historical archive at Carlisle Barracks might be able to help you. pl