01 June 2009
Terror in Zahedan
Iran appears to be under siege by terrorists. In the past week there's been a mosque bombing, a bank arson and more in the town of Zahedan, part of a Sunni area near the country's border with Afghanistan. Authorities are inclined to blame al-Qaeda or some related group, though I suppose there are Iranian bloggers and others who'll jump to the conclusion that these have all been "false flag" attacks orchestrated by President Ahmadinejad to create an environment of fear as Election Day approaches. Since Americans consider their enemies to be automatically so evil as to be capable of anything, it wouldn't surprise me if some people over here jump to the same conclusion. It is a fact, however, that the default relationship between Shiite Iran and the hardcore Sunnis of al-Qaeda is enmity, and there might be a group out there that thinks these attacks will undermine Ahmadinejad on security issues and cost him an election which, as far as I know, he's favored to win. There may also be a currently unacknowledged Iranian role in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan that could provoke militant Sunnis into making revenge attacks. In any event, this terror campaign bears watching, if only as a demonstration to Americans that there simply isn't some monolithic front of "Islamist" forces united against us. Just as Communist countries like China and Vietnam warred on each other decades ago, so countries supposedly linked by obsession with the sharia can oppose each other -- a fact which a wise outside power might discreetly exploit.