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Ahmadinejad’s future in doubt?

Ahmadinejad’s future in doubt?

‘Caught between a rock and a hard place’
March 19, 2008

By Gordon Thomas
Reposted from the G2 Bulletin with permission – The G2 Bulletin is a subscription only news source.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

LONDON — British intelligence analysts are expressing doubts about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s long-term future, after his inevitable victory in last week’s election left him in what one analyst calls: “The classic position of a leader caught between a rock and a hard place.”

His hardline supporters, who effectively control the 200 seats in the Majlis, the country’s parliament, are themselves increasingly divided over how he should implement their power both domestically and internationally, according to British intelligence reports.

They believe Iran should break off all talks with the West and go ahead with the country’s controversial nuclear program.

“America will not attack us in their election year. Europe will stop Israel doing so. Britain prefers a diplomatic solution,” an MI6 report sums up the hardliners’ position.

Certainly a group known as the “Pragmatic Conservatives” favor a less belligerent approach to the West. Its 53 Majlis members believe that an accommodation with the West would end the deepening economic blight that grips Iran.

“Unless the president can find a way to balance both sides, he may well find himself ousted in next year’s presidential elections,” predicts a report prepared for Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Despite the Iranian president’s current high profile, all vital decisions in foreign and domestic policy are made by Ayatollah al Khamenei, the nation’s Supreme Leader. From his office in Tehran, he presides over what the MI6 report calls: “A web of control which amounts to a state within a state.

“Effectively the Supreme Leader holds the president’s future in his hands. If Iran’s increasingly stagnant economy fails to improve — and this seems very likely — the Supreme Leader could lay the blame on the president and stop him from seeking re-election next year.”

In theory, Iran’s government departments are run by ministers chosen by the president. The reality is that the Supreme Leader has his own representatives in each ministry who answer directly to him. Effectively this means he has the ultimate say in decision-making. In the present situation, the Supreme Leader will maximize his own authority by arbitrating between the hardliners and the “Pragmatic Conservatives” who want a more moderate position towards the West.

The Supreme Leader, in the complex structure of Iranian politics, holds his high office for life. In theory he has to have his decisions approved by the 86-member body, the Assembly of Experts. The body meets once a year and has never yet countermanded a decision by the Supreme Leader.

While President Ahmadinejad remains the truculent public face of Iranian politics to the West, in reality the driving force is the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

The Guards number hundreds of thousands and amount to a parallel defense force to the regular army. Born out of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Guards have their own army, navy and air force.

Key to their power is the Guards close relationship with Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. He was a former commander of the Guards air force and is now the mayor of Tehran.

During the election campaign he emerged as an opponent to the President.

“There is a possibility that the Supreme Leader may favor Mr. Qalibaf for the presidency next year. This could have as sudden and as dramatic an effect as the original Islamic Revolution,” concluded the MI6 report.

Gordon Thomas is the author of the newly published Secrets and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare (Octavo Editions, USA) and the forthcoming Inside British Intelligence (JR Books, UK).

Israel in cross-hairs of summer war?

Israel in cross-hairs of summer war?

Brit intel says Iran preparing Hamas fighters

March 12, 2008
By Gordon Thomas

Reposted from the G2 Bulletin with permission – The G2 Bulletin is a subscription only news source.

Hamas Rally

LONDON – Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service says Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are training hundreds of Hamas fighters to prepare for an all-out war this summer against Israel.

The Gaza-based organization’s elite Izzedine al-Qassam Brigade will form the southern front of an attack against the Jewish state while Hezbollah will launch its simultaneous assault from southern Lebanon, according to MI6.

Analysts with the organization believe the attack will come in the rundown of the Bush administration and closing months of the bitter Democratic campaign.

“With the Bush White House virtually a spent force and both the Democrats and Republicans looking inward to their conventions, there is mounting evidence that Tehran will seize the opportunity to attack Israel through its surrogates, Hamas and Hezbollah,” said a senior intelligence source in London.

MI6 analysts have confirmed tortuous negotiations in which Egypt acted as an intermediary between Hamas and Israel are now increasingly fragile.

Hamas, which is pledged to destroy Israel, is officially excluded by Israel from direct negotiations with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government.

But with the mounting threat of a simultaneous attack on Israel from two fronts, several members of the Israeli security services have begun to urge Olmert to meet with Hamas leaders.

However, hardliners like the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, and Yuval Diskin, the director-general of Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, are opposed to any negotiations.

Dagan has told Olmert: “To talk to Hamas is a waste of time. Gaza is a noxious mixture of our oxidized hopes.”

And Diskin added last week: “While we would be talking, Hamas would be sending still more of its fighters to Iran to be trained.”

MI6 undercover agents in Tehran — operating out of a secret base on the country’s border with Iraq — have established there are three training camps.

One is in the remote desert Dasht-e-Kavir, east of Tehran. A second is in the mountain region of Hamadan. The third is near the southern city of Shiraz.

MI6 agents have established that since Israeli troops pulled out of Gaza, the strip of Palestinian territory, more than 2,000 Hamas fighters have gone to Iran.

They travel south to Cairo where they board Iranian military flights to Tehran. From there they are taken to the camps by bus. Each fighter is trained for 45 days in high-tech combat techniques about rockets and mines.

An MI6 report describes the conditions at the camps as: “Strict. It is a six days a week, dawn to dusk routine. Fighters sleep rough. They are only allowed to leave their camps on one day a week. Each group is accompanied by their Revolutionary Guards. Mixing with the local population is barred.”

Hamas recruits who have shown skills at intelligence gathering are sent to the Revolutionary Guards intelligence school in Tehran.

There they are shown Iranian intelligence on Israel and are taught how to infiltrate its cities. Part of their training is to learn how to pinpoint targets for mortar and rocket attacks.

“In recent months, there is hard evidence that the Hamas fighters who have returned from Iran know how to use the Shawas-4, a new generation of Iranian mine,” said the London intelligence source.

Meantime, other Hamas fighters are being regularly sent to Syria. Like those who go to Iran, their passports contain no stamp to identify their travels. In Syria, the Hamas fighters train alongside Hezbollah.

“Our intelligence is that both groups have formed a close relationship in terms of battle strategy and deployment of weapons,” said the senior London intelligence source.

“It all points to preparation for a coming battle like that which had such a devastating effect on Israeli forces in Lebanon in 2006.”

Gordon Thomas is the author of the newly published Secrets and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare (Octavo Editions, USA) and the forthcoming Inside British Intelligence (JR Books, UK).

Huckabee on Iran

Huckabee on Iran

Mike Huckabee has written an extended foreign policy article about the War on Terror – for those who want to know more about him:

“Whereas there can be no rational dealings with al Qaeda, Iran is a nation-state seeking regional clout and playing the game of power politics we understand and can skillfully pursue. We cannot live with al Qaeda, but we might be able to live with a contained Iran. Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons on my watch. But before I look parents in the eye to explain why I put their son’s or daughter’s life at risk, I want to do everything possible to avoid conflict.”  [Read More]

It is pretty long, but helps you see into his mind regarding foreign policy.