MER - Washington - 8/25:
When the anti-American Iranian Revolution took place 19 years ago it didn't happen in a vacuum. The Iranian people had tried to throw out the Shah as early as the 1950s; and there are still retired CIA agents in Washington who mesmerize the cocktail circuit with their exploits of how they kept the Shah on the Peacock Throne and literally torturing Iranian society for decades. Not that long ago Iranian Ambassador in Washington, Ardeshir Zahedi, played the role the Saudi Ambassador, Bandar bin Sultan, does today.
And what is taking place today in 1998 is not happening in a vacuum either. Going back to the Reagan era the U.S. has greatly stepped up its CIA exploits throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds, established a major "strategic relationship" with Israel, and substantially increased support for both Israel and Arab "client regimes" -- real democracy and true human rights be damned. Plus, of course, the dispossession and subjugation of the Palestinian people has been continually pursued -- a vital element in the overall strategy.
Most recently the unofficial but nevertheless very real "Ankara Pact" has been established -- a major U.S./Israeli/Turkish military and intelligence alliance. Anyone who thinks this isn't an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim alliance (as well as anti-Iranian) is simply missing the historical moment.
Earlier this month, the coalition of radical Muslim groups that has come together to challenge U.S./Israeli domination of the Middle East issued the following demands to the French media.
GROUP SPELLS OUT ITS DEMANDS CAIRO (AFP - 8/10/98)
The shadowy Islamic group which has claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, has issued a list of demands calling for US forces to leave Saudi Arabia and for the release of detained Islamic militants.
In communiques sent to Radio France International, copies of which were obtained by AFP's Cairo bureau, the Islamic Army for the Liberation of (Moslem) Holy Sites said it wanted:
"1. The withdrawal of US and Western forces from Moslem countries in general and from the Arabian peninsula in particular, including civilians.
2. The lifting of the naval blockade imposed round the Arabian peninsula and the withdrawal of warships from Islamic waters.
3. The release of ulemas (religious scholars) and young Moslems detained in the United States, Israel and in Saudi Arabia, and first and foremost Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (the spiritual guide of the Egyptian fundamentalist organisation Jamaa Islamiya who is jailed in the United States) and Sheikh Salmana al-Wada (a Saudi dissident).
4. A halt to the expropriation of Moslem riches, in particular the oil wealth of the Arabian peninsula and of Moslem countries.
5. An end to all forms of US support to Israel.
6. An end to the war of eradication being waged by the United States with the aid of governments in its pay, against young Moslems under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
7. An end to the campaigns of extermination conducted by the United States against certain Moslem nations in the guise of economic sanctions."
The hitherto unknown group justified its "jihad" against Washington by the "occupation of the holy places in the Arabian peninsula where US forces are close to the Al-Aqasa mosque." The group said it had taken inspiration from "fatwas from contemporary Moslem theologians including Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman...and statements by Sheikh Ossama bin Laden", a Saudi-born millionaire who now lives in exile in Afghanistan.
Bin Laden, who is a self-avowed enemy of the United States, has been named as a likely suspect behind Friday's bomb attacks which have left at least 174 dead and more than 4,000 injured. The communiques said the Nairobi bomb attack which killed at least 164 people, was carried out by "two men from Mecca" and that the one in Dar es Salaam which left another ten dead, was the work of "a man from Egypt who belongs to the Abdallah Azzam batallion*".
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