They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, February 25, 2006

US marines look at another 'violent fragmentation' option - for Iran

FT: US marines probe tensions among Iran's ethnic minorities

The intelligence wing of the US marines has launched a probe into Iran's ethnic minorities at a time of heightened tensions along the border with Iraq and friction between capitals.

Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the marines told the FT the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the central Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kind of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.[db emphasis]

The research effort comes at a critical moment between Iran and the US. Last week the Bush administration asked Congress for $75m to promote democratic change within Iran, having already mustered diplomatic support at the United Nations to counter Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme.

At the same time, Iran demanded that the UK withdraw its troops from the southern Iraqi city of Basra, which lies close to its border. Iran has repeatedly accused both the US and UK of inciting explosions and sabotage in oil-rich frontier regions where Arab and Kurdish minorities predominate. The US and UK accuse Iran of meddling in Iraq and supplying weapons to insurgents.

US intelligence experts suggested the marines' effort could be evidence of early stages of contingency plans for a ground assault on Iran. Or it could be an attempt to evaluate the implications of the unrest in Iranian border regions for marines stationed in Iraq, as well as Iranian infiltration. Read more