This essay was written by Michael Ross, and originally published at National Post
In a recent article in The Guardian entitled, “Iran seems an unlikely culprit for the attacks on Israeli diplomats”, University of London scholar Arshin Adib-Moghaddam contends that Iran wouldn’t plan attacks in India, Thailand and Georgia because Tehran enjoys good relations with these countries. Mr. Adib- Moghaddam is either very naive or enjoys good relations with the Iranian regime but either way, his article flies in the face of very damning evidence. A long look at Iran’s state-sponsorship of terror would indicate to the most casual observer that the regime couldn’t give a damn about it’s multilateral relationships with those countries.
Mr. Adib-Moghaddam even floats the absurd theory that these were dissidents belonging to an anti-regime faction or part of the “Indian Mujahedeen” ostensibly bent on wrecking relations between India and Iran. I guess this theory works for some if confined to the Indian sub-continent, but it’s going to be very hard to convince the government in Azerbaijan that this is the case as details emerge today of the arrest of an IRGC-QF/Hezbollah cell that was gathering intelligence, purchasing firearms, ammunition, explosives and devices, and making other preparations in order to commit terrorist acts on Israeli targets in Baku.
As more details emerge about the Iranian cell’s activities in Bangkok, the first thing I examined were their flight records. At least four of the six Iranians flew to Bangkok on direct flights originating in Tehran – and in the case of Leila Rohani, the woman involved in the plot – on a flight directly back to Tehran. I don’t have much experience as a dissident, but it seems to me that I’d probably want to avoid any travel that would ultimately take me into the waiting arms of the regime’s security services. But it’s not just the direct flights; it’s the airline they used. As it happens, the members of this cell flew on Mahan Air, an Iranian commercial airline that was designated by the U.S. last year under Presidential Executive Order 13224 blacklisting it due to links to Iran’s support for terrorism.
Mahan Air is known in counter-terrorism circles as “IRGC Air” due to its busy schedule ferrying IRGC-QF/Hezbollah/MOIS operatives, weapons and money around the world. The U.S. is especially displeased with Mahan Air as it emerged that the airline was covertly flying IRGC-QF officers in and out of Iraq to engage in all manner of mayhem directed at coalition forces and in support of the Shia militias in the south of that country. Mahan Air has also been one of the air links facilitating weapons transfers between Iran, Syria and their enfant terrible, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon. The cargo manifests belonging to this airline have a long history of omitting certain shipments that are transferred between these three countries.
Also emerging from the plot in Bangkok is the use of stickers bearing the word “SEJEAL” to mark possible target zones at various points along a 1.5-km route on roads and public transit in Bangkok. These stickers were similar to ones located at the house where the first blast occurred and at another house rented by Leila Rohani. The stickers were also found under the seat of a seized motorcycle belonging to the Iranian cell. As it happens, Iran-sponsored Hamas refer to their rockets as “Sejeal Stones” after a passage in the Koran that tells of a miracle when birds dropped “Sejeal Stones” on an army attempting to kill Mohammed.
Iranians flying on Iranian documents from Tehran to Thailand on Mahan Air and caught en flagrante on one of the busiest streets in Bangkok with their stickers, explosive devices and motorcycle would seem to point in directions other than the “Indian Mujahedeen”.
I’m curious to know how far The Guardian’s writers and editors will bend themselves into contortions of Iran denial before they just end up looking silly.
The only “false flag” I can detect is flying from the roof of the British newspaper.
- Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, an Unlikely Non-partisan Analyst (Harry’s Place)