Seymour Hersh’s Powerful Charge: US Backing Al-Qaeda Sympathizers to Counter Iran

In the after­math of 9/11, the US began its assault on al-Qae­da and oth­er Sun­ni ter­ror­ist groups. Fast
for­ward to 2003: the US invades Iraq, in part because Hus­sein sup­pos­ed­ly has ties to al-Qae­da, and a new Shi­ite-led gov­ern­ment is even­tu­al­ly cre­at­ed. Now fast for­ward anoth­er cou­ple of years: we find that the Shi­ite gov­ern­ment is sud­den­ly get­ting too cozy with Iran, the major leader of the Shi­ite Mid­dle East. The Saud­is, the major Sun­ni pow­er in the region, get ner­vous. And so, too, are the hawks in Wash­ing­ton who fear a poten­tial­ly nuclear Iran. The result: the Bush admin­is­tra­tion is now look­ing to con­tain Shi­ite pow­er at all costs.

This “re-direc­tion” has involved devel­op­ing con­tin­gency plans for a mil­i­tary (most like­ly aer­i­al) assault on Iran. And, the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, in con­junc­tion with the Saud­is, is even now back­ing (i.e. fun­nel­ing finan­cial aid to) rad­i­cal Sun­ni groups who oppose Shi­ite author­i­ty, even though they also amaz­ing­ly have ties with al-Qae­da. Bizarrely, we’re now indi­rect­ly help­ing the very ene­my that we ini­tial­ly set out to destroy. Or so that’s the claim of the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning jour­nal­ist Sey­mour Hersh, who famous­ly broke the sto­ries on My Lai and Abu Ghraib.

Her­sh’s claims are spelled out in a new arti­cle appear­ing in the lat­est edi­tion of The New York­er, which is well worth a read. (His oth­er New York­er pieces on the Iran attack plan appear here, here, and here.) You’ll also want to give a lis­ten to his ener­getic inter­view on NPR’s Fresh Air (iTunesFeedMp3), where he cov­ers much of the same ground.

On a relat­ed note, we’d also refer you to a recent pro­gram aired by Open Source. It, too, deals with like­li­hood of a US inva­sion of Iran, and tries to fig­ure out whether the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s hard­en­ing rhetoric is sim­ply a risky nego­ti­a­tion strat­e­gy, a way to force the Ira­ni­ans to the table, or whether it’s a pre­lude to an almost cer­tain war. You can lis­ten here (ItunesMp3) or check out the relat­ed piece on the Open Source blog.

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  • Terry Lechecul says:

    Should we remind peo­ple that the US sup­port­ed Bin Laden when he brought in thou­sands of muha­jed­dins in Bosnia in the 90s?
    Back then, they were doing our job (the US is the one who got the mus­lims to back out of the 4 peace plans that would have avert­ed war there), Bin Laden trav­elled freely there (Eve Pren­tice, the british jour­nal­ist saw him) and we were led to believe that these fanat­ic killers were just out to take some moun­tain air.

    It bit us back when 9/11 hit but no one wants to talk about it even though we know that the plan­ners were bosnia trained, just like we dont men­tion taht the only Madrid bomb­ing sus­pect was caught in Bosnia or that almost all the S.Arabia Al Quae­da lead­ers were bosn­ian war vet­er­ans.

    Gee…were sup­port­ing them again?
    After cre­at­ing them dur­ing the Carter years and using them dur­ing the Clin­ton, its nice to know that friends keep in touch no mat­ter how much bad blood there is.

    Of course, this would demand that our media behaves slight­ly bet­ter than their com­mu­nist coun­ter­parts and actu­al­ly report news which dont just serve to con­firm US for­eign pol­i­cy. Peo­ple who read Prav­da had a bet­ter idea what was hap­pen­ing in the­world than amer­i­cans do.

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