Fox News Live, Weekend Edition
US Intelligence Studies Zarqawi’s Tracks in Iran
Rita Cosby: Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has pledged his unyielding support to Usama BinLaden. The wanted terrorist vowing allegiance to the Al Qaeda leader after his group settled a dispute with Usama; word of this agreement was posted on the Internet just a few hours ago along with statements calling on Muslims to “unify their ranks against the enemy during this month of Ramadan” –For more on this story we’re speaking with Alireza Jafarzadeh who is a Fox News foreign affair contri-butor, and also Van Hipp, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army.
Rita Cosby: Van, I got to ask you the timing of this is really interesting, what do you make of the fact that this is being released now?
Van Hipp: Two things Rita, first of all its Ramadan and our intel has told us for some time that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was going to step up the attacks right at the beginning of Ramadan and secondly he knows what is about to happen in Fallujah but that cordon around Fallujah now getting tighter by the hour with this shaping operation going on which really is a military operation to prepare the landscape for this major military offensive that we have been preparing for in Fallujah and the Prime Minister of Iraq, his own National Security advisor says that they have actionable intelligence that Zarqawi is in Fallujah. He knows that the major military offensive could take place in just a matter of days.
Rita Cosby: Alireza, I also wants to play the flip side and I think this is kind of scary, someone who is pretty tied in with intelligence told me right before the show, quote “the question sort of Zarqawi, this announcement, would not be occurring unless there is a major event about to occur that may be all of these parties want to sort of take credit for, that’s a bit of a scary premise. Could that be what is behind this too?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: This is certainly the case. I think the fundamentalist want to step up their efforts, using the month of Ramadan. There have been a number of foreign fighters who have been arrested in the past few days in Iraq; signaling that there has been a sharp rise in the activities of foreign fighters, especially those coming from Syria and Iran.
Rita Cosby: Exactly, speaking of Iran Alireza, these new reports that Zarqawi getting --this is something you and I have talked about before-- Zarqawi getting safe haven in Iran and from Iranian officials, what do you know on that Alireza?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, Rita the most revealing thing is that, two
days ago, the Iraqi Intelligence Minister, Mr. Shawhani
held a press conference, talked to some media, and he said that some 18 members
of his intelligence staff were assassinated, 10 of them directly by agents
supported by Iran, and 8 others by Zarqawi whom he said he suspected that was
funded and supported by Iran. So
Rita Cosby: Well, and of course the big focus guys is Zarqawi who seems to be feeding off all of these influences. Van, do you think that we are finally going to get him? It seems as though there is this concerted effort that we’ve seen in the last week or two and it seems like we are building up to a sort of a climax, so going in and finally getting this guy, do you think soon?
Van Hipp: Absolutely Rita, I think hopefully we’ve learned the
lessons of April. We should’ve done this back in April. That this time there
can be no peace negotiations. No pull back. And certainly no Fallujah Brigade,
do you remember them? They disappeared, where is the Fallujah brigade this
time. I think what we’re going to see is a major military offensive in the very
near future and basically we are going to split Fallujah
up like a pie. And we are going to take one piece of the pie at a time and
completely clean it out. It’s a terrible situation Rita, even the old tribal leaders, the old families of Fallujah have had to flee
recently. So we’ve got to go in there and we’ve got to completely clean that
place out. It is the epicenter of all things bad in
Rita Cosby: Now I agree, Alireza, real quick; the other thing coming from the Prime Minister, the interim prime minister Ayad Alawi’s saying, “You have to hand over Zarqawi or else these strikes are going to continue.” Does it help having his backing, does that make any difference at this point?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: I think it does. Prime Minister Alawi has made it
very clear that he is so focused on the role of the foreign fighter in
Rita Cosby: Absolutely. Guys, thank you very much, it’s been very interesting. We will keep everybody posted.