Alireza Jafarzadeh interview with Heartland on destructive
role of Iran and Syria in Iraq
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Fox News Channel
December 18, 2004
George W. Bush: †We have made it very clear to the countries in
the neighborhood; including the two you mentioned [Iran and Syria]. That we expect there to be help in establishing a society
in which people are able to elect their leadersÖ.
John Kasich:† Well, welcome back to Heartland. I am John
Kasich. The bloody insurgency continues to give US forces big problems in Iraq. Now there are
reports that the attacks are being directed from neighboring Syria and Iran. So what can we
do about it? With us FOX News Military Analyst, LT Colonel Bill Cowan and FOX
Foreign Affairs Analyst Alireza Jafarzadeh. That wasnít bad was it folks, to
get that one right?Ē
Jafarzadeh: Sure, Thank you John. Happy holidays.
John Kasich: Colonel Cowan, I
know you think that the Syrians are messing in here, we find very few foreign
fighters in Iraq. So what leads
you to believe that the Syrians are actually involved in doing this and that
the insurgency just isnít born of Iraqis? ď
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Bill Cowen:† Well certainly Iraqis are doing most of it
John. But the tacit support of the Syrians in allowing former key members of
the Baathist regime including Saddamís number two Al-Duri, all of the leadership people, military members,
people we are looking for; The Syrians are allowing them to operate with
impunity out of Syria; providing money, material, arms, sometimes foreign
fighters and probably even just like at Cambodia and Laos and Vietnam, R&R
areas, places where people can refurbish and relax a little bit before going
back to battle.
John Kasich:† All right, this guy Assad,
Bashar Assad, educated
actually in London he is ophthalmologist.
Why donít we pay him a visit? I donít mean thisÖ I mean just pay him a visit
and say look ďYou keep this up and your not going to be in powerĒ we donít have
to invade, youíre just not going to be in power, why donít we deliver a stern
warning and make it very clear.
Bill Cowen:† Great, great question John, and I think most
people who are watching the situation over there particularly with respect to Syria would ask the
same question. The latest we hear is that the State Department is going to
continue to put diplomatic pressure on Assad. But the
real question is, whether we are going to put enough pressure on him to cause he and the people around him to do something substantial.
John Kasich:† Well, the one thing you know about these
people in the Middle East, one thing they
want to be tomorrow is in power and we ought to make it clear to them and shut
this down, this guy is a pip squeak. Now, Alireza, letís talk about Iran. There [in Iraq] we have the
Shiite who are the same religious bent as the people
in Iran. Why would Iran want to mess with
this election when the Shiite are going to win anyway.
What would be their reason?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, the reason
Iran has been
involved extensively for the past year and a half is because they want to have
their brand of Shiite, their brand of Islam, an Islam Republic modeled after Iran to be in power.
Thatís why they have been involved by sending arms, money, clerics, and agents.
John Kasich:† I donít think we found any arms from Iran, I thinkÖ what
Iím concerned about, I want to know what the problem
is. I donít want to create something that doesnít exist. When you say they sent
arms or they want, Iím sure they want an extremist regime but Sistani, the
Ayatollah there, he doesnít believe in any kind of Islamic republic, you know
so what are we worried about here?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, John what
weíre worried about is that right now as we speak some ten thousand clerics are
on a regular payroll by Iran and there are thousands of others who are being
paid by Iran. The Defense Minister of Iraq as well as the
Interior Minister and the President have talked in the
past few weeks, saying that they have arrested a number of Iranian agents.
Theyíve found lots of documents that show how Iran has been trying
to influence the situation there. They are calling Iran the enemy number one.
Theyíre some 30 media outlets in Iraq that are running by the Iranian money.
There are lots of mosques and religious centers that have been built by Iran, run by pro-Iran
clerics, who were trained in Iran for twenty-five
years and theyíre involved in inciting violence and anti-Americanism.
John Kasich:† Well, and then you got a guy like Hakim, who
lived in Iran for twenty-five
years, but of course he was escaping the reach of Saddam. Bill Cowan, as you
know, Iím for these elections going forward. It looks like its going to happen.
Iím going to make a prediction. The Shiite are going to vote, there will be
more Sunni voting than we thought and the Kurds are going to vote. What is this
government going to look like? When you look at what Alireza is saying with
your view, whatís the government going to look like? Is it going to be a bunch
of religious extremists or what are we going to see?
Bill Cowen:† No, I think it will be a fairly moderate
government and the Shiites will clearly be in charge John. The real question
after the election, there will certainly be some Sunnis in the new government I
think the real question is how many Sunnis there are that consider these elections
to be legitimate? Who cares if the United Nations considers them to be legitimate?
The question is, how many Sunnis consider them to be legitimate and how many
people then in this new government are prepared to fight to bring the rest of
the country under control.
John Kasich:† Thatís the bottom line can this new
government set up an army to control the problem there? One last question
Alireza, what are we going to do if we get a government in Iraq that hates Israel and hates the United States? Are we going
to have to live with it?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: No, I donít
think any one can live with that. If you are talking about a sister Islamic
republic modeled after Iran I think thatís
a big problem especially because Iran is very close
to getting the bomb so we need to do everything possible to see that situation
John Kasich:† Well, I will tell you this. I think that itís
likely that we are going to have a government in Iraq that is going
to lean towards Iran and lean
against the US. I hope Iím
wrong but I think thatís the way itís moving. Thank you guys.
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