On Point: Time to Confront Tehran's International Terrorism

by Austin Bay
February 20, 2013

February 2013 has been a very bad month for Iranian-sponsored terrorism.

On Feb. 5, the government of Bulgaria struck the clerical regime a hard blow with the truth stick when it released its long-awaited official report on the July 18, 2012, terror attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort town of Burgas. In that attack, a terrorist bomb killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and the terrorist bomb-carrier as well. The bomb injured another 32 people. The Bulgarian government called the attack a suicide bombing.

The Israeli government quickly blamed Lebanese Hezbollah for the murders and said Iran was behind the attack. Iran denied the Israeli accusation.

In the intervening seven months, Bulgarian investigators carefully collected and analyzed crime scene evidence and accessed surveillance data collected by several foreign intelligence and police agencies. The Bulgarians coolly solicited expert advice from several foreign police agencies. EUROPOL, the European Union's police coordination agency for cross-border investigations and criminal intelligence, reviewed the Bulgarian analysis. EUROPOL's director praised the report's thoroughness and professionalism.

 The bottom line: The Bulgarian investigation supports the Israeli government's conclusion that Lebanese Hezbollah operatives conducted the attack.

After Bulgaria released the report, an indignant Iran withdrew its ambassador from Sofia. Why? When it comes to mayhem, murder and war, everyone knows Lebanese Hezbollah functions as an arm of Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards' Al Quds special operations force. Iran finances, trains, supplies and, yes, operationally directs Lebanese Hezbollah's terror operations, guerrilla and militia operations, and episodic rocket war with Israel.

The report linked the dead bomber to two men who investigators concluded coordinated the operation. Both of the coordinators are members of Hezbollah's militant wing. Investigators discovered substantial evidence that Hezbollah financed the terror operation. They also found evidence that the explosive device was rigged for remote-controlled detonation and may have been accidentally detonated by the bomber after he planted it on the bus. In other words, the evidence indicated that the attack was not a suicide bombing. There is a more cynical interpretation: One of the two still-living members of the terror cell detonated the bomb and sacrificed his own operative.

The bomber, who used the nom de guerre Jacque Felipe Martin, had a Michigan driver's license, which the report concluded Hezbollah fabricated in Lebanon. The coordinators carried Canadian and Australian passports and also had forged Michigan licenses. All three men flew from Beirut to Warsaw, Poland, then went by train to Bulgaria. The two coordinators escaped to Romania, then returned to Lebanon. The Bulgarians concluded the surviving operatives do have Canadian and Australian citizenship.

A sophisticated operation? Yes, and the report shines a harsh light on Iran's insidiously sophisticated global terror war. For years, the EU has resisted U.S. efforts to have Hezbollah declared a terrorist organization. That needs to change.

On Feb. 11, the world got another look at Iran's dirty war machine when one of the Quds force's most senior officers, Brig. Gen. Hassan Shateri, was slain by Syrian rebels inside Syria. He was in a vehicle heading for southern Lebanon, otherwise known as Hezbollah land.

Shateri directed Iranian covert operations in Lebanon and possibly Syria, as well. According to Middle Eastern analyst Amir Taheri, Shateri had entered Syria to advise Assad dictatorship security personnel. He was Iran's chief Hezbollah go-between for weapons and money. Taheri reported that Shateri channeled $200 million a year (in weapons and aid) to Hezbollah after the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel War.

Shateri's presence in Syria adds weight to the numerous reports that Iran provides the Assad dictatorship with personnel as well as money, weapons and military supplies.

The Iranian government's hardcore clerics imprison and torture their domestic critics. They wage proxy war on Israel and subjugate Lebanon. We now have indisputable evidence they conduct terror attacks in Europe and keep the Assad dictatorship in power. It is high time for responsible U.S., Canadian and European leaders will hold Tehran's ayatollahs accountable for their premeditated crimes against humanity. 

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To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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