CIA Special Forces Enter East Iran
26 September 2002
According to our sources, a CIA undercover unit has entered Iran through Zabul, in the Sistan Baluchistan province. Its assignment is to stir up dissent among the largest population in the area, the Baluchi tribes. This province is of small strategic value 'per se'. Nonetheless, the CIA finds it valuable in two ways:
1. The Baluchis, one of Irans impoverished and neglected minorities, control the dope and contraband smuggling routes from Iran to the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf destinations. Â Last December, al Qaeda fugitives, including some 4,000 Saudis, began using these obscure routes on their way from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Lebanon and other points in the Middle East. The CIAs undercover unit has undertaken the tall order of closing this al Qaeda escape route, while gathering intelligence on its nefarious traffic.
2. This American unit is also keeping a close watch on the hundreds of al Qaeda fighters who have set up a base in Iranian Baluchistan with a view to penetrating the base and breaking it up.
Tehran, becoming aware of the CIA units penetration, hurriedly whisked the most senior 30 al Qaeda operatives and mid-level commanders to hiding places in Tehran and the holy city of Qom. Reporting this, our intelligence sources note that least five of the most high-ranking al Qaeda officers given refuge in Iran were in the group moved out to safe places.
In late May, Arab intelligence sources in the Gulf claimed Iran was harboring no more than two senior al Qaeda operatives: Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian on the FBI's most-wanted list, and Mahfouz Ould Wali, from Mauritania. The two, according to our intelligence sources, turn out to be no more than mid-level operatives. What the Arab sources omitted to mention was the three truly high-ranking al-Qaeda officials given a safe berth in Iran. Their identities Tehran is keeping under wraps and are still unknown to US intelligence. This trio, our sources say, are lodged in separate locations in Qom under the watchful eye of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The US administration has been running close-up surveillance of the Iran scene in search of incidents and data useful for destabilizing the Islamic Republican government. A group of 50 ex-Iranians living in California were selected by the Interviewing Service of American, Inc. to run day-long telephone campaigns to private citizens and companies in Iran, in order to solicit real-time information on current events in the Islamic republic.