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Inside Iranian-Backed Terror By: Steve Schippert
ThreatsWatch.org | Monday, March 17, 2008

The Chicago Tribune reported that Muqtada al-Sadr addressed on Friday “in an unusually personal letter to his followers” that he is taking a break, seemingly hanging up ballots an bullets. It is of course difficult for a Baghdad slumlord to address his ‘masses’ in person. It’s a long walk from Tehran.

“So far I did not succeed either to liberate Iraq or make it an Islamic society — whether because of my own inability or the inability of society, only God knows,” Sadr wrote.

“The continued presence of the occupiers, on the one hand, and the disobedience of many on the other, pushed me to isolate myself in protest. I gave society a big proportion of my life. Even my body became weaker, I got more sicknesses.”

What Muqtada did not say was that, having outlived his usefulness, his Iranian masters have determined that he needs to stay out of the way. Sadr is apparently not the only one ‘sick’ and ‘tired.’

While Muqtada’s departure is significantly less beneath the shallow surface, there is a noticeable trend afoot for those keeping score. There has been a near clean sweep of defrocked leadership figures in Iranian terrorist and Iranian-backed proxy terrorist groups. The Iranian terror masters have been sweeping away the (quite relatively) more politically inclined and replaced them with more operationally skilled and militarily inclined leaders in their front lines of Iranian Foreign Policy.

It began with the removal of long-time IRGC commander General Safavi, suddenly retired and replaced with a more amenable operational commander, General Jafari. Then it was learned that in Lebanon, Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah was stripped of all military command, which was handed to sheikh Naim Qasim.

And of course there is the increased marginalization of Hamas’ long-time public leaders Khaled Meshaal in Damascus and Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza. Hamas’ military wing (al-Qassam Brigades) commander Ahmed Jabari “rules,” according the IDF. And for those unsure, this simply does not happen unless Iran desires it. Hamas is nearly completely beholden to the Iranian regime which props it up with cash, weapons stockpiles, training and trainers and other support.

Follow the trend and project forward. The Iranians are already shouldering a considerable workload of terror operations throughout the region - Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere. It is less than a reach to conclude that Iran would not make such a decided leadership sweep and install a more operationally inclined and militarily capable set of principal leaders and decision makers unless it foresees an even more increased operational tempo.

Steve Schipper is co-founder of the Center for Threat Awareness and managing editor for ThreatsWatch.org.

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