Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be afraid. Be meta-afraid.

As you will recall, Saddam Hussein had his own little camp of Iranian terrorists on the Iraqi side of the border, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), acquired after Saddam's downfall by our dear JSOC and subsequently by Israeli intelligence, who used them to murder Iranian physicists. They've always had a big sad about everybody calling them terrorists, just because they do a lot of terroristic, um, stuff, but now we learn from emptywheel that the Obama administration is thoughtfully working to get them off that list. Great headline:

MEK to Be Delisted as Terrorists in Reward for Engaging in Terrorism

And guess where else they're showing up this week? In Hamburg, of all places, where they have provided Die Welt (summarized in English in Haaretz) with another one of their specialty packages detailing how Iran has intensified work on its nuclear weapons program, if it has, which is as usual far from clear; as in previous such packages of 2002 and 2008, MEK's assertions can't be independently assessed, and they don't have a very good track record. Not to mention the infamous Laptop of Death they hung around Colin Powell's neck in 2004.

Maybe they've moved up into specializing in metaterror: frightening us with the news that we're going to be frightened. Wonder if there's a list for that?
Meanwhile in Israel, amusingly enough, Iran seems to be virtually forgotten in the exuberance in the new political arrangement, in which Likud and Labor and Kadima have united in the common purpose of let's please just not have an election for a long while, revealing Binyamin Netanyahu's real top priority to be pretty much the same as that of his rival Shaul Mofaz.

What will really be interesting is if Iran's upcoming talks in Baghdad, conducted, for once, without Netanyahu standing outside waving his finger in everyone's face, actually got somewhere for a change. Thomas Erdbrink for the Times sketches out a really interesting picture of how this might happen with Iran declaring, essentially, victory—they've got the peaceful nuclear program they always said they wanted. This is the first really new-looking thing I've seen on the issue in a long time: read it.

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