The Telegraph will report tomorrow that Iran is using a group of Libyan extremists as blackmail to prevent Libya from revealing secrets about Iran’s nuclear program, and perhaps about its support for international terrorism:
Western intelligence specialists have learned from interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects, captured close to Afghanistan’s border with Iran, that a militant group of Libyan extremists is being protected and trained by terrorism experts from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
After the war in Afghanistan in 2001 the Libyan group was given a safe haven in Iran, together with other North African terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda. Now the Iranians have agreed to provide the Libyan dissidents with expert training to enable them to attack Libyan targets and intensify their campaign to overthrow Gaddafi.
The Iranians have told Libya of the group’s presence in Iran, but promised to restrict its activities to al-Qaeda operations elsewhere so long as Gaddafi does not reveal details of Iran’s secret nuclear activity.
“This is a serious initiative by the Iranians,” said a Western intelligence official with access to the interrogation transcripts of al-Qaeda detainees in Afghanistan. “They are desperate to prevent Gaddafi from spilling the beans about either Iran’s involvement in international terrorism or in developing nuclear weapons.”
Now that Libyan scientists are co-operating fully with IAEA officials and are revealing the extent of Gaddafi’s nuclear weapons project, Teheran is becoming increasingly concerned that the Libyans will also reveal details of Iran’s nuclear weapons project.
A caution: The article is authored by Con Coughlin, whose reports on the region have a mixed track record for accuracy. If true, however, this is another illustration of how America’s foreign policy threatens to unravel the web of Middle Eastern terrorism and anti-Americanism.