Mark Landler covers Iran’s public relations offensive at Davos in the New York Times article “Iran message at Davos has eerie echo.” That eerie echo that Landler hears has nothing on the message sent by the catalogue of Iran’s activities compiled by Michael Ledeen:
● A few days ago, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of the Basij– a highly ideological militia under the umbrella of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps — publicly announced that Iran had created Basij units in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and “Palestine.” This means that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism has put paramilitary forces on Israel’s borders.
● In a closely related matter, Iran has taken a giant step toward establishing control over Lebanon. A week ago, Saad Hariri, a key Sunni leader long opposed to Iranian influence and a declared enemy of Iran’s close ally Bashar Assad, said he is willing to form a government with Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. Hariri made this grim announcement in the Hague, where he was attending the trial of four Hezbollahis accused of murdering his father in 2005. It came soon after the Beirut assassination of his close advisor, Mohamad Chatah, during the Christmas holidays. The murder was widely blamed on Hezbollah.
● In Syria, where Iran is effectively in command of the pro-Assad forces, the slaughter of opposition forces and innocent civilians continues unabated. Now that chemical weapons have been banned (although the opposition continues to claim they are still being used), more conventional weapons of mass destruction — like the “barrel bombs” — are being dropped on opposition centers in and around Aleppo, and elsewhere regime enemies are being starved to death.
● In Iran itself, the tempo of executions is surging, as it has for more than a year. Hardly a day goes by without an announcement of multiple hangings, and those who closely follow this nasty business invariably find that the real numbers are significantly higher than the official ones. Even the UN has taken notice, but the dips and businessmen are jockeying for position to make deals with Zarif and Rouhani.
● Iran continues its activities in our hemisphere, working ever more closely with Uruguay and Bolivia and continuing its operational activities with Venezuela. According to the Uruguayan foreign minister, his country holds “identical view on international affairs” with Tehran.
● Finally, Iranian-sponsored terrorists continue to plot very nasty operations against us. There’s a court case under way, involving two men arrested in Canada and another in New York. They are accused of planning to attack a passenger train traveling between the two countries. According to documents made public in Canada, one of the two Canadians was trained in Iran.
For readers of the New York Times and others who need help. Ledeen interprets the message the mullahs are sending: “While Iranian President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif whisper sweet words to reporters and businessmen, and even dangle the possibility of reopening the American Embassy in Tehran, the regime continues to wage war against us and our friends and allies. Instead of simply crunching numbers on centrifuges and sanctions, it behooves serious strategists to pay attention to Iranian activity, now as ever aimed at our global defeat.”