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July Intelligence Summary
[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 29 - July 31, 1988
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2008-08-01 04:42 (KST)   

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Saturday, July 31, 1988

"We must push our people 200 years ahead and away from medieval, reactionary ideas, through education and discipline."
--Tarik Aziz, Iraqi deputy prime minister and foreign minister

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The first week of the United Nations-sponsored Persian Gulf peace talks ended without much result as Iraq insists on talks with Iran.

Although Iranian officials have so far rejected face-to-face talks with their Iraqi counterparts, there is a rumor that Iran's foreign minister would accept to meet with Tarik Aziz if UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar deems it necessary to achieve peace.

"I am hereby the deputy foreign minister of Iran officially declaring that there is no obstacle or problem hindering direct talks with Iraq," said Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Mohammed Besharati.

Secretary General Perez de Cuellar has received a mandate from the Security Council to announce soon a ceasefire date.

Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Iraqi forces had used chemical weapons on the village of Bilo just inside the border in northwestern Iran.

Middle East News

In a televised speech, Jordan's King Hussein called for an independent Palestinian state in the Israeli-occupied territories. King Hussein told the Palestinians to take affairs into their own hands.

"We hope the King's actions will clear the atmosphere, clear the air between Jordan and the P.L.O.," a Jordanian diplomat said on this day. "The purpose of King Hussein's actions is to make clear that he is not competing with the P.L.O. in the occupied territories," the diplomat added.

Intelligence - July Summary

Following the downing of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes, radicals and hard-liners in Iran have openly argued for retaliation against the United States.

Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, a hardliner who opposes Rafsanjani, swore that there should be a "rain of blood" in revenge.

Among the top Tehran officials, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, was alone to advocate a peaceful solution. Rafsanjani suggested that a condemnation by the Security Council would be sufficient. Tehran failed to obtain such a resolution. (Former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro, who led the CIA Lockerbie investigation, has said that even Rafsanjani approved the bombing of Pan Am 103.)

Just days after the downing, the Iranian charge d'affaires in Beirut, Hussain Niknam, invited Jibril at the Iranian Embassy. A few days later, several meetings occurred in Tehran. Among the participants, one finds Mohtashemi-Pur, Jibril and several representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

According to the minutes of one of these meetings obtained by a German magazine, Iran ordered the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 to avenge the shooting down of an Iranian civilian jet by the US Navy in the Persian Gulf. Tehran paid Ahmed Jibril about $1 million in advance to carry out the attack (1).

"We had advanced notice. The smoking gun came in July," Former CIA case officer Bob Baer told me earlier this month.

"We had info that Iranian representatives of the Islamic Revolution Guards have signed an agreement with a Palestinian group to bring down a plane. The investigation data was superb. It couldn't have been better," Baer has said previously.

Patrick Lang, chief of the US Defense Intelligence Agency's Middle East section at the time, told me that he stands by his statement that "the bombing of the Pan Am flight was conceived, authorized and financed by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, the former Iranian minister of interior."

According to a DIA memo, "the operation was contracted to Ahmad Jibril for $1 million." The remainder was to be paid after successful completion of the mission. (Jibril's organization did receive $10 million on Dec. 23, two days after the bombing of Pan Am 103.)

Various media have quoted Lang as saying: "I still agree with that. We felt quite sure that this was a PFLP thing." In a recent e-mail, Lang told me that he meant the PFLP-GC -- that is, the group led by Ahmed Jibril. The PFLP is another group.
1. German Magazine Says Iran Paid for U.S. Jet's Bombing

References

"Iran and Iraq Sharply Divided in U.N. Talks," July 31, 1988.

"Teheran Reports Successes along the Battlefront," July 31, 1988.

"U.S. View Is Mixed on Jordan Moves," July 31, 1988.

--

Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on "The GaiaPost."
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

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