On December 29, Iran accused Washington, the UK, and other western countries of fomenting the week's anti-government protests. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Hahmanparast claimed a complicit minority in the country was involved with outside support, saying:
"This is intervention in our internal affairs. We strongly condemn it," after president Obama praised "the courage and the conviction of the Iranian people (and condemned the government's) iron fist of brutality."
Iranians have long memories of US meddling. In 1953, CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin's cousin, engineered a successful coup ousting democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq (the country's most popular politician) after he nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company following a dispute about revenue sharing. Now it's all about terrorism, Islamic extremists, and the ubiquitous Al Qaeda as convenient excuses Washington uses to threaten or attack anywhere.
It's no wonder that legitimate commentaries accuse America of fanning the flames of war with rhetoric, new troop deployments to Afghanistan, and General McChrystal naming the country's major insurgent group threats as the Qjetta Shura Taliban, the Haqqani Network (closely aligned with the Taliban), and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG, linked to Afghanistan's Hezbi Islami Party) - the latter two former CIA assets in the 1980s, and the Taliban an ally before 9/11.
They're now claimed to be active in Pakistan and mortal enemies in America's "war on terror," about to consume Yemen in Washington's fury, helped by headlines like the December 29 Times Online saying:
"Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants planning attacks from Yemen," according to its Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, appealing for help to equip counterinsurgency forces.
"Of course there are....al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders," he said. "We realize the danger. They may actually plan attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit."
On December 30, The New York Times published a Reuters report headlining, "US Seeks to Boost Yemen For Expanded Al Qaeda Fight," saying America plans:
"to expand military and intelligence cooperation with the government of Yemen to step up a crackdown on al Qaeda militants believed to be behind a failed plot to blow up a US passenger jet," according to unnamed US officials.
President Obama vowed "to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle, and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us - whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the US homeland."
Without elaborating, Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman said "We are going to work with allies and partners to seek out terrorist activity, al Qaeda....This is not new."
Increased US-Saudi attacks and military aid are part of the effort - up from $4.6 million in FY 2006 to $67 million in FY 2009, and according to the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed senior Pentagon official, to as much as $190 million in FY 2010. Included also are unknown black budget amounts, greater numbers of US Special Forces on the ground for training and covert death squad activities, and stepped up air attacks.
Whitman explained that Yemen is now America's second largest recipient of overt counterterrorism aid, after Pakistan, a sign of the area's importance to Washington. US Special Forces operated there in 2002, and according to The New York Times, the CIA sent in many counterterrorism operatives in 2008 along with other US forces for overt and covert purposes.
Reports in the US and foreign media suggest larger scale US-backed Yemeni attacks are imminent, and according to CNN, citing two unnamed senior US officials:
"The US and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets for a potential retaliation strike. The effort is to see whether targets can be specifically linked to the airline incident and its planning....the agreement would allow the US to fly cruise missiles, fighter jets or unmanned armed drones against targets in Yemen with the consent of that government," that's, of course, gotten and will proceed with or without it.
Inflammatory US media reports and commentaries now promote war by portraying Yemen as a hotbed of terrorism, citing ubiquitous Al Qaeda forces creating chaos throughout the country, and saying unless America acts, conditions will worsen and spread.