While many are aware of the ongoing negotiations between the Obama Administration and Iran over the Iranian ongoing nuclear program, something quite extraordinary occurred last month in the context of these discussions. The 2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities has removed Iran and its surrogate Hezbollah from the list of nations and organizations that are deemed “terrorist” threats. The annual report is given to the US Senate by the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Amazingly, the report ignores or glosses over the obvious terror activities of Iran and Hezbollah and concentrates instead on Iran’s efforts to combat Muslim Sunni extremists, i.e., ISIS. Interestingly, in direct contrast, the 2014 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities delivered by Clapper listed Iran and Hezbollah as clear terror threats that had increased terrorist activities.
The good news is that Iran is still listed by the US State Department as a State sponsor of terrorism, a designation consistently renewed since 1984. Other nations listed as State sponsors of terrorism include Cuba (added in 1982), Sudan (1993), and Syria (1979). Of course, under the Obama Administration this does not mean that Iran will remain on the State Department list. The 2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment may be an attempt to repackage the regime. Nations removed in the past include South Yemen, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea.
Finally, it is often remarked that national security is not just about using the raw power of the American military. In the real world, choices are sometimes between two evils – like choosing better Hell and Hell-lite. The evil of ISIS and the evil of Iran are blatantly obvious to all civilized people and nations. Nevertheless, great caution is necessary when dealing with Iran – the puppet master of worldwide terrorism. The words to the US Congress recently delivered by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, hold great wisdom – “The enemy of your enemy is [still] your enemy.”