INTERPOL ISSUES WARRANTS FOR IRANIAN BOMBING SUSPECTS
On November 7 the Interpol General Assembly issued warrants for one Lebanese and five Iranians suspects in connection with the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. Argentine prosecutors claim to have evidence that Lebanese Hezbollah operatives carried out the bombing on the orders of senior Iranian officials. The move was applauded by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: “The link between Iran and world terrorism… has long been proven, and the time had come for this decision” (Communiqué of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 8). An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman suggested the case had remained open for 13 years only because of “corruption” in the Argentine judiciary, and further claimed that the same judiciary had been “influenced by the Zionist lobby and community based in Argentina” (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8). Iranian State Prosecutor-General Qorban Ali Dorri-Najafabadi spoke of “psychological pressure” exerted on Interpol by “Zionist lobbies,” noting that Iran is itself “one of the major victims of terrorism” (Fars News Agency, November 8). The suspects include Lebanese terrorist Imad Moughnieh, the former chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohsen Rezaei and former Iranian intelligence chief Ali Fallahian. Though frequently described as “international arrest warrants,” the documents issued by Interpol are actually “red notices,” which identify individuals as being wanted for extradition without compelling the state to actually arrest or extradite the subject.
SPECULATION RAGES IN AFGHANISTAN OVER BAGHLAN MASSACRE
The killing of six members of parliament, 59 schoolchildren and numerous others in an alleged suicide bombing in Baghlan on November 6 has created outrage throughout Afghanistan. The most prominent of the legislators killed on the visit to a sugar factory was Mostafa Kazemi, spokesman for the opposition National Front and leader of the Hezb-e Eqtedar-e Melli (National Sovereignty Party). Kazemi was frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. In the wake of the tragedy, there have been calls for politicians to end the practice of ordering schoolchildren to greet their arrival, a routine that emerged in response to the general failure of Afghan citizens to form the requisite cheering crowds (Hasht-e Sobh, November 10). With denials of responsibility from the Taliban, some have begun to look at the bombing as a deliberate effort to eliminate political rivals (Cheragh, November 10). Witnesses claimed that indiscriminate fire from police and bodyguards after the blast was responsible for many of the deaths (Pajhwok Afghan News, November 11). Wounds from gunfire have been found on many of the bodies, including Kazemi and some of his bodyguards, according to other reports (Rah-e Nejat, November 10; Hasht-e Sobh, November 8). Furthermore, Baghlan is far from the Taliban zone of operations in southern Afghanistan. Both the targeting of civilians and the number of casualties are inconsistent with the usual pattern of Taliban attacks (see Terrorism Monitor, March 1). Forces belonging to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami are operating near Baghlan, but the warlord also denies responsibility for the blast. There are reports that a local preacher and several others have been detained in connection with the attack (Arman-e Melli, November 10).