June 11, 2002 Special Dispatch No. 387

Iran Increases Funding and Training for Suicide Bombings Islamic Jihad Leader: The Intifada Foiled the American Plots Against Iraq. A Hizbullah Leader on the Iranian-Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian Axis

June 11, 2002
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 387

Correspondent 'Ali Nouri Zadeh, of the the Saudi London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reports from London on recent developments regarding Iranian support of Palestinian organizations:

Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority Meet in Iran
"Iran has decided to increase its financial aid to some organizations that oppose peace efforts in the Middle East. Iran has allocated a special budget for the support of some Palestinian groups who lost their sources of funding when the Soviet Union and the communist bloc collapsed, and when Libya stopped providing material support to the Palestinian organizations."

"A source very close to the Revolutionary Guards said that the leader of the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad movement, Ramadhan Shalah, had visited Iran last week heading a large delegation that included the Islamic Jihad leadership, Hamas representatives, and Ahmad Jibril, leader of the PFLP - General Command, to participate in a symposium held in Tehran in support of the Intifada."

"The Palestinian Authority was represented by PA Communication Minister Imad Al-Falluji."

"[The symposium] was overseen by 'Ali Akbar Muhtashemi, former Iranian ambassador to Syria and interior minister, known as 'the midwife of Hizbullah' due to his role in the movement's off shoot from Syrian backed Lebanese movement."

"[Shalah] met twice with Supreme [Iranian] Leader 'Ali Khamenei who promised him that his movement's budget would be separated from the Hizbullah budget, and would be expanded by 70% to cover the expense of recruiting young Palestinians for suicide operations."

Iranian Support of Islamic Jihad Separated from Hizbullah
"Iran has taken upon itself financing the Islamic Jihad movement, since its founding… However, the movement's budget was transferred to it via Hizbullah, whose budget (disbursed through Iranian institutions such as Al-Wali Al-Faqih office, and the Liberation Organizations Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, in addition to the Al-Quds Forces) - exceeded $200 million."

"Last year, disagreement broke out between Hizbullah's financial apparatus and the person in charge of funds in the Islamic Jihad organization. As a result, the Islamic Jihad heads demanded that the Iranian institutions funding them draw up a movement budget that would be under its leadership's direct supervision."

"Al-Sharq Al-Awsat learned that the Supreme Leader [Khamenei] ordered the immediate transfer of a huge sum to the financial apparatus of the Islamic Jihad. The anticipated aid will be passed on to several Palestinian figures who visited Tehran in recent weeks."

"According to a Revolutionary Guards source, the Al-Quds Forces will continue training Islamic Jihad fighters inside Iran, while Col. 'Ali Reza Tamiz, one of the commanders of the Al-Quds Forces' technological team, will remain responsible for training Hizbullah members and training them in the use of advanced equipment and weaponry, including Ra'ad missiles, Shahin launchers, and surface-to-air missiles recently received by Hizbullah."

"With regard to the Hizbullah budget increase, the source said, the [Hizbullah] receives, in addition to its annual budget diverse aid from religious, economic, and government institutions in Iran. Every month, institutions such as Al-Shahid, Imdad Al-Imam, and Al-Mustaz'afin Fund transfer phenomenal financial aid to the families of the Hizbullah martyrs, wounded, and handicapped."[1]

An Islamic Jihad leader denied the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat report, saying that his movement "does not work for any regime in the world."[2]

Islamic Jihad Leader: "Allah… Anger America and Make Us Blow Up in the Heart of this Cursed Zionist Entity"
Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, focused in his speech on President Bush's statements against suicide bombings: "…If America is the one to divide the world into the 'camp of the good' and the 'camp of the evil,' and if it puts the Palestinian people and its Jihad fighters on the evil side, claiming that the martyrs are evil, then we say: 'Allah, make us all evil, [make us all] anger America and blow up in the heart of this cursed Zionist entity…'"

"America, the West, or any country in the world, has no moral right to decide whether a Palestinian has the right to blow himself up... or not. Why isn't America objecting when someone American or European contributes millions of dollars for dogs and cats? No one tells him - why are you giving up your wealth for the sake of dogs and cats? We are the owners of our souls... no one has the right to object to us giving away our souls and turning them into human bombs for a cause we consider more important and more sacred than our lives."

Referring to American calls for reform in the Palestinian Authority, Shalah said: "Who amongst us doesn't want reform? Who amongst us isn't against corruption? But when reform is raised today - it is [only] a cover for the American-Israeli plan to dismantle the unity of the Palestinian people... This kind of reform, we reject. We all know the PA… we all blamed Arafat for corruption… But [now] we say, if for the sake of reform, we have to give up the Intifada, the resistance, and the Jihad warriors - then we would rather have Arafat's corruption continue... We have suffered many years from corruption and will continue to suffer more and more in order to have the resistance continue."

The Intifada Defended Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon
Shalah also referred to the postponement of the American plan to attack Iraq as a result of the escalation in the Palestinian territories: "The Intifada foiled the American plots and defended the whole Arab nation. It defended Iraq, Syria, Lebanon..."

Deputy Secretary General of Hizbullah, Sheik Na'im Qasem quoted Imam Khomeini in a speech:

"All of Palestine is plundered. There is no difference between the '48 territories and the '67 territories. I ask the Muslims, why are you fighting over the Jordan River when all of Palestine is plundered?" Muslims Should Annihilate Israel
"Israel's danger is not limited to Palestine… It spreads to the whole region. Imam Khomeini said: 'The goal of this virus [Israel] that was planted in the heart of the Islamic world, is not only to annihilate the Arab nation… The danger is to the whole Middle East… and the solution is in annihilating the virus. There is no other treatment… The Islamic states and the Muslims should initiate the annihilation of this den of corruption [Israel] in every possible way…

It is permitted to use charity money for that purpose. Imam Khomeini led this way… All [Western] hopes in every Iranian election to see a change in this direction have failed… President Khatami upholds the same position [despite] international pressures."

"The struggle against Israel is no picnic. It demands great sacrifices, but when I see a mother saying goodbye to her son, awaiting his return as a shahid, [I know that] the Palestinian people is a people of Jihad warriors and it will surely win."

"We have to maintain the Iranian-Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian axis. Our enemy cannot counter us when we are united…"[3]

In an event hosted by the Iranian-Palestinian Friendship Society,[4] Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammad Sadr said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran placed Palestine as a top priority in its strategic policy."[5]

The Intifada is a New Phase of the Iranian Revolution
Imam Khomeini's grandson Hassan Khomeini, who moderated the event, also referred to the connection between the Iranian regime and the Palestinian struggle:

"There is a strong connection between the Intifada and the Islamic revolution in Iran. It is a connection between two revolutions... The huge Iranian Islamic revolution had an impact on the whole history, it revived religious conviction and stated that religion can play a meaningful role in all aspects of life."

"The Intifada of the Muslim Palestinian people should be looked upon from the Islamic perspective after all nationalistic movements and communist trends have been defeated after reaching a dead end. The Intifada is the beginning of the way towards a new phase in the historic revolution of Imam Khomeini. We say, as Imam Khomeini said, that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth and Jerusalem should go back to the Muslims because it belongs to them…"[6]

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 8, 2002.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 9, 2002.

[3] Al Manar Television (Lebanon-Hizbullah), June 2, 2002.

[4] The creation of this association reflects Iran's enhanced involvement in the Palestinian issue. It was inaugurated on June 6th, the day on which the Six Day War broke out, and is headed by former Iranian ambassador to Beirut Humayun Ali Zadeh.

[5] Al-Hayat (London), June 7, 2002.

[6] Al-Hayat (London), June 7, 2002.

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