Video: Watch Mansoor on Special Report w/ Brit Hume
How do you expect the governments of Turkey, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respond to an Iranian regime allegedly allied with Al Qaeda?
Iran's neighbors have much to worry about. It is entirely possible with Iran's safe harbor of key al-Qaeda leaders that Tehran provided logistical and financial support for the terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past week. On Nov. 12, Turkey's defense minister, Vecdi Gonul, said Iran represented the single most serious threat to Turkish national security today. Turkey's response must be steadfast in using its formidable human intelligence networks to uncover terrorist cells and to stop the flow of explosives and other instruments of terrorism into the country from Iran. In the case of Saudi Arabia, there is an unholy, unwritten alliance whereby the two countries agree not to target each other on their home soil. Rather, they seek to insure external influences like that of the U.S. in Iraq are not allowed to grow too strong.
Do the Iranians want to make war against the U.S.?
Iran's clerical regime, the ayatollahs who sit above the government as a super governing body, would not survive very long if a truly democratic Iraq were to emerge on their western border, and a truly democratic Afghanistan were to emerge on their eastern border. These Made-by-the-USA bookends make Ayatollah Khamenei and Ayatollah Rafsanjani sufficiently uncomfortable now that they've joined hands with not just al-Qaeda to conduct terror attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also with Afghan warlords like Gulbuddin Hekhmatyar.
How do you think the U.S. should respond to this development?
The United States has its hands full in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. Iran poses a unique set of policy problems to U.S. policymakers. It is difficult to attack Iran militarily by ground because of its mountainous terrain. It is also difficult to deal with Iran politically because of the emotional scars we as Americans still have over the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis, when Americans were paraded blindfolded for the world to see. I believe the best way to deal with Iran is to dramatically ramp up our human intelligence gathering so we can dismantle the regime internally.
Are there any moderate forces at work in Iran that could help the U.S. put a stop to this activity?
There are, as my sources now make clear, some good people inside Iran who don't want to see the clerics run the country into the ground. They have valuable information and insights, like the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leaders, that can help us to build an international coalition that can more effectively call for the mullahs to step down or face military consequences. At this moment, U.S. credibility to do that alone is not sufficient, and in fact probably fuels their rage and desire to fund terrorism and provide for its logistics around the world.
Does Afghan President Hamid Karzai have the resources he needs to combat an Iranian-backed Al Qaeda resurgence?
Hamid Karzai's embryonic government in Afghanistan is powerless to do anything to stop warlords backed by Iran's military and intelligence apparatus. The Iranian strategy is squarely aimed at destabilizing countries in which the U.S. is trying to build democracies, and to insure the U.S. is not allowed to put military or intelligence stations in the region to monitor Iranian activities more closely. The U.S. will have to dramatically increase its presence in the western provinces of Afghanistan during the winter months, and reign in warlord Hekhmatyar to insure President Karzai's efforts to rebuild his country remain intact.