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Ahmadzadeh and Chomsky on "definition of terrorist"

Following is a letter by Iranian author Habib Ahmadzadeh to the highly respected American philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky on the subject of terrorism along with the response from Chomsky.

Terrorists and Nonviolence!
By  Habib Ahmadzadeh

It has been said that when in 1953 Dr. Mossadegh was in Lahha court, he took a seat which was designated for the British ambassador.  The Judge noted to him to change his seat many times.  Dr. Mossadegh didn't pay attention.  At the end finally the British Ambassador came over and told Dr. Mossadegh "This seat is assigned to me."  Mossadegh looked at him and said, "Don't think I don't know.  I just want to show you how horrible it is to sit in other people's place/land."

 Abdol-Malek Rigi was the founder of Jundullah (God's soldier) in the Eastern part of Iran, on border with Pakistan.  The Iranian Intelligent Service (IIS) arrested him on 23rd of February 2010 as he was traveling from Kirghizstan to Dubai.  The moment he got arrested surely made many people happy.  Abdol-Malek Rigi has blood of many innocent people on his hands.  Iranian Intelligence Service had been looking for him for years.   Shortly after his arrest, Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, said,  "Jundullah was one of the militant groups in Iran benefiting from U.S. support."  Isn't this a bizarre involvement?  The United States of America, the leader of "war on terror", has been supporting a well-known terrorist group! This, of course, was not a shock. The United States created Al-Qaeda and Taliban and supported both of these organizations for many years.  But we are aware that each of these groups has an expiration date.  When the date arrives they become terrorists and must be destroyed by the mighty army of the U.S.!  In the American political dictionary Terrorist doesn't have a fixed definition.  Anyone or any group in the opposite direction of the U.S. interests is "terrorist".   This, of course, means that as long as they follow U.S. interests, they are allies of U.S. and enjoy its support both financially and strategically.

Ben-Laden, the infamous Middle East "terrorist" was in fact created by America during the cold war.  This is a well-known story.  At the end of the cold war U.S. didn't need the Al-Qaida or the Taliban, so they were recognized as terrorist groups.  Of course both these groups had the blood of innocent people on their hand, but only when the U.S. did not need their services anymore, then it questioned their actions!  And this is the time when the superpower remembers its responsibility and its mission and engages in the war on terror.

The story of Saddam has a deep connection with personal lives of the Iranian people.  During the 1980s, life in Iran is filled with images of Saddam and his army.  A mighty army supported by the U.S.  The advanced bombs and missiles dropped on the Iranians' head in Tehran and other cities.  Chemical weapons were used against both Iraqi and Iranians.  These weapons were given to Saddam -then the good ally and later the bad terrorist-- by the superpower, the United States of America.   United States either created or supported three major terrorist organizations in the Middle East.  This means Rigi and Jundullah is not the first one, but is the first one since the United States officially started its war on terror in the Middle East.

We still don't know what is the American definition of "Terrorist." When Abdol-Malek Rigi was captured and showed on TV we were reminded of the moment when Saddam Husain was arrested by the American soldiers.  A moment of victory and happiness -at least- for Iranians was the same, but with a big difference.  When President Bush announced "Mission Accomplished" and then Saddam was arrested, thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans were already dead (these numbers of course increased to millions for Iraqis and thousands for Americans by now).  Many innocent people were killed till finally Saddam was arrested.  Iraq was destroyed; many Iraqis had lost their homes and were dealing with misery in their daily life, when finally Saddam was captured.  Was that really worth it?  Couldn't American Intelligent Service, which is much more sophisticated than that of any other country, capture Saddam in the same way Iranians did Rigi?  When Rigi was arrested not a drop of blood was shed. In Bin Laden's case, the story is even worse. In Afghanistan, the mission is still not accomplished.  In late 2009 the U.S. deployed 35,000 more troops to Afghanistan.  And just last week NATO killed some 3o innocent civilians in that country. Many observers say U.S. needs Iran for the peace in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I would add that U.S. needs Iran to learn how to deal with a terrorist and how to capture the bad guy of the region.

Ugly truths, undoubtedly
By Noam Chomsky

On the US definition of "terror," there actually is one: in the official US Code and Army Manuals.  I have been using it ever since 1981, when I started writing on Reagan's "war on terror," which he declared on coming into office in that year.  There is quite a lot in print.  It is either ignored, or furiously denounced, and for good reasons.  According to the official definitions, the US is a leading terrorist state and supporter of terror, and since that is the "wrong conclusion," the official definition cannot be used, and we are left with the situation you describe: it's terror if they carry it out, but benevolent humanitarianism when we carry out much worse terror.

About: Habib Ahmadzadeh is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, whose military career began when he served as a teenage Basiji and ended after he attained the rank of Captain in the regular army. He has studied theatre arts and is an accomplished scenarist. Ahmadzadeh is also the author of a prize-winning collection of short stories called The War Involved City Stories (Dastan-ha-ye Shahr-e Jangi), one of which became the basis for the film "Night Bus" (Autobus-e Shabaneh; directed in 2007 by the well-known film and television artist Kiumars Poorahmad).

Chess with the Doomsday Machine

Habib Ahmadzadeh (Author)
Paul Sprachman (Translator)

268 pages
Publisher: Mazda Publishers (2007)
Language: English
ISBN: 1568592159

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