- - Monday, June 20, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Recently declassified U.S. documents have revealed shocking information on how President Jimmy Carter and his administration conducted secret meetings and communications with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his entourage, thereby undercutting our longstanding ally and friend, the Shah of Iran and his loyal military. The story was published by the BBC in a June 3 article by Kambiz Fatthi of the BBC Persian Service.

As the situation steadily deteriorated in late 1978, a 48-member Iranian interagency task group was formed under the direction of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Newsome. I was the director of political military affairs for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) at that time and was the JCS representative on the interagency group. With the left-wing agenda of the Carter administration and their hyped focus on human rights, the Shah was doomed. In fact, I was the only one supporting the Shah and his military because they represented the strategic underpinnings of our security policy in the Persian Gulf. That viewpoint was not appreciated and was basically dismissed by the interagency group. Contrary to recent claims by Gary Sick and Zbigniew Brzezinski of the Carter administration, their focus was on getting rid of the Shah and his designated prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar.

On Jan. 3, 1979, amid reports of an impending military coup, Mr. Carter sent Deputy U.S. Commander in Chief, European Command Robert “Dutch” Huyser, a U.S. Air Force general, to Tehran. He was well-known to the Shah and his top generals. The message he was sent to deliver was to tell the Shah’s generals to sit tight and “not jump into a coup.”

Gen. Huyser had a somewhat difficult time getting the top Iranian generals to coordinate their efforts. Complicating matters was the loyalty of the Shah’s chief of staff, Gen. Abbas Gharabaghi. It was Gharabaghi who personally prevented the closure of all custom entry points, which facilitated the flow of arms to Khomeini’s revolutionaries. The fact that Gharabaghi was not executed along with the other top generals lends credence to the claim of questionable loyalty.

Separately, the Shah’s prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, deployed troops and tanks to close Tehran’s airport, thereby preventing Khomeini’s return in late January 1979. During this crisis there was a total failure by the U.S. intelligence community to properly assess Khomeini’s ultimate objectives. Our human intelligence capability had been destroyed under CIA Director Stansfield Turner. We had no “hands on” penetration of Khomeini’s inner sanctum. Consequently, on about Jan. 11, 1979, an “erroneous” broad consensus had emerged within the Carter administration that they could do business with the ayatollah and his inner circle. In fact, Andrew Young, Mr. Carter’s U.N. Ambassador, stated that Khomeini would go down in history as a saint, another Mahatma Gandhi. Unbelievable.

On Jan. 15, Khomeini commenced a two-week dialogue with Mr. Carter through his chief of staff, Ebrahim Yagdi, and Warren Zimmerman, political counselor in our Paris embassy, outside of Paris. Entering into this dialogue marked a dramatic shift in U.S. policy and was a clear signal to Khomeini that we were dumping our old ally and friend. On July 16, the Shah left Iran for good.

During Zimmerman’s second meeting, he was directed to pass along the information that the Iranian military had seriously considered conducting a coup upon the Shah’s departure, but Gen. Huyser talked them out of it. On Jan. 18, Mr. Carter told Khomeini he had no problem with his “orderly” homecoming. He later stated that America was “flexible about the Iranian political system,” and if the integrity of the army would be preserved, the military will support whatever system is selected. Mr. Carter switched sides.

The ayatollah then told Mr. Carter everything he wanted to hear. The military would not be destroyed. He would not export his revolution or cut oil flow to the West. He vowed not to destabilize the region and pledged “non-interference in other people’s affairs. He added that Jews will have nothing to fear. We certainly know how those promises turned out.

On Jan. 27, Khomeini made a direct appeal to the White House as he still needed its help. He had three requests: smooth the way for his return, press the constitutional government to resign, and force the military to capitulate. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown informed Gen. Huyser about the secret message and made it plain that Khomeini’s return was not sufficient cause for a coup.

On Jan. 29, Iran’s prime minister opened Iran’s airspace under tremendous pressure, which allowed Khomeini to return on Feb. 1. What’s not generally known is that the chartered aircraft that brought Khomeini to Tehran was arranged by Youssef Nada, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader in Europe, and the founder of the Al-Taqwa Bank, which funded al Qaeda.

Since then, the Muslim Brotherhood has continued its support and influence, as indicated in the 9/11 Commission report. Separately, and as part of its overall plan, the Muslim Brotherhood has successfully penetrated key U.S. government agencies during the past 35 years, in particular, the Obama administration’s State Department, National Security Council and White House.

According to foreign policy analyst Michael Ledeen, after Barack Obama received the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency, he opened secret negotiations with Iranian mullahs in the summer of 2008. These negotiations have led to a treasonously flawed nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Combined with President Obama’s 14 impeachable acts identified by Andy McCarthy in his book, “Faithless Execution,” they have completed Mr. Carter’s compromise of America. We are now an ally of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism that has cost thousands of American lives. This cannot stand.

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

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