Reports are still coming in that elements of the ISI, Pakistan's secret service, are aiding former Taliban leaders and al Qaeda. A couple of weeks ago, The Frontier Post, a Pakistani newspaper out of Peshawar, carried an article accusing the newly formed Afghan Intelligence service of staging events to manipulate the US government. Today the conspiracy theories out of Pakistan include this:
LAHORE (Online): The next target of US after capturing Iraq will be replacement of religious government in Iran with a secular government as the US forces in Afghanistan have already started implementation on action plan in this regard. According to reliable sources, US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had submitted a detailed 300 pages long report to President George Bush in which it was pointed out that during possible US attack on Iran religiously motivated Jehadi (holy warrior) organizations would support Iran from the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Following this report US intelligence agencies have started actions to check any possibility of provision of support to Iran from border areas of the two neighbouring countries by organizations like Tehreek Nifaz Shariat Mohammadi and tribal leaders in Pakistan and Hizb-e-Islami of Eng. Gulbadeen Hikmatyar along with supporters of former Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Sources further revealed that operation being conducted by U.S. forces in Afghanistan on March 20 was not against Al-Qaeda rather it was against Hizb-e-Islami and possible supporters of Iran. US intelligence agencies have also informed the US State Department about the names of organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan which could support Iran during any possible US attack and this list include names of about six organizations. Sources also revealed that list of countries where replacement of government has been declared essential included Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Cuba and North Korea and from this list Taliban regime has been replaced in Afghanistan while war against Iraq is going on. Moreover, those 22 countries which are being declared threat to U.S. security could face similar US action like in Iraq if they failed to ensure disarming of their armed organizations and finishing their nuclear arsenal.How much of this is true? Like all good conspiracy theories, probably at least some of it. It's highly likely that there are plans among US intelligence agencies to encourage dissenters in Iran, and it's also not unlikely that they would act against Islamist militants regardless of affiliation, if those militants happened to be operating out of the areas the 82nd Airborne is hitting. As for the list of governments we're certain to replace, that's dubious. I've heard of it from several sources now, but all of them have been Muslim newspapers, and it feels more like a conspiracy theory that is making the rounds. One good reason to believe this is that the list of countries seems to differ from one source to another. Many of the Arab newspapers seem to feel Syria is next, rather than Iran. NPR last night reported a common thread in the Arab press that "the road to Damascus leads through Baghdad."
North Korea may become a "regime change" state in the near future, but I doubt any of the others are. For one thing, the DPRK is increasingly demanding all the attention we can spare. The administration has said that it hopes a free Iraq and Afghanistan would provide a strong example of democracy, reforming the Middle East by their simple act of being. Iran, bordering both, has seen increasingly strong demonstrations against both the secular government, and the mullahs who are the real power in Iran. If regime change comes to Iran, it will likely be from internal revolt, though I wouldn't be surprised to see the administration act against their nuclear reactors.