Very interesting either way.
Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the marines told the FT the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kind of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.
The research effort comes at a critical moment between Iran and the US. Last week the Bush administration asked Congress for $75m to promote democratic change within Iran, having already mustered diplomatic support at the UN to counter Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme.
At the same time, Iran has demanded that the UK withdraw its troops from the southern Iraqi city of Basra which lies close to its border. Iran has repeatedly accused both the US and UK of inciting explosions and sabotage in oil-rich frontier regions where Arab and Kurdish minorities predominate. The US and UK accuse Iran of meddling in Iraq and supplying weapons to insurgents.
US intelligence experts suggested the marines’ effort could indicate early stages of contingency plans for a ground assault on Iran. Or it could be an attempt to evaluate the implications of the unrest in Iranian border regions for marines stationed in Iraq, as well as Iranian infiltration.
Via Dr. Zin.