Washington is at pains to synchronize the anti-Tehran insurgencies at the two ends of Iran – Kurdistan, in the north and Khuzestan, in the south.
Said Taher Naama, Number Two of the National Liberation Movement of Ahwaz, the NLMA, which is led by Hazal al-Hashemi, was invited to the White House on April 23.
(As we reported in our last issue, Khuzestan dissidents use aliases so as to protect their families from being identified and punished).
Naama also made the rounds of the National Security Council, meeting national security adviser Steve Hadley and then the State Department.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Washington sources do not remember a White House invitation extended to an insurgent leader fighting an elected government at such an early stage of his resistance campaign. Previous US administrations usually went about such visits discreetly or met rebel leaders outside America. In the case of the Khuzestan envoy, our sources note that, while Naama’s presence in Washington was not thrown open to the media, the Bush administration did not seem to care if it was exposed through intelligence channels to the rulers of Tehran.
It was a first in another sense. Never before had the US president invited the representative of an Arab underground movement to the White House. The invitation was the talk of the hour in Arab ruling circles in the Middle East.
According to our sources, the visitor, speaking for all eight organizations that form the core of the Khuzestan resistance movement, repeated the offer of a trade (revealed first in the last issue of DEBKA-Net-Weekly). If Washington supports the creation of an independent Arab entity in Khuzestan, the movement will guarantee to transfer the region’s oil riches (80% of Iran’s oil production) to the United States. As a down-payment, he petitioned the Americans for financial and political assistance to give substance to the cooperation accords negotiated among the eight groups.