Is Manas Being Used to Destabilize Iran?
This is what Iran is claiming. On Tuesday, Abdulmalak Rigi, the leader of the Sunni Muslim militant group Jundullah, which has been fighting Iran for years, was arrested by Iranian authorities.
There were conflicting stories about the circumstances of Rigi's arrest, but one was that he was en route from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan for a meeting with a "high-ranking American" at Manas Transit Center, where they were to discuss American support, including a base in Afghanistan near the Iranian border, weapons and training. And this is what he said in his televised confession on Friday:
“They told me that they have a base in Kyrgyzstan named Manas, near Bishkek. And that a high-ranking person was coming to meet me and when such high-ranking people come, Emirates intelligence would take them under observation. But in Bishkek, this high-ranking American person could come and we could reach agreement on making the proper contacts."
This, obviously, should be subject to all the skepticism one would normally give to a televised confession elicited by Iranian authorities. There is ample evidence of cooperation between the U.S. and Jundullah. But one wonders why this meeting that Rigi was apparently going to wouldn't just take place in Afghanistan itself. Still, it seems more plausible than the theory that Manas is being used by the CIA to spread swine flu.