The first explosion tore off the roof of a house. The bomb had been packed into a transistor radio with magnets to attach it to a car and ball bearings to shoot outward piercing bodies at high speed. Ball bearing bombs are favored by terrorists because they can cause horrifying injuries even with a small amount of explosives. But assembling bombs is tricky business and the terrorists had screwed up.
Saeid Moradi stumbled through a muggy Bangkok afternoon past colorful phone booths, knowing that the operation had gone wrong and that he had a limited window for reaching the airport, boarding a plane to Malaysia and then back to Iran. But the taxi did not stop. So Moradi threw one of his remaining bombs at it. He attempted to throw another one at the police, but instead blew off his own legs outside a school.
Mohammad Hazaei, one of the other terrorists, was stopped at the airport while waiting to board a flight to Malaysia. Masoud Sedaghatzadeh was arrested already in Malaysia, while Leila Rohani made it back to Iran. Their bombs had been intended for Israeli diplomats, and it was not the first Iranian backed act of terror against Israel in the country, but it was still startling.
Thailand suffers from Muslim terrorism and Bangkok does have a sizable number of Muslims, but the majority of its Muslim population is Sunni. Thailand Shiites, like many Shiites around the world, do act as agents of Iran, if there was any doubt about that it was quickly dispelled when Syedsulaiman Husaini, the leader of Shiites in Thailand, blamed the attack on MEK activists out to make Iran look bad, a talking point transparently coined in Tehran.
However Iran’s real presence in Thailand isn’t religious, it’s chemical. Iranian gangs and dealers prowl Bangkok plying their crystal meth and muscling out locals with a combination of aggressiveness and underselling. And Bangkok, for all its dangerous reputation, is only one stop on the express train of Iran’s meth empire.
Iranian drug rings are a sizable presence everywhere from Europe to Southeast Asia to the United States. By the spring of last year, Thai authorities had already arrested their twentieth Iranian meth smuggler. The same story repeats itself in Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma and Vietnam. Asia is no stranger to the drug trade, yet it’s being swamped by Iranian meth, Iranian meth labs and Iranian dealers.
In Japan, they were running meth labs, a rarity in the country, and the majority of those arrested on meth charges in the land of the rising sun were Iranians. That pattern too repeats itself in countries with hardly any Muslim populations, such as Korea. Forget oil, Iran is suddenly in the position of supplying the crystal meth needs of half of Asia.
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