The following article, The Formidable Influence of Iran in Worldwide Jihad, is part one of an exclusive UnityCoalitionForIsrael.org six-part series entitled, A History of Jihad, by Clare Lopez.
Ms. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Canadian Mackenzie Institute. She was a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and has amassed many accolades in the research on and training and reporting about security issues in both media and governmental arenas.
Her latest collaborative effort, the book, Ally No More: Erdogan’s New Turkish Caliphate and the Rising Jihadist Threat to the West features Clare’s research along with luminaries in the security field such as Harold Rhode, Christopher Hull, Daniel Pipes, David Goldman, Burak Bekdil, Uzay Bulut and Deborah Weiss.
The Formidable Influence of Iran in Worldwide Jihad
A History of Jihad, Article 1 of 6
by Clare Lopez, CenterForSecurityPolicy.org
How is Iran influencing world affairs in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza and are the sanctions helping to limit this tyrannical reach?”
The will of Iran in the region has been a very destabilizing one for a very long time, at least since 1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeni staged his Jihad revolution. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been AT WAR with the United States ever since that time – we’re coming up on 40 years now.
As a first act, of course, was to attack our US Embassy in Tehran TWICE in the year 1979, and, the second time, holding our hostages – they had 4 hostages – for a very long time.
After that, the most important thing for listeners to understand, especially when they think about Shi’ites in Iran and Sunni-Other Jihadis, and Jihad Groups, like Al Qaeda, for example, is to NOT separate them. They have been working extremely closely together in a terrorist operational alliance, formerly, at least, since 1990!
So, in that year (1990), listeners might recall that the war in Afghanistan had ended, Osama Bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, had not yet formed Al Qaeda – it didn’t exist yet in 1990. But they wanted them to carry on the fight to the West, obviously, they found safe haven with the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Khartoum, Sedan with the president then, who’s still the president today, Umar Al Bashir, with his Muslim Brotherhood allies. There, they found safe haven and (Bashir) invited to that city, what you might call the Jihadi Organizations of the World: They invited the PFLP, the PLO, Yasser Arafat’s group. They invited Hizbollah and they invited the entire leadership of the Iranian Government!
And EVERYBODY ACCEPTED! They all thought a Jihad Jamboree was a great idea and they all converged on Khartoum, including the president of Iran at the time, Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, now deceased, the head of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Gaurd Corps, at that time, IRGC. You had the head of Iranian Intelligence at that time, Ali Sa Larijani and many others of the town leadership of the Iranian Government.
I want to emphasize that. The Iranian Government went to Khartoum where the host, Umar Al Bashir, made the introductions – and also with Hizbollah – that’s important – for the role that they would play coming up. In particular, Imad Mughniyah, who was the terror Chieftain of Hizbollah, for something like at least a couple decades, with the fact there’s Hizbollah there, in Khartoum… and, what happened, is that the leader-in-Al-Qaeda-to-be, which, remember is Osama Bin Laden, turned to the Iranians and said, “Hey, I REALLY like what your Hizbollah boys do with EXPLOSIVES.” Big truck bomb explosives and how they can bring down big buildings – remember what happened in Beiruit (Lebanon) in 1983 with our Embassy (19th April, 1983), the French Embassy (7th December, 1985 – 17th September, 1986), the Beirut Barracks bombing (23rd October, 1983) – all of that was Hizbollah and the order, of course, of Iran.
So Bin Laden says, “I’d really like my guys to know how to do that. Can you teach them?” And the Iranians said, “Yeah, sure thing. Imad, come on over here.” And the Iranian government assigned Hizbollah terror chief, Imad Mughniyah, to teach Al Qaeda operatives how to big building, suicide truck bombings. And then, what did you see? Remember? On through the 90s after that, there was a litany of suicide bombing attacks. You’ve got, of course, Kobar Towers in 1996, then, after that, in 1998, was the US Embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya (7th August, 1998). Then, in 2000, this was not a truck bomb, this was water-borne, but a suicide boat-bombing, if you will, against the USS Cole in Yemen. And then, of course, finally… 9-11 (the infamous September 11, 2001 NY, NY Twin Towers attack) itself, which was completely and totally a collaborative effort among Al Qaeda, Hizbollah, Iran and, of course, Saudi Arabia.
So Iran has played this role all these years.
Come on up, past 9-11 and into the George W. Bush administration, and the time when we went after Saddam Hussein in Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom – and what happened immediately? The George W. Bush administration opened back-door talks with the Mullahs of Iran, prior to the launch of OIS (Office of Immigration Statistics, Homeland Security) in 2003, and said, “Pretty, please.. Don’t interfere. We’re going to take out your enemy, Saddam Hussein, your number 1 enemy. Just don’t interfere and we’ll get rid of them.” And the Mullahs, of course, said, “Yeah, sure. Ok.” And, of course, the moment the borders were over then chaos reigned. Iran flooded what used to be called Iraq with their operatives and began arming and funding Iraqi Shi’ite militias who took a terrible toll with explosives – using EFPs, explosively formed projectiles, IEDs, improvised explosive devices, VBIEDs, vehicle borne improvised car bombs explosives… that just literally tore our troops and coalition partners apart.
So that was Iran in the 2000s. I mean this litany just goes on and on and on. They have never stopped being our enemy, they have never stopped being disruptive in the region. And now, because of the very damaging period of time when Obama, President Barrack Obama, was in the White House here in the United States, Iran not only received huge cash infusions for a weak economy, apparently due to mismanagement, a lot of it due to corruption – huge cash infusions from the United States – but also was given a free reign by the Obama administration to run amok in the Middle East, establish its Shi’ite crescents – and I say it in plural, a couple of them. One, sort of, land across the northern area and another one, if you’ll think of the map, I think (Iran is) intending to circumscribe, to surround, the Arabian peninsula and you see that being done a lot through PROXIES.
And that is the situation today, where Iran not only has Hizbollah, which is probably one of the most deadly light, special forces in the world and I shouldn’t even call them light anymore with the heavy duty weapons and missiles that Iran has provided them with. But other proxies that include, still to this day, Iraqi Shi’ite terror groups and then come around down, if you could visualize, it leads them into Yemen, where the Houthis are their proxies.
So that’s the situation we’re in today – Iran not only seeking a front-line position directly confronting Israel across what used to be called Syria and the Golan Heights – in that area – but intending to surround the entire Arabian peninsula as well thereby threatening two critical waterways. One, the Straight of Hormuz, that leads into the Persian Gulf, and, on the other side, the Bab-el-Mandeb, which leads into the Red Sea and, ultimately, into the Suez Canal, Iran making a play-possibility of threatening or holding threat over both of these. So that’s the situation we’re in right now and, thankfully, Obama’s no longer in the White House but President Donald Trump is and policy has changed.
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The Unity Coalition for Israel will continue our series, A History of Jihad by Clare Lopez, in our Friday, September 14th, newsletter. Subscribe and stay tuned!
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