Iran’s Use Of Extremism To Gain Political Leverage Must Be Confronted

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Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry a replica of Hezbollah emblem during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Lebanon October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Ever since day one in 2011 when war erupted in Syria Iran has been dispatching tens of thousands of troops to shore the Syrian military. These efforts were parallel to Iran’s decades of support for Shiite extremist groups such as the likes of the Lebanese Hezbollah, a conglomerate of others in Iraq and across the region, constituting a major pillar of Iran’s policies.

Tehran has launched horrendous wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and continues it’s meddling in Lebanon. Sensing no concerns from the international community to hold it accountable, Iran propelled massive genocide campaigns in Syria and Iraq, targeting Sunni communities through its support of Shiites, such as the “Popular Mobilization Forces”, or Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq, currently involved in the Mosul onslaught. Aleppo is also another example needing no further explanation.

Encouraged by the West’s appeasement policy, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, Iran even spread such promotion of Shiite Islam into Africa and Asia, with the aim of establishing communities of its own. One very vivid example can be seen in Nigeria.

“Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic one for us. If the enemy attacks us and wants to appropriate either Syria or Khuzestan [in southern Iran], our priority is to keep Syria.”

These are the words of Mehdi Taeb, former chief of Revolutionary Guards intelligence. This provides a very vivid incite of the importance of Syria, specifically, for Iran, and the necessity to continue meddling outside its borders, in general.

From 2013 onward Iran began boosting its military footprint in Syria and dispatched hundreds of special ops troops, alongside tens of thousands of Shiite militias of its own, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and of course, the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The U.S. Congress has also voiced major concerns recently over Iran’s destabilizing measures across the Middle East, adding this campaign constitutes a security threat rivaling that of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. This joint message was sent by Republican and Democratic U.S. senators on Tuesday, December 6th.

“Iranian proxies remain a direct threat to the United States and our allies today,” said Republican Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referring specifically to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Shia militias in Iraq, and Houthi insurgents operating their attacks from Yemen, parallel to Tehran’s influence in Syria.

“American citizens, uniformed and civilian, have been victims of Iranian terror. Iran-sponsored [entities], directed, trained and equipped are a threat to U.S. forces and American citizens today,” said Senator Ben Cardin, the committee’s top Democrat.

A recent Gulf States summit with the participation of British Prime Minister Theresa May also sent an unprecedented message to Iran: your meddling across the Middle East will no longer be tolerated.

It is crystal clear that the more powerful the stance taken by Gulf States vis-à-vis Iran, the more effective they will be in preventing Tehran’s meddling in the region and guiding new global policies. If Iran detects any sign of weakness or doubt, it will be encouraged to continue its provocations.

Being a flashpoint region of sectarian quarrels, continuously fueled by Iran’s mullahs, the Middle East has been witnessing a slow dragging into a new wave of sectarianism. Iran has been applying sectarian policies against others in the region, centralizing its efforts in provoking extremist and fundamentalist viewpoints.

Unfortunately, it is the nations of this region that suffer and pay a hefty toll. Tehran has shown it could care less, as it places its expansionist policies first and foremost interests. Its strategy of provoking Shiite communities of regional states has caused serious concerns for Sunni Arabs, and their allies in the West. This has rendered a proxy war between regional archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

While the entire world has been wrangling on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program, first unveiled by an Iranian opposition group, this very movement was the first to voice the threat of Iran’s meddling.

Back in 2004 Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi emphasized Tehran’s meddling across the region is far more dangerous than the mullahs’ quest to obtain nuclear weapons.

The West chose not to listen then, and by appeasing the mullahs on the nuclear dossier, they encouraged Tehran to push forward full-throttle its backing of notorious extremist groups across the Middle East.

With a new administration and Congress coming to town in Washington, the world finds itself before a new opportunity to right the many wrongs of the failed appeasement policy Iran has been taking advantage of ever since 1979. Any measures in this regard, with a good example set by the Gulf States’ summit with the British Prime Minister, will send a terrifying message to Tehran, with the mullahs hearing loud and clear.

Originally published in The Daily Caller

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