Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Iran’s Global Terrorist Reach

This is an important analysis of Iran's global expansion through terrorism.


Iran’s Global Terrorist Reach
By Walid Phares 

Summary: Dr Walid Phares journal article “Iran’s Global Terrorist Reach” was published in the summer 2010 edition of InFocus Periodical. The article shows the geopolitical expansion of the Iranian regime as well as its terrorist and strategic reach around the world. Iran has developed weapons, created terror networks and established a system of alliances, challenging and threatening the region and the international community.

The United States became painfully aware of the threat posed by global jihadism after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Until that day, Iranian-backed terrorist networks, such as Hezbollah, were responsible for killing more American citizens than al-Qaeda. In the years since, the balance has been gradually tilting back towards Iran. In the words of former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, al-Qaeda may be the ‘B’ team of international terrorism, but Hezbollah is the ‘A’ team. Indeed, Iran’s Khomeinists began their war on the U.S. and other democracies years before Osama bin Laden began his jihad.

The takeover of Iran’s government in 1979 by radical Islamist forces faithful to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the breakthrough after which the so-called Islamic Revolution spread throughout the Middle East and beyond. The Khomeinist revolution is ideologically rooted in a radical Islamist doctrine that stands in opposition to the more traditional “Quietist” school of thought among Shia clerics. In a sense, the Khomeinists are the Shia world’s equivalent of the Salafists within the Sunni world. The Islamist Shias are also jihadists, in the sense that they call for the establishment of a future Imamate, a Shia form of Islamic Caliphate, by any means necessarily, including what they coin as “Jihad,” which practically means war.

Because it cannot project much conventional military power, Iran threatens the United States, Israel and other democracies by unconventional means. Through the use of its terrorist surrogates—such as Hezbollah—Tehran’s reach extends around the world.