13.1.10

Iran's Despotic Leaders May Be Behind Terrorism and Conflict In The Arab World (Part I)

This is a muli-part series that examines the oppressive government of Iran and its influence on its people and the Arab region. New details reveal Iranian leaders may be involved with Shi'a and Sunni extremist groups to disrupt the Middle East and keep Khāmene’i and Ahmadinejad in power.

The Iranian Government
The Iranian government consists of a supreme leader Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i and its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Khāmene’i provides spiritual and political guidance through interpretations of Islamic law. Since there are two schools of Islamic thought that interpret the message of their founder Mohammed, Shi'a and Sunni, Iran is predominantly Shi'a and adheres to a liberal interpretation of Islamic law. This interpretation has created conflict within the Arab world because the Sunnis, who abide by a more traditional interpretation of Islamic law, make up 85% of Muslims worldwide.

Government Distrust
There is distrust of the Iranian government especially from its people. Many believe the government is using aggressive and violent means to stay in power, including using bullets and batons as it did during a holy day demonstration on December 27, 2009 in Iran's capital, Tehran. The government inflicts brutality against its people in order to gain control of the nation.

Creating Conflict: How the Iranian Government Stays in Power
Even when the majority of the Muslim world is Sunni and there is international pressure, the Iranian government is determined to stay in power by any means. They maintain political ties to Palestine, a Sunni stronghold. The Iranian government has repeatedly denounced the US, UK and Israel, even making anti-Semitic references about the existence of the Holocaust and Israeli expansionist policies. There are claims that the Iranian government supports Shi'a extremists, but what is unusual is its "unorthodox" relationship with Sunni extremists. These extremists have been blamed on recent terrorist attacks. If these attacks continue, the Middle East continues its position as one of the most unstable and dangerous places to live. In other words, the Iranian government, a Shi'a safeguard, supports both Shi'a and Sunni extremist policies in an attempt to continue the area's violence and to choke-hold its citizens. Creating an environment of violence tends to keep leaders in power. This tactic was used by the Nazi regime that controlled its citizenry by creating and inciting chaos. The same tactic is occurring today in Iran.

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Known Terrorist Groups

Al-Qaida has cooperated with a number of known terrorist groups worldwide including:

  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Jihad and the Internet

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to U.S. national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat. The Virtual Afghanistan is the network of hundreds of jihadist Web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West. Whatever surge we do in the real Afghanistan has no chance of being a self-sustaining success, unless there is a parallel surge — by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders — against those who promote violent jihadism on the ground in Muslim lands and online in the Virtual Afghanistan.

    Thomas L. Friedman
    New York Times
    15 Dec 2009

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