16.1.10

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

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 China Connection
The Iranian government was given a boost in the mid 2000's when China's oil exports were declining. China had enough oil production to accommodate its domestic needs, but saw that its reserves were dwindling at a rate that would eventually dry up in 14 years, so China went looking for oil. It found a partner in Iran, and both countries set up agreements that support each other.

Iran-China Oil Agreements
Iran and China created two huge oil and gas agreements that will deepen the relationship. In 2004, the two countries signed a preliminary accord worth $70 billion to $100 billion by which China will purchase Iranian oil and gas and help develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field, near the Iraqi border. China agreed to buy $20 billion in liquefied natural gas from Iran over the next 25 years.

China Will Protect Iran - Forget Sanctions
What this means to the Iranian people and the world is Iran has a big brother in China, and any dissentment or bullying from other foreign counties toward Iran will be met with a confrontation from China. Furthermore, China's trade with Iran is weakening the impact of U.S. economic embargoes because Iran has many options in secondary markets, sidestepping direct trade with sanction supporters. Iran is poised economically with its agreements with China, but it plays a dangerous game with Sunni extremists.

Iran as Double Agent
Iran and China share concerns over radical Sunni Muslims. Most Iranians follow the rival Shi'a strain of Islam. Since China has more than 20 million Muslims, the government has been facing Muslim unrest in some of its western cities. The dissidents receive support from Sunni Islamic groups in Afghanistan and the countries of former Soviet Central Asia. Iran carefully suppresses Sunni expansion in the areas that border China, thus solidifying its relationship with China, which provides Iran support from any hostile nation. But Iran supports Sunni uprisings in most of the areas between Iran and China to create an atmosphere of chaos and to keep the Iranian leaders in power. An organized Sunni rival would disrupt a Shi'a theocracy like 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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