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Iran's Global Terrorist Reach


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Counter Terrorism Blog:

Walid Phares

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.


Infiltrating Arabia: Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf

Over the past few years, Tehran has widened its subversive activities in the Arabian Peninsula, quarreling with the Gulf Arab states of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Although the UAE claims the island of Abu Musa as part of its sovereign territory, Iranian forces have occupied it, and reject calls to withdraw. Recent statements by Khomeinist clerics assert that Bahrain, too, is an Iranian possession under the name of Mishmahig Island, and it has triggered a severe diplomatic crisis with the small kingdom.

Behind these historical disputes lay greater geopolitical ambitions. Iran has been investing large amounts of oil money in the UAE with the aim of expanding its political and military influence in the Gulf. Iranian intelligence has also been expanding its cells and cadres in the large Shia community of Bahrain.



Facilities in East and West Africa

Towards the end of 2008 and 2009, intense contacts between Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's representatives and Eritrean officials culminated in the signing of an agreement granting Iran's navy facilities along the coasts of the Eritrea. This strategically significant development provided the Khomeinists with hundreds of miles of access in the Red Sea. While U.S. and allied naval forces deter Iran in the Persian Gulf, Iranian assets—though not as sophisticated as the Western forces in the region—can now operate in the Red Sea. Indeed, where the Iranian regime goes, Hezbollah follows. Israel is thus surrounded by Iranian proxies and the Horn of Africa is under the increasing risk posed by the axis of resistance.

Ahmdinijad in Eritrea


Stretching into the Americas

Iran's longest arm stretches into Latin America. As of the early 1990s, Hezbollah had established a presence in the tri-border area between Brazil, Argentinaand Paraguay. This lawless zone enables the Khomeinist network to develop illegal financial activities and train and plan for terrorist attacks in the region. The 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center there are prime examples of Tehran's terrorist activities and global reach.

Iran and the Chaves regime

With the rise of the Hugo Chavez regime, Iran's Latin American presence expanded even further. The Venezuelan strongman has signed several agreements with Ahmadinejad's regime, including an April 2009 defense treaty that provides for military and intelligence cooperation. Venezuela has granted Hezbollah operatives permission to organize their presence under the protection of Iran's Pasdaran and local intelligence, and according to U.S. Department of Defense reports, the Venezuelans are providing Iranian units with Spanish language instruction with the aim of inserting them in a Latin American context. One of the most dangerous aspects of Iran's presence in Venezuela is the increasing ability to install Iranian missiles aimed at the United States and other countries in the region.
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Valin! With your picture.... you should have completed the circle of friendship!





AH! Two Men Of The People! :blink:

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