Monday, July 12, 2010

Iran's Global Terrorist Reach

Via CT Blog (by Dr. 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.


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.


Hezbollah was an Iranian project designed to export its revolution globally and it fast became the single most dangerous terrorist network. Since the 1979 revolution, the ayatollahs have invited radical Shia clerics from Lebanon to Iran for theological training. They also recruited militants, including Imad Mughniyeh, who became the central figure in the terror nexus for decades. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (Pasdaran) established its first bases in the northern Bekaa valley in 1980. From there, it connected with "Islamic Amal," an offshoot of the Amal Movement, and with radical religious scholars who studied at the holy cities of Qom in Iran and Najaf in Iraq.


From a U.S. counterterrorism perspective, the threats posed by Iran, Hezbollah, and its global terrorist network are considerable. But the addition of nuclear weapons into this global network of Khomeinists may well prove as dangerous if not more so than nuclear weapons in the hands of al-Qaeda.

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