When a terrorist attack struck St. Petersburg earlier this year, we were told it was the consequence of Russia’s military intervention in Syria and were warned of more to come. When Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was murdered in cold blood in Ankara at the end of last year, we were told that this, too, was the result of Russia’s military adventures in Syria.
Conversely, when a terrorist attack rocked London this week, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May swiftly pushed us to believe that the cause of that terrorist attack – and the previous one in Manchester — had nothing to do with British foreign policy, but instead, was rooted in a deep, evil ideology that hates us for who we are. Apparently, ISIS hates us for our “values” and our “democracy;” and Western foreign policy shares no role in creating the conditions for these brutal attacks to occur.
How long can this narrative realistically hold now that we see that the Islamic Republic of Iran is also the victim of ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks? Does ISIS also hate Iran for its “values?” Iran’s “freedom?” Iran’s “democracy?”
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Iran is one of the most heavily engaged entities battling the radical Sunni terror group ISIS. In Iraq, Iran has been instrumental in defeating ISIS, yet the U.S. is trying its hardest to ensure that only America takes the credit for the victory as it is pummeling ISIS’ last remaining stronghold to the ground.
This is not Iranian-propaganda courtesy of its state-owned Press TV. This is the truth – regardless of the many crimes committed by Iranian-backed militia on the ground in Iraq. If the objective of the United States is to defeat ISIS as an organization, Iran is a natural (and effective) ally.
ISIS is targeting Iran primarily because of these facts, but also because, most importantly, as four-star General Wesley Clark has explained, ISIS is effectively a proxy army of Saudi Arabia. It is official Saudi policy to confront Iran at all costs, and ISIS is a useful tool to achieve this aim. Saudi Arabia allegedly directly sponsors ISIS and also exports the ideology ISIS subscribes to like a commodity.
In this context, the citizenry of Tehran and London have more in common than our governments want us to think. The innocents who have died from these abhorrent attacks all had families they were supposed to go home to; the surviving victims are all subsequently traumatized by the deadly experience. The victims also have no complicity in these attacks; all complicity lies with the governments who actively created the rise of ISIS in the first place, then carefully nurtured its growth.
The difference is that in the case of Iran or Russia, we are supposed to believe that these countries have brought this terror upon themselves. The Trump administration has already blamed Iran for suffering attacks on its own soil, stating that state sponsors of terrorism “risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
Conversely, Great Britain and its allies are harmless victims of an evil ideology that they had no hand in fostering or fermenting in the first place. Never mind that the British Home Office has refused to release a report into terrorist funding because it implicates Britain’s ally, Saudi Arabia, too much for their liking.
Iran’s finger-pointing at Saudi Arabia following the attack in Tehran makes a lot more sense than Trump’s official statement that assigned blame to Iran itself, even if Tehran has no concrete evidence to directly implicate the Saudis in this particular attack.
There’s a reason why Donald Trump’s popularity surged last year when he claimed that, if elected, he would focus more on America and less on expensive and costly wars in the Middle East. There’s a reason, too, why England’s Jeremy Corbyn is surging in popularity — he is the only one speaking the truth about the root causes of terrorism and the proper way to address it.
Ironically, the ideological aspect of the Sunni-Shia divide of Islam plays a large role in the Iran-ISIS conflict, meaning there are almost certainly elements of ISIS that probably do hate Iranians for their values – certainly more so than they hate the British for theirs.
Comparatively, in the most recent terrorist attacks in the U.K., the attackers have vocalized a clear link between British foreign policy and their decision to launch an attack on British soil, as has all too often been the case in the past.
It’s time to have an honest discussion about terrorism, its root causes, and what can be done to mitigate the problem in future.