Counter-Terrorism: Why Iran Supports Those Who Murder Shia

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April 20, 2007: Iran, via its international terrorism support organizations, the Quds Force, is now supplying weapons to the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. U.S. troops recently captured Iranian mortars and explosives that were on their way to Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Quds has also supplied weapons to Islamic radicals in Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere.

What's odd about this is that all three of these Islamic groups have a hostile, often fatally so, attitude towards Shia Moslems. Iran is Shia, and seen as the "protector" of the Shia minority wherever it might be. That's not the message Quds is putting out. But then, Quds represents the most extreme factions in the Iranian government. The country is run by a coalition of Islamic radicals and conservatives. The extremists don't have the top jobs, but they do control operations like Quds, which supports Islamic radicals worldwide.

Iran has been very public about criticizing nations where Shia minorities are persecuted. This includes Iraq (where Saddam was quite brutal about it) and Afghanistan (where the Taliban were also very nasty towards the Shia minority). But Quds appears to have adopted the policy that, if you are attacking Americans, or Westerners in general, we'll forget about your anti-Shia transgressions. This has caused a growing clamor, in Iran, for Quds to be restrained. But, so far, the Iranian leadership won't even recognize that there is a problem. Long term, allowing Quds to support groups that have, and in some cases still are, killing Shia, is a policy that will backfire. But for the moment, the short term gains outweigh long term risks.

 


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