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
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.