Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Executing the Accused too Soon | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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We should not get confused over the bombing that targeted a mosque in the Iranian city of Zahedan, which left dozens of civilians dead.

It is an act of terror regardless of attempts by Jundullah, which claimed responsibility for the blast, to justify it. The targeting of mosques and houses of worship is a cowardly act, and a most rejected crime, no matter what the identity of the perpetrator. I have previously expressed this same view when this group carried out bombings and abductions, which bring to mind the acts of terrorism that Al-Qaeda organization and other extremist groups carry out in Iraq and elsewhere. Rejection of terrorism is a matter of principle; we reject such acts even if they are aimed at deterring the Iranians from supporting terror in our countries. We cannot possibly approve of acts of terror when they target Iran but denounce them when they target us.

Terrorism is a failed military enterprise regardless of its success in creating chaos and instilling fear. If terrorism succeeds in targeting civilians, this will not last long. The proof is the separatist Tamil group in Sri Lanka, which has lost all its gains in the field because of its acts of terror against civilians and public installations. Al-Qaeda is another cogent proof of the failure of the terrorism project. Al-Qaeda reached New York and hit dozens of targets around the world. However, despite the intensive propaganda campaign that justified its crimes in the name of fighting occupation and foreigners and Israel, the majority of Muslims around the world have turned against it, and Al-Qaeda has become the most hated organization in the world.

However, what is really surprising about the Zahedan bombing is that the Iranian authorities, which said they captured three terrorists in Zahedan, hastened to execute them, just48 hours after the bombing. Those arrested might have actually been the perpetrators, but it is very strange that they should have been executed so swiftly. This runs counter to the basic concept of justice, and to the necessity to conduct interrogation, particularly in cases of terror, when every defendant is usually held in a very secure place, some times for years, for interrogation purposes, not executed so fast. We have never heard that a terrorist was executed before months have elapsed since his capture, even in countries where trials are military or theatrical. The swift execution of those men raises doubt that they might not have been the real perpetrators, or that the regime was in a hurry for political reasons and thus sought to hang the defendants to assure the people or win their votes in the elections.

The other aspect of the Zahedan crime is that it shows early signs of a mutual war of terror, terror backed from outside in retaliation for the terror that Iran is accused of backing in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. It is a military action with the same formula of terrorism that seeks to kindle a sectarian war and sow the seeds of divisions between Sunnis and Shiites and secessionist movements. If this impetration is correct, particularly because Iran itself said that these acts are engineered outside the country, we would be seeing a new chapter in the regional war, war of terror by proxy. Where would these new conflicts lead? Are they capable of halting terrorism through deterrent terrorism? Or would they only deepen the conflict and prepare the ground for a more dangerous and more comprehensive war?