Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iranian Liberation Armies | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In a very important announcement, both due to its timing and content, the deputy commander of the Basij militia- a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards- confirmed that Iran does indeed provide arms to liberation armies in our region.

When Tehran talks of its support by way of arms to these liberation armies, they mean Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Iranian Hezbollah, and others., while the importance of this acknowledgement is that it comes after continued denials by Tehran; we are not talking about moral or material support, information and others, rather the provision of arms, which was common knowledge but was never confirmed by Tehran.

There are two questions that must be asked, firstly; Are these groups which accept support from Iran actually liberation armies, or is the very term “liberation” being misused and used to justify the violation of the national sovereignty of our counties and the abduction of Arab causes in the interests of Iran?

And secondly; to what extent will the decline in oil prices, the economic crisis, and the financial embargo of Iran affect its ability to fund these “liberation armies”, whether the groups it funds are legitimate adherents of Iran, or tools used by Iran to further its interests?

In answering the first question let’s look at the facts which say that Hamas overturned a legitimate government, and helped to split the Palestinian cause, all the while Hamas’s biggest supporter was Iran. While in Lebanon, Hezbollah enacted a coup on May the 7th and followed this up by making political gains from the Doha Agreement.

And we all see what Iran is doing in Iraq, as we have seen its support of the Houthi rebellion in Yemen, and agents of Tehran in some of our countries, so therefore what they call “liberation armies” is nothing more than propaganda, because in reality of what is intended is for these armies to undermine our Arab states.

The second question was regarding financial support, for with the financial crisis that has gripped the world, coupled with the rapidly falling price of a barrel of oil, all we have to do is close our eyes and imagine what would happen to Iran if the price of a barrel of oil fell further and stabilize at $20 or so for a year or two.

This would be disastrous for the Iranian regime both internally and externally. What does your average Iranian care about Hamas or Hassan Nasrallah while he is struggling to make a living? As for externally, Iran’s agents will send their bills to Tehran, and then a dilemma will take place for both parties, the agents and Iran, and from numerous directions.

And so Iran’s acknowledgement of its financing activities in the region is important for several reasons, among them; Tehran’s admittance of its intervention in the Arab region by providing arms to certain movements and organizations. It is also the best response to those who say that Iran does not support one side against the other, like General Aoun’s recent statements regarding Iran’s neutrality in Lebanon.

Most importantly, it is a sign of things to come within the next couple of years; as the difficulties stemming from the global financial crisis, and the continued decline of oil prices accumulate, Iran will not be able to provide sufficient support for these liberation armies on the scale it can today, while its ability to fulfill its nuclear ambitions will also be put to the test.