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Iran…Terrorism Returns Home - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Iranian regime raised its voice in condemnation of terrorism and cast accusations against the West following the suicide bombing that targeted Revolutionary Guard leaders and others in the Sistan Baluchestan province, which is near Iran’s border with Pakistan. We could say here that terrorism has returned home, i.e. to Iran. There is also another lesson [to be learnt] from this operation.

Whilst the Iranians tried to use extremist groups in our region to realize the Islamic Revolution’s goals, whether they are Al Qaeda or other similar groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Iran was a stopover on the way to joining “Al Qaeda” for some members who surrendered themselves recently in Riyadh, such as Fawwaz al Otaibi. In fact some of those who cut through Iran to join Al Qaeda in Pakistan or Afghanistan admitted that people wearing security uniform facilitated their journey through Iran!

From all of the above we can understand why Tehran talks about its regional role with such confidence, and [states] that the return of stability to the region is in its hands. But the hand of Iran, which claims to be able to establish stability [in our region], was burnt yesterday following the explosion that claimed the lives of over 40 people, including the deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ ground forces [Nur-Ali Shustari] and other leaders, as well as leading figures of the Al Quds Force, which has the upper hand in Iraq.

The second lesson to be learnt from this suicide operation – for which the Iranian group Jundullah claimed responsibility – is the danger of tampering with the sectarian issue. This is something that we have warned of time and time again and something that many rational-minded people have also warned against. But these warnings fell on the deaf ears of Iran and those in our region affiliated to it. In fact, they accused all of those who warned against sectarianism of having sectarian attitudes.

The sectarian issue that Iran exploited and continues to exploit in our region blew up in the face of the Mullah regime and did so violently. At a time when Yemen diplomatically rejected receiving the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who announced he would travel to Sanaa to mediate in the conflict with the Houthis, and following attempts to exploit sectarianism in Lebanon under the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood (Iran supporters) in order to present fake Sunni-Shia reconciliation, (we say “fake” because it aims to wipe the slate clean for Iran-affiliated Hezbollah in Lebanon), along came a suicide operation in Sistan Baluchestan during a meeting that was said to be aiming to strengthen “unity between the Shia and the Sunnis.”

Exploiting terrorism politically, or for security reasons, and tampering with sectarianism are fires that burn the hands of all of those who play with and exploit these issues. This is what we have seen with regards to all matters of conflict in our region for years.

Therefore, it is apparent from the suicide operation that took place yesterday in Iran that it involved two matters that usually please Iran – suicide operations and the sectarian dimension. These are two issues from which we have suffered a great deal in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and even Lebanon, Yemen, and Egypt and of course the list goes on!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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