In the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the world is coming to grips with the new face of terror on so-called “soft” targets of opportunity by native-born residents who become radicalized under the siren call of extremists emanating from terror groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda and sponsors of terror such Syria and the Iranian regime.
As the federal investigation uncovers more about the history and background of the husband and wife terrorist team in San Bernardino, facts about how they were radicalized and where they learned their deadly skills in bomb making and planning will undoubtedly emerge.
But what these attacks do point to is an unmistakable strain of extremist belief snaking its way around the world through social media, blogs and videos perpetuating a mythology that has its roots in the apocalyptic beliefs formed out of the Iranian revolution taken over by extremist mullahs who have since controlled Iran and turned it into an perpetual terror factory.
The fact that since the negotiations that yield a nuclear agreement last July purportedly helping support “moderate” elements in the regime’s government, the evidence to the contrary has flooded out of Iran as the mullahs in Tehran launched a massive offensive in Syria, cracked down with broad arrests of journalists and dissidents, went on a military hardware buying binge and doubled down on incendiary and extremist messages broadcast through a sophisticated online and PR effort.
The reaction of the regime since the nuclear deal was completed has alarmed virtually everyone in the U.S. and Europe and led to a broad hardening of stump speeches and policy positions from virtually all the main contenders in the U.S. presidential campaign.
Most notable has been the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who promised the U.S. would “act decisively” if the regime sought to violate the nuclear agreement in a speech at the Saban Forum, a conference on Middle East policy at the Brookings Institute think tank.
“Iran will test our resolve. They have already started to do so with a ballistic missile test and other provocative behavior. We have to respond to these provocations including with further sanction designations as necessary,” Clinton said.
She threatened to use military force for incursions on the deal. “Our approach must be distrust and verify. There can be no doubt in Tehran that if we see any indication that Iran’s leaders are violating their commitments in the deal not to seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons, we will stop them. And we will make sure the Iranians and the world understand that the United States will act decisively if necessary, including taking military action,” Clinton said.
The tougher stance was reflective of the national mood in the U.S. turned fearful by the San Bernardino attacks, but also the seeming spread of extremism by the simple preaching of it from strongholds and bully pulpits such as Syria and Iran.
Just as Al-Qaeda was able to plan and mount the 9/11 attacks from the relative safety and comfort of a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, there is a growing sense that the security of Syria and Iran offer extremists a safe haven to recruit and cultivate potential jihadists around the world.
As FBI Director James Comey has warned, the “outsourcing” of terrorism represents an alarming and hard to control new threat the world has not seen before.
It is also a logical explanation as to why the Iran lobby has not voiced any criticism not only of the Iranian regime, but the rise in terror attacks themselves, which is frankly inexplicable given the chorus of voices coming out of the American-Muslim community calling on a new frank and open dialogue about combatting the rise of extremism.
One such forum was sponsored by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC where a collection of Muslim groups denounced extremism and called for an unfiltered national discussion to combat the propaganda being offered by terror groups and nations such as the Iranian regime.
The leaders announced the formation of a new initiative called the Muslim Reform Movement, focusing on confronting extremist segments of the religion. According to the Washington Examiner, the group quickly released:
“…a declaration of principles calling on Muslims to reject violent jihad and endorse religious freedom for all and secular government, and saying they will call out those who reject it.”
It’s a similar call previously made by leading Iranian dissident leaders such as Mrs. Maryam Rajavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran who has long advocated for a return to secular, democratic government in Iran.
Notably, Iran lobby group, the National Iranian American Council, was absent and silent on the topic.
While the PC crowd may dither with the terminology of calling these extremists plain old “terrorists” or “Islamic extremists,” what is not in dispute is the threat they pose and the encouragement and support they receive from places like Tehran where mullahs lay out a theological justification for violence and murder. What they actually practice unabated on their own Muslim population.
The world will soon have to make the hard, but necessary choice of whether or not to put a finger in the dike of the rising tide of extremism, or address the source of it in places like Syria and Iran.
By Michael Tomlinson