Much has been made of the fighting going all between various extremist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Houthis, Boko Haram and Shiite militias, but what is not being discussed is the truth underlying all these groups; which is they share a bloody vision of regional and global domination fueled by a fanatical adherence to an extremist version of Islam.
While there may be superficial differences in their viewpoints, there is no difference in the methodology of expressing that religious view. It often involves mass kidnappings, beheadings, executions, enforced slavery, torture, savage fighting and sophisticated use of social media to gain followers and spread propaganda.
The roots of all this extremism does not lay within these desperate groups or in the conflicts they are fighting in. It lies solely within the religious fanaticism factory that is the Iran regime.
The mullahs in control in Iran have laid the groundwork for virtually all of the religiously driven terror groups and proxies now fighting throughout the world. Beginning with the funding and support of Hezbollah in its drive to take over Lebanon and attack U.S. personnel there, culminating with the bombing of the Marine barracks in 1983 killing 241 service personnel, Iran’s mullahs have artfully fueled religious violence and terror, more than anywhere else back at home by killing, torturing and imprisoning hundreds of thousands in the past 3 decades.
The regime in Iran continued that tactic through the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan where Revolutionary Guard Corps personnel helped train and supply insurgents with the deadly improvised explosive devices that claimed thousands of U.S. and coalition lives.
That chain of extremist violence extends to the sectarian civil war Iran spawned in Syria and the rise of ISIS in Iraq and elsewhere. Iranian mullahs have always sought to use these proxy wars as a means to an end and set the scales of international public opinion tilting in their favor.
How else could Iran’s mullahs achieve the preposterous notion that Iran was bravely fighting against ISIS through its military assets and Shiite militias, even though it helped create the conditions in the first place for ISIS’ birth and rapid expansion in Iraq.
Writing in the New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman was correct when he said: “When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble.”
The violence and hatred espoused by ISIS as it beheads Christians or Boko Haram as it kidnaps girls or Al-Qaeda as it bombs mosques all springs forth from the hatred and vitriol spewed by Iran’s ruling mullahs. The same mullahs that pass laws legalizing misogyny or criminalize a woman’s appearance or sanction the public hanging of political dissidents are the same ones providing the template of hate for these violent groups.
It is ironic that the three large Muslim nations, Indonesia, India and Malaysia are largely free of violent extremism, which is due in no large part to the development of tolerant, multicultural societies where the secular rules the sectarian; where the religiously motivated whims of a few dozen old mullahs do not hold sway over the vastness of a region stretching from the Mediterranean to Indian Ocean.
One group which has long recognized this contagion of violent theocracy is the National Council of Resistance of Iran, one of the largest Iranian dissident groups. Its leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has outlined a ten point plan that casts out the policies and medieval practices of the mullahs and replaces them with the modern, democratic principles so necessary in a civilized society.
We can only hope that the seeds for regime change can be planted amongst all this turmoil and a new Iran born out of it.
By Michael Tomlinson