for the first time in the history of Shia Islam, adherents are seeping into another country to fight in a holy war to defend their doctrine
Since the Iranian revolution, Iran has emerged as the most powerful protector of Shiite interests in the world. The expansion of Iranian power and influence is not merely based on strength and intimidation but has largely relied on Iran’s ability to create alliances with scattered Shiite communities around the world. Some of these communities had drifted from the realm of mainstream Shia identification and practice and through the help of Iran have awakened into joining a new Pan-Shia identity and alliance.
Since Khomeini coming to power with the help of a revolution, Iran has always used the Sunni-Shi’ah schism as a pretext to interfere in different regions. Iran portrays itself as the official protector of the global Shi’ah order (concept of wilayah) to achieve its aim of dominating the region. Iran has been directly involved in most of the conflicts in the Middle East.
The Iranian revolutionary guards’ support for the despot Assad and their facilitation in creating ISIS is one of the few examples of how Iran has recently been involved in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the region. Iran openly supports Hezbollah, a group that portrays itself as a savior of Muslims in Palestine, but since 2011, has killed way more Muslims in Syria than Israel has killed in Palestine. The so-called revolutionary guards are responsible for the vast majority of deaths in the Syrian war, which has claimed over 500,000 lives to say nothing of the far larger number injured and turned into refugees.
Political Shi`ite extremism is just as much an enemy of the Sunni world at large as political Sunni extremism is to the Shi`ah minorities therein. Hezbollah sympathizers are just as cancerous as ISIS sympathizers are. The only difference between Hezbollah and ISIS, aside from the former being Shi`i and the latter being Sunni, is that Hezbollah has matured and ISIS is still in its infancy. ISIS is around 10 years old. By the time Hezbollah was around 10 years old they had committed the following terrorist attacks:
April. 18, 1983: US Embassy bombing
Oct. 23, 1983: 1983 Beirut barracks bombings
Sept. 20, 1984: 1984 United States embassy annex bombing
March. 16, 1984: William F. Buckley kidnapping and murder
Dec. 4, 1984: Kuwait Airways Flight 221 Hijacking and killing
June. 14, 1985: TWA Flight 847 Hijacking and killing
Dec. 31, 1986: Randomly kills 3 Lebanese Jews
Feb. 17, 1988: William Higgins kidnapping and murder
March 17, 1992: 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires killing 29, injuring 200
July 18, 1994: AMIA bombing killing 86, injuring 200
As long as ISIS survives, Iran can claim that their allies in both countries are preventing a jihadist takeover but in reality, the objective is the infiltration of it, which ensures Tehran’s hold on Baghdad and Damascus and provides Iran a degree of international support for their allies in both countries.
Hezbollah has violated human rights, recently they were using water as a weapon of war, as they did in the past with food and medicine along with the Assad regime. Yet still, we hear from pro-regime sources and activists that rebels are responsible for the water disruption.
Some of the active Shia Jihadist Movements which are currently operating are
- Hezbollah in Lebanon
- Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq
- Hezbollah al-Nujaba in Iraq
- Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq
- Badr Organization in Iraq
- Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas in Iraq
- Hezbollah al-Hejaz in Saudi Arabia
- Houthis (Ansarullah) in Yemen
- Liwa Fatemiyoun in Afghanistan
- Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain
- Islamic Movement (under the guidance of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky) in Nigeria
- Muhammad’s Army in Pakistan
- Houthis in Yemen
This is just a brief list and the United States did not declare Hezbollah as a terrorist organization until 1997. One is just older than the other is and has matured politically. However, just as ISIS as a political Sunni extremist organization is a threat, Hezbollah as a political Shi`ite extremist organization has been just as much a threat. Both are hijacking the Islamic Injunction of Jihad and using it for their own rhetoric and political strategies. The only difference is that the Sunnis around the world are united for their disdain for ISIS but that is not the case with Shia. They are blatantly supporting their Jihadi Groups, which are proven far worst than any contemporary terrorist movements.
Iran has started recruitment programs for their Jihadi Forces in many Muslim countries. Many young youths are taken from Pakistan and Afghanistan for the fight in Syria. Along with Assad’s own military and Iran backed Hezbollah, IRGC is also directly responsible for the deaths and displacement of thousands of Syrians.
The West and UN turn a blind eye when it comes to recognizing the atrocities committed by Hezbollah. Until recently Israeli Officials, according to several reports, were yelled at, and were told that Iran-backed militias are not terrorist groups.
To further check the authenticity of this claim, the Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah has said: “Wahhabism is more evil than Israel” which implies the unconditional favor and biases of the west towards Iran and its foreign intervention. The double standard from the west for not elevating the Shi’ah Jihadist under the same benchmark, which means that western powers are a proponent of Iranian hegemony in the region.
All this is changing of course as a result of agressive push back by President Trump and several leaders in the Middle East. We are finally seeing positive change as a result of the west finally recognizing the threat of Jihadism in all its colors.
What does Islam actually mean by Jihad?
A look at what some authentic moderate scholars of Islam say about Jihad in Islam
Now coming to Jihad, The purpose of Jihad is to protect Muslim religious practice and human rights, not to expand dynastic borders, or amass wealth, or any other worldly goal. Shaykh Wahbah al-Zuhayli, a leading scholar on Islamic international law, writes in his commentary on the Quran:
“The lesson derived from this verse (2:190) and others related to the legislated conditions of warfare and the permissible rulings in jihad are as follows: 1) Warfare is legislated in the cause of Allah to repel aggression, protect preaching Islam (da’wah), and freedom of divine religion. 2) The legislation is characterized by justice and truth, in which there is no transgression against anyone nor overlooking what is necessary in war. The aim is not to demolish and tear down, nor merely terrorize. Thus, non-combatants are not killed, nor are women, children, and those like them among monks, the disabled, the sick, and the elderly. Crops and fruits are not razed, nor are animals slaughtered except for food, as has come in the prophetic instructions and those of the righteous Caliphs. 3) Warfare is not for compelling people to embrace Islam, as that would defeat the principle of the law of the Quran in many verses.” (Tafsir al-Munir 2/183)
“Iran’s Afghan Shiite Fighters in Syria,” PolicyWatch 2262, Washington Institute
“Iranian Proxies Step Up Their Role in Iraq,” PolicyWatch 2268, Washington Institute
“Foreign Shia jihadists in Syria”, Smyth, Phillip