by Robert Carbery
Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the heart of Iran’s capital, Tehran, on Wednesday, striking its Parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni. The coordinated and symbolic assaults killed 12 people in what is actually a rare incident — a deadly terrorist attack in Iran.
This is especially significant since it is the first ISIS attack against the Shiite country of Iran. At a time when tensions between the two Muslim sects is at an all time high and Saudi Arabia and Iran are battling for regional supremacy, this only adds more fuel to the fire.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards accused the Sunni Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of being behind the dual terrorist attack on Wednesday that also left at least 39 injured. The IRGC vowed revenge for the deadly hits by ISIS in Tehran, fanning the sectarian flames between the two rival countries.
A statement published by Iranian media pointed to the Donald’s connection to the attack in his recent show of support to the Sunni country. “This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the U.S. president (Donald Trump) and the (Saudi) backward leaders who support terrorists. The fact that the Islamic State has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the brutal attack,” read the statement.
President Trump having to go to Saudi Arabia and bow to the princes there was not such a pretty sight. The Saudi links to terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda are indisputable. There is money flowing into terrorists’ treasuries somehow.
Iran has handled domestic terrorism very well in recent years. In a country with a more than 90% Shiite population involved in military action against ISIS in Syria for years, it is intriguing that terrorist attacks in the country are so rare. Last year, Iran’s government said it stopped a major plot by terror groups targeting Tehran and other major cities. The last major attack in Iran was back in 2010, when Sunni extremists executed a suicide attack at a mosque killing 39 people.
We shall see if this ISIS attack is the start of more Sunni-linked terrorist attacks against the Iranian state that is beating back the last of its strongholds in Syria. The lines in the sand are being drawn and you better choose sides fast.
This accusation from Iran of Saudi support for an ISIS-inspired attack in the heart of Tehran is likely a response to the recent squeeze Iran’s ally Qatar is currently experiencing from a quartet of Arab nations.
Earlier this week, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE all severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, a country with close ties to Iran and with alleged support for Islamist terror groups. Qatar has called these claims “unjustified.” The four countries are forming an economic blockade of the country and have even closed off its airspace to Qatari planes, which caused some 70 flights to be grounded on Tuesday.
This dispute has escalated quite dramatically. Two of OPEC’s largest oil producers (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are putting immense pressure on the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. The biggest ports in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain banned all vessels sailing to and from Qatar from using its facilities. A naval blockade has been implemented.
All of this does not bode well for stability in the region.
The Middle East is full of long standing conflicts that will simmer and boil over from time to time. But the Sunni-Saudi — Shiite-Iranian battle seems to be coming quick. The proxy wars being fought through terrorist entities is horrendous for the region and needs to be reeled back immediately if we are to ever bring any kind of order back to this chaotic corner of the world.
by Robert Carbery