OpinionMiddle East

Iran’s proxy war on the modern world

The mullahs’ terror network threatens global security.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Erfan Fard
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, D.C.

Since the Islamic-Marxist revolt of 1979, the Iranian mullahs’ regime has consistently pursued a policy of exporting its revolutionary ideology. A key element of this strategy is the support and sponsorship of various terrorist groups around the world. This has not only destabilized the Middle East but also poses significant challenges to global peace and security.

Iran sponsors a diverse array of terrorist groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen.

Hezbollah, a notorious transnational criminal organization, is Iran’s most powerful proxy. It dominates Lebanon, commits terror attacks around the world and poses a significant threat to Israel via its substantial arsenal of missiles and rockets.

Iran has consistently provided substantial financial assistance to Hamas, enabling it to launch multiple conflicts with Israel, culminating in the Oct. 7 massacre, “The Black Shabbat.” The second-largest terrorist group in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), is another Iranian proxy. It has been responsible for numerous rocket attacks on Israel and cooperates with other Iranian-backed factions.

In Iraq, Iran backs the Shiite terrorist militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, which has targeted U.S. forces and coalition allies leading to sanctions imposed by the U.S. government. Another Iraqi faction, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, was formed to oppose the U.S. military presence in Iraq. It continues to receive support from Iran and has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, also known as Ansar Allah, have launched missiles and drones into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and are now attacking ships in the Red Sea at Iran’s behest.

Iran’s proxies and its Quds Force transnational terrorist network extend far beyond the Middle East, however.

In Europe, Hezbollah has established an extensive terrorist infrastructure and a variety of sleeper cells. This terrorist network was responsible for a 2012 bombing in Bulgaria that targeted Israeli tourists. In Latin America, the group also has an extensive network and concerns are mounting that the group may carry out attacks and further enhance its influence in the region.

Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups have extended their operations into Africa. Iran has also been involved in recruiting and deploying Afghan and Pakistani nationals for combat in Syria. These individuals are often organized into paramilitary units, notably the Zaynabiyoun Brigade and the Fatemiyoun Division. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its Quds Force, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) are actively engaged in these malicious efforts.

International collaboration to counter this menace is urgently needed, for many reasons.

Iran’s proxies have ignited and perpetuated instability in the already volatile Middle East, including in ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. It foments war against Israel, including the Oct. 7 massacre, which sparked Israel’s ensuing military operations against Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Iranian axis has also substantially eroded the sovereignty of various states in the Middle East. In countries like Lebanon and Iraq, Iran-backed terrorists often operate independently of national governments, weakening the authority of these states to an existential extent.

The conflicts perpetuated by Iran have exacted a heavy humanitarian cost. Countless civilians have been killed or displaced and untold suffering has been inflicted upon those caught in the crossfire.

The world must stand together to confront the threats emanating from Tehran and take decisive action to dismantle the mullahs’ regime. The head of the snake must be cut off. The collapse of Iran’s terrorist government and accountability for its criminal leaders would be a triumph for humanity.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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