Hezbollah supporters hold images of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini (L), and Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenai, during celebrations in Beirut on Feb 6, 2019. (AFP)

By Track Persia

May 27, 2021

Since the success of Grand Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution in Iran and the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, the Iranian theocratic regime’s main strategy is implementing an aggressive expansionist policy in the region by establishing the so-called Shi’ite Crescent and spreading Khomeini’s ideology the wilayat al-faqih (the rule of cleric).

To achieve this nefarious policy, the Iranian regime uses its proxies of mainly Shiite political, sectarian militias, terror groups and criminal gangs which in the assassinations of activists and anti-Iranian policy. The regime also orders its proxies to carry out wide-scale sectarian killings, forced displacement to create demographic changes in countries where it has sway such as Syria and Iraq. These criminal acts mount to breaching human rights and war crimes which are usually committed in the name of protecting Islam, particularly Shi’ite Islam, the main religion in Iran when it suits the regime.

Syria

The destructive Iranian interference in Syria has led to the killings of an estimated half a million civilians and wounding and displacing more than 12 million more. Iran’s strategy for this country is defending Syrian President Bashar Asad and his dictatorship from falling and securing the route between Iran and  Hezbollah in Lebanon to guarantee increasing its influence in the region.

Iraq

After the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the destruction of the Iraqi state after the fall of Hassam Hussein’s rule, Iran attempted to install a proxy government in Baghdad and it has largely been successful. Iraq is important for the regime because it can use it as a base from which it can launch its expansionist policy towards its western neighbours.

The regime commenced its destructive policy in Iraq by killing a major part of the former Iraqi government officials, scientists, doctors, in addition to committing ethnic cleansing, terrorist attacks. These criminal acts which have not stopped led to the killing of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

Iraqi Sunni Arabs have paid the highest cost of the Iranian destructive policy in Iraq that led to the killing, torturing, displacing, kidnapping and imprisoning hundred thousands of Sunni Arab civilians, in particular, those live Iraq’s middle, western and northern cities and villages including Baghdad, Anbar, Mosul, Diyala and Babil in the pretext of fighting the extremist Sunni group the Islamic State (IS).

However, over the past two years, the Iraqi Shia Muslims have been taking to the streets in the middle of the south of Iraq to express their discontent with the successive pro-Tehran corrupt governments of the post-Saddam era. These governments are dominated by pro-Iran Shi’ite parties having militias and organised gangs. The nationwide popular protests reflect the extent of the Iraqis’ resentment toward Tehran’s policies in their country especially because of the mass killings of more than 800 young protesters and activists and wounding of thousands more, most of them have become severely disabled. These Iraqis have been merely victimised at the hands of Tehran’s terror squads and militias sponsored and trained by Iran’s Quds Force, the external wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Moreover, since the US president Biden took the office, the Tehran-Shi’ite militias have carried out hundreds of attacks against the coalition personnel and interests which are based in this country to advise and train the Iraqi army on fighting the IS group which in 2014 controlled wide swathes in the west of north of Iraq.

On April 23, 2021, the pro-Tehran Kata’ib Hezbollah group and other pro-Iran Shiite militias inside the Hashd al-Sha’bi, or Popular Mobilisation Force (PMF), an umbrella of predominately Iran-sponsored Shi’ite militias, officially announced its refusal to abandon their weapons. These militias are funding by the Iraqi state by they are controlling it and all state institutions in this country.  Abu Ali al-Askari the spokesperson of this group once said: ” The Popular Mobilization Forces will never be dissolved and Kata’ib Hezbollah delivers its weapons only on the advent of Imam Zaman (Imam Mahdi who the Twelver Shia believe he will reappear to fill the world with justice after his disappearance more than 1400 years go).”

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been the target of the Iranian regime since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. The Grand Mosque in the Kingdom was seized by a terror extremist group in 1979, the terror act had been inspired by the Islamic Revolution. Iran’s late Supreme leader Ruhullah Khomeini tried to divert these accusations by attributing the terror act to the United State and Israel by saying: “It is not beyond guessing that this is the work of criminal American imperialism and international Zionism.”

The Iranian regime’s clear aggression against the kingdom has intensified over the past few years. It is reflected in the attacks on Saudi diplomatic headquarters in Iran and more recently the repeated attacks on the Saudi ARAMCO oil facilities carried out by  Yemen’s Houthis and Iraq’s Shi’ite militias by using drone attacks.

Bahrain

Bahrain has not been immune from the Iranian aggressive policy in the region. For many years, the Iranian regime has been attempting to provoke rebellion in this country by instigating the Bahraini Shia against what the Iranian regime describes as an unjust Sunni rule. Over the last decade, Tehran has sponsored many Shiite citizens to topple the Bahraini government. In 2017, several terrorist plots designed against the al-Khalifa royal family by Shiite Bahrainis sponsored by Tehran were discovered by the Bahraini security forces. Subsequently, the Bahraini government decided to cut relations with the Iranian regime.

Yemen

By the end of 1999, the Iranian regime started to support the Shiite Houthi rebellions after Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi succeeded Ali Abdullah Saleh as the president of Yemen. Since then Tehran has been using the Houthis to displace the legitimate Yemeni government and this has led to wide and devastating civil war in the country.

The Iranian regime was also meant to harm Saudi Arabia which has been forced to stand by the legitimate Yemeni government against the Houthi attacks. The Iranian regime militarily supported the Houthis by supplying them with heavy and advanced weapons including long-range missiles and drones. Iran’s Quds Force’s high-ranking officers are not afraid to say that the regime is proving the Houthis with weapons such as rockets and drones in addition to military training. The regime uses the Houthis as a tool to implement its expansionist agenda in the regime and destabilise the region. Its support for the Houthis threatens the international waters in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb.

Lebanon

since the eruption of the civil war in Lebanon 40 years ago, the Iranian regime has played a major role in destabilising this country and preventing the establishment of a democratic political system. The regime uses its Shiite proxy Hezbollah organisation and its militia to destabilise this country. The regime has spent millions on supporting this organisation. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasralla once publically admitted that Tehran was funding all Hezbollah expenses and activities.

Palestine

Iran has played a key role in helping the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas to develop the deadly weapons arsenal that the group used to target deep inside Israel during the recent war between the two parties.

Hamas leaders are reported to have regularly visited Iran to undergo training in production and the use of advanced weapons controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which is responsible for Iran’s dealings with the Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas.

Before his assassination by a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in January 2020, Qassem Soleimani, the leader of IRGC’s Quds Force, took personal charge of overseeing Hamas’s arming and military training. This has resulted in a significant improvement in the ability of Hamas to hit targets deep inside Israeli borders including Tel Aviv and Lod, as well as Israel’s main airport Ben Gurion, prompting major airliners to cancel flights as a security precaution.

To achieve its ultimate expansionist policy, the Iranian theocratic regime uses Islam as a common ground with the Sunni Islamic movements, such as Hamas and other branches of the Muslim Brotherhood which strives to establish a regime close to the principles of the Islamic Republic.

Iran will continue its military support for Hamas to enhance the divide within Hamas in a bid to allow itself to have a greater room to manoeuvre. Iran also needs to maintain its relationship with the Palestinian Islamist groups to cover up its ideological attack on Israel and continue promoting the story of resistance and opposition to the United States and Israel.

Afghanistan

Since the eruption of the Syrian war, the Iranian regime has been recruiting Afghani Shia within the militia Fatemiyoun Brigades to defend the Syrian dictator Bashar Asad. This militia has suffered 2000 deaths and 8000 injuries during the fighting in Syria, according to Zohair Mojaded a leader in this militia.

The Iranian regime has also been supporting the extreme Sunni group of Taliban in its fighting with the American troops to force the Americans to flee Afghanistan and increase its influence in this country.

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.