By Paul Iddon
Any Iranian leader, government or regime, would be understandable impelled to at least support efforts to quash a threat like Islamic State in Iran's neighbour Iraq.
|Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei|
The theocracy in Iran is also contributing to the fight against IS via very sectarian proxy militias and by other means – they were also quick to arm the Iraqi Kurds who are on the front-line in the fight against IS in Iraq, something which the KRG is quite thankful for given the circumstances they are facing. This is seeing to other sectarian Shia militias once again emerge armed on the streets of Iraq. They may likely in the not too distant future also enter Sunni neighbourhoods freshly liberated from IS control.
While one certainly wouldn't endorse or even excuse Iran use of such sectarian proxy forces in Iraq one must put this into its broader regional context before one can productively critique this role Iran is once again playing in Iraq. If Iran had a democratic, pluralistic and secular government it would more likely than not have feelers and advisers on the ground in Iraq right now in order to ascertain what's what and what it can do to see to it that IS is combated and doesn't also become a threat to Iran.
In other words when critiquing Iran's role in Iraq we have to recognize that as a regional power Iran has legitimate and understandable interests when it comes to assisting its neighbour combat such a dangerous foe like IS. We also should not hasten to forget, or cease to acknowledge, that it is the Iranian people who will more likely than not ultimately suffer from the brunt of any potential terrorist acts carried out by such a group in Iran. In the past they suffered from attacks by the Jundallah. In the future it could very well be the Islamic State if it isn't contained and combated. No government in Tehran after all could realistically ignore such a threat when there is something it could do in order to help alleviate and neuter it substantially.
This isn't a tacit approval or justification of any of the Iranian regimes activities in Iraq in the past or present. It is merely a contextualization of the present circumstances permeating throughout that region which is Iran's backyard in a geopolitical sense after all. The Iranian regimes present role there is still quite unproductive and may even serve to be dangerous to both the nations interests and its citizenry. And sadly if in the future IS or a dangerous fanatical group like it do manage to level terrorist attacks against Iran it is the Iranian people who will suffer from such attacks. The same people who already bear the burdens and hardships brought on them by the unproductive actions undertaken by the regime which presently rules over them.