Tehran’s Growing Anger
“The first objective of the Unite States in creating this criminal current (ISIL) is to portray a distorted image of Islam and this has been achieved through the perpetration of inhumane and savage crimes and their publication by the world media,” Naqdi said, referring to recent beheadings of American and British citizens by ISIL.
“The second objective is to create rift, animosity and war between the Shia and Sunni,” Naqdi added. (Press TV, 14 September)
Note: Since ISIL’s rapid advances in eastern Syria and western Iraq, beginning with the occupation of Mosul in June, and the establishment of the Islamic Sate, the state-run Iranian media has vigorously portrayed ISIL as a tool of the United States in the region.
Naqdi’s remarks is the clearest sign that the conspiracy theory regarding ISIL is being publicly elevated to an official line of the Islamic Republic. It is hard for Tehran to admit that the IRGC and the Shia militias under the command of its foreign legion, the Quds Force, are fighting Sunni militants in Syria and Iraq. After all, the Quds Force means the “Jerusalem Force,” for liberating Jerusalem, not killing fellow Muslims. So it would be very convenient for them if people started believing that the White House was running the ISIL, and the Iranians were defending Islam in their fight against Americans, and not Shia soldiers and militias killing Sunnis.
Naqdi’s comments are also manifestation of Tehran’s anger at recent events in the region. The post-U.S. invasions political order, which so much favored Iran, is falling apart, and rather rapidly. Assad, who was to scare the Israelis away from attacking Iran, has been bogged down in a bloody war and lost almost half the country. IRGC and Naqdi’s own Basij forces deployed across Syria, as large as they are, and their comrades in the Syrian intelligence, could not even detect and warn Baghdad of pending ISIL insurgents moving toward Mosul in June, mostly from Syria.
The government in Iraq, which had become a client state of Iran, fell and the new government in Baghdad, with much more pronounced Sunni and Kurdish influence than before, is now practically only in control of southern Iraq. The Shia Crescent is not rising. The U.S. is back in Iraq, and probably soon in Syria. The nuclear deal is not advancing, and the country’s economy, which was in a stalemate, now needs to support IRGC and Naqdi’s Basij forces in two very expensive wars: deploying large numbers of military and intelligence operators, as well as heavy ground and air equipment; funding the growing number of Shia militias; supplying arms; supporting Damascus with oil and financial assistance; and all other expenses, like transportation and communication, necessary in modern warfare. And the Iranians, after all this, are not even invited to Paris Conference on ISIL. And General Naqdi and his comrades are angry, and it shows.
File photo: Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of Iran's Basij Force. (IRNA)