Friday, June 9, 2017

Saudi Arabia -Iran must rethink its own support for terror following attack, says analyst

JEDDAH: The militant attack in the Iranian capital on Wednesday, in which at least 12 people were killed, has increased the need for Tehran to rethink its own support for terrorist groups, an analyst said.
Talking to Arab News on Wednesday, political analyst and former US diplomat Ali Khedery said the principal lesson for Iran from these attacks “is that this is what terrorism looks like and feels like in real life.”
He added: “Perhaps they should stop being the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, because again, this is what it feels like to be victims of terrorism and of senseless violence against civilians.”
Khedery said any terrorist attack anywhere in the world is something sad and unfortunate.
“However, given that the regime in Tehran is the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism, they have for once got a taste of their own medicine,” he said. “This should be a reminder to them of what it looks like when innocent civilians suffer from terrorism.”
He said Iran has been a leading global state-sponsor of terrorism since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
“It has had a role in many terrorist attacks, beginning with the US Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran during which American diplomats were held for 444 days. Then Iran participated in the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut in 1982 and the Marine barracks in 1983. Iran had a role in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the terrorist attack on Jewish targets in Argentina in the late 1990s,” said Khedery.
Tehran “continues to support, for example, the Taliban and the Shiite militias in Iraq, and it has played an active role in the holocaust being carried out by the Assad regime (in Syria), not to mention the support for leading terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and more recently the Houthis in Yemen.”
As to why was the Iranian leadership played down the terror attacks, Khedery said Iran is used to exporting terrorism and it is humiliating for the regime to be seen now as victims of terrorism.
“They don’t want to show that they do not have complete control within their borders and within their capital. They do not want to accept that Daesh was allegedly able to carry out attacks in the heart of Tehran, and in two of the most important and sensitive sites of the government — the Parliament and Imam Khomeini’s mausoleum,” said Khedery.
Khedery added that nobody knows with certainty that the attack was carried out by Daesh.
“Yes, Daesh has claimed credit for it but in recent times, they have claimed credit for a lot of things. They seem to exaggerate,” he said.
He said Iran was highly vulnerable from within.
“Its biggest weakness is its domestic situation because it has many widely oppressed minority groups — the Baluch, the Azeris, the Baha’i, etc. They have many domestic points of weakness,” he said. “This is one of the reasons they want to keep their population focused on external threats. They do not focus on the many internal problems that they suffer from.”
So is it a case of those who live in glass houses should not throw stones? “Certainly,” said Khedery.

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