Proxy warfare throughout the Middle East.
We all know about Iran’s nuclear desires. To what extent, some may still question--do they want a nuclear weapon or are they simply seeking nuclear power to support their energy complex? GOP candidates have debated the Iranian nuclear topic, yet no GOP candidate has been asked the very real question about Iran’s current proxy war taking place throughout the Middle East—let alone, how they will deal with the rogue regime.
At a time when Senator Lindsey Graham, Admiral Mike Mullen, and many others see the reality of Pakistan’s involvement in aiding enemies like the Haqqani network, very few accept or comprehend the magnitude which Iran plays into this mix supporting Pakistan’s ISI. Yes, Iran supports Pakistan’s ISI and yes, Iranian agents have been known to operate in the region.
Iran has also been a major contributor to the ongoing violence in Iraq. In fact, a great majority of the weapons used against U.S. forces comes directly out of Iran. The Shiite nation patiently awaits the departure of U.S. forces so it can pursue its goal of taking over.
Not only does Iran support the ISI and patiently await a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, it has also supported numerous Shiite and non-Shiite terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Since the release of the 9-11 Commission Report, U.S. policy makers have understood Iran’s involvement with terrorism yet very few politicians have been willing to deal with the threat they pose.
Today, Iran has been heavily involved in numerous secret activities across the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. And, yet again, Iran’s involvement across such lands is not discussed. With Yemen facing an austere civil crisis, Dr. Roby Barret, who in May 2011 published a Joint Special Operations University publication titled Yemen: A Different Political Paradigm in Context, exemplified his expertise of the region by specifically mentioning at least one major Iranian supported factor leading Yemen’s insurrection—the Huthi tribe.
Dr. Barret describes the Huthi tribe as “a small ideologically motivated group that is anti-Western and embraces Iran.” What he failed to mention is the fact that the Huthi are 100% aided by Iran with logistics, finances, and intelligence—activities which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fears considering a small part of the Huthi tribe rests in south west Saudi Arabia.
Yemen is a haven for terrorists and if a new Iranian-backed regime takes over, the world will witness the birth of a new Shiite dominated terror producing machine in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen has its issues fueled by Iran but so do other Arab nation states.
Bahrain too faces its own disaster supported by Iran. Shiite dominated youth constantly flood the streets protesting against Bahrain’s Sunni regime. These students are often seen supporting Ali Salman—a Twelver Shiite educated in Iran who still maintains strong allegiance to the Iranian regime and is President of the Wefaq political party.
Salman has stated that “there is no Shia-Sunni conflict; the conflict is between freedom seekers and dictatorship defenders.” Let’s not be fooled by such rhetoric. What is taking place in Bahrain is virtually identical to that which is occurring in Kuwait—Iranian backed Shiites taking to the streets.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States does have strong relations in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, etc. have all assisted in the War on Terror. Yes, some terrorists have come out of those nations but the United States too has a history of our own terrorists. In the end, these nations are on the brink of a major tipping point. Regimes are being toppled like a domino effect due to the recent Arab Spring and Iran is behind a lot of this mess.
Now, Palestinians seek statehood. The Palestinian people have constantly engaged in terrorist activities against Israel and the great majority of their operations have been directly tied to Iran. If the Palestinians get their wish, they will be the little child of Iran.
We can worry about Iran’s nuclear endeavors all we want. The real threat posed by the Shiite terror sponsoring regime stems from its current activities of proxy warfare throughout the Middle East. President Obama, or a newly elected American President, will be forced to deal with Iran. Sanctions will not marginalize Iranian activities so the real question must be asked—how will any American President deal with Iran?
Kerry Patton is the Co-Founder of the National Security Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization pending 501c (3) status. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies” and the children's book "American Patriotism." You can follow him on Facebook.