For years, Iran has been accused of supporting terrorist organizations in its effort to export the Islamic Revolution to neighboring Arab states.
For years, Iran has denied all involvement with any terrorist organizations and instead has rebranded itself as a champion against terrorism through its battles against ISIS.
And for years, Iran has eventually been found to be supporting terrorists and to be lying in its denials.
This cycle of supporting terrorism, denying it, being found out and denying once again is a central part of Iran’s aspirations in the Middle East. But every time that Iran is caught backing terrorists, it’s denials lose their legitimacy just as a drug addict’s denials lose their sincerety after every relapse.
Iranian Terror in Bahrain and Jordan
Last week, Jordanian security officials apprehended an Iranian-backed terrorist by the name of Khaled Kazem al-Rubai with 45 kilos of high explosives. Al-Rubai, who has dual Iraqi-Norwegian nationality, is said to have ties through the Iranian-backed Bayt al-Maqdis which is connected directly to the IRGC’s Qods unit. He entered Jordan through Syria, under the control of Iran, and is suspected of planning a large terrorist attack in Amman.
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, that’s because it is: last month, officials in Bahrain busted a terrorist cell with larges caches of explosives that was linked to the Iranian-backed Al Ashtar Brigades, a Shiite terrorist organization dedicated to overthrowing the government in Bahrain.
Iran’s Motives and MO
What is Iran’s motive? Although Jordan and Bahrain are very different in many ways, both countries are traditionally allied to Saudi Arabia and are weary of Iran’s efforts to “Export the Islamic Revolution” through local Shiite organizations and extremists intent on toppling the ruling monarchies.
Denials by Tehran to the connection with these terrorist cells were issued quickly in both cases but unfortunately, Tehran is notorious for denying everything and then being caught doing exactly what it denied: In Syria, Tehran at first denied operating Hezbollah militia to help Assad and later admitted doing so. Tehran denied shipping ammunitions and arms to Assad and then recanted. Tehran denied operating its own armies in Syria and then recanted once again. The same modus operandi of denials and then begrudged recantations could be seen in Tehran’s involvement with Yemen’s Houthi rebels: denial of involvement were followed by proudly admitting that Iranian-backed Hezbollah operatives trained and supplied the rebels in an effort to overthrow the Yemenite government.
On Truth and Trust
Since the trials are held behind closed doors, it may take time till we understand exactly what evidence the security forces have that ties the terrorists to Tehran.
But one thing is certain: Iran doesn’t inspire trust in any of its neighbors. In fact, they are terrified by Tehran’s repeated calls for a Global Islamic Awakening which would endanger the essence of their governments. Iran’s repeated efforts at meddling in its neighbors affairs cannot be overlooked any more nor can its aspirations to build an empire in the Middle East.
They, more than anyone else, understand that Iran’s finger prints are all over the repeated efforts by Shiites to overthrow neighboring governments. Tehran’s aspirations to head an Islamist empire may be kept off the agenda at the nuclear negotiation tables in Vienna but they are a top security priority for the immediate neighbors who will be the first to pay the price.
Iran, it seems, is addicted to meddling, terror and denials. It’s as if a drug addict is trying to take over counselling for rehabilitating other drug addicts. As long as the hands of Tehran are stained in blood, it cannot expect that the West will easily want to shake hands in peace.