In the war on terror, You must be firm instead of appeasement
The deadly bombings in London last week and mullahs putting a hostage taker terrorist at the helm as a president may appear unrelated. However, both warn us of a single threat: religious fundamentalism and terrorism under the pretext of Islam, the biggest threat to world peace and tranquility today.The increasing threats posed by Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism emanating from it as well as options to deal with it must be considered seriously. May be now, 12 years after I had warned of this threat in my book, "Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat", a more realistic attempt is made to better understand this phenomenon.In post-September the 11th, thwarting terrorism has emerged as top priority world leaders have been trying to resolve. To this end, the West has adopted harsher laws, such as the Terrorist Act of 2000 in Great Britain and the Patriot Act in the United States. There is hardly any doubt today as to the necessity and the impact of anti-terrorist laws, police action and pre-emptive measures. These effects, however, are temporary and tactical and cannot resolve the problem at its roots. Because before being a security and military phenomenon, terrorism and fundamentalism are political in nature. Terrorism is the means to advance a specific policy and based on a specific ideology.Terrorism under the name of Islam and God emerged essentially with the rise to power of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran in 1979. In the past quarter century, Tehran has always used hostage taking and terrorism as a means to further its foreign policy. The occupation of the U.S. embassy in 1979, the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, hijacking, the killing of pilgrims in Mecca, the assassination of opponents abroad, the bombings in Argentina and Khobar and forming, strengthening and assisting terrorist currents in the Middle East are a few examples. After the recent developments elsewhere in the region, the Iranian regime remains the only state sponsor of terrorism in the world today.It would be naïve to assume that Iran’s Shiite rulers have no links to terrorist activities of Sunni groups. The ideology governing terrorism is Islamic fundamentalism, in which the pivotal element is neither Shiism nor Sunnism, but the establishment of a global Islamic rule. Though a Shiite, Khomeini repeatedly lamented the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which was led by Sunni Caliphs. The regime in Tehran is not only the sole empowered model for the fundamentalists but also their utopia, even if it did not support them materially. Similarly, the Soviet Union was the utopia for the communists and proponents of the dictatorship of the Proletariat, regardless of their specific political leanings. With the fall of the Soviet Union, these communists gradually wilted.Fundamentalists, whether Shiite or Sunni, share enmity toward the West, modernism and democracy. They want the annihilation of Israel. This destructive ideology claims the leadership of 1.2 billion Muslims. In this context, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei considers himself the Supreme Leader of Muslim across the world and not just the Shiites. The fight against terror, therefore, is entwined with the fight against Islamic fundamentalism. Regrettably, appeasing the clerical regime, the West’s policy toward Iran in the past two decades, has had the opposite effect.
The clerical regime’s terrorist and fundamentalist activities will no doubt accelerate with the coming to power of its new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He and his accomplices are fundamentalist terrorists who actively took part in the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, in terrorist operations in and out of Iran and in the massacre of the Iranian people. Ahmadinejad has personally fired coup de grace at more than 1,000 political prisoners. On June 29, he said, “A new Islamic Revolution has arisen… The wave of Islamic Revolution will soon reach across the globe.”
To confront terrorism, the policy of appeasing the mullahs must be abandoned. 26 years after appeasing Tehran has not only failed to bring reform and moderation, but led to the ascension of the most extremist faction of the ruling clique. Terrorism under the name of Islam emerged with the clerical regime and would only go away once it is toppled. The overthrow of the mullahs would eliminate the inspiration and the driving engine of terrorism.Fundamentalist leanings have much less appeal in Iran than in other countries in the region. The Iranian people are demanding regime change. Following the recent presidential election, amounting to a major internal purge and boycotted by ninety percent of the Iranian people, the regime as a whole emerged much more vulnerable and fragile. Lack of support for the Iranian opposition represent the biggest obstacle to the realization of democratic change, which the Iranian people are demanding.The Adoption of a decisive policy against the clerical regime is not only a pre-requisite for democracy in Iran but also indispensable to the fight against terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.