Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Iran reportedly disrupts a major Sunni Muslim terrorist plot.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Valdimir Putin. Kremlin photo.

Iran reports that they have broken up a massive Ramadan plot by Sunni Muslims. AP. In what is being described as the biggest terrorist plot in Iran's history, Sunni militants, possibly linked to ISIS had plans to bomb targets across the country, including the capital of Tehran. Iran has made many enemies in the region after their interventions in Iraq and Syria which has killed many ISIS fighters and Sunni Muslims alike. Though Iran did not confirm that the plot was from ISIS, they did use the term "Takfiris" to describe the attackers, a term that is often used to describe ISIS militants in Iran. 

My Comment:
Interesting. You rarely hear about terror plots in Iran. I am sure most of that is due to how secretive the country is. They have several active insurgencies, including some Sunni Arabs in the southwest of the country. Iran rarely talks about these kinds of things, so I am surprised that they talked about this plot. 

It makes me wonder if they are not trying to prepare people for inevitable attacks. This attack may have been broken up but I would not be surprised if there are not more cells active in Iran. There may be more attacks soon so the government of Iran would be wise to inform their people so it isn't a total shock when it happens. They are under threat and at this point an attack is probably inevitable. 

ISIS certainly has good reason to attack the country. Iran has been a thorn in the side of ISIS for the last couple of years. Indeed, there is an argument to be made that ISIS would have taken both Iraq and Syria without the efforts of Iran's military and groups that Iran had supported. The Iranian militias helped stop and reverse ISIS's advances in Iraq and in Syria, the government there was propped up on the battlefield by Iran's military.

And let's not pretend that Iranian forces and allies in Iraq and Syria have clean hands. Though they have committed attacks against ISIS itself, they have also targeted Sunni Muslims, especially in Iraq. There have been several reports of Shiite militias, backed by Iran, committing terrible attacks against Sunni Muslims. The worst of these was the attack on civilians during the liberation of Tikrit. Sunni Muslims there saw their homes destroyed and looted, and they were often beaten or even lynched by Shiite militias. Though ISIS needs little reason to attack Shiite Muslims and Iran, these attacks certainly didn't help things. 

Of course Iran wasn't the only country that attacked ISIS in Iraq and Syria. America, Russia, the Gulf States and many European countries also contributed to that fight. The big difference is that all of those countries has had retaliation attacks from ISIS. So far Iran has lucked out but I doubt that will last long. 

The details of this attack are vague, and given the secrecy of Iran that is not surprising. From what I was able to gather it sounded like this was a bomb plot. I am not sure what kind of bomb plot though. Was it a more traditional suicide bombing? Or was it a hybrid attack involving gunmen as well such as the Paris attacks? I guess either could have been possible but we probably won't know for sure unless Iran decides to share more information. 

Though Iran is hardly Europe or America, this plot also follows the pattern of ISIS attacks in Ramadan. Though ISIS has only pulled off two attacks outside of the Middle East, the Orlando massacre and the double homicide in France, they have had many other plans disrupted. This is just the latest one, and perhaps the largest, depending on how bad the one in Belgium was. Though this plot was disrupted I would not be surprised if ISIS still pulls off a major attack somewhere in the world before Ramadan ends...  

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