To Combat Islamic Extremism, Iran Ayatollahs Should Be Kept in Check

Tehran must be made to feel the heat that comes from its policy; this can happen only by the West making the cost too exorbitant - and not through concessions.

The spread of Islamic fundamentalism is a growing problem for Europe that should be combated by a comprehensive strategy - political, cultural, ideological, and where necessary, military.

While European governments can track down and imprison some extremists like those behind the heinous assaults on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish market in Paris, they cannot follow them all or stop all assaults by terrorists who are ready to die.

Neither can governments solve the problem by heeding the call of right-wing extremists to ban all immigrants. Many Muslims have fled to Europe to escape oppressive regimes of their home countries.

While considering possible actions, we need also to consider actions that should not be taken. In that area, we turn to ISIS, the self-proclaimed caliphate that has captured broad swaths of Iraq and Syria. This creates an interesting dilemma: Both the West and Iran seek to destroy ISIS, but for far different reasons.

The West wants to protect the fragile democracy in Iraq and, at the same time, weaken the Assad dictatorship in Syria. Iran fears the loss of its control over Iraq, which it had accomplished with the complicity of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Here is a true example of the adage "beware of Greeks bearing gifts," originally a reference to the Trojan Wars. Politics may make strange bedfellows, but the West must avoid any alliance with Iran, which seeks only to advance its own agenda.

Indeed, Iran has been the greatest exporter of terrorism in all corners of the world. If it wants to destroy ISIS, there must be ulterior motives, and they go far beyond a clash of Shiites vs. Sunnis.

Allying with or appeasing one group of extremists to neutralise another is a big mistake, especially when one is a state that sponsors extremism and Islamic fundamentalism as a tool and state policy. Tehran has established huge institutions, including the notorious Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards solely to pursue the objective of exporting its Islamic fundamentalism - which it needs as a pillar of its survival.

Many analysts have pointed out that the crises caused by ISIS or Al-Qaida or similar outfits to a great extent have been the result of circumstances created by the Iranian regime and its puppet dictatorships in Syria and Iraq through murder, suppression, and sectarianism in these countries.

Considering a role for Iran in the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. No sane person would seek help or cooperation from an arsonist to put out the fire.

The Iranian has been a major source of Islamic fundamentalism and sectarian policies; it has been the main sponsor of state terrorism in the region and the world over. Last week, the top Argentine prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, leading the probe into Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 civilians, was found murdered in his home, a day before he was going to testify to parliament on this topic.

The Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, who addressed the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on Monday 26 January, has stressed that a firm policy that halts Tehran's terror machine and evicts them from the region, especially Syria and Iraq, is essential to resolve the crisis of the expansion of Islamic fundamentalism.

Mrs Rajavi stressed "The Iranian regime's participation in the anti-ISIS coalition is a hundred times more dangerous than any form of Islamic fundamentalism, under the cloak of Shiite or Sunni Islam," since that participation would "provide the regime the room to act and to go on the offensive and engulf other regional countries in death and devastation."

Therefore, giving a role to Iran's despotic regime in the fight against ISIS in Iraq or in Syria would neither stop the regime's nuclear development nor would it put an end to ISIS. Rather, it would fuel the ISIS propaganda because the Iranian dominance in the region would only intensify the sectarian conflict.

Tehran must be made to feel the heat that comes from its policy; this can happen only by the West making the cost too exorbitant - and not through concessions.

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