Many in Iran and elsewhere expected Iran’s leaders to act – or atleast speak – against the heinous activities of Syria’s Bashar-al-Assad and his loyalists. Iranian leadership instead chose to side with the longtime ally Assad.
[Bahauddin Foizee | Oped Column Syndication]
Iranian regime has been losing its moral standing right from the time it came to power in 1979 through a revolution led by a Twelver-Shia cleric, Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, popularly known as Ayatollah Khomeini. What has been making this more worse is the atrocious activities of the Iran’s Revolutionary Gurad Corps (IRGC), the Iranian leadership’s military arm.
When Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989, his successor Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, popularly known as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has succeeded him. But the regime’s policy of spreading regionwide horror, terror and deaths was still in place, mostly with the courtesy of its military arm IRGC.
The IRGC’s support for the spread of terrorist proxies across the Middle East and its support behind the mass killing and cleansing in Syria and Iraq — had left the USA with no option but to designate it as a foreign terrorist organization or FTO.
Although the designation had prompted a heated debate on whether or not the decision was a sensible one, all the atrocities committed directly or indirectly by the IRGC suggest that the decision was not an unmerited one.
IRGC had led the campaign of killing the Sunnis and non-twelver Shias in thousands to depopulate many Syrian and Iraqi areas from Sunnis and non-twelver Shias — something which is no less than genocide.
This fear of being killed for their sectarian identities had compelled a portion of the remaining Sunni and non-twelver Shia population to leave their homeland and seek refuge in other Arab and European countries so that they could escape the genocide. Compelling these people out of their native land, and in some places actively driving them out from their native areas, is something which amounts to ethnic cleansing.
In Fallujah, the Iraqi forces and Iran-backed militias killed thousands of innocent Sunnis in the cover of “liberating” the area from ISIS. In the areas around Iraqi city of Samarra too, the Sunnis were driven out with the intention to create a Sunni-free corridor.
All of the above said killing campaigns had been monitored, aided, funded and managed in the ground-zero by the by the Quds Force, which is responsible for carrying out the IRGC’s campaigns outside Iran.
In Syria, the IRGC had carried out the campaign with the help from Assad’s army and Iran-backed Lebanese militant group named Hezbollah. In Iraq, the IRGC had carried out the campaign with the help of sectarian elements in Iraqi army, Iran-backed militias and Hezbollah.
Although, for years, the IRGC has been training the terrorist proxies in a number of regional countries, the IRGC-members went a step further in the recent times to directly engage themselves to the killings of innocent civilians in Syria and Iraq based on sectarian identities.
Worth noting that every mainstream global media had either published articles or broadcasted the footages of the aftermath of the repeated gas/chemical attacks on Syrian civilians carried out by the Bashar-al-Assad’s airforce in rebel-held areas.
Assad could certainly not have ordered to carryout these attacks without the backing from the IRGC and without Iranian leadership’s endorsement. The broadcasted-footages clearly show how these attacks killed civilians, especially the children, who had to go through enormous sufferings and pain before ultimately losing their lives.
Given that Iran’s leaders always try to portray themselves as the symbol of moral values, many in Iran and elsewhere expected them to act – or atleast speak – against the heinous activities of Syria’s Bashar-al-Assad and his loyalists. Iranian leadership instead chose to side with the longtime ally Assad.
Iranian leaders were silent and was supportive of Assad even when the members of mukhabarat, the secret police of Syrian dictator Bashar-al-Assad, had cut off the penis of a 13-years-old boy, named Hamza Al-Khateeb in 2011. When Hamza’s body was returned to his family, they found the body disfigured, distorted.
It is not just in Syria where Iran has lost the battle for moral high ground, but Iran has also lost this battle in Iraq where Iran-backed Iraqi militias and Iran-backed Hezbollah alongside the sectarian elements in Iraqi army had, as mentioned earlier, committed mass crimes against the minorities with the support of the IRGC.
Bahauddin Foizee is an international affairs analyst & columnist, mainly focusing on the geopolitical trends and events taking place in the greater Middle East and in the overlapping mega-regions of Asia-Pacific, Indo-Pacific, and Indian Oceanic Region.