Fifteen years ago President George W. Bush gave a famous speech in which he labeled North Korea, Iraq and Iran the “axis of evil.” There was an inundation of criticism launched at the former president, accusing him of being belligerent and a war-hawk. In 2002, The Guardian’s own Julian Borger wrote that while Iraq deserves its label, calling Iran evil was wholly irresponsible due to its “democratically elected president and parliament,” and that “its own forces of democracy have been gradually reining in its terrorism export business from within”. However, Borger’s assertion couldn’t be farther from the truth. Iran’s foreign policy revolves around supporting terrorism, creating insurgencies and using demagoguery to create a false narrative-both domestically and in Arab states--that the West and Israel are an inherent threat to Islam.
Iran created, supports, and completely funds Hezbollah, one of the largest militia forces in the world. Hezbollah is a Shi’a extremist group, based in Lebanon, with the sole purpose of destroying Israel and spreading Islamic nationalism. Hezbollah is stronger than Lebanon’s actual military. This militia committed the largest non-combat killing of U.S. troops, resulting in a death toll of over 300. Hezbollah openly proclaims war on Jewish people—civilian, Israeli, or otherwise. Its war against the Jews isn’t contained to attacks on Israel. In 1994, Hezbollah orchestrated a car bomb attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AIMA) community center, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more. Despite claiming ignorance to Hezbollah’s egregious acts, Iran was found guilty of organizing the 1996 Khobar Tower bombings, which killed 20 and injured nearly 500.
Iran also continually catalyzes conflict and sectarian violence in Yemen. Although, only recently and openly voicing support for the Houthis, Iran has been providing clandestine assistance to the religious insurgency since the 1990s. Iran ushered in young radicals, including Houthi leader Hussein Badradin al-Houthi, under the guise of “religious schooling.” The teaching wasn’t scholarly, there were striking similarities to the instruction Iran offered Hezbollah. Following the radical foundation Iran helped lay, Yemen erupted into civil war. Iran then supported the Houthi war effort by providing small arms, RPG-7s, surface-to-air missiles, counter-battery radars, Katyusha rockets, and massive financial support to the Houthi insurgency. Not enough to win the conflict, but just enough to keep it bloody and endless.
Hamas is arguably the most toxic of all the terror organizations under Iranian sponsorship. Most of the conflicts and terror agencies within the Middle East revolve around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas is the perennial poison pill in any possible conflict resolution. In the late 80s and early 90s, the road to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians seemed uncovered.
In 1988, the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat, stated that he and the Palestinian parliament had “declared its rejection and condemnation of terrorism in all its forms,” and that “[The Palestinians] accept two states, the Palestinian state and the Jewish state of Israel” ostensibly acknowledging a large portion of UN resolutions 242 that had previously been viscerally rejected by virtually all Arab states and organizations.
In 1993, due to the Oslo Accords, the Israeli cabinet approved a draft for self-governance of the Palestinian inhabited Gaza Strip and Jericho, the two groups acknowledged each other’s right to exist as a state (more accurately, Israel acknowledged the Palestinian right to negotiate for a state), and the Palestinian Authority officially rejected and condemned all forms of terrorism, again. Nevertheless, while peace between the Palestinians and Israelis seemed promising, Hamas proceeded to poison the water of peace by continuing and escalating its suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Hamas categorically rejected the Oslo peace process, violently agitating Israel to the point of deporting 415 key terrorist leaders to Lebanon. The mass deportation was met with condemnation from the United Nations, and attacks against Israeli citizens persisted. Israel became further agitated and demanded that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority pursue the terrorists, but the demand was met with little initiative by Palestine—either for lack of capability or effort. Frustrated with the constant violence and perceived failure of negotiations to make any positive change in their lives and safety, Israeli public opinion began to shift towards more unilateral resolutions to the conflict, and thus Hamas successfully began demolishing the bridge to peace. Anti-Zionist sympathizers often erroneously portray Hamas as a group that pushes for the benefit of refugees and the establishment of a state for an impoverished people, but doesn’t truly care about the Palestinian people. In the words of former Iranian president, Rafsanjani, Hamas openly declares that, “Israel must be wiped off [of] the map.”
Iran is one of three non-Arab nations in the Middle East, the third biggest oil producer, and the biggest state sponsor of terrorism. As an ethnic outlier, Iran knows that creating chaos in the Arab states prevents them from having to compete against an united Arab opposition. In addition to economic benefit of a divided opponent, the Iranian regime keeps the small amount of popular support it has by labeling the West and Israel as the cause for all its people’s misfortunes and exporting its revolution. Iran’s foreign policy is based upon exporting terrorism. Iran views malignant dispersion of its doctrine—along without maligning the West and Israel—as crucial to maintaining its unpopular and oppressive regime; the Iranian government believes it can maintain its precarious power, as long as it offers its people a scapegoat to blame for the poverty and suppression the people face. Thus, Iran paints its “foreign policy” as merely a righteous call to arms for all “loyal” Muslims, necessary for the existence of its sanctified Islamic republic, rather than the megalomaniacal and psychopathic catalyst for wanton death and destruction it truly is.