Iran recruits online for militants to fight Israel
Will the West install a political framework which secures peace and development in Syria, or will its people continue to suffer, much to the benefit of Iran's paranoid leadership?
An Iranian website associated with the revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei is using online posters and propaganda materials to recruit militants to fight "Salafists” and "Zionist dogs”. Appealing to the "pride of the young Iranians” and to their "revolutionary duty" to create "resistance cells”, these materials are helping to mobilise young Iranians to travel to Syria to fight against Israel in order to achieve “martyr” status.
The response from voluntary applicants was allegedly so great that the website was temporarily overloaded. Successful candidates were then invited by SMS.
Encapsulating perfectly the way in which Iran is exploiting events in Syria for its own ends, the website quotes Ali Khamenei who said, "The parties fighting against each other in Syria are not divided in to Sunnis and Shiites, but in to the followers of the anti-Zionist resistance on the one hand and their opponents on the other side."
Any Syrian military response to the Israeli attack, itself in response to Syrian weapons bound for Hezbollah, would obviously be in Iran’s interests. This sentiment was broadly acknowledged by the chairman of the Iranian Basij militia, Mohammadreza Naqdi, who, on May 7th, said, "With [Israel’s] attack against Syria, the victory of the global Islamic movement against Zionism and for the liberation of Jerusalem has been pushed forward by eight years."
Why exactly the fight against Israel has been advanced by “eight years” remains a mystery, or more likely a rhetorical anomaly, but Naqdi did further elaborate on the ‘positives’, from an Iranian perspective, of Israel’s attack: "Anyone who feels pride will come to war against Israel. The media has a duty to inform the people."
Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi threatened to wage a war against Israel on May 5th. "The Zionist regime got a green light from America before its attack", he said. "The anti-Zionist waves are getting stronger and will shorten the lifetime of the artificial regime."
Likewise, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah blew into the same war trumpet, warning: "The Lebanese Hezbollah will provide an integral part of the Syrian response to Israel." He added: "The Iron Dome is weaker than a spider's web”, before accusing the U.S. and Israel of wanting to attack the "axis of resistance.”
Finally, Syrian military expert Hassan Turki said in an interview with Farsnews that "every spot in Israel is within the reach of the Syrian army”.
And so the usual course of action has begun in response to the latest humanitarian tragedy in the Middle East: blame Israel. The question now is whether the West – The U.S. and Europe in particular – will install a political framework which secures peace and development in Syria, or whether its people will continue to suffer – much to the benefit of the paranoid leadership in Tehran and Damascus and their terrorist patrons.
Wahied Wahdat-Hagh is a Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy
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