Iran’s Jihad on British Soil

In response to the Islamic Republic’s execution of a British-Iranian dual citizen, the UK’s foreign office placed new sanctions on the regime last week. Moreover, on January 12 the House of Commons passed on nonbinding resolution urging the government to declare Tehran’s elite paramilitary group—the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—a terrorist organization, and to treat it as such. David Patrikarakos explains the IRGC’s significance, and what it has been up to within Britain’s borders:

[W]hat makes the IRGC so potent, beyond mere military prowess, is its ideological mission—which has only grown over the past few decades. If the group’s centrality emerged with the foundation of the state, it only increased in 1989 when Ali Khamenei succeeded Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader. Khamenei was determined to use the IRGC to . . . spearhead one of post-revolutionary Tehran’s key ideological tenets: exporting its Islamic revolution across the Muslim world. For this task, he set up a division known as the Quds (Jerusalem) Force, whose official objective is to “liberate” Jerusalem through the destruction of the state of Israel.

The Quds Force has become the engine of Iranian offensive operations across the Middle East—murdering its way across Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, to name just a few countries. And in all the theatres in which it operates it does so not just as a military outfit, but a political one, too.

In the UK, the IRGC can rely on a lattice of ostensibly religious and cultural institutions to further its ideological and criminal aims. Much of its propaganda, which is designed to nurture homegrown extremism, poses a threat to Britain’s national security and promotes the Guard’s ideology in mosques, charities, and schools.

An analysis of the IRGC’s training manuals used to radicalize recruits reveals that the group’s ideology promotes both violence and a clear doctrine of extremism underpinned by a misreading of Islamic texts similar to [those of] terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda. The materials make armed jihad against “enemies of Islam”—identified as non-Muslims and opponents of the regime (including Muslims)—an imperative for adherents, and explicitly calls for killings of Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: European Islam, Iran, United Kingdom

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria