The Islamic Republic and Islamic State

The ambition of both Iran and the IS is wide territorial expansion.

October 22, 2014 22:13
2 minute read.
Turkish-Syrian border

A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen near the Syrian town of Kobani, as pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Western world is uniting in its justified fight against the oppressive rule of Islamic State in large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The pictures of Western journalists being beheaded by these radical Islamic extremists have been seared into our consciousness; IS must be defeated.

Some have considered the idea of creating an alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the fight against the IS. There has even been talk of loosening the Western world’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear weapons program in order to encourage cooperation.

Such of a move would be a mistake of historical proportions.

Iran is no different than Islamic State. This is true with respect to Iran’s ultimate ambitions as well as with respect to Iran’s attitude to human rights.

Both groups apply the strictest and most literal interpretation of the Koran to the territories they govern. While the pictures coming out of Syria and Iraq today are truly horrifying, one need not look very far into the past to see similar images from Iran. In August, Amnesty International reported a new wave of attacks against independent journalists in the Islamic Republic. In Iran, people are often stoned to death for being homosexual or for the “crime” of being raped. Anyone who opposes the ruling party is threated with death, in a way reminiscent to the mass executions committed by IS in areas it has conquered.

The ambition of both Iran and the IS is wide territorial expansion. While with IS this can be clearly seen, as the organization is openly fighting in Syria and Iraq to expand the territory under its control, the ayatollahs in Iran fund schools and terrorist movements (such as Hezbollah) which spread their worldview, thus expanding their influence.

Both groups apply the strictest versions of their respective interpretations of Islam to the territories they rule, with complete disregard for human rights, while constantly attempting to enlarge their territory. Both also have great disdain for the Western world.

The only difference between the Islamic Republic and Islamic State is that one fights in the name of the Shi’ite Muslims while the other fights in the name of the Sunni Muslims.

However, in every aspect that actually matters to the West, these two groups are identical.

Making an alliance with Iran to fight Islamic State would be a serious mistake. More so, making concessions to Iran on the nuclear issue would be no different than giving Islamic State a nuclear bomb. Would anyone reasonable allow for such a scenario? The fight against Islamic State should be a fight between good and evil, a distinction only rarely as evident as it is today.

By considering an alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the West is blurring this distinction and joining hands with an evil regime that oppresses its own people and calls for the genocide of others.

If this alliance comes to be, the very justification for the fight against IS would be lost.

The rise of the IS should not turn the world’s attention away from Iran. Rather, it should highlight to the world how dangerous radical Islam would be if armed with nuclear weapons, and encourage the world to unite against the common threat of radical Islam, whether it comes from Sunnis or from Shi’ites.

The author is a Knesset member, Israel’s coalition chairman and chairman of the Intelligence Subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

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