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Extending Shadows: The Peril of Khomeinism and Iran’s Quest for Regional Hegemony

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, next to a poster of the Aytaollah Khomeini. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In an era where the Middle East grapples with the complexities of power dynamics, ideological strife, and the quest for stability, the recent declarations by Yahya Safavi, a key figure within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and a senior advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, cast a long shadow over the prospects for peace in the region.

Safavi’s pronouncement of Iran’s intention to extend its strategic depth by 5,000 kilometers to encompass the Mediterranean Sea is not just an ambitious strategic objective; it’s a testament to a broader, more insidious ideology that has been the cornerstone of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy since its inception — Khomeinism.

This ideology, named after its progenitor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, marries religious fervor with political power, advocating for the export of its revolutionary principles beyond Iran’s borders. Under this paradigm, the IRGC, a formidable military and political entity, has been the spearhead of Tehran’s efforts to assert its influence across the Middle East, often at the expense of regional security and stability.

Iran’s support for more than 11 major terrorist proxy groups across the Middle East is a clear manifestation of this ideology in action. By leveraging these groups, the Iranian regime aims not merely to spread a particular interpretation of Islam, but to reconfigure the geopolitical landscape in favor of a Shiite hegemony under Tehran’s aegis. This grand vision of establishing a Shiite empire, ostensibly to revitalize an Islamic Caliphate, is inherently expansionist, and aggressively challenges the status quo, pitting Iran against both regional powers and the broader international community.

Safavi’s remarks reveal a nuanced understanding and strategic approach to warfare, blending traditional military tactics with asymmetric warfare. The focus on strategic maritime and aerial points such as the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea suggests a deliberate plan to control vital international shipping lanes and airspace, posing a direct threat to global commerce and security. This ambition for maritime and aerial dominance underscores a readiness to engage in future conflicts that could have far-reaching consequences for international peace and stability.

The problematic nature of Khomeinism lies in its fusion of religious doctrine with statecraft, imbuing Iran’s regional ambitions with a sense of divine mandate. This not only justifies the regime’s actions in its eyes, but also complicates diplomatic engagements and conflict resolution efforts. The ideological indoctrination emphasized in institutions like the Imam Hossein University, where faith and loyalty to the revolutionary ideals of Khomeini and Khamenei are paramount, perpetuates a cycle of militancy and radicalism that is difficult to break.

This destructive ideology, with its roots in Khomeinism, represents a significant challenge to the international order. It not only fuels sectarian divides and proxy wars, but also emboldens Iran’s quest for regional dominance, often at the expense of human rights, democracy, and regional peace. The international community must recognize the profound implications of this ideology, which seeks to reshape the Middle East through a combination of religious zealotry and military might.

Addressing the challenges posed by Khomeinism requires a concerted international effort to contain Iran’s expansionist ambitions while fostering dialogue and reconciliation among the region’s diverse religious and ethnic groups. It is crucial to support avenues for peaceful resolution of conflicts, promote governance models that respect human rights and diversity, and counteract the spread of radical ideologies. Only through a collective and nuanced approach can the international community hope to mitigate the destabilizing effects of Khomeinism, and pave the way for a more stable and peaceful Middle East.

Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, D.C. He focuses on Middle Eastern regional security affairs, with a particular emphasis on Iran, counter-terrorism, IRGC, MOIS, and ethnic conflicts in MENA. Erfan is a Jewish Kurd of Iran, and he is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic, and English. Follow him from this twitter account @EQFARD.

The post Extending Shadows: The Peril of Khomeinism and Iran’s Quest for Regional Hegemony first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law? pic.twitter.com/eNIy2SU0Ep

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

The post ‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”? pic.twitter.com/FE0VbgmFLA

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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