The crisis in Iraq and the rise of the terror group ISIS are being fuelled by the meddling of the Iranian regime, a British dignitary says.
Iran is also central to the broader conflict that is plunging the entire Middle East into chaos, former House of Lords Deputy Speaker Baroness Turner of Camden said.
Writing in online news website The Diplomat, she said Iran had played a major role in the escalation of the region's turmoil since it began earlier this summer.
She wrote: "Those who closely follow Iran’s activities in the Middle East understand that its government and its Revolutionary Guards are the major driving force in the civil war that is still tearing Iraq apart.
"Moreover, Iran is central to the broader conflict that has seemingly put the entire Middle East beyond hope of stability.
"That conflict has given rise to a multi-national 'caliphate', the Islamic State (ISIS), and it is no coincidence that it has emerged in the two nations where Iran wields the strongest influence."
Both Shiite Iran and Sunni theocracy ISIS had shown a disdain for human life' with battlefield executions and public hanging, Baroness Turner said.
She added: "When this is the nature of both sides of the conflict, it is foolish to conclude that one is somehow better than the other.
"No doubt Iran is well aware of the fact that a strong Sunni insurgency adds urgency to the cause of solidarity among fundamentalist Shiites, so long as that insurgency doesn’t threaten the Shiite leadership in Tehran. And some Iranian officials have explicitly declared that the ISIS is no threat to them.
"That has not stopped them from pouring resources into Iraq to mobilize and support Shiite militias through shipments of arms, and an ever-increasing role for the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force on the battlefield.
"Indeed, foreign analysts have observed that Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani is the most powerful single figure in Iraq today, and the chief source of violence coming from the Iranian side."
Baroness Turner, now a leading member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), said: "Meanwhile, it is that Iranian influence in Iraq that makes ISIS so capable of winning Sunni fighters to their side. Support for one side over the other only continues the cycle, playing into the extremists’ hands.
"It was, after all, Iran that created this crisis in the first place. Maliki’s backing from Tehran emboldened him to shut out Sunnis and other minorities from government, to attack those who resisted, and to confirm Baghdad’s status as a proxy of the Shiite leadership in Tehran by attempting to destroy Iranian opposition groups at Camps Ashraf and Liberty."
She also back Iranian Resistance leader Maryam Rajavi's assertion that stability and democracy in Iraq will only be possible following the removal of Nouri al-Maliki and the complete eviction of the Iranian regime from the country.
She added: "With the designation of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister-designate, the first of those prerequisites has been fulfilled. But the second and more important condition seems sadly unlikely. Western politicians as prominent as the Prime Minister David Cameron have suggested that Iran might be a viable partner in the world’s fight against the ISIS expansion into Iraq.
"The policy of the West should be to defeat Islamic extremism in the region, and to bring about a sustainable reduction in violence.
"That will never be possible so long as the Iranian regime and its well-recognized disdain for human life continue to hold sway beyond its own borders. The first logical step in that direction would be to actively support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and to back and engage with Mrs Rajavi’s movement, the Iranian Resistance."
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