The Iran Regime Threat Extends Much Further Than the Middle East
By Amir Taghati
The International Institute for Security and Cooperation spoke about the security threats facing Europe in a presentation in Budapest several weeks ago.
It spoke about the influence of the Iran regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Both of these organisations are supported by militias. Looking at the conflict in Syria alone, there are countless militias from all across the region that have been fighting alongside or for Iran on behalf of the Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his regime.
The presentation indicated that Iranian forces, provided by the IRGC, made up around 11 per cent of the total ground forces that remain on the ground in Aleppo. The Lebanese Hezbollah makes up 23 per cent of the total. There are also a significant number of Iraqi, Palestinian, Afghani and Pakistani forces currently on the ground. Many of these have been set up or are influenced by Iran.
The institute gave the example of the Shia Liberation Army (SLA) which was set up by the IRGC under the command of General Qassem Soleimani – the commander of the notorious Quds Force. The goal of the SLA is to fight against Arab countries.
The Iranian regime and Hezbollah have been involved in a number of plots around the world. Some have failed because they were foiled by intelligence agencies, but a significant number were carried out. Attacks that were foiled before they were carried out were planned to take place in Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, Cyprus, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, Azerbaijan and Singapore in the year 2012 alone. Two attacks did take place in India and Bulgaria.
The institute also drew attention to a number of foiled attacks on European soil, showing that the Iran threat is as serious and as urgent as ever. In 2018 alone, there was a huge escalation of events. Authorities in Germany raided houses where Iranian operatives had been gathering information on Jewish and Israeli targets in the country. A Jewish kindergarten and an Israeli embassy were targets and as a result 10 warrants for arrest were issued for Iranian agents.
Just a few months later in Albania, authorities arrested two Quds Force operatives and in October Albania expelled an Iranian diplomat and ambassador that were involved with a plot to bomb MEK personnel living in the country.
In June, two Iranian diplomats were expelled from the Iranian embassy in Amsterdam as a result of an investigation into the assassination of an Iranian Arab activist.
In June last year, French, Belgian, German and Austrian authorities worked together to foil an attempted bombing of the Free Iran gathering just outside Paris, held by the Iranian opposition. An Iranian diplomat working from the Iranian embassy in Austria was arrested for his role in the plot.
In September, Danish authorities had closed bridges into Copenhagen and stopped train services in a major search operation for three dangerous people tied to a serious crime. An Iranian with Norwegian citizenship was arrested a month later in Sweden. He was seen collecting information about a potential target.