My answer to "Why can’t Palestinians vote in Israeli elections?"

My answer to “Why can’t Palestinians vote in Israeli elections?”


Original question and other contributors’ answers can be read on QUORA at: https://www.quora.com/Why-cant-Palestinians-vote-in-Israeli-elections

The question is basically flawed and demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the difference between Palestinians and Israelis and the states of Palestine and Israel. Like most of the debate on this subject the question is attempting to be rhetorical, it is emotive, uninformed and leads the debate down the usual “cul-de-sac” which is typically nuanced by anti-Israeli sentiment and blind support for a Palestinian cause that is flawed and fundamentally at odds with and supported by elements totally alien to Western / Israeli interests.

Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah and so on are all subjects on which many Westerners are prepared to hold very strong opinions regarding a subject on which they are generally thoroughly misinformed (based on biased media reports or blanket “liberal” agendas) or regarding which they possess no context or actual information – based on facts – that would inform an educated view on the matter.


The Palestinians do exercise their votes locally and most recently did so to choose Hamas – a terrorist organization – as their “democratically” elected representatives. Hamas – a group – who have zero interest in democracy.

Iran & Saudi Arabia – Proxy Wars

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been and are presently fighting proxy “sphere of influence” wars across the region via terrorist / extremist groups such as Hamas / Hezbollah / Fatah / ISIS and most recently in Yemen via Zaidi Shia rebels known as Houthis / AQAP.


Hamas –  Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement

Hamas (Arabic: حماس‎ Ḥamās, “enthusiasm”, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Islamic organization, with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Middle East including Qatar. Hamas or its military wing is designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The organization was also banned in Jordan.

Elections in Gaza and the West Bank

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. 

Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration. In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.

Internal Fighting – The Battle of Gaza 2007

Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there. 

In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress has stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014. In 2006, Hamas used an underground cross-border tunnel to abduct the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. 

Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels, which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict – Operation Protective Edge.

The Palestinian National Authority

Elections in the Palestinian National Authority refers to elections held in Palestinian Autonomous areas from 1994 until its transition into the State of Palestine in 2013. Elections were scheduled to be held in 2009 per the state’s own laws,[1] but the Next Palestinian general election was disrupted amidst a conflict between Hamas and Fatah.

President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to stay on until the next election, but he is recognised only in the West Bank and not in Gaza. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has held several elections in the Palestinian territories, including elections for a president, legislature and local councils. Until 2007, the National Council had 133 members, with 66 members elected in 16 multi-seat constituencies, 66 elected proportional to the vote for each party, and the president as ex officio member. 

In 2007, the voting system was changed by Presidential Decree to abolish the constituency seats, and also prohibiting parties from contesting the election which did not acknowledge the PLO’s right to represent the Palestinian people (specifically Hamas). An opinion poll suggested that a majority of Palestinians supported the change, while Hamas called it illegal. 

Fatah and Hamas / Gaza and the West Bank

The PNA has a multi-party system, with numerous parties. In this system Fatah was the dominant party. The first Legislative and presidential election were held in 1996; the first local elections in January–May 2005, organized by PNA president Yasser Arafat before his death. Previous (failed) legislative Council elections were held in 1923 under the British Mandate. Previous municipal elections were held in 1972 and 1976 and were organized by Israel.

The January 2005 presidential election, won by Mahmoud Abbas, preceded the Hamas victory during the legislative election in January 2006.

Sources & Acknowledgements: Wikipedia / TMG Corporate Services / BBC News  
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France’s contradictory stance continues to stupify

It would appear that the Obama administration is de-listing Iran as a state-sponsor of terror in order to reach a deal on nuclear weapons development. The administration is also intent on de-listing terrorist group Hezbollah, according to sources, leading to the bizarre situation where a clearly radical terrorist Islamic group is being described by this “basket-case” administration as a legitimate organization. 

This is one of those rare situations where even though Iranian Shi’a backed militias and Hezbollah are fighting against ISIL the adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is not applicable. Remember Iran and Hezbollah support the Assad regime in Syria – the lack of support from the West to rebels fighting Assad since 2011 facilitated the rise of ISIL. Not content with that extremely poor outcome it now seems that Iran and Hezbollah can look forward to being given a freer rein in the pursuit of their equally extreme agendas in return for their support in fighting ISIL and so that Obama can claim an ego driven victory as he fiddles and waits to exit the White House after eight disastrous years of foreign policy decisions. Decisions which Europe is starting to pay dearly for and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

That would seem like enough bad news for Israel this week but amazingly less that three months after the Hebdo attacks and other outrages perpetuated by radical Islamists in France the deluded French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for a relaunch of the Middle East peace process based on a two-state solution.

“Only the creation of viable sovereign Palestinian state… will ensure peace and prosperity in the Middle East,” he said in a statement that called for negotiations to resume to achieve “a comprehensive and lasting peace accord.” The words “comprehensive” and “lasting” and “peace” do not exist in the Iranian or Hezbollah / Hamas / Fatah lexicon when discussing Israel and Fabius knows that. 
Netanyahu won a closely-fought election on Tuesday, during the election campaign, Netanyahu specifically stated that he would not accept the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is a key part of the two-state solution backed by the EU and France in December 2014. Netanyahu had previously accepted this concept in 2009 before the Palestinian Authority demonstrated that their intention was and still is a policy of no compromise dismantling and destruction of the Israeli state.  
Palestinian Authority leaders reacted negatively to Netanyahu’s victory, expressing fear that the Israeli leader would thwart efforts to establish a Palestinian state. Now France sticks in its nose with a sweeping and unrealistic statement which once again shows those that seek to undermine Western society and Israel that they still have sponsors at the highest level of European politics. 
With Iran being courted by the US and seemingly allowed to continue towards the objective of possessing nuclear weapons, with Obama openly hostile to Netanyahu and Israeli interests, with ISIL attacking Lebanon and Hamas vowing a fresh spate of attacks on Israel does it seem realistic to ask Israelis to allow the creation of an openly hostile and extremist nation on its doorstep?
France once again adds its voice to a debate where in the past it has always been found to be lacking and where its follow through has always lagged behind its rhetoric. Does guilt play a part? It was the drawing of borders in the Middle East by France and Great Britain after World War 1, with total disregard for ethnic or historical precedent (solely based on self interest), that has allowed subsequent generations to inherit the Middle East problem. 
France has domestic problems that it should focus its attention on before confusing the international debate on issues where it has nothing constructive to add. The liberal agenda in France has always been perceived to hold sway to such an extent that the nation is uncompetitive and which policies, showing a complete disregard for its citizens, have led to a sustained and steady rise of far-right wing support in France. 
The EU and France in particular with a well worn and clearly “unfit for purpose” policy of appeasement towards radical Islam need to accept that concessions such as these will buy no good will or long term strategy alterations from those that seek to undermine all that the West and France holds dear. The rest of Europe should not pay the price for France’s lack of control of immigration since the 1960’s where policy is now being dictated by a sizeable section of voters whose ideals are fundamentally at odds with traditional European values. 
France does not speak for Europe, the current French government does not represent the views of its citizens, liberal France in its appeasement of radical Islam is as dangerous as the threat it seeks to appease. Fix your own house France before looking to cast aspersions on the state of others.

Graham Penrose

The Palestinian Paradox in French Foreign Policy

Hamas (Arabic: حماس‎ Ḥamās, “enthusiasm”, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Islamic organization, with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Middle East including Qatar. Hamas or its military wing is designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The organization was also banned in Jordan.
Fig. 1 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Hamas Praising & Then Condemning the January 2015 Paris Terror Attacks
The Facebook page of Al-Rasalah, a publication of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, on Friday evening the 9th January 2015 ran a picture of the three Muslim terrorists behind the two deadly terror attacks in Paris – the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the connected shooting of a policewoman in Montrouge after which the gunman took several people hostage at a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes in the east of Paris.
Fig. 2Paris Attacks – January 2015

The picture of the three – Cherif Kouachi, Said Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly (not pictured in the release was Coulibaly’s absconding associate and female Hayat Boumeddiene) was accompanied by the caption:
The shahidim [martyrs] who were dispatched by God, the heroes of the raid in Paris.”
Hamas later removed praise for the attacks from all official Hamas websites, Israel Hayom reported. On Saturday the 10thJanuary 2015, the Gaza-based terror group issued a statement condemning the Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, saying that there was no “justification for killing innocents.”
Fig. 3 Hamas Publication Praises Paris Terrorists
The Radicalisation of Hayat Boumeddiene
Fig. 4 Hayat Boumeddiene from bikini to Abaya
Little is known about the personal life of Hayat Boumeddiene. But she is believed to have met Amedy while working as a cashier and was said to have waited at least four years for him while he served time for an armed robbery conviction. In 2009 she quit her job and married her lover in an unofficial religious ceremony before settling down in Bagneux, Hauts-de-Seine. The pair mixed in radical Islamic circles and have been linked to the same groups as Abu Hamza. When she was once questioned by French media on the terror attacks committed by Al Qaeda and she responded by asking what about “the innocents killed by the Americans?”
The Hamas Political “Legitimisation”
In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements.
Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration. In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.
Fig. 5 Read The Hamas Covenant also known as Hamas Charter
Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.
In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress has stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014.
In 2006, Hamas used an underground cross-border tunnel to abduct the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels, which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict – Operation Protective Edge.
Fig. 6 Palestinian Leadership Nodes (2010)
The Palestinian Diaspora
The first large-scale emigration of Palestinian Christians out of Palestine began in the mid-19th century as a response to the oppression of Christians by the Ottoman Empire.
Since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Palestinians have experienced several waves of exileand have spread into different host countriesaround the world.In addition to the more than 700,000 in 1948, hundreds of thousands were also displaced in the 1967 Six Day War. The pattern of Palestinian flight continued during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
The countries outside the Palestinian territories with significant Palestinian populations are: Jordan 3,240,000; Israel 1,650,000; Syria 630,000; Chile 500,000; Lebanon 402,582; Saudi Arabia 280,245; Egypt 270,245; United States 255,000; Honduras 250,000; Mexico 120,000; Qatar 100,00; Germany 80,000; Kuwait 80,000; El Salvador 70,000; Brazil 59,000; Iraq 57,000; Yemen 55,000; Canada 50,975; Australia 45,000; Libya 44,000; United Kingdom 20,000; Denmark 19000; Peru 15,000; Colombia 12,000; Pakistan 10,500; Netherlands 9,000; Sweden 7,000; Algeria 4,030.
The majority of the estimated 100,000 Palestinians in the European Union (EU) are in the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Outside the EU is Norway and Switzerland.
Germany’s capital Berlin has one of the largest Palestinian communities outside of the Middle East with about 30,000-40,000 people of Palestinian origin residing in the city (~1% of the total population)
Support by France for Palestinian Nationhood and the Hamas Paradox
A mismatch between public opinion in support of the Palestinians’ cause and politicians’ compliance with Israel’s wishes has guaranteed no end to the strife, and no likelihood of conditions to create a Palestinian nation.
Increases in support for Palestinian nationhood were reported throughout 2014 from Spain, France, Germany and Britain. In Australia, polls also showed a majority of Australians supporting the Palestinian cause.
France has warned that if the international community fails to resolve the Middle East impasse, it would recognize Palestine as a state. French lawmakers are set to hold a vote on Palestine nationhood on December 2, 2014
French parliamentarians debated the December 2 vote. A similar resolution was approved by British lawmakers on October 3, by the Spanish parliament on November 18, and Sweden formally recognized the state of Palestine on October 3. A poll conducted by IFOP (French Institute of Public Opinion) showed 63 percent of the French population in favor of an independent Palestinian state.
The U.N. Security Council, in a close 8-2 vote with five abstentions, on 30th December 2014 voted down a Palestinian statehood resolution that set a deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories by 2017.
Eight nations voted for the draft resolution — one vote short of the necessary nine to be adopted — including Jordan, which sponsored the resolution, and three permanent Security Council members: China, Russia and France. The United States voted against the resolution on the table and had been expected to exercise its permanent council member authority and veto the measure, had it passed.
Two weeks later Hamas – the “democratically” elected “government” of Gaza praised the Paris Terror attacks.
International Terrorist Designation of Hamas
Country
Designation
The military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is listed as a terrorist organization.[427]
The military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has been listed as a terrorist entity since 2010.[428]
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Government of Canada currently lists Hamas as a terrorist entity, thus establishing it as a terrorist group, since 2002.[429][430]
The EU designated Hamas as a terrorist group from 2003 to 2014. In December 2014, the General Court of the European Union annulled this decision. The court stated that the move was technical and was not a reassessment of Hamas’ classification as a terrorist group.[431][432][433][434][435][436][437]
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states, “Hamas maintains a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank, and acts to carry out terrorist attacks in the territories and Israel.”[438]
As of 2005, Japan had frozen the assets of 472 terrorists and terrorist organizations including those of Hamas.[439] However, in 2006 it publicly acknowledged that Hamas had won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections democratically.[440]
Banned Hamas in 1999[441] In 2013, Jordan rejected requests to allow Hamas to return.[15]
Russia does not designate Hamas a terrorist organisation, and held direct talks with Hamas in 2006, after Hamas won the Palestine elections, stating that it did so to press Hamas to reject violence and recognise Israel.[442] An Israeli official has said that Russia will reduce its ties to Hamas.[443]
The Turkish government met with Hamas leaders in February 2006, after the organization’s victory in the Palestinian elections. In 2010, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described Hamas as “resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land”.[444][445]
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have been listed as a proscribed organization under the Terrorism Act since 2001, but Hamas as a whole is not listed.[446]
As of 2006, China does not designate Hamas to be a terrorist organization and acknowledges Hamas to be the legitimately elected political entity in the Gaza Strip that represents the Palestinian people. Despite U.S. and Israeli opposition, the Chinese government met with senior Hamas representative Mahmoud al-Zahar, who previously served as Palestinian foreign minister, during the June 2006 China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing, an held direct bilateral talks with Hamas and the Arab World. In addition, during the same month, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry further elucidated China’s pro-Palestinian stance regarding Hamas in spite of U.S. and Israeli opposition to China’s associations and close relationship with the organization, stating, “We believe that the Palestinian government is legally elected by the people there and it should be respected.”[19][20][22][447]
Lists Hamas as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”[448]
Banned Hamas in 2014 and branded it a terrorist organization. Egyptian authorities accuse the group of supporting al Qaeda-inspired Islamist insurgents in the Sinai peninsula.[449][450]
Banned the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014 and branded it a terrorist organization. While Hamas is not specifically listed, a non-official Saudi source stated that the decision also encompasses its branches in other countries, including Hamas.[451]

Acknowledgements
Stuart Rees, Professor Emeritus of the University of Sydney and Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation.
The Algemeiner – The fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America
Twitter Account: Jewhadi @blastedsilver #2A #IstandWithIsrael #Kurds #Peshmerga #Yezidi #OpAntiISIS

Iran as a planner and supporter of global terror

Since the declaration of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the government of Iran has been accused by members of the international community for funding, providing equipment, weapons, training and giving sanctuary to terrorists. The United States State Department describes Iran as an “active state sponsor of terrorism.”US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice elaborated stating, “Iran has been the country that has been in many ways a kind of central banker for terrorism in important regions like Lebanon through Hezbollah in the Middle East, in the Palestinian Territories, and we have deep concerns about what Iran is doing in the south of Iraq. 
World attention on Iran centers on the threats to international security posed by the country’s nuclear program. As Iran persistent to become a nuclear power, the regime in Tehran also employs an aggressive foreign policy that relies heavily on the deployment of clandestine assets abroad to collect intelligence and support foreign operations. The world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, Tehran relies on terrorism to further Iranian foreign policy interests. Today, Iran feels itself under increasing pressure from the international community by both diplomatic and economic sanctions.
From the Stunt virus to the assassination of Iranian scientists and the defection of Iranian agents, Iran feels increasingly targeted by Western intelligence services in general and Israel and the United States in particular. Hezbollah and Iran each have their own reasons for executing terrorist attacks targeting Israeli or other Western targets. Iran seeks to avenge attacks on its scientists and sanctions targeting its nuclear program, and Hezbollah seeks to avenge Mughniyeh’s death. This convergence of interests strengthens their long-standing and intimate relationship, making their combined operational capabilities that much more dangerous.
In the past, major acts of Iranian state sponsorship of terrorism have ultimately been linked back to the most senior elements of the Iranian leadership. When such cases have led to major law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, the links have been made public. For example, in June 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers housing complex that was home to American, Saudi, French, and British service members in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province—the last time Iranian agents carried out an attack targeting both U.S. and Saudi interests. In that case, Iranian agents teamed up with Saudi and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives to carry out the attack. According to the testimony of a former CIA official, arrangements for the Khobar Towers attack began around 1994, including planning meetings likely held in Tehran and operational meetings held at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria. It was in 1994, according to this account, that the criminal Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khomeini, gave the order for the attack on the Khobar Towers complex.


In April 2008, Gen. David Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the flow of sophisticated Iranian arms to Shia militants in Iraq. The military’s understanding of Iran’s support for such groups crystallized, Petraeus explained, with the capture of a number of prominent Shia militants and several members of the Qods Force operating in Iraq as well. In case it was not already clear to General Petraeus that Qods Force Chief Gen. Qasem Soleimani was calling the shots for Iran in Iraq, the head of the Qods Force reportedly sent the commander of coalition forces a message in early 2008 to make the point. Conveyed by a senior Iraqi leader, the message came just as Iraqi and coalition forces initiated Operation Charge of the Knights, a concerted effort to target Iraqi Shia militias in Baghdad and Basra. Iran’s use of terrorism as a tool of foreign policy, however, goes back as far as the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Writing in 1986, the CIA assessment which is now de-classified report titled “Iranian Support for International Terrorism” that while Iran’s support for terrorism was meant to further its national interest, it also stemmed from the clerical regime’s perception “that it has a religious duty to export its Islamic revolution and to wage, by whatever means, a constant struggle against the perceived oppressor states. According to CIA reporting in the late 1980s, “Iranian leaders view terrorism as an important instrument of foreign policy that they use both to advance national goals and to export the regime’s Islamic revolutionary ideals. Tehran’s capability to carry out global terror attacks rests on its ability to call upon a group of Middle East–based terror groups willing to act at Iran’s behest, a network that would almost certainly be called upon to execute the kind of asymmetric terror attacks that can be carried out with reasonable deniability and therefore make a targeted response more difficult.

Muhammad Hejazi, the deputy head of Iran’s armed forces, hinted that Tehran could order proxy militant groups in Gaza and Lebanon to fire rockets into Israel. He even implied such a strike could be used preemptively, before an attack on Iran. “We are no longer willing to wait for enemy action to be launched against us,” he told Iran’s Fars News Agency. “Our strategy now is that we will make use of all means to protect our national interests.”16 Hezbollah leaders have also stated they would stand by Iran and any other entity that has stood up to the “Zionist regime.

Of all the terrorist groups that Tehran has sponsored over the past twenty-eight years, none is more important to Iran than Hezbollah. Iran helped to create Hezbollah in the early 1980s, funding, training, and indoctrinating new members of the fledgling movement. This support created a completely loyal proxy group ready to engage in terrorist activities at Iran’s behest. As one senior Hezbollah official noted in the early 1980s, “Our relation with the Islamic revolution is one of a junior to a senior of a soldier to his commander.
In Africa, where Hezbollah’s support networks are well entrenched, the group need not rely on Iranian operational support as much as it does elsewhere. It is said that said, the sponsor and its proxy do cooperate closely on two key agenda in Africa: proselytizing and recruitment, and arms smuggling. Committed to its constitutional directive to export the Islamic Revolution, the Revolutionary Guard proactively recruits Shia in Africa by the efforts of Iranian and Lebanese missionaries proselytizing across the continent. As early as 1985, the CIA was aware that Iran had long been known to “promote subversive activity” in far-flung countries with Shia populations, including Nigeria. Three years later, a CIA report acknowledged the phenomenon was far more widespread than just in Nigeria. Moreover, the agency highlighted Hezbollah’s participation in efforts to spread Iran’s Islamic revolutionary vision in Africa.


Iraqi Shia extremists feature prominently in Iran’s arsenal of regional proxies. On their own, and in cooperation with the Qods Force, local Hezbollah affiliates and groups like the Iraqi Dawa Party have engaged in terrorism and political violence in support of their own and Iranian interests. In time, evidence of Hezbollah’s presence in Iraq would be plentiful. Indeed, Hezbollah would create an outfit, Unit 3800, dedicated to aiding the Shia insurgency in Iraq. Iraq became a core issue for Hezbollah, however, not because it had anything to do with Lebanon but because gaining influence over Iraq and hegemony in the region is of primary concern to its Iranian sponsors. Of course, Iran has long sought to push the United States out of the Gulf region. “Iranian-sponsored terrorism is the greatest threat to U.S. personnel and facilities in the Middle East.” So read the opening statement of a CIA memo written in mid-February 1985 on terrorism in the Middle East. So it was that Hezbollah, at Iran’s behest, helped develop a sophisticated training program for Shia militants from Iraq. Some training occurred in Iraq, reportedly at the Deir and Kutaiban camps east of Basra near the Iranian border. In Iran, Hezbollah and Qods Force instructors ran a well-organized training program in which Daqduq was directly involved, “helping Qods Force in training Iraqis inside Iran.”

Over time, Hezbollah operatives trained enough Iraqi Shia militants—in Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon—to significantly improve the Special Groups’ paramilitary capabilities. Hezbollah provided the Iraqi insurgents “with the training, tactics and technology to conduct kidnappings, small unit tactical operations, and employ sophisticated improvised explosive devices, incorporating lessons learned from operations in Southern Lebanon,” according to an April 2010 Pentagon report. Indeed, it would not take long before Hezbollah operatives would begin directing Iraqi militants in the execution of exactly such operations.
Also Washington reported in The Jerusalem Post that : Iran continues to arm and finance a terrorist network that extends from South Asia to the Horn of Africa, from Iraq to Yemen, and across the Palestinian territories, the US State Department reported on Wednesday, acknowledging US willingness to nevertheless engage directly in talks with the state over its nuclear program. Much of the report, released annually by the State Department to outline threats of terrorism around the world, focuses on Iran’s expansive efforts to fund and funnel arms to Islamist organizations, including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon but operates worldwide.“Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups,” the report details, “although Hamas’s ties to Tehran have been strained due to the Syrian civil war.” In its efforts to bolster Hezbollah, Iran considers Syria “a crucial causeway in its weapons supply route” and has taken an active role in supporting embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US report claims.
Consider that Iran’s intelligence penetration of South America has expanded significantly since the AMIA bombing. Testifying before Congress in the weeks following that 1994 attack, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism expressed concern that Iranian embassies in the region were stacked with larger than necessary numbers of diplomats, some of whom were believed to be intelligence agents and terrorist operatives:“We are sharing information in our possession with other States about Iranian diplomats, Iranian terrorist leaders who are posing as diplomats, so that nations will refuse to give them accreditation, or if they are already accredited, to expel them. We have had some success in that respect, but we have not always succeeded.

Acknowledgements: Akam Assadi