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Int’l War on Terror Is Shifting From Sunni to Shiite Fundamentalists
Members of Shii'te movement Hizbullah hold a military parade in the town of Riyaq in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Feb. 13, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

Int’l War on Terror Is Shifting From Sunni to Shiite Fundamentalists

Al-Nahar, Lebanon, July 10

The international war on terrorism that has been led by America since the attacks of September 11, 2001, is witnessing a dramatic transformation. Instead of focusing on groups like al-Qaida and ISIS, the global coalition is working to reshift its attention to Shiite Islamist groups linked to Iran. Nearly 20 years after the start of the war in Afghanistan and then Iraq, Washington has completed the withdrawal of its soldiers from the region, ending a chapter of a war that targeted Sunni Islamic fundamentalist groups around the world. Now that most of the main leaders of these organizations, such as Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have been eliminated, and ISIS has been uprooted from its major strongholds, it seems that the eyes of the West are now fixed on the groups operating under the command of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and Shiite militias in Syria. We’re also noticing more and more countries designate these groups and their political arms as terrorist organizations. The Czech Republic was the ninth European country to classify Hizbullah’s military and political wing as a terrorist organization. In doing so, it joined important actors like Britain and Germany, in addition to the United States, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council. In addition, over the past few months, Washington began adding groups and leaders of some of the Popular Mobilization militias in Iraq to the terror watchlist. Meanwhile, Tehran’s policy of counter-pressure on America to lift the sanctions, which relies on using its militias to launch strikes against American bases and interests in the region, will help perpetuate this emerging reality. It seems that President Joe Biden decided not to follow the policy of former President Barack Obama, which relied on ignoring Iran’s military operations in order to reach a nuclear agreement. The current administration is responding differently to these provocations. There are indications that the US may escalate its retaliatory strikes in the Syrian and Iraqi arenas. The repositioning of US forces in the region is yet another indication of that. Washington’s latest step is to transfer arms and equipment stores and command centers for its ground and joint forces from the Sailiya base in Qatar to Jordan, to reduce the number of American targets for Iran in the Gulf region. Against this backdrop, the intelligence war between Iran and Israel is escalating in quantity and quality. Washington’s campaign against Hizbullah takes on an important dimension in this war, as trials are currently underway for people arrested by local authorities in various cases related to the party’s financing. Security services in the United States and several South American countries are actively cracking down on drug smugglers and money launderers who are suspected of working with Hizbullah. With these steps underway, the movement is expected to face growing pressure. –Riad Kahwaji (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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