Reports from this column the past week have demonstrated how the U.S. is finding strange bedfellows in the war against terrorism in the Middle East. There are terrorists at large, terrorists living inside nation states, and nation states that are considered rogue and terroristic in nature. Consider this partial list of instances of terrorism in the Middle East:
- al Qaeda
See the annotated list below.
What is Iran? It is the Islamic Republic of Iran. What is an Islamic republic?
“Islamic republic is the name given to several states in countries ruled by Islamic laws, including the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Pakistan first adopted the title under the constitution of 1956.”
What are “Islamic laws” (Sharia)?
“Since the early Islamic states of the eighth and ninth centuries, sharia always existed alongside other normative systems. Most Muslim countries adopt only a few aspects of sharia, while few countries apply the entire code. Many predominantly Muslim countries have not adopted hudud penalties in their criminal justice systems. Ali Mazrui stated that "most Muslim countries do not use traditional classical Islamic punishments". The harshest penalties are enforced with varying levels of consistency. The use of flogging is more common compared to punishments like amputations.”
Iran applies the sharia law in full. Flogging and amputations are included in the administration of justice.
“Article 167 of the constitution states that all judicial rulings must be based upon ‘authoritative Islamic sources and authentic fatwa’. Book 2 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran is entirely devoted to hudud punishments, including flogging and stoning for adultery, and execution for men who have sex with men.”
Iran is a theocracy governed by a Constitution in which the Supreme Leader supervises the policies of the nation, and is the commander of the armed forces. He can declare war and make peace agreements. The Supreme Leader appoints all members of the Guardian Council and is all powerful. The President of Iran is elected for a four-year term subject to approval by the Guardian Council. So you see, this is a dictatorship ruled by theocrats.
Iran is diametrically in conflict with “Western” and free world values, laws, and democratically elected governments that are committed to freedom and liberty for all.
As a nation state, Iran has pursued development of nuclear weapons and is under supervision by international inspectors to cease such development. The country is under economic sanctions for behavior that has been declared hostile to the free world.
Because Iran is a predominantly Shiite nation, it has interest in supporting other Shiite nations. What are considered Shiite nations?
“Islam is historically divided into two major sects, Sunni and Shī‘a Islam, each with its own sub-sects. Large numbers of Shī‘a Arab Muslims live in some Arab countries including Lebanon,Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE and Qatar. Shī‘a Muslims are a numerical majority in Iraq and Bahrain and make up a plurality in Lebanon. Smaller Shī‘a groups are present in Egypt and Jordan. Despite the heavy presence of Shī‘a Muslims in some Arab countries, particularly among the population of the Persian Gulf Arab countries, they have been treated poorly throughout history.”
Iran has vowed to defend Shiite sites in Iraq. Iran offered cooperation with the U.S. in addressing Sunni-inspired violence in Iraq, but stopped short of collaboration.