Huffington Post, By David Kilgour
Friday, 28 April 2016
In democratic nations, groups and individuals can normally pursue their beliefs and convictions as long as they do so peacefully. In recent years, such practices have been threatened by terrorist attacks, causing fear, insecurity, anxiety and distrust especially in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
The need for peace in the world is today greater than ever. There are several initiatives which can help re-establish sustainable peace in our own countries and those around us, but the first and most important is to locate the sources of violence. Some analysts believe that ISIS, or any group that adopts terrorism as strategy and sheds innocents' blood to reach its goals, should be fought. ISIS has now proved its inhuman nature to the world repeatedly.
The recent barbaric events in the Middle East -- especially in Syria, Africa and even Europe -- highlight the reality that the world's primary state sponsor of terrorism, run by fundamentalists, is Iran, with more ideological and potential threats than ISIS.
Iran has done more harm to world peace than any other terrorist group can imagine. For example, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has diverted an enormous part of Iran's wealth towards acquiring an atomic bomb. Iran has become the shelter for regional terrorist groups. The "Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps," IRGC, is behind many terrorist activities not only in the Middle East but elsewhere.
Slavishly loyal to the Supreme Leader, the IRGC is the armed force in charge of protection of Tehran's so called religious regime. Suppression of the Iranian people is not its only task; the IRGC has a long history of meddling in 14 neighbouring states. IRGC's operations in support of the Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad, including the use of chemical weapons on innocent citizens, alone has cost the Iranian people an estimated $100 billion during recent decades.
Today, Iran's regime commands tens of thousands of armed forces in Syria, with its own military headquarters in Syria. The number of troops and advisers is so high that the Assad regime could not survive without them.
The Senate of Canada private member's bill (Bill S-219) declares that "this enactment provides for an ongoing analysis of the incidence of terrorist activity, support of terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations, emanating from Iran, the identification of Iranian officials who are responsible for such activities and the strengthening of Canada's non-nuclear sanctions regime against Iran..."
In Europe, families of those slain by terrorists honoured the memory of their loved ones with bouquets of flowers. While Belgium was holding a ceremony in memory of citizens who lost their lives in last year's terrorist attack at Brussels airport, two Belgian human rights groups were publishing a report that gave details of illicit activities in other countries and support for terrorist groups carried out by the IRGC. According to the report, "Every month, hundreds of forces from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon -- countries where the Iranian regime is involved in frontline combat -- receive military training and are subsequently dispatched to wage terrorism and war."
For many residents of Middle East nations, the IRGC has become the source of much misery, although Iranians remain its prime target. For IRGC, terrorism is only one activity. It holds much of Iran's wealth and forces many Iranians out of business. The European report also revealed that IRGC operates 90 phony companies that control 90 Iranian ports, which obtain about $12 billion in annual revenue. The IRGC uses the ports to smuggle arms to its militias in neighbouring countries. Authorities in Arab states frequently report the arrest of Iran-backed terrorists involved in activities to destabilize the security of their respective states.
Many regard Iran's regime as ISIS's godfather. The single-minded focus on ISIS by the West facilitated the expansion of Iran's destabilizing efforts in other countries and will continue to do so. The appeasement of Iran's mullahs has paved the ground for terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al Qaeda.
Measures to promote a peaceful world in the Canadian Parliament should name Iran's IRGC as number one on the list of the world's terrorist organizations. Requiring the Minister of Foreign Affairs to publish an annual report on Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred and human rights violations that includes a description of measures taken by the Government of Canada to address those activities would also help.