In the heat of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group that has invaded large parts of Iraq and Syria, a recent report by Amnesty International gives a stark warning that not addressing extremism in its entirety and making the wrong decisions can lead to the deepening of the sectarian rift in Iraq and eventually trigger an irreversible disaster.
The document, which is based on thorough research in war-torn areas in Iraq, gives horrendous accounts of crimes recently committed in Iraq by Shiite extremist groups against the background of the fight against the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL). Groups sanctioned, backed and funded by the Iranian regime, and agents of the administration of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have been targeting the Sunni community seemingly in reprisal or revenge for Islamic State attacks and at times also to extort money from the families of those they have abducted. Continue reading →
It was spring 1981 and the time of universities’ summer holidays. I spoke to a friend of mine in Aachen University in order to work together for a few months to earn some money for a trip to Iran to visit our families, relatives and friends. We decided to do it and then bought souvenirs and set for Iran on July. To go by plane was expensive so we decided to go to Iran via land through Turkey, which was a good idea.
On the way we discussed many issues about our country Iran and how things were changed during the period we were away from the country, and about friends and families, also about our future and what each one of us planned for the future.
At the Iran-Turkey borders instead of the usual border police, the Pasdaran (Iranian revolutionary guard corps) checked our identifications before we boarded the bus. Their manner of checking us wasn’t friendly. They looked at everybody suspiciously and with skepticism. Continue reading →
Mr. Basiri is an Iranian human rights activist and supporter of democratic regime change in Iran.
A misinterpretation of the principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has led some to believe that the Iranian regime can actually be a contributing force to the international efforts that aim at eliminating the threat caused by the Islamic State, an extremist group that has in past months taken over a swath of territory straddling Iraq and Syria and aims at establishing what it purports to be an Islamic Caliphate.
The argument that backs such a proposition is that as a radical Sunni group, the Islamic State would prove to be an enemy of the radical Shiite regime ruling Iran, and thus Iran can be counted on to fight the Islamic State. Continue reading →
The evening was still warm and the sun, which had shined through the day, was beginning to lose strength. The white trailers in Camp Liberty, Baghdad, Iraq started to cool down. For those who ignore the political pages in a newspaper, I have to add that this camp is “home” to nearly 2,800 Iranian dissidents. We used to live in Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, but thanks to the “commitments” of the U.S. administration and the U.N., we voluntarily agreed to be relocated by the Iraqi government. I still remember that very day… A slow breeze from the north brought a somewhat cool weather to the dusty camp. I stood beside the football field and was drowned in my own thoughts, until I figured out an unexpected movement of a thin form between two crutches, walking shaky towards myself. I soon realized that he still isn’t able to maintain his balance, which showed the lack of experience working with the crutches. Continue reading →
It is April 2003 and B-52 bombers are flying above our heads in the sky.
We’re in the deserts of Iraq and I am in the ranks of the PMOI, fighting against the Iranian regime for my country’s freedom. The contrail of the jet suggests its altitude must be north of 30,000 feet.
My friends shout, “Get down! Get down!” But I do not react, and my mind automatically takes me 15 years back, before I came to Iraq and joined the PMOI. I went back to the time when after a very hard course of instructions in the U.S. Air force university in the Laughlin and Sheppard and Phoenix Air force bases I graduated as captain pilot of fighter jets. Continue reading →
“The only notion I would let engage my mind is Future.” I read this phrase by Plato when I was a philosophy student in Iran. Those days were the most beautiful days of my life. I loved philosophy and as a poet I was a member of the Isfahan Ethical society. Poetry was a means of running away from the world of stubborn philosophical logics, and philosophy on the other hand was a stronghold against the invasions of the poetical dreams, exactly like fire and ice, both admirable and lovely but opposite to each other.
Those days “Future” did not engage my mind as much as what Plato had said, since I only would think about my own future that was unlikely to have a black spot on it. But when I decided to think of the future of 70 million Iranian citizens instead of my own, to think of the poverty and injustice that the Iranian people suffered I started to fully comprehend the true meaning of Plato’s philosophical phrase and this was how I decided to change the path of my own destiny. Continue reading →
Disturbing images and accounts of the Islamic State’s brutal onslaught in Iraq have become the source of outrage and concern worldwide, and states are frantically searching for a strategy to resolve the crisis caused by the rise of the extremist group.
President Barack Obama, who previously dismissed the group’s advances by comparing it to a JV team, has gone out of his way toauthorize airstrikes against the group in Iraq. He recently affirmedexpanding the offensive to Syria, and is seeking support from Congress and allies in NATO and the Middle-East region to fight the Islamic State. Continue reading →
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