Iran Is Not a Major Sponsor of Terrorism, Not Even Close by Larry C Johnson

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Self-delusion and denial with regards to Iran’s alleged status as the leading sponsor of international terrorism are rampant in Washington and among the punditry. It is crazy, it is dishonest and it is wrong. This is not my opinion. I can do math. I can count. If Iran was actually continuing to act like it did 30 years ago, when it was a major sponsor of terrorism, then we would be able to point to those attacks.

Here are the statistics for 2018. Do not take my word for it. Count them yourself. The vast majority of terrorism continues to be carried out by Sunni extremists that have support from places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Consider the numbers for January, February, March and December of 2018. There were 160 attacks recorded in January 2018. Only one of the groups listed as perpetrators is supported by Iran–that is Hamas. The incident recorded for Hamas in January was a drive by shooting that killed one person. Six groups accounted for 56% of all attacks. All are Sunni extremist groups–Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Islamic State aka ISIS and the Taliban. None of these are funded or supported by Iran. In fact, Iran and Hezbollah have been fighting and killing ISIS fighters in Syria.

We see the same pattern repeated in February, March and December.  There were 184, 176 and 238 attacks respectively. A majority of the attacks and casualties were caused by the same five groups listed in the preceding paragraph.
The memo I drafted more than 18 months ago that was published by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity aka VIPS still stands. I wrote:

“The depiction of Iran as ‘the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’ is not supported by the facts. While Iran is guilty of having used terrorism as a national policy tool in the past, the Iran of 2017 is not the Iran of 1981. In the early days of the Islamic Republic, Iranian operatives routinely carried out car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of dissidents and of American citizens. That has not been the case for many years.”
These facts are absent from the public debate. We ignore them at our peril.
January 2018–160 terrorist attacks.
9 by Al Qaeda
15 by Al Shabaab
3 by Allied Democratic Forces
1 by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Saudi)
1 by Atomwaffen Division
1 by Baluch Liberation Front
4 by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
3 by Barisan Revolusi Nasional
19 by Boko Haram
2 by Coordinadora Arauco Malleco
5 by Communist Party of India (Maoist)
8 by ELN (Colombia)
3 by FARC
2 by Hamas
1 by Hizbul Mujahideen (Pakistani sponsored)
32 by Islamic State
4 by Jaish Mohammed
1 by Kosovo AlbanianMilitants (suspected)
2 by Lashkar-e-Taiba (suspected)
1 by Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (suspected)
4 by New People’s Army
1 by Palestinian nationalist
1 by Paraguayan People’s Army
2 by PKK
23 by Taliban
7 by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
3 by YPG/PKK
1 Unknown
February 2018–186 terrorist attacks
4 by Abu Sayyaf
11 by Al Qaeda
14 by Al Shabaab
3 by Allied Democratic Forces
1 by Arm na Poblachta
1 by Armed Revolutionary Struggles
1 by Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia
1 by Baluch Liberation Front
1 by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
3 by Barisan Revolusi Nasional (suspected)
11 by Boko Haram
1 by Coordinadora Arauco Malleco
5 by Communist Party of India
11 by ELN
5 by FARC Dissidents
1 by Free Papua Movement
1 by GNLA
1 by Hizbul Mujahideen
34 by Islamic State
1 by Islamist
12 by Jaish-e-Mohammed
1 by Jaysh al-Islam (suspected)
1 by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
3 by Lashkar-e-Taiba
5 by New People’s Army
1 by Northern Alliance (suspected)
2 by Palestinian nationalist
2 by PKK
1 by Popular Resistance Committees
1 by Rakhine nationalists (suspected)
1 by rightwing extremnist
1 by Tahrir al-Sham (suspected)
31 by Taliban
8 by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
1 by Unknown
3 by YPG / PKK
March 2018–174 terrorist attacks
2 by Abu Sayyaf
8 by Al Qaeda
12 by Al Shabaab
5 by Allied Democratic Forces
1 by Anarchist
1 by Balochistan Liberation Army
1 by Barisan Revolusi Nasional (suspected)
9 by Boko Haram
1 by Coordinadora Arauco Malleco
13 by Communist Party of India
1 by ELN
2 by EPL
1 by FAI FAR
5 by FARC Dissidents
1 by Hamas
1 by Hasma Movement
4 by Hizbul Mujahideen
40 by Islamic State
2 by Islamist
1 by Jaish ul-Adl
3 by Jaish-e-Mohammed
1 by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar
1 by Jaysh al-Islam (suspected)
2 by Lashkar-e-Taiba
1 by Mark Anthony Conditt
1 by National Socialist Council of Nagaland
1 by NDFA
3 by New People’s Army
3 by Palestinian Nationalist
2 by PKK
1 by Sendero Luminoso
1 by Tahrir al-Sham (suspected)
1 by Takfir wal-Hijra
20 by Taliban
3 by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
2 by Unknown
1 by Volcanic Group Rupture Network Domination
4 by YPG/PKK
December 2018–238 terrorist incidents
1 by Abu Sayaaf
8 by Al Qaeda
14 by Al Shabaab
3 by Allied Democratic Forces
4 by Ambazonia Defence Forces
6 by Ambazonia Separatist
2 by Anarchists
5 by Ansar Al Sunna
1 by Ansar Al-Furqan
1 by Balochistan Liberation Army
1 by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
2 by Barisan Revolusi Nasional (suspected)
16 by Boko Haram
1 by Celulas de Ataque contra la Devastacion de la Tierra
1 by Chadian Militants
1 by Cherif Chekatt
1 by Circulo Iconoclasta Michelle Angiolillo and N.A.N.G.U
2 by Coordinadora Arauco Malleco
1 by Cow Vigilante
2 by Communist Party of India
3 by Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda
2 by Dissident Republican
1 by East Indonesia Mujahideen
3 by ELN
1 by EPL
2 by FARC dissidents
1 by Free Papua Movement
3 by Fulani Herdsmen
2 by Grupo de Ataque Antipatriarcal Claudia López and N.A.N.G.U
1 by Guardians of Religion Organization (suspected)
2 by Hamas
4 by Hizbul Ahrar
1 by Iconoclastic Sect
1 by Immediate Action Group
1 by Individualistas Tendiendo a lo Salvaje
3 by Thai Insurgents
1 by Irish National Liberation Army (suspected)
1 by Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (suspected)
36 by Islamic State
5 by Islamists
2 by Jaish-e-Mohammed
1 by Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin
1 by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
2 by Lashkar-e-Taiba
2 by Militants
1 by National Socialist Council of Nagaland
8 by New People’s Army
1 by Oromo Liberation Front
2 by Paraguayan People’s Army
4 by PLGA
1 by Popular Fighters Group
1 by Rouse the Believers
1 by Sendero Luminoso
1 by Sociedad Silvestre Salvaje
1 by Sophia Perovskaya Cell
5 by Tahrir al-Sham
43 by Taliban
3 by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (suspected)
1 by ULFA
2 by Unknown
1 by Wilayah al-Qawqaz
1 by Wrath of Olives
4 by YPG
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11 Responses to Iran Is Not a Major Sponsor of Terrorism, Not Even Close by Larry C Johnson

  1. ambrit (ex Britam) says:

    What is fascinating here is the number and diversity of “Groups” and “Movements” represented in these lists. The “Wrath of Olives???” Many listed are identified with regions or ethnicities, and could be, I guess, considered ‘niche’ terror groups. As such, the rule, “follow the money” would probably be the best course in identifying the ‘alliances’ between such groups. That said, how many funding agencies are known? Will we be seeing the “RussiaRussiaRussia” partisans bringing up the spectre of a “New Comintern” next? (I would not put it past them.)
    Human nature hasn’t changed in the past few millennia, and, contrary to what the NeoCons have asserted in the past, History has not ended.
    We are always living in “Interesting Times.”

  2. blue peacock says:

    Iran as the biggest sponsor of terrorism is a canard. The ziocons and their fellow travelers in the media and the think-tanks keep drumming this line of propaganda in the expectation with sufficient repetition played across all channels that the American public will believe the falsehood as truth.
    Left unsaid is the role of Saudi Arabia in fostering the jihadists. There were no Iranians or Iraqis on the 9/11 terrorist team. On the contrary the majority were Saudis.

  3. Fred says:

    We can’t let silly things like facts get in the way of a good war. Regarding the Sunni extremist group Boko Haram, Trump said a year ago he would help Nigeria fight them. What has he done since but send out some tweets? How does going to war with Iran help Nigeria? Perhaps Johnboy Bolton could fill us in on that strategy.

  4. SAC Brat says:

    What are the numbers for Americans killed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and their proxies? One would think it would be logical for the US to accept Russia’s offer to work together to eradicate Jihadis.

  5. rho says:

    “Wrath of Olives” is the name of a pro-Kurdish (and probably YPG-affiliated) group that carries out attacks on Turkish troops and their pro-Turkish jihadist proxy forces in the region around Afrin in the northwest of Syria.
    The name is obviously inspired by the cynically-named “Operation Olive Branch”, which was the name of the Turkish military operation which successfully achieved its objective of invading and occupying the Afrin region in early 2018 to push the Kurds away from the Turkish border in that region. Also, there were lots of olive trees in the area before the Turks started to chop them up.

  6. ambrit (ex Britam) says:

    “…before the Turks started to chop them up.”
    There, in a nutshell is a long term strategy on the Turk’s part. Invade and despoil. Even if the Turks are forced to leave later on, the region has been made pretty useless for supply considerations for the Kurds, or whoever occupies the ruins for quite some time. If I remember my reading properly, olive trees can live a long time, centuries. Thus, an aspect of the culture of the region has been despoiled too.

  7. Joanna says:
    1.552 References to Iran and counting. My private selection:
    Iran Foreign Policy Speech 2016:
    We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.
    Thirdly, our friends are beginning to think they can’t depend on us. We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.
    All of this without even mentioning the humiliation of the United States with Iran’s treatment of our ten captured sailors — so vividly I remember that day. In negotiation, you must be willing to walk. The Iran deal, like so many of our worst agreements, is the result of not being willing to leave the table.
    President Obama has not been a friend to Israel. He has treated Iran with tender love and care and made it a great power. Iran has, indeed, become a great, great power in just a very short period of time, because of what we’ve done. All of the expense and all at the expense of Israel, our allies in the region and very importantly, the United States itself.
    State of the Union
    As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.
    I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.
    I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel. (Applause.)

    As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.
    When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.
    I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.

    My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror — the radical regime in Iran. It is a radical regime. They do bad, bad things. To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.
    And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country. We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.

  8. begob says:

    Interesting list of names, gives a new slant on how to look at the world.
    Wikipedia has a section on designated terrorist groups:
    The UK and US seem to be the most frequent designators (or deciders). The hideously named Atomwaffen Division is not included, although there is an article on the group.

  9. Decameron says:

    Thankyou Larry. May 21st is the anniversary of Mike Pompeo’s Heritage Foundation speech where he laid out the “Ten Commandments” that Iran must abide by. Today, the Administration policy is being referred to as “Maximum Pressure” on Iran with the objective of reducing Iran’s intake of funds to almost nothing. No oil sales, no waivers, sanctions and punishment against countries, individuals and entities that do business with Iran, etc. To justify this to skeptical and cautious allies and neutrals there must be a threat. Hence the Big Lie by repetition of Iran’s terrorist profile (the falsehood that you so effectively demolished here), its nuclear threat, its missile threat, its sponsorship of “terrorist” groups (wrongly naming Hezbollah and Hamas which are successful, popular political movements, like it or not). The objective of Trump’s “maximum pressure” is to break Iran’s role as a “regional menace”. All over Washington, pundits are splitting hairs that John Bolton’s policy is to overthrow the Iranian regime, while the President’s policy is to overthrow the policies of the Iranian regime and get Iran to obey the conditions that Pompeo laid out. If Iran obeys the Pompeo list, there’s a chance for new negotiations. We’re close to war by intent or by miscalculation.

  10. Jack says:

    Their goal is to collapse Iranian society in the hope there will be a civil war and they totally self-destruct. This is what Bibi wants. Then he’ll be top dog and can continue to act with impunity.
    Since the Iraq invasion experience, I don’t believe Trump or any other President will order the invasion and occupation of Iran. I don’t believe any President would order an all out air & missile strikes to turn Teheran into rubble. The opportunity for it to spread into a regional conflagration is too high. The threat to do exactly that would be used however, in particular with the Europeans to get them in line to continue to squeeze Iran economically until the Islamic government collapses. I’m not sure if that would work as both Russia and China will not go along with the neocons.

  11. Cortes says:
    This article by Patrick Cockburn dealing with the supposed Iranian control of Shia groups in other countries of the Middle East is interesting. Having no real knowledge of the situation I submit the link in hope that it proves helpful.

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