Iran Has Never Started a War?

(Commentary) Michael Rubin - Iran is said to have not invaded anyone or, indeed, started a war in more than two centuries. But is it true? Not quite. Between 1804 and 1813, Iran and Russia fought a bloody conflict in the Caucasus. Iran's Qajar dynasty leader, Fath Ali Shah, broke the treaty and re-invaded the territory 13 years later. Then there was the Anglo-Persian War of 1856-1857 when Persian forces invaded western Afghanistan. In addition, border skirmishes with Iraq at the southern tip of the Shatt al-Arab were common in the first decade of the twentieth century as Iranian forces, at times, pushed into the Iraqi city of Basra. As the British Navy pulled back from the Persian Gulf in 1970, Iranian forces seized Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tonbs, islands that legally belonged to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, and transformed them into Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bases. More recently, Iran sought to use a proxy group it trained - the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain (IFLB) - to overthrow the monarchy and return Bahrain to Iran. Then there's Hizbullah, an Iranian proxy through and through. In its initial years, Hizbullah focused just as much on attacking other Lebanese groups as it did Israel. Hizbullah precipitated a war in 2006 by staging a cross-border raid into Israel. More recently, it has carried out aggressive ethnic and sectarian cleansing inside Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. I've been to Hizbullah bunkers in southern Lebanon. That they are decorated with posters of Khomeini and Khamenei, rather than any Lebanese figures, should put to rest the notion that Hizbullah is a Lebanese nationalist organization. Then, of course, there's the fact that Iran has become the largest state-sponsor of terrorism. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has been perhaps the most aggressive state in the Middle East, launching more attacks against neighbors and deploying its military far more widely and aggressively than any other country. It's one thing to pursue deals with Iran. It's quite another to whitewash, if not outright falsify, Iran's historical record in order to justify trust where none is deserved. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

2016-03-18 00:00:00

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