Is Iran tolling the death knell for IS?

Politics Materials 27 September 2017 20:56 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran, Iran, Sept. 27

By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:

Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, aka IRGC, Mohammad Ali Jafari said on September 27 that the “Islamic State” (IS, ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) would be wiped out in two months.

The IRGC has been providing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army with military advisory missions, Tehran says, over the past years when the Arab country was invaded by IS.

Jafari’s remarks were the exact words spoken a few days earlier by Qassemi Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, which has led advisory missions against IS, including in Iraq.

IS took swathes of land in Syria and Iraq in mid-2014 and staged periodical bombastic shows of brutality by releasing footages of how it beheaded people or mass-executed them.

Iran officially voiced its intention to fight IS with new force in July when IS members attacked the parliament building and Imam Khomeini’s mausoleum in Tehran, killing 17.

A few days later, the IRGC launched missiles onto IS positions in Syria, inflicting heavy damages on the terrorists in retaliation for the terrorist attack.

About a month ago, IS took revenge by brutally murdering and beheading an Iranian military commissioner in Syria, Mohsen Hojaji.

Tehran was swift in announcing firm resolution not to let Hojaji’s murder go unavenged. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to Hojaji as “a proof before the world’s eyes” of the wrongness of IS.

On September 27, Khamenei and thousands of others mourned over Hojaji’s dismembered body in a procession to bury him.

The slaying of 25-year-old Mohsen Hojaji captured the imagination of many in Iran, a Shiite-ruled nation, whose national religion considers acts of mourning and acknowledging sacrifices as sacred acts. Since his death, artists and others have memorialized Hojaji in videos and paintings.

An image of Hojaji from an “Islamic State” video, showing him stoically standing after his capture with smoke rising behind him in the Syrian desert, inspired a sense of patriotism and new urge that IS must go.

Ayatollah Khamenei himself even referred to Hojaji as a “dear martyr” in a speech.

“God emboldened Hojaji as an evidence of numerous young people” willing to fight and be killed defending Islam, the supreme leader said.

President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric, also praised Hojaji for showing how Iranian people are ready to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Hojaji’s death has caused a rare unity across hard-liners, moderates and reformists within Iran. Many activists, artists, athletes, celebrities and politicians, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have offered condolences and expressed sympathy.

On the diplomatic front, Iran has been party to serial talks, named Astana talks, attended by Tehran, Moscow and Ankara diplomats.

Iran, Turkey and Russia brokered the Astana dialogue on Syria, and the first five rounds of the talks were held on January 23-24, February 15-16, March 14-15, May 3-4 and July 4-5. The sixth round of the talks was held on September 13-15.

The outcome of Astana talks has been to create de-escalation zones in Syria and help settle the crisis in a way favored by the three countries.

In the latest military development, IRGC drones destroyed several IS bases on the Syrian border with Iraq.

According to an IRINN TV report on Sunday, during the IRGC operations carried out in Syria’s eastern Dayr al-Zawr province, many terrorists were killed and large amounts of terrorist equipment and weapons were destroyed.

The report noted that the attacks were part of operations aimed at clearing the Syria-Iraq border of the IS.

Officials from Iran, Iraq and Syria have many times insisted that if it were not for efforts made by Tehran, IS would have taken the region long ago. Now, it is Tehran that is sounding the death knell for IS. In two months the world should see how that comes about.