Stirling Assynt, part of Falanx Group, provides regular intelligence reports to its clients on the threats posed by jihadist groups in the Middle East and beyond, and is recognised as being a market leader in this field. Recently we have been asked to comment on the potential long term ramifications of the attacks carried out by Islamic State in Tehran last June. At the time we reported that the attacks announced a potentially major shift in the group’s regional strategy and that they were intended to strengthen IS’s position as the primary global jihadist group, reinforce its claim to be the leading Sunni force resisting Iran, and bolster its ability to attract recruits and funding.
Stirling Assynt’s analysis also anticipated a broader threat within Iran, namely the potential for Sunni minorities, particularly Iranian Kurds, and to a lesser extent the Balochs in the country’s south-east, to become radicalised and take up the fight for IS. We surmised that although the threat from such communities remains relatively limited for now, it presents a significant potential future risk.
Security and political risk analyst, Nat Guillou, provided some further insight and perspective on how Iran’s counter-terrorism strategy could combat this threat from IS, and that of other Sunni insurgents. In an article recently published by the Washington based think tank, The Jamestown Foundation, Guillou explained that June’s attacks will have caused the Iranian regime to rethink its previous policy of tolerating a limited presence of transnational extremist groups, particularly al-Qaeda, while simultaneously combatting Sunni militants beyond its borders.
Indeed, Guillou explained that precisely how the Iranian regime responds to this threat will be crucial to the country’s future stability. His analysis was further sought by the Washington Post for an August 15th 2017 article entitled – Islamic State threatens more bloodshed in Iran. They quoted Guillou’s assessment of the situation:
Among the Baluch militants, “there are certainly those that would be receptive to involvement in transnational jihad,” Guillou said. But “the real risk concerns how the state deals with this increased threat from the Sunnis.”
“So far, the security forces have really focused very tightly on suspected militants,” he said, adding that a broader crackdown could push some of Iran’s more conservative Sunnis “into the jihadi camp.”
You can read the full article here.