Extremism and Terrorism By Mark McKineey April 2018

Executive Summary:
  • Tehran’s hegemonic aspirations in Syria and the wider Middle East are well-documented. From the very beginning of Islamic State’s (IS) rise to power in 2014 as it swept through Syria and Iraq it provided military support in terms of arms, ammunition and manpower for the regular forces and Shia militias opposing its advance.
  • The CIA’s recent release of most the documentation captured in the US mission to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011 has revealed that the unlikely saviour of al-Qaeda is Iran. Al-Qaeda apparently covertly embarked on what is described as a remarkable pact with the Shia state. President Donald Trump has used the alleged link of political Islam with extremism to justify his intention to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) which he feels is unacceptable, however he is facing what is described as ‘overwhelming European opposition to the move.’
  • Ankara’s support to the Syrian Turkmen brigades which fought alongside the al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) in 2015 against the regime forces of President Bashar al-Assad demonstrates its willingness to support, albeit tacitly, extremist groups to promote its political aspirations in the region.
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