Mideast, tinderbox ready to explode: Former IRGC commander
A former chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned about the potential eruption of a third world war as a result of tensions in the Middle East region.
Speaking in a televised program on Saturday, Mohsen Rezaei said the region was now “poised for a big explosion.” Such a potential outburst, he said, would be rooted in tensions from military incursions that had taken place into regional countries.
“The ground may also become prepared for the Third World War,” he said.
The remarks come against the backdrop of tensions that recently flared up between Turkey and Russia. The two countries have been involved in a war of words since November 24, when the Turkish military downed a Russian jet, accusing it of having violated Turkish airspace. The downing of the plane, which occurred deep in Syrian territory, resulted in the death of one of the pilots of the plane at the hands of militants in Syria, who are said to have been associated with Turkey.
While Russia denied the airspace violation allegation, Turkey continued to maintain a defiantly aggressive posture toward Moscow, refusing to apologize and further threatening Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has instructed the Russian army forces present in Syria on an anti-terrorism campaign to “immediately destroy” any targets threatening them.
Iran has, meanwhile, offered to mediate between Russia and Turkey, calling the tensions bad for the region.
The Middle East is also beset by acts of terrorism and militancy. The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group has been operating in parts of Syria and Iraq. Centered in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Daesh has been attempting to expand its presence to Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen.
The terrorist group, whose germination has been largely blamed on the United States 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, has inspired or directly carried out acts of terror throughout the world, including in Europe.
Referring to the threat of a world war, Rezaei said, “This is a danger that threatens all the regional countries.” He added, “If everyone wants to prevent a big war from happening, they should take action against this threat and fundamentally extinguish this fire.”
“Currently, the Americans are after saving Takfiri groups; they do not seek to resolve this tension and even seek to intensify tensions in the Middle East region and are escalating insecurity in the region either willingly or unwillingly,” said Rezaei, who serves as the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council.
The United States and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what they claim are Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria since last year. The campaigns have fallen severely short of dislodging the group.
Elaborating further on the means to defuse the violence, the Iranian official said, “The United Nations can play a significant role in this regard,” adding, “Concerning the regional developments, there is a need for some international mobilization to take place among nations, of course not based on their national interests.”