October 18, 2009: Suicide bombing in Iran

A Pakistani suicide bomber killed 43 people and wounded 150 in southeastern Iran in 2009.

A Pakistani suicide bomber killed 43 people and wounded 150 in southeastern Iran in 2009.

PISHIN, IRAN – What is it with all these Islamist terrorist groups that call themselves ‘army of…’?

Like many, I am a fan of the Harry Potter series. When it came out on the silver screen in 2001 (just after 9/11 in fact) I was immediately hooked. As are a lot of others I know. The mixture of a good storyline, compelling characters and, at least in the films, outstanding special effects makes for a great entertainment experience.

In case you have never heard of the series of books by J. K. Rowling, or come from Pluto, or both, the storyline centres on the classic good vs. evil struggle. Harry Potter’s parents were killed by a bad wizard named Voldemort, and Harry grows into his destiny and (spoiler alert!) eventually kills ‘he who must not be named’ (psst! It is actually Voldemort!).

In the fifth book/movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and his mates at Hogwarts (that is the school where one learns to become a witch/wizard) create a force to fight back against the bad wizards and witches and they call themselves ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ (Dumbledore is the headmaster at Hogwarts – keep up would you?). Armies evoke large concentrations of people who join together in a common cause. And there is no more important cause then defeating Voldemort and his minions.

Islamist extremists are fond of using army metaphors as well. There’s Jaysh al Islam (Arabic for ‘Army of Islam’) in Syria, Laskkar-e-Taiba (Urdu for ‘Army of the Pure’) in Pakistan and many others. It is as if these organisations want to portray themselves as bigger than they really are and are doing God’s work as it were.

Another Pakistani terrorist group is named Jundallah (‘Army of Allah’). On this day in 2009 a suicide bomber from the group detonated his charge in the southeastern Iranian city of Pishin (near the border with Pakistan), killing 43 and injuring 150. Among the dead were several IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) commanders.

There is no doubt that this violent and inhumane act was part of the strategy of foreigners and enemies of the regime and the revolution to destroy unity between Shias and Sunnis and create divisions among the unified ranks of the great Iranian people.

IRGC statement

Within four months of the Pishin attack, Iran was able to capture Abdolmalek Rigi, the young leader of Jundullah: he was hanged in Tehran in June 2010. Tensions between the two nations have ebbed and flowed over the years.

We tend to see Iran as a perpetrator and not a victim of terrorism. On this occasion it was the latter. Best to remember that.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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