Iran Leader Orders ‘Jihad of Vindication’, Hybrid War Against Enemies

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called for a greater effort to counter criticism and attacks on the Islamic Republic using “hybrid warfare”.

The multiple crises facing the Iranian regime over the past four years have damaged its image domestically, as it has had to deal with US sanctions, a reinvigorated opposition and regional enemies.

Khamenei accused foreign and opposition media of distorting the truth about the Islamic Republic and ignoring its “achievements”. He said that “the enormous and epic works of the last decades” in economics, social issues, development, education, health, industry and other fields were not sufficiently recognized by the media. Iranians.

The spread of social media in the country has also weakened the government’s monopoly on information and amplified critical voices.

At an annual gathering of air force officers on Tuesday, Khamenei delivered a speech whose themes The Times of Israel reported “directly parallel” remarks from an anonymous senior Israeli official who told reporters on Monday that Israel was carrying out multifaceted and all-level efforts against Iran.

“The enemy’s aggression represents hybrid warfare,” Khamenei said. “That is to say, it includes economic, political, security, media and diplomatic aspects. Our response must also be hybrid… We cannot constantly remain in a defensive position in the face of such joint hybrid warfare. We, too, should mount a hybrid attack in various areas…”

The Israeli official explained that Israel’s objective was “to weaken” Iran by “primarily economic” means, but included “a number of activities, financial, diplomatic, pre-emptive, covert and open, in cyberspace and other areas”.

Israel, which opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, is widely believed to be responsible for a series of attacks on Iranian nuclear sites and for the November 2020 killing of Iranian nuclear official Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

‘Justification jihad

“Each of them is a subject of vindication jihad“, he said, using the Quranic term for “effort”. He added that “certain economic and social problems”, which have been well highlighted lately by Iranian politicians from various camps, do not should not undermine the progress made. jihad is a specific and urgent religious duty,” Khamenei insisted.

In recent years, Khamenei has applied the phrase “justification jihad” (jihad tabyyin) to efforts in both the media and social media platforms, and called supporters and employees active in social media “soldiers of soft war”. The term essentially means propaganda efforts.

Khamenei used military terminology in his speech, referring to “security” measures as part of “hybrid warfare”. This could be a signal for more repression, especially against critics and journalists.

While foreign-funded television channels have long been broadcasting in Iran and some opposition groups trolling on social media, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claim that Iranian journalists are “constantly subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrests and long prison sentences”. RSF said at least 860 journalists and “citizen-journalists” have been prosecuted, arrested, imprisoned and in some cases executed since the 1979 Revolution.

Besides suppressing the media, the Islamic Republic funds many news agencies and websites and has a monopoly on radio and television. It uses media networks such as Press TV which broadcasts in several languages ​​around the world, including English, French and Spanish, as well as Al-Alam TV in Arabic for propaganda outside Iran.

Khamenei’s remarks can be seen as an admission of failure to win hearts and minds and double efforts over the past four decades.

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