The Saudi regime is good at only one thing: creating fitna of the sectarian kind. The war in Syria has provided it an opportunity to play dirty once again.
Caution: this article may be hazardous to the health of sectarians. Chronic sectarians are advised to skip this article as it may exacerbate preexisting paranoia and hate of the “other.”
The people’s movement throughout the Arabic-speaking countries sparked spontaneous euphoria in the Islamic East and beyond. Dictators and tyrants were either exiled, imprisoned, and in the case of Qaddafi, battle-scarred to death. People were cheering the end of an era and the beginning of self-governance. Little did they realize that Washington and Tel Aviv were pulling their own strings through their obsequious clients in Arabia. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen each have their own story to tell. What concerns us here is that which has become the Gordian knot of the “Arab Spring”: Syria.
The people’s movement in Syria has brought to the fore an element that has long been in the shadows and behind closed doors: sectarianism. Two years and counting, the Syrian internal strife has stirred the sectarian pot like no other issue in recent history. Everyone who is anyone speaks about Sunnis and Shi‘is whenever they analyze the ongoing events in Syria. More and more it appears that Syria has become the culminating stage of the “Arab Spring,” which is meant by imperialist and Zionist interests to climax with an Iranian finale.
Our concern here is to tackle some of the sectarian issues that have polarized public opinion. First, Arabian rank sectarians take issue with the fact that Islamic Iran has anything to do with the peoples’ uprisings from Tunisia to Yemen. And in a superficial way, they are right. Imam Khomeini’s books never circulated in Arabian Africa or Arabian Asia; nor, for that matter and in a substantial way, any of the other books and literature produced by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The impact of the Islamic Revolution in Iran was not via script and ledger; it was via a sustained struggle and the influence of a good example. People in North Africa and West Asia could perceive with their common sense how an Islamic leadership with an Islamic rank-and-file defeated imperialist rule-by-client and went on to inflict the pain of withdrawals and agony of climb-down upon the Zionists in both Lebanon and Ghazzah.
Some sunless sectarian minds traceable to Arabia went as far as saying that the Arab Spring generation was born after the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979) and therefore could not have been moved by the history making days when the Shah was toppled and his regime trampled. This thinking is like saying the Palestinians who were born after the occupation of Palestine (1948) did not live the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1947–1948 when Palestine was lost and Zionism erected its Israeli nation-state on occupied Palestinian territory! By virtue of this squiggly sectarian sightlessness, those believing that the Arab Spring generation born after 1979 saw only the terrible things Iran did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria would also have to believe in the beautiful things Israel did in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Arabia, and Turkey. When it came down to the military barometer in 2006 on the occasion of Israel, with American and Arabian approval, attacking Hizbullah in Lebanon, the young and old generation of Arabs had the proper pulse: they all applauded Hizbullah and booed Israel — fatwas of schismatic Saudi sectarians be damned.
Now the sectarian snakes spew their venom saying that Iran and Hizbullah have taken the side of ‘Alawites in Syria against the rest of the Ummah! Over 30 years of an Islamic principled and disciplined policy emanating from Tehran against Zionist occupation and Israeli militarism are meant to be converted by all the political instruments and religious arguments into a “clash of creeds” and a clannish cliquism that binds Tehran to Damascus!
Enter Syria. Now the sectarian snakes spew their venom saying that Iran and Hizbullah have taken the side of ‘Alawites in Syria against the rest of the Ummah! Over 30 years of an Islamic principled and disciplined policy emanating from Tehran against Zionist occupation and Israeli militarism are meant to be converted by all the political instruments and religious arguments into a “clash of creeds” and a clannish cliquism that binds Tehran to Damascus! Some of this chastisement may apply to careerist political opportunists in Damascus but does not apply to conscientious and scrupulous decision makers in Islamic Iran. The same Saudi traceable sectarians who are hell bent on blaspheming the rulers in Damascus would be demonizing the rulers of Venezuela if Syria and Venezuela were to geographically exchange locations. Both would be branded with religious kufr and disqualified from opposing the occupation of Palestine.
To muddy the sectarian waters even further Bahrain and Syria are juxtaposed. In this contrast we are told that Shi‘is in Iran and Iraq overplay and exaggerate the events in Bahrain while underplaying and under-reporting the events in Syria. The unmentioned fact is that the uprising in Bahrain extends into opposing imperialist presence in the area. The Syrian uprising is supported by the imperialist presence in the area. There is no doubt in our mind that both peoples in Bahrain and in Syria are ruled by ruthless regimes. Both peoples deserve a representative government. But none of them should be coached toward that goal by American imperialism and its faithful politicians in Arabia or elsewhere.
Some sectarians are resurrecting historical parallels telling us that today’s Shi‘i rulers in Iraq are carbon copies of the Buwahis who ruled Iraq from 945–1062ce with their Shi‘i first policies. Iraq, we are told, was eventually liberated and returned to Sunni rule by the Turkish Seljuks.
“Sunni” sectarians who report to Saudi Arabia are ultimately responsible for this mess. This does not mean that there are no Shi‘i sectarians. There are. And some Shi‘i sectarians are beginning to show their tracks leading to Washington. They have TV satellite stations that poison the air with their sectarian ego. Both these sectarian brands (Shi‘is and Sunnis) are playing into the hands of Zionists and imperialists whose only concern is to plunge Muslims into an “Islamic civil war.”
There are some who would say that Iran is supporting Syria and Hizbullah, as well as other Palestinian resistance movements. So what is wrong with that, as long as the results are the liberation of south Lebanon from Israeli occupation, the defeat of the American supervised Israeli attempt in 2006 to crush Hizbullah, and the channeling of arms and support to Palestinians under occupation?! Only sectarianism interrupts straight thoughts on this issue. And if the Saudi crowd is so upset that Iran has come to the aid of Shi‘is in Lebanon, why don’t the Saudis come to the aid of Sunnis in Lebanon? Why don’t the Saudis flood the Sunnis in Lebanon with money and weapons so that they become a fighting force that can take on Israeli occupation? Why can’t the Sunnis in Lebanon have their own Hizbullah? Some Sunnis in Lebanon under the spell of Saudi induced sectarianism are calling for the disarming of Hizbullah! Did you read that: “the disarming of Hizbullah”?!
Could the Israelis have dreamed of something more to their national interest than the disarming of Hizbullah! Why is it that the Saudis and their fellow Arabians are willing to spend hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars to arm Sunnis to kill Shi‘is but are not willing to pay one cent to arm Sunnis to kill Zionists? Islamic Iran should never be blamed for supporting Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other liberation movements; it is Saudi Arabia and its Arabian political cousins that should be blamed for signing on to American and British contracts to buy weapons and weapons systems that will never be used against Israel and will rust on the scorching sands under the burning sun of Arabia.
Saudi Arabia and its American CIA national security head, Bandar ibn Sultan, and his team are trying their best to turn the tide of a people’s movement that aspires to liberate Palestine after liberating their own countries. It is déjà vu all over again. The Saudi network was busy in Afghanistan using Islamic zealotry to fight the Soviets. After the Soviets were defeated the “mujahideen” became America’s and Saudi Arabia’s enemy number one. Pakistan, an American ally, was the staging ground for that scenario in the 1980s. Today, Turkey is becoming the staging area, and Jabhat al-Nusrah, along with other Saudi financed and indoctrinated cretins, are its new-age mujahideen. (Notice in the Syrian context the Western media and their underlings do not use the word mujahideen lest the rest of us make the necessary connections between what happened in Afghanistan and what is happening in Syria).
As goes Afghanistan, so shall go Syria if Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv have it their way. Who shall be the future Karzai of Syria? Who are the useful idiots who will be transformed from “freedom fighters” to “terrorists”? Make no mistake about it; this is not a strategy of ridding Syria of heathens and blasphemers as Saudi duped sectarians want us to believe; this is a strategy to abort the sphere of influence that the Islamic Republic of Iran has consolidated throughout the past third of a century for the sole purpose of liberating “Sunni” Palestine. And if the Saudis and all who tow their line are incapable of standing the fire they should get out of the kitchen, “Are you not aware of those who, having been granted their share of the divine Writ, now bargain it away for error, and want you [too] to lose your way? But Allah knows best who your enemies are” (4:44–45).
Abu Dharr is the pen-name of a senior Islamic movement intellectual who contributes this monthly column, discussing key issues concerning the global Islamic movement. For his introduction to this column, see http://www.crescent-online.net/abu-dharr-authors.htm.