A new year of challenges facing the Islamic state

Developing Just Leadership

Abu Dharr

Muharram 02, 1427 2006-02-01

Guest Editorial

by Abu Dharr (Guest Editorial, Crescent International Vol. 34, No. 12, Muharram, 1427)

As the Islamic New Year approaches, there is every sign that it could be as significant as the year of the Ahzab (the coalition of the willing mushriks). This time, instead of Islamic Madinah being besieged by Arabian military forces, it is Islamic Iran surrounded by American military forces. One understanding of this emerging scenario is that the US government is trying to draw its historical allies, the Europeans and Israelis, into the stand-off. Another is that it is the Israelis who are manipulating the Americans and Europeans into a knock-out military strike against the Islamic state-in-the-making. Whether it is the American dog wagging the Euro-Israeli tail, or the Israeli tail wagging the Euro-American dog, is largely irrelevant at the moment. The inescapable reality is that we have a combination of the volatile members of the long-established nuclear club of nation-states trying to pick a fight with a popular Islamic state that aspires to possess nuclear capabilities for all their scientific worth. From the tone of the Western media (and much of the Western-dominated world media), one would think that Iran has thousands of nuclear warheads, an active industry of weapons of mass destruction, and a record of aggression against other countries, while its adversaries, the US, Israel, Britain, France, India, and Russia, are years away from possessing their first nuclear weapons. There is something profoundly wrong with analysts and intellectuals who can effectively reverse the facts while maintaining straight faces and assuming that they will get away with it just because they have power and their "enemies" don't.

The reality is, of course, very different. Far from Islamic Iran being a ‘grave threat' to the world, it is the Muslims who are in transition from oppression to liberation and are confronted by an implacable enemy that is hiding behind what is called international legitimacy (the UN and its subsidiaries) as well as a mask of civilization (technology and westernization).

This is precisely the time for the world's only Islamic state and the global Islamic movement to set aside their family quarrels. One feature of the latest stage of the war on Islam is likely to be an intensification of US-financed and Israeli-supervised attempts to co-opt significant segments of the contemporary Islamic revival for use against the Islamic state, directly or indirectly. A key object of this co-option process is to produce Arabian and Palestinian ‘Islamists' who are democratic and pluralistic to the extent that they recognize the Israeli occupation of al-Quds and the Saudi occupation of Makkah and Madinah. You can almost see American embassies in the Islamic East buzzing with diplomatic assignments, and watch American government personnel pounding the pavement all the way to the obscure offices of Islamic parties who are yearning for political recognition, all searching for a Palestinian Rejeb Tayyeb Erdogan or an Arabian Hamid Karzai. Truly this is a war like no other war, as some high-ranking neocons in the American government have said in the past few years. It is a war in which the US is bombing Muslim civilians to death indiscriminately from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Iraq, at the same time as it is coaxing Muslim activists to political suicide in various places from Morocco to Egypt to Iraq. It is also a war in which the ruthless US political establishment is detaining thousands of Muslims in secret prisons and torture chambers around the world, at the same time as it is massaging the egos and manipulating the personalities of some Muslims who think they are part of the Islamic movement for freedom, independence, and a united Ummah.

Seeing and responding to all of this requires a clear vision, an honest assessment of facts and events, achievements and errors, and an undiminished will, from all Muslims, but particularly in the throbbing heart of the Islamic resurgence in our time, the Revolutionary Islamic State of Iran. In the last few months, we clearly see signs of an internal process of house-cleaning in some governmental departments and offices there. This is a welcome (and long overdue) development, and a necessary first step in the right direction. We outside Iran must freely confess that we are not familiar with details of the comings and goings in all those offices and departments, but we fervently hope – indeed, we are confident – that the Muslims of Islamic Iran will be able eventually to sort out the self-seekers from the self-deniers. As an Arabic proverb has it, ahlu Makkah adra bi-shi‘abiha: the people of Makkah are the most familiar with its alleys.

The West's war rhetoric and propaganda are becoming almost hysterical about the prospect of "Iran going nuclear", although sober voices acknowledge that there is no intelligence evidence of Iran being within 10 years of building a bomb, even assuming they intend to do so. The best antidote to this venom emanating from the Tel Aviv-London-Washington axis is to concentrate the minds of one and a half billion Muslims, along with two billion people in the oppressed and instinctively anti-imperialist populations in the southern hemisphere of the world on the fact that the apartheid regime established in Palestine possesses nuclear weapons a hundredfold more advanced than any Iran could possibly achieve. In truth, it is the zionist-neo-conservative alliance that poses the greatest threat to the world, something recognized even by many in Europe.

In Latin America too, there is a growing wave of anti-Americanism. People who were dismissed as natives of banana republics just a generation ago are now asserting themselves against the predatory policies and corporate cravings of the American Empire. There is an anti-American alliance in the making. The signs are unmistakable, from election results in South America, Asia and wherever there is a semblance of fairness, to street demonstrations against the West and its "international" organizations wherever they meet to plot their strategies. Everyone wants the American monkey off their backs.

This is an opportunity for the diplomats and statesmen of Islamic Iran that is only opened wider by every American attack on it. If they prove unable to consolidate a good portion of this anti-American sentiment into a global coalition for justice and equality, they will not be forgiven by history.

Although the resources and infrastructure for a poll of all Muslims do not exist, it is clear that a fair, accurate and transparent poll of Muslims all over the world would find that well over 90 percent consider the US and its allies to be the most dangerous and evil element in contemporary world affairs. If Islamic Iran fails to pull together this torrent of Islamic anti-Americanism because of elements of Persian nationalism or "Shi‘i" sectarianism among its officials, in its political understanding, and in its policies, it will prove what many already accuse it of: that it has failed to become the Islamic state that it promised to be, and upon which so many Muslims pinned their hopes.

This brings us to the dead-fall otherwise known as Iraq. A key objective of this war, like no other war launched by the United States of America with Israeli inspiration (economic and evangelical), was to hem in the Islamic State of Iran militarily by the creation of permanent military bases. There was much talk in the early months of the invasion of the fear that Iran would actually benefit from the fall of Saddam. In fact, there is now a danger of Iran being damaged in ways that the US may never have envisaged, by sectarian winds blowing from Iraq into Iran. As the US has succeeded in breaking Iraq's society into communal blocks, there are sectarians outside the country willing to extrapolate from it a wider sectarian competition between Arab (Sunni) supporters of the Sunnis in Iraq and Iranian supporters of the Shi'is in Iraq. There is every sign of the diminution ofIran from Imam Khomeini's vision of Islamic Iran as a beacon for the entire Ummah to a regional and preferably a local sectarian trouble-maker. Today, there are some in Iran who seem very willing to fall head-first into these traps.

Hard questions have to be asked and honest answers have to be heard. The still-evolving Islamic State in Iran is not an academic forum for the earnest discussion of intellectual theories; it is a living laboratory in which the future of the Ummah is being shaped by the way that its leaders and officials respond to the currents and fluxes of the West-dominated contemporary world. For all the frustrations of many who have supported the Islamic State through these last 27 years, our hearts are with the Islamic leadership there and our prayers are that it will be able to give guidance and direction in times of tricky diplomacy, threats of sanctions, and menace of military attacks. Ameen.

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