At the end of July, Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The visit raised some eyebrows while others turned their head in disbelief! The average person living in the land between the two rivers, in the Arabian Peninsula and in Persia, was stunned by this unexpected visit by a Shi‘i scholar to a Wahhabi-Yankee kingdom.
Let us parse the timing and the circumstances of this visit. It came at a time when the children of Saud are in political honeymoon with the children of Israel. The spawns of Saudi-Israeli political courtship are the wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq among other places. Saudi officials clandestinely visiting Tel Aviv, London, and Washington are in a pre-civil war phase in the eastern section of their kingdom where the Shi‘is are the predominant population. These Saudis ever-to-please-the-Zionists have been savagely and immorally killing, starving, and bleeding the Yemeni population. Both the religious and political establishments in that family Kingdom have made it very clear that their number-one enemy is Iran and the Shi‘is. Why then, would a scholar like Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr accept an invitation from, of all people, big gun Muhammad ibn Salman to visit the dynasty Kingdom?
The following does not constitute a conclusive answer. Rather it is an attempt to understand what is going on! First, it appears that the Saudi political class, coached by the Zio-American political class, wants to change tactics. It wants to go from indirectly confronting Islamic Iran (the wars in Yemen and Syria) to directly confronting Islamic Iran through its extended Shi‘i composition, that is, Iraq. The scheming Saudi leading figures are projecting an air of liberal accommodation of Iraqi Shi‘i religious and political figures. These Iraqis have been screened very carefully by intelligence services as to their strength or weakness of relationship with Islamic Iran. It appears that the Israeli-Saudi-imperialist strategists (ISIS) have given up on fighting Islamic Iran at the peripheries (Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere). So the new approach is to diplomatically and politically fight Islamic Iran through its historical, geographic, cultural, and denominational analog: Iraq.
Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr is reported to have 34 members in the Iraqi parliament out of a total of 328. He also has about 60,000 armed members participating in the Iraqi popular mobilization forces against the takfiri idiotological mercenaries. These forces that participated in the liberation of Mosul were presented in the Saudi media empire, just a few days earlier, in the worst sectarian depictions possible as traitors, tormentors and eradicators of the Iraqi Sunnis.
Around the same time, the Saudi-Israeli Kingdom received Iraq’s Interior Minister Qasim al-A‘raji. That was preceded by a visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-‘Abadi. Invitations may be in the pipeline for other Iraqi religious and political figures. Our political instinct tells us that the intelligence reports in Saudi possession indicate that these figures have issues with Islamic Iran or are amenable to having issues with Islamic Iran. Deep down inside the Iraqi psyche there is a hesitation to relinquish the sovereignty of Iraq to an “Iranian hegemon.” Perceived through the minds of external and internal troublemakers, Iraq is a hodgepodge: Arabs and Kurds, Sunnis and Shi‘is. The Arabs have their subdivisions, tribal and geographic; the Kurds have theirs, ethnic and cultural; the Sunnis likewise are divided along racial and national lines; as are the Shi‘is between pro-Islamic Iran and not-pro-Islamic Iran. It is this last fissure that the Israeli-Saudi-imperialist diplomats are trying to pry open. At a time when the takfiri band of soldiers has come undone in Iraq, the Saudi front for Zionism and imperialism is trying to recruit what amounts to political mercenaries. Al-Sadr’s celebratory visit to the Saudi kingdom did not sit well with many in Iraq. We may be thousands of miles away but for those living in the region, how does it look when an Iraqi scholar of the stature of Muqtada al-Sadr sits down with officials who are — as they are speaking — supervising police, security, and military campaigns against virtually all the Shi‘is in Arabia and the surrounding areas? Shi‘is are being rounded up, detained without trial, persecuted, discriminated against, and killed in al-Ahsa’, al-‘Awwamiyah, al-Qa†if, Bahrain, etc.
More nuanced than that, some would say that al-Sadr stands equidistant from Islamic Iran and Saudi Arabia. In other words he does not want to see either of these neighboring countries become the landlord of Iraq. If perceived in this light, he may qualify to act as an “even hand” between the two regional and pan-Islamic rivals (Islamic Iran and Saudi Arabia). Or for starters, he may act as a bridge between Saudi officials and the opposition Shi‘i component in eastern Saudi Arabia.
More subtle than that, al-Sadr’s tumultuous visit to Saudi Arabia may cause further rifts within the already scattered blocs and disturbed parties within Iraq and potentially within the larger Shi‘i community in the world. This could turn into a major polarization not only among the Shi‘is, but also among the Sunnis and Kurds who for their own interests are tied up with Saudi policymakers and financial supporters.
From one point of view it would appear that the Iraqi identity may be subjected to the push of Arabian nationalism and the pull of Shi‘i sectarianism. It is not the punk prince BS who has figured all this out. It is his capitalist commanders and Zionist elders who are drilling him to go from a military clash to a political confrontation with Islamic Iran. And as the saying goes, “We thank God for making our enemies from among the fools.” These enemies do not know where “nationalism” stands in the public realm of the Muslim East, and they likewise do not understand where or how “sectarianism” rises and falls in the Muslim East.
The perceived shift from demonizing the Shi‘is to befriending them in the course of a few months or a few years is a mission impossible. The Saudi establishment has thrown all derogatory terms and slurs against the Shi‘is — trailing it all back to the times of Ibn Taymiyah or even earlier, calling them apostates, separatists, fire worshipers, sons of convenience marriages, etc.
No one really knows what exactly took place between a Shi‘i scholar and his Saudi hosts. Some of the confidential information that has leaked out is that Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr asked for the following:
1. the Saudi (Wahhabi) scholars issue a declaration stating that the Shi‘i Imami (Ithna ‘Ashari) madhhab is a genuine and bona fide Islamic madhhab;
2. the burial sites of the Prophet’s household in the cemetery of al-Baqi‘ should be rehabilitated and renovated to reflect their significance and status;
3. the eastern (Shi‘i) province of Saudi Arabia be released from all legal encumbrances and given a form of agreed upon autonomy;
4. Saudi occupation of Bahrain must cease;
5. the Saudi siege and war against Yemen should come to an end;
6. the persecution and animosity toward the millions of Shi‘is in Nigeria must be terminated with proper compensation for victims and release of their leaders, the same would apply to the Shi‘is in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir; and
7. Saudi Arabia should stop interfering in the affairs of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, especially in the affairs of the Shi‘is and ‘Alawis and their institutions not the least of which are Hizbullah and the Syrian government.
A long list for sure. And what would you think the Saudi-Israeli-imperialist ans-wer would be: the same should apply to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Who is practicing taqiyah? Who is outwitting the other? And who will stand on principle as opposed to who will take orders? The near future will deliver the answer,
And if they [the munafiqs] encounter the committed Muslims they say, “We are [also] committed [to Allah and His Apostle]”; but when they [the munafiqs] are in their secret meetings with their demons they [the munafiqs] say, “But we are with you [the imperialist and Zionist demons] — we were just hoodwinking [the committed Muslims]” (2:14).