Foreign policy for principled objectives

Developing Just Leadership

Afeef Khan

Muharram 27, 1435 2013-12-01

Opinion

by Afeef Khan (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 10, Muharram, 1435)

For more than 30 years, Islamic Iran has held its ground—on the battlefield, on its right to enrich uranium and to establish a system of government based on Islamic principles. This has demanded sacrifices but ultimately, it was its enemies that blinked and came to the negotiating table.

After centuries of drought, Islamic power is finally beginning to re-assert itself where it counts: on a level where the maximalist and totalitarian power players in the world are put on notice. Power will only pay attention when you speak the language of power; everything else is just so much gibberish and noise. What recently occurred with the nuclear deal between Islamic Iran and the P5+1 countries (US, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union) happened because Iran is a power equal to those who sit on the UN Security Council, not with regard to the amount and sophistication of its weapons, but with regard to the way it projects its power in arguably the most important region of the world (the Muslim East), and the whole world itself.

For an entire decade, through three successive administrations, Islamic Iran has held its ground about its right to the entire nuclear fuel cycle, including enrichment of uranium, under the auspices of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It has insisted that the framework of the NPT is the basis of any and all negotiation. And in the preliminary terms of the agreement, Iran got everything it had been negotiating for, including the ancillary benefit of having relief from some of the economic and financial sanctions. Even though two presidents have served their terms and re-entered private life, the message emanating from the Islamic leadership has been, if nothing else, consistent. What is only mentioned in hushed tones and passing whispers is that none of this could have been possible were it not for the staggering Islamic victories over, and simultaneous spectacular reversals for, the dominant power culture made up of the triangle of terror: the US (throw in the EU as well), Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The occupation of Iraq in 2003 was a disaster for the allies, both economically and politically. The net result of the Iraq war was the expansion of Islamic Iran’s regional influence. Then came the Israeli war to exterminate Hizbullah in 2006: another military and political blunder for the triangle of terror. The net result of the Israeli aggression was that Islamic Iran’s influence, as the key power player in the region, expanded to new heights.

In order to burnish its image as the incorrigible attack dog in the Muslim East, Zionist Israel picked on a helpless, defenseless, and basically unarmed Gaza in 2008–2009, just as the “president of change” was assuming office in the US. Politically isolated before the war, the tables were turned: Hamas came out of the ordeal shining as the underdogs (David) who went toe-to-toe with the goliath Star of David. Although it did not achieve an outright victory, Hamas held its own (thanks to the help and training it received from Hizbullah and Islamic Iran, and no thanks to whatever it never received from the hyper-talk and hypo-action of Arabia), and against one of the most advanced militaries in the world, this was a victory.

And finally — Syria: a proxy war against Islamic Iran being fought in Damascus, Hims, Aleppo and other major Syrian cities. The 21st-century crusaders — the Americans, the Europeans, the Israelis, and the Saudis — threw everything they had (and the kitchen sink) at Syria in order to bring down the government of Bashar al-Asad, so as to isolate and then ultimately attack Iran. Short of putting troops on the ground (that is, American and European soldiers, not from Israel and Saudi Arabia who are too cowardly to commit their own), they used chemical and nuclear weapons (blast site analysis from Israeli bombing of positions in Syria indicate use of limited yield nuclear weapons); they brought in mercenaries from 30 different countries; they broke bread with murderers, organ-eaters, beheaders, and gallows executioners; they spent billions in training and tactical engagement; they created hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people; they separated Turkey from the Islamic domain it belongs to; and they used their worldwide media to make a case for “humanitarian” intervention.

But it was all for naught. Without weapons of mass destruction, without sophisticated satellite intelligence, and without the tools and outlets of state-run propaganda, Islamic Iran WON — again.

But it was all for naught. Without weapons of mass destruction, without sophisticated satellite intelligence, and without the tools and outlets of state-run propaganda, Islamic Iran WON — again. After nearly three years of war on its back door, this phase of the presumed occupation and dismemberment of Syria for Israel is over, and Islamic Iran came out on top. Israel, America, and Saudi Arabia lost. No other way to look at it. They may come back with their devious schemes and intrigue, but for now, it is Islamic Iran that sits at the negotiating table on par with the rest of the Security Council. And delegations from the rest of the world are coming to mend fences, or establish relations: Turkey, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, South America.

Other wannabe Muslim governments can talk all they want about democracy, free markets, involvement of minorities, etc., but until they win on the battlefield, until they push back on the ground, they will never be respected or noticed. They will only eat the crumbs that fall off the table; they will only nibble at the scraps given to pets.

Other wannabe Muslim governments can talk all they want about democracy, free markets, involvement of minorities, etc., but until they win on the battlefield, until they push back on the ground, they will never be respected or noticed. They will only eat the crumbs that fall off the table; they will only nibble at the scraps given to pets. Power takes notice when it is confronted with power. That is why other Muslim governments are not on the table, and to do this they have to publicly and openly reject the taghut, its systems, its narrative, its history, its personnel, its rubric, its ideology, and its proxies, “…he who rejects the excessive and outrageous powers [of evil governments] and commits to [the authority of] Allah has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way, for Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing” (2:256). Future Muslim governments (on their way to a unified Ummah) have the example of the Islamic Republic in front of them — as a blueprint. One thing that can be learned is that Islamic Iran’s foreign policy is an architecture, not a one-shot deal. A very small piece of it is the nuclear program; its overwhelming foreign policy objective is the liberation of Palestine,

He it is who turned out of their homes, at the time of [their] first gathering [for war], such of the followers of earlier revelation as were bent on denying the truth. You did not think [O Muslims] that they would depart [without resistance] — just as they thought that their strongholds would protect them against Allah: but Allah came upon them in a manner which they had not expected, and cast terror into their hearts; [and thus] they destroyed their homes by their own hands as well as [by] the hands of the committed Muslims (59:2).

The single-minded commitment to Syria, as a sparkplug for the liberation of the Holy Land, was with this objective, front and center. The victory there disarmed the opposition and paved the way for the nuclear agreement, which in turn handcuffed the opposition, at least for a short time. Now the Islamic Republic is relatively free to consolidate its political, military, and strategic position to its west and north. To the west, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon are now firmly part of the axis of resistance to Zionist/Wahhabi occupation and dismemberment. To the north, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will soon join the authentic Islamic movement. To the northeast, the “permanent” occupation of Afghanistan is a non-starter, with all that has been lost in gold, glory and gusto. To say that the nuclear agreement is a master political stroke following a master military stroke in Syria may be premature — time will tell. What, however, can be said with much more confidence is that the liberation of the Holy Land is nearer now than ever before.

The generational enemies of the Muslims — represented now by the unholy trinity of America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia — know this and much more. That is why the focus of their concentration is now on Pakistan, the last card in their destructive and divisive hand, and the last strategic country with a common border to contain the power projection of the Islamic magnet in Tehran. All this talk in Pakistan about who is a shaheed and who is not is pablum for pontificators in Arabia, and inches for ivory towers in America. What Muslims need to understand is that the separatist movements and “Islamic” parties in Pakistan have been busy salafizing for the last several years. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the Muhajir Qawmi Movement (MQM), and even the Taliban all started off as national liberation movements, with no religious agenda or theological identity (other than the Taliban). Now all three of these major separatist movements, which have as their goal the balkanization of Pakistan, are becoming Salafi organizations with a takfiri agenda.

In recent memory, Salafis have been used to further break down an already broken-up Muslim world. This is what is creating a problem for the inclusivist Sufi culture that has characterized the Muslims of the subcontinent for centuries. Before the American occupation of Afghanistan, and the coterminous emergence of Saudi Arabia as the arbiter of who is and who is not a Muslim, there was no sectarian warfare in the subcontinent — some sectarian tension, yes; but sectarian warfare and gratuitous murder, no.

Every Pakistani on the street absolutely hates America, but because he conflates his reverence for Makkah and Madinah with Saudi Arabia, he loses sight of the fact that the agency that drives American influence and its agenda into the internal affairs of Pakistan is chiefly Saudi Arabia, followed closely by the IMF, the Paris Club, and others, all of which are but appendages of the same virulent contagion. If he hates America, he ought to be hating Saudi Arabia with the same venom. The Islamic parties, chief among them Jamaat-e Islami and the Tanzeem, have not been much help in cooling things down. They have a long memory (of their icons such as Mawdudi and Israr Ahmad), but no vision. This is what dirty money (Wahhabi/Saudi) does: it buys the loyalty of criminals and thugs so that they can redirect their guns at other Muslims with a religious rationalizing motive; and that of naive Islamists who have little idea of what Islam looks like in the public space, who know less about the complexities of Islamic political engagement in the modern world, and who think that the blind adjudication of justice is inclusive of mushrik imperialists and kafir Zionists, but exclusive of Muslims of another stripe.

But dirty dollars and raunchy riyals cannot buy principle. People of principle in Pakistan will own the future, the beginnings of which were launched with the Sunni-Shi‘i rapprochement in the Bodrum declaration by some important Pakistani organizations. They will ultimately sideline those who have ridden the American rhetoric (not reality) of democracy, and those who have become high on Saudi cash. And Allah (swt) knows where He places his cause,

But he who holds fast unto Allah has already been guided onto a straight way. O you who have become securely committed [to Allah]! Be overcautious of Allah [and His retribution] as is due to Him, and do not allow death to overtake you before you have surrendered yourselves unto Him. And hold fast, all together, unto the bond with Allah, and do not draw apart from one another (3:101–103).

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