by Abu Dharr (Guest Editorial, Crescent International Vol. 34, No. 5, Jumada' al-Ula', 1426)
Islamic Iran needs to stand firm against American diplomatic overtures
As long as the government of the United States of America is zionist, and as long as the government in Iran is Islamic, there can be no common ground between the two. It is only when the government in Washington begins to de-zionize itself (which is a pipe dream) or when the government in Tehran begins to secularize itself (which is the dream of secular Iranian nationalists and Shi‘i traditionalists who cannot stand the word wilayat-e faqih) that we will have diplomatic pouches exchanged between Tehran and Washington.
In the meantime, the shaytani buzurg (‘great satan') will continue to huff and puff and try to blow the Islamic state down. Do not underestimate this shaytani buzurg. It says it stands with the Iranian people against a class of theologians who have seized power and are ruling without a democratic process. The signals out of Washington say that there is democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there are elections in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, and that sooner or later this democratic wave of the future will reach Iran, and the Iranian people will have their day under this fashionable democratic sun! The shaytani buzurg is aiming for "significant changes" in Iran according to Elizabeth Cheney, the US state department's democracy czar. The shaytani buzurg knew, before embarking on its democratic adventures in Afghanistanand Iraq, that there were sizeable social bases there that could be recruited to run an American-sponsored democracy in those two countries. There were enough people in Afghanistan who could no longer live with the forbidding and featureless fanaticism of the Taliban, themselves sponsored by the US viaPakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These three were the only governments in the world to have accorded the Taliban political recognition; all three are America's trusted allies, and allies with an Islamic facade. In the case of Iraq, this shaytani buzurg relied on the broad and deep resentment the non-Sunni and non-Arab Iraqis harbored towards "Sunnis" and "Arabs" who were installed in power by this shaytani buzurg itself in the 1960s. In both cases, the US also cultivated exiled opposition groups to prepare a pro-Western political elite to take over power when the time comes.
But what encouragement might this shaytani buzurg hope to find when considering a venture into Iran? It is, we dare say, from the pre-wilayat-e-faqih Shi‘is who want to go back to the good old days of "waiting for Imam Mahdi," rather than facing the responsibilities and problems that come from the revolutionary spirit inspired by Imam Khomeini (ra). There are indications that a struggle for the soul of the Shi‘is is now in progress. On one side there are the Huseini Shi‘is and the Khomeini Shi‘is. These are the Muslims in Iran who fought a war of self-defense, paid a price of almost half a million shuhada', and are now preparing for when they have to defend themselves and their Islamic principles again. These are the Muslims of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, the Hizbullah who fought for two decades to liberate southLebanon, who were the first people to force the Israelis to swallow defeat, and who are ready still to fight the Israelis again when the next round of fighting breaks out.
On the other side of this struggle are the Kufi Shi‘is, the Safawi Shi‘is, and now the American Shi‘is. These are the sectarians in Iran who bitterly resent Imam Khomeini's legacy. They lavish accolades on Imam Khomeini (ra) and his achievements in public, while their attitudes and actions suggest a desire to reverse the changes of his period, and abandon the principles that he embodied. These are the Shi‘is in Iraq who are pushing for the establishment of a secular government in Baghdad that would respect the "traditional Hawzah" in Najaf and Karbala, and the traditional scholars in the Hawzah who vow not to interfere with "affairs of state". This mode of thought is popular with westernised Muslims, who are more comfortable inWashington than they are in Qum, even though they may be personally pious and pay lip service to Islamic social principles. As the war in Iraq bleeds the occupation army, the axis of evil – Israel, the USAand Britain – will move the Shi‘i pawns in this deadly polarization within the house of tashayyu‘.
The US government will continue its slippery diplomatic moves, accusing Islamic Iran of having media controls, restrictions on the formation of political parties, and that favorite of all, "women's rights." The shaytani buzurg has come out swinging. It wants Islamic Iran to pledge an end to its nuclear programs, or at least the acceptance of international regulations which will give the West a permanent leverage in Iranian affairs. It wants an Iran that can fit comfortably in the American-dominated Middle East. It wants an Iran that offers the Islamic movement words of support, but will do nothing more to rock the regional boat. And to pass the test of good behavior Iran has to disengage from the "zionist-Islamic" clash in the heart of the Muslim Middle East.
The shaytani buzurg is on the offensive against Islamic Iran partly as a defense mechanism for its own presence and policies in the region. It is Washington's diplomats who are interfering in the internal affairs of the Muslims in all the territories that are located around the Islamic land of Iran. It is American forces that have killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the countries they claim to have liberated, and the Americans who sponsor and train the despotic regimes that have terrorised Islamic movements and committed activists around the world. And it is American occupation of Muslim countries that requires a stern response with a confident voice from those who govern the Islamic State of Iran in these quickly shifting geo-political sands.
When this demonic Washingtonian voice lectures the Islamic Republic of Iran about trying to acquire nuclear technology, it should be put firmly in its place because the nuclear weapons that Washington has is enough to blow the world to kingdom come, and it is Washington that has an unrivaled record of aggression around the world. Washington has no moral authority to speak against nuclear weapons when it was Washington itself that dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the shaytani voice in Washington condemns the political institutions of Iran, saying that the elections there are a sham,Iran's leaders and supporters should point out that candidates for the US presidency are filtered by financial interests and the zionist lobby combined. You cannot run for president in the US if you do not have hundreds of millions of dollars; but you can run for president in Iran if you have thousands of dollars. This is the real difference between elections in America and Iran; yes, Iran has a Council of Guardians – up front and undisguised. But America has a cabal of plutocrats, cloaked and anonymous, who qualify and disqualify whoever they want, as they will.
Where are the fearless and able representatives of the Islamic Republic who can speak clearly against the American shaytani buzurg? Who are the courageous and high-powered representatives of the Islamic State who can tell the American people that they are ruled by a class of officials who are restricting freedoms at home and terrorizing other populations elsewhere? Let us hear it from Islamic statesmen. Let us hear them say the words of truth – that the United States is slowly but surely becoming a totalitarian state. Profiling at airports and points of entry into the US, secret evidence in courts of law, denial of due process, random detention of US residents and aliens from around the world, the misnamed "US Patriot Act", US prisons and gulags, embedded media and press correspondents, along with restrictions on a free press, hate crimes on the rise against Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians, and a host of other violations of the American Bill of Rights and civil liberties: all together these are a damning indictment of the US policies and government.
The Islamic State in Iran is the only real stronghold for the Muslims of the world; witness its resistance so far to any diplomatic traffic with zionism and its immediate watchdog (the US). Even the Islamic movement has a not so insignificant contingent that wants to tango diplomatically with the US. If the Islamic State in Iran decides to do likewise, it will have departed from its unique position and joined the "pragmatic" crowd who, in their rush to Washington, are stampeding each other in a pathetic and ungodly manner. May the Almighty guide those brothers of ours who can see the shaytani handwriting in Washington, the hired men around Islamic Iran, and give these brothers the ‘izzat and taqwa to speak truth to power. Ameen.
The Islamic Uprising in Iran a quarter of a century ago is too important and too special for Muslims to simply watch it wander from its original and true course. We remember all too clearly the impact this breakthrough had on Muslims everywhere. For the first time in modern history, Muslims had risen against a corrupt government and its imperialist and zionist sponsors, and were able to take control of their own country, and begin to show the rest of us how things should be done.
Of course, the road forward was not likely to be smooth. The sponsors of the Pahlavi regime could not be expected to sit and watch a people shape their own future on the basis of their Islamic faith and commitment. Throughout the last 25 years, America and Israel have been working to bring the Islamic government in Iran to its knees, with the support of their Western allies, Iran’s pro-Western neighbours and even supporters within Iran. Iran’s borders amount to some 8,000 kilometers; American troops are now based across six thousand kilometers of this border. This grim scenario has been gradually built over 25 years, and has passed almost unnoticed by most Muslims, and even most Iranians. There has never been any cessation of hostilities between the followers of the line of Imam Khomeini (r.a.), who refuse to compromise when it comes to the independence and sovereignty of the Islamic state, and the numerous other interests wanting to shape the state on their terms.
Part of our object in this new column is to look at some of the gaps that have developed since the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a.), many of which are rooted in earlier events, and how these gaps have caused serious problems about which we can no longer remain silent. But before we walk into this sensitive area, one point needs to be made absolutely clear. This is that none of the points we make are intended to express any criticism of Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the successor to Imam Khomeini (r.a.) as Rahbar of the Islamic State. Many of the points we make will be highlighting natural processes in the evolution of post-Revolutionary state and society. Others will indeed involve criticism of errors and failures in Iran, mainly on the part of those who have been responsible for aspects of Iranian government and policy at the executive level. It was inevitable that such errors and failures should emerge over a quarter of a century in an unprecedented and highly-pressured historical situation; unfortunately they have contributed greatly to what many now see as the Islamic experiment’s current stagnation.
Sometimes frank statements of truth can be bitter pills to swallow; we hope no-one will consider this column to be too bitter a pill. We say what we say only to express our honest understanding of the issues. If we are correct, we appeal earnestly to Allah to accept our humble words to our humble readers. If not, we request Allah’s forgiveness and correction from anyone able to do so; without, we hope, descending into personal issues or hidden agendas. Ameen.