by Abu Dharr (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 4, Sha'ban, 1435)
The House of Saud has financed many mercenary writers to paint the Islamic Republic of Iran in a negative light. This hate-campaign, however, is not limited to Iran; even the Ikhwan in Egypt have become victims of Saudi vilification.
Forty years ago the average activist Muslim, or shall we say, a politically conscious Muslim was in some countries a stranger, in some cultures a trespasser, and in some regions a reactionary — all in all a committed politically conscious Muslim was anyone who did not belong in the environment in which he found himself. This self-respecting politically oriented committed Muslim belonged to an Islamic organization or party, always on the margins, and never a serious political opposition to be reckoned with. Committed Muslims in this embryonic stage were living in a diaspora. Saudi Arabia corralled them into its sphere of influence and many of these estranged and bereft committed Muslims found solace under the Saudi Arabian umbrella.
Then came the Islamic Revolution in Iran. This Islamically-led revolution became the first homeward base for all estranged Muslims of self-determination. The initial chemistry between this Islamic cornerstone and the scattered Islamic organizations and parties around the world was natural and interchangeable. But that chemistry was — in a short time — contaminated by Saudi largesse or infected by Saudi inspired lethargy.
The American approved and Saudi financed war that was launched by a secular Ba‘thist Iraq, which lasted for eight years and claimed over one million dead and a few million disabled and displaced, was meant to poison an Islamic populist movement merging with an Islamic independent leadership. Not one year, not even one day was spared by the Israeli-American Saudi regime to enclose Islamic Iran into a state of umbrage and isolation. The sectarian word-painting of Islamic Iran by the Saudi financed media empire has gone a long way in trying to drive a wedge between Islamic Iran and the Islamic movements throughout the world. The Saudi financed mass media empire spanning the Arabic, English, Urdu, French, and Persian languages, among others, concentrated its dirty disinformation and flagrant false statements on characterizing Iran and Persia as outside the pale of Islam: either because of their ‘ajami (non-Arabian) origins or because of their Shi‘i (non-Saudi defined Sunni) convictions. The bare-ass abhorrence of the Saudi someones against an Islamic Iran of self-determination can be found in the millions (and this is not an exaggeration) of hate books and hate literature that has been published and distributed — in many areas and at many times — free of charge throughout the Muslim world. Let us take a close look at how deep, how ancient and how far Saudi hatred of an Islamic free state in Iran is.
Some Saudi inspired, financed, and widely distributed books and booklets against Islamic Iran tell us that Persian antipathy toward Arabians predates Islam. In their discussion of pre-Islamic times the Saudi mercenary writers and authors tell their public that Persia in alliance with exiled and indentured Jews occupied and destroyed Babel, Iraq in 536bce. These same freelance moneymaking journalists and commentators cheer Alexander the Great and his army for having ripped apart Persia’s empire. These same cashed and materialistic writers and authors applaud the fantastic and outstanding military successes of Arabian forces prior to Islam against Persia.
…any sane person may dismiss this Arabian recount of ancient history as a type of nationalistic hubris or some type of cultural pride and prejudice. But Saudi instigation and revulsion go beyond that. Their vindictiveness against Islamic Iran begins to re-read and reinterpret Islamic history.
Up until now any sane person may dismiss this Arabian recount of ancient history as a type of nationalistic hubris or some type of cultural pride and prejudice. But Saudi instigation and revulsion go beyond that. Their vindictiveness against Islamic Iran begins to re-read and reinterpret Islamic history. They tell us that the Islamic liberation movement (of course they don’t call it that, they simply refer to it as Islamic expansion) in the 7th century CE entered into Iraq and from there eastward into Persia. These Saudi mercenary mouthpieces highlight the defeat of the famous Persian King Yazdagerd, son of Shahriyar, whose three daughters were considered akin to prisoners of war and were taken, we are told with words of jingoism, to the Khalifah ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, who was expected to pass them on to his military commanders. Except that Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib was present and advised ‘Umar to honor these young ladies as they were daughters of royalty. ‘Umar referred this whole affair to Imam ‘Ali. The Imam, we are told, matched the first with ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, the second with Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, and the last, who was known as Shahrbanu or Shahzenan, he matched with Imam Husayn the son of Imam ‘Ali, and who gave birth to Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (Zayn al-‘Abideen). These Saudi Arabian financed story-tellers say that the marriage of Imam Husayn to a Persian caused the Persians to champion Imam ‘Ali and his sons after him. Persian nationalists cloaked in Islam used this connection with Imam ‘Ali to take revenge against the rest of the Muslims from then onwards; and especially against Muslims who are Arabic speakers. The rest is history as they say.
From tracing this one propagandist Saudi thread — and there are many, many others — we realize that the hostility of the Saudi regime is intense, extreme, and unfathomable. Their Wahhabistic literature is littered with diatribes and undertones that frankly amount to hate literature and hate speech.
Let us turn now from how the jaded Saudi establishmentarians feel and speak about “Iran” to how they are expressing themselves toward the “Ikhwan.” Only in the past couple of months, the Saudi inspired and financed composers and communicators have been sharpening their pencils and poisoning their words against the Ikhwan. They are telling anyone who is willing to read and listen that the Ikhwan are delusional. They say that the Ikhwan are gambling on their confidence in Saudi goodwill, that the Ikhwan truly believe senior Saudis are good people and of noble character, and that the current official Saudi attitude is transient — give it time and “happy days are back again.” The Saudis are aware that the Ikhwan feel convinced it is only a matter of time before Arabia becomes Ikhwanistan. The Salafis have no real popular appeal, the liberals have never been much of an irritant, and so time is on the side of the Ikhwan.
The Saudi officials are currently and most likely in the process of weeding out the Salafis from the Ikhwan and the Ikhwan are in the process of integrating into a salafi disguise by camouflage. Where all of this will go is anyone’s guess.
One way of looking at the recent Saudi diplomatic gesture of inviting the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic to come to Saudi Arabia is to secure Islamic Iran while turning its guns against the Ikhwan. Egypt to Saudi Arabia is what Syria is to Iran. The galaxy difference between the two is that Saudi Arabia needs Egypt for its own survival, while Islamic Iran needs Syria for the survival of the Palestinian cause and people. The Saudi royal regime can no longer live with an ancient-to-contemporary hostility toward “Iran” and a contemporary-to-immediate hostility toward the “Ikhwan.” One of those hostilities has to give in. Thus, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister’s open invitation to his Iranian counterpart.
The disinclination of the Ikhwan toward Islamic Iran and the estrangement of Islamic Iran from the Ikhwan has become a Saudi opportunity. When the Saudi regime was cuddling the Ikhwan, the Ikhwan saw no need for Islamic Iran; it remains to be seen how and what Islamic Iran will do when and if the Saudis make up with the Ikhwan!?
There is a major shakeup inside the ruling regime in Arabia. This is going to cause some type of repositioning of Saudi officialdom internally and externally. We will have to wait and see how this plays out as the Saudi decision makers are spread very thin between their survival priorities and their superpower divinities.
Saudi Arabia has dealt the Islamic Republic of Iran a deadly hand for decades now. It has dealt the Shi‘is a steady stream of eradication accusations. It has also dealt the Islamic movement in its “Sunni” dimension doses of periodic and episodic anaesthesia. It is now on the verge of administering a lethal quantum of de-legitimization and extermination.
Saudi propaganda, which says that Shi‘is are kafirs and the Ikhwan are terrorists, is a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Will the Ikhwan finally kick the Saudi habit and rehabilitate themselves from decades of Saudi dependence? Will the general Muslim public wake up and realize that the linchpin of imperialist and Zionist policies has thrived on the lethal role played by those Saudis in dividing the Muslims?
Will Islamic Iran see through Saudi desperate diplomacy? Will there be a tradeoff in which Egypt is solidly lodged within the Saudi orbit while Iran looks the other way, and Syria regroups within the Iranian orbit with Saudi acquiescence?
The Ikhwan have managed through their shortsightedness and naivete to become the most wanted by the regimes in Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Syria tolerated a few of them provided they would concentrate on liberating Palestine. Saudi Arabia tolerated many of them provided they would not concentrate on Islamic Iran. Egypt tolerated all of them provided they would be entrapped in an “Arab Spring.” None of these regimes would tolerate the Ikhwan for who they are — a simple lesson that is taking more time than necessary to learn by the most numerous of Islamic movements, “And they said, ‘Our Sustainer! We obeyed our overlords and our kingpins and they caused us to lose track…’” (33:67).