Eliminating Extremism and Sectarianism

https://rasanah-iiis.org/english/?p=1700

ByMohammed Alsulami

Before the 1979 ‘Islamic Revolution’, Iran and the world coexisted in a state of relative peace and harmony. That did not last after the Mullahs imposed a theocratic and sectarian doctrine, which is centred on a foundation of expansionist sectarian war or “exporting the revolution”, now seen across the Arab world. With mass murder and oppression based on ethnicity and sect being carried out by militias and mercenaries across the region as a means of “exporting” Tehran’s theocratic “revolution”.
In straightforward terms, the regime’s doctrine of Jurist Leadership advocates very deliberately creating terror and sectarian strife across the Middle East region. The Iranian regime has taken it upon itself to wreak havoc to impose a theocratic rule, establishing cultural centres affiliated to its so-called Revolutionary Guard in many countries, including Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Comoros Islands. These centres’ mission was to create and entrench terrorist cells and spread the sectarian extremist ideology of the Jurist Leadership. Iranian terrorism has also targeted diplomatic missions inside Iran and abroad for some years.
Anyone studying the regime’s texts and its ‘edited’ version of Iranian history will be taught that the doctrine of Jurist Leadership promotes peace and coexistence and that this faith will gain legitimacy that is more widespread by exporting it internationally. In reality, this means more interference in other nations domestic affairs and more finance of terrorist activities regionally and globally.
Some may wonder about the motives behind this doctrine or the hostile policies of the Iranian regime. Given their geographic proximity and intimate first-hand knowledge and experience of the Iranian regime’s policies, Arab countries, and the GCC, in particular, understand the reality and true nature of the Iranian regime far better than those who lack this expertise.
Tehran’s ruling regime knows that the only way to ensure its survival is by distracting the attentions of the Iranian people. As well as the ethnic and religious minorities in the country, from their oppression via promising a glorious future of regional control via expansionism across the region (the ‘Escape Forward’ policy). The Iranian regime also keeps the people preoccupied with constant militaristic, nationalistic triumphalism to divert their attention from their suffering, oppression and poverty and to stop them questioning the regime’s legitimacy and efficiency, having long ago hijacked the revolution as an ideological tool to ensure their rule.
The theocratic government installed in 1979 by individuals with a limited understanding of Islam, was formally turned into a fully sectarian state by the introduction of Article 12 of the ‘Islamic Republic’s’ constitution, which ushered in a historical era of inciting sectarian strife. Moreover, supporting terrorism via the Revolutionary Guards and other regime-affiliated militias domestically and abroad.
The atrocious living conditions of Baluchi and Kurdish peoples, as well as of Ahwazi Arabs and other minorities, in Iran, shows how the regime’s Jurist Leadership doctrine has been used to impose the most brutal political. Further, economic and other persecution based on ethnicity and sect, mainly making a two-tier system of Iranian Shia and ‘others.’ That operates a de facto apartheid system against the ‘others’ and which practices the same brutal persecution against any dissidents.
Anyone monitoring executions and torture of Baha’i, Sunni, and Christian minorities in Iranian prisons, then comparing these with the figures from the pre-1979 data will quickly see the terrible suffering unleashed on Iranian society by the advent of the ‘Islamic Republic.’ The Iranian regime’s efforts to pretend otherwise and to present an image of a civilised and forward-looking “moderate reformist” nation to the world will only be believed by those who disregard the evidence on the ground from the regime’s victims.

In addition to its domestic persecution and rule by terror, the regime has contributed to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, as well as countless innocent people within its borders, with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and various proxy sectarian militias fighting across the region.
At the level of collusion between the Iranian regime and terrorist groups, the ‘Islamic Republic’ is well known for its embrace of the leaders and members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, being classified as the world’s top state sponsor of terror by the US State Department. Moreover, providing these groups and many others with the necessary facilities, cash and arms to strike both Western and Arab targets.
The Al Qaeda leadership members hosted by Iran include including Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, Saif al-Adel, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Abu Laith al-Libi, and Abu al-Khair al-Masri, amongst others. Iran also hosted some members of Osama bin Laden’s family, and even to date shelters many of al-Qaida’s leaders wanted by US and other international intelligence agencies.
In a recent article in the New York Times, the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif feigned innocent outrage, condemning terrorist groups like ‘Jabhat Al-Nusra,’ for their crimes, including the execution of children. While we endorse this condemnation and express our revulsion at such acts, we would question Mr. Zarif’s failure to condemn the same atrocities and crime against humanity when they are perpetrated by Iran’s affiliated militias and indeed on government orders.
According to an Amnesty report published earlier this year, Iran took first place worldwide on its 2016 list of states, which execute children, with another 160 children still languishing on death row in the country.
“A man can do no more than he can do,” so how the Iranian foreign minister airily dismissed international concerns over Iran’s record number of executions under his leadership and its status as being second only to China in the number of executions annually and taking first place worldwide regarding executions per capita.
Indeed, regarding executions, the “moderate reformist” government of Hassan Rouhani has massively outperformed that of the “fundamentalist” Ahmadinejad’s. It is increasingly impossible to marry the public image presented by the regime globally with the reality.

Given these facts, Iranian officials’ efforts to represent the regime as being an innocent victim of brutal oppression. And, to condemn other states for their violence are increasingly surreal, with Zarif’s claims that “A man can do no more than he can do,” being nothing more than empty, ludicrous and offensive posturing.
Iran allegations about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s responsibility for supporting terrorism, meanwhile, might be slightly more plausible from a regime that was not itself the world’s primary sponsor of terror, according to not only to the US State Department but the Arab peoples. Indeed, Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries in the Iranian regime’s firing line, and the main one working to fight it and drain its resources.
Saudi Arabia’s efforts to counter terrorism have been acknowledged and lauded by the entire world, except for Iran, which views the concept of terror in a very different manner, redefining it as anything that might thwart any efforts to address the catastrophic chaos unleashed by Tehran on the region and the world.
Saudi Arabia has supported the International Centre for Counterterrorism and the International Centre for Countering Nuclear Terrorism, as well as participating in the international coalition to fight terrorism and establishing the Islamic Counter-Terrorism Alliance that includes 37 Islamic states. Saudi Arabia has donated tens of billions of dollars to the United Nations to support its efforts in this respect and has collaborated with the security services around the world to counter and frustrate terrorist operations. Saudi Arabia is also one of the nations targeted by al-Qaeda and ISIS, unlike Iran. Maybe Mr. Zarif can answer the simple question: What has Iran done to oppose terror, other than insincere issue statements? The answer, of course, is nothing.
If it wishes to, the Tehran regime can become a part of the existing international efforts against terror and join the rest of the world in fighting the phenomenon. It must do so, however, through meaningful deeds, not empty words and statements which are contradicted by its actions. Tehran’s claims to oppose terror will only be plausible when it ends its funding of militias and mercenaries, hands over the Al Qaeda leaders hosted on its territory and stopped sowing sectarian and religious hatred and conflicts across the region and the world. When Iran chooses real integration with the world and shifts from a sectarian theocracy based on ‘exporting the revolution’ to a state of laws and justice, abandoning its empowerment of autocratic fundamentalist clerics like Khomeini and Khamenei who follow a doctrine of oppression and sectarian totalitarianism. And becomes a normal functioning state, it can then claim to be fighting terror? But can Iran do so?
In conclusion, while the countries and peoples of the Middle East continue to emphasise their strong desire for a state of peaceful, respectful and neighbourly coexistence with Iran, they will not remain silent about the Iranian regime’s crimes and abuses.
The world’s choice to remain selectively blind to Iran’s catastrophic interventions and tampering across the region, and its igniting and funding of sectarian wars will cost us all dearly unless the international community makes a concerted effort to counter the mullahs’ bloodthirstiness and greed for regional control. If Iran does not abandon its policies of creating sectarian armies and extremist militias across the region, the consequences will be grave not only for the countries of the Middle East but the entire world.
If Iran fails to do this, the world must acknowledge that the chaos, bloodshed, terrorism and sectarian threat emanating from the Iranian regime can only be eradicated by uprooting this evil seed.

Translated Article: Watan Daily

Opinions in this article reflect the writer’s point of view, not necessarily the view of The Arabain GCIS

Mohammed Alsulami
Mohammed Alsulami
Head of Rasanah: International Institute for Iranian Studies