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May 17, 2012 No.
4735

Article In London-Based Saudi Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Confront Iran On Its Home Turf

In a May 7, 2012 article in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Yemeni publicist and poet Mohammed Jumeh called on the Arabs formulate a strategy for a political, cultural and financial confrontation with Iran, in coordination with Turkey. This would be accomplished by intervening in Iran's internal affairs and supporting the non-Persian minorities there in their struggle to restore their rights. According to Jumeh, Iran conducts wars on other countries' soil in order to distance danger from itself and prevent an internal conflagration within its own borders; he therefore recommends to give it a taste of its own medicine.

Following are excerpts from the article:[1]

Iran's Method Is "to Intervene in Struggles within Rival Countries, and Thus Distance the Flames [from Itself]"

"Iran employs a clear strategy of exporting not just its Khomeinist revolution, but also its internal problems. Its method is to intervene in struggles within rival countries and thus distance the flames from its own [internal] conflicts, so that the embers do not grow and erupt... Iran understands that its internal situation is not good, and that the smallest spark could cause these internal conflicts to burst into flame. Therefore, it desperately [attempts] to establish battle fronts beyond its borders, in order to distract its enemies and decrease the pressure exerted upon it. It does not care about the death-toll caused by its external campaigns, or about the fissures that its policy creates between peoples and among peoples in the region. Nor does it care about the flames that still burn in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Syria...

"Iran's wars beyond its borders have an additional benefit, which is to make it appear like a united country whose social fabric cannot be broken. Therefore, Iran does not want its rivals to imitate its game, since they, too, can achieve the results it obtains by conducting wars beyond its borders.

"That is why the Arabs must now play this same game against Iran. In Iran there are Sunnis and Shi'ites, and we must involve ourselves in the matter the severe discrimination... that afflicts most of the Iranian Sunnis, who don't have a single mosque in the capital... [Then there are] the people of Iran's Ahvaz [region], who are fellow Arabs and fellow Muslims, and their land is Arab land. They have their [own] history and political entities, which Iran can never erase. We must support the Ahvazi Arab people in order to restore its cultural and economic rights, and in order to lift some of the pressure from the Arabs in Syria, Yemen, and the Gulf. Merely hinting that we support the legitimate demands of the Ahvazi Arab people will cause Iranian policymakers to understand that they live in a glass house. Iran also has Kurds that suffer racial discrimination and conduct armed resistance to restore their rights, which they have found in Iraq but not in Iran. It also has Sunni Baluchi and Azerbaijanis, who are persecuted, and with whom Arabs must make contact so that Iran realizes that it is not the only one who can have a finger in every pie."

"In Their Relations with Iran, the Arabs Should Assume... a Policy of 'What Goes Around Comes Around'"

"In their relations with Iran, the Arabs should assume a position of equal power, based on a policy of 'what goes around comes around.' The Arabs will have more power and resources if they adopt a unified policy regarding Iran's greedy [coveting] of the resources of the peoples in the region. We lack nothing but a clear strategy of confrontation – and I do not mean a military confrontation, but rather a diplomatic, cultural and economic confrontation with Iran, including a confrontation [conducted] from inside its own territory.

"When you look at Iran from a distance, its [social] fabric seems very homogenous. But a closer look reveals the [internal] conflicts within this mosaic, and the Arabs must understand Iran's weakness at this time.

"Here we must also address the role of the Arab media directed at the Iranian peoples. If Iran funds close to 40 Arabic-language satellite channels that spread resentment, religious hatred, and sectarian strife [in the Arab world], and are rife with anti-Arab Shu'ubiyya,[2] then at the very least we must set up several Farsi-language satellite channels, to make Iran understand that its own social fragility is greater than it realizes, and also greater than the Arabs realize.

"Iran's current methods are reminiscent of the old European colonialists, who meddled in our countries under the pretext of protecting Christian Arab minorities, until they completely took over most Arab lands. Iran is doing the same thing today when it meddles in Arab affairs under the pretext of protecting Shi'ite Arab minorities... Just as the Christian minorities were not the real reason that prompted the European colonialists to enter our countries, the Shi'ite Arab minorities are not the real reason for Iran's mad dash to meddle in our affairs. The [Iranian] goal is clear: to take over resources in the region, break the will of its peoples, and enforce a regional [Iranian] hegemony. If defense of Shi'ite Arabs was Iran's [real] motive, then it would have granted [the non-Persian] Shi'ites in Iran their full rights, instead of forcing them to speak Farsi and forbidding them to preserve their cultural heritage."

The Arabs Should Coordinate with the Turks in Dealing with Iran

"Arabs today have no choice but to put aside [their] disagreements and unite around an Arab plan – a plan whose outlines began to emerge as the peoples of the region [began to express] their passion for freedom and justice [in the Arab Spring]. Let us note that, in this matter, the Arabs can play the regional-balance card in coordination with the Turks, in order to curb Iran's rash [policies]. Turkey is growing close to the Arabs in order to anger Europe, so why shouldn't we grow close to them in order to anger Iran? Not to mention that the Turks are apparently engaged in a secular cultural enterprise, and their conduct is more mature and relevant to the pace of modern times than [that of] the Mullah regime, which continues to believe that the hidden Mahdi controls the foundations of [human] existence as he pleases..."


Endnotes:

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), May 7, 2012.

[2] The Shu'ubiyya was a spiritual movement in the early Abbasid period, which operated among peoples conquered by the Arabs. The movement rebelled against Arab supremacy and championed equality among all Muslims.