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memri
October 15, 2018 No.
7709

Saudi Columnist: Ahwaz Shooting Was 'Brave' And 'Legitimate' Act Of 'Resistance,' Was Hopefully The First Of Many

Following the September 22, 2018 shooting in Iran's Ahwaz region, Muhammad Ahl Al-Sheikh, a columnist for the Saudi government daily Al-Jazirah, described the shooting as a "legitimate resistance operation" by the Arab minority that is oppressed by the Iranian regime, and expressed hope for further attacks of this kind. He also speculated that, if the opposition groups of the ethnic minorities in Iran unite and receive funding and support from other opponents of the Iranian regime, they will be able to secede from Iran and gain independence.

It should be noted that the Saudi and Gulf press has published similar articles in the past, calling to support the Ahwazi resistance against the Iranian regime.[1]

The following are excerpts from Ahl Al-Sheikh's article:[2]


The site of the shooting in Ahwaz (image: arabi21.com, September 25, 2018)

"The latest fidai [i.e., sacrifice] attack in Ahwaz – or Arabistan, to use its historic name – had nothing to do with ISIS,[3] because ISIS acts for Iran's benefit, and would it be logical for one to shoot oneself? This operation, in which 29 Iranians died, was a resistance operation aimed at liberating [Ahwaz] from the vile Persian occupation. Logic therefore dictates that whoever justifies Iranian [acts of] revenge against the Ahwazis is just like someone who justifies Israel's acts of revenge against the Palestinians, who are fighting to liberate their homeland from the Israeli occupation. Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Russia condemned the [Ahwaz] operation and called it terror, when it is in fact a legitimate resistance operation that should be supported by the Arabs before anyone else, for those who were martyred while carrying it out were pure Arabs.

"I believe that the time is ripe for the Arab opposition groups in Ahwaz to light the fuse, and I hope with all my heart that this brave fidai operation will be the first rain that heralds a future torrent. Iran is now beset with troubles on every front, and it will take a miracle to save it. There are also other ethnic minorities that dare to act and demand to secede [from Iran], such as the Kurds in the north of the country and the Balochis in the southeast. When the ethnic minorities feel that the Ayatollah regime has been exhausted by the economic sanctions that [the U.S.] is expected to impose on it this November, the movements demanding to secede and receive independence are likely to proliferate, just as happened in Yugoslavia. In the present era, states survive if they have a strong economy, but collapse if their economy falters and grows weak. It is economic [factors] that defeated the Soviet Union, for example, and caused it to collapse completely – and its nuclear arsenal and power did not avail it. Iran has neither the power, the abilities, the status nor the influence that the Soviet Union had. So how can it avoid this inevitable fate, especially when it consists of a variety of different ethnicities and sects, just like the Soviet Union? This lends the fidai operation in Ahwaz meanings and implications that analysts cannot overlook.

"Until 1925, the Arab state of Ahwaz was occupied by Britain. Then it was invaded by the Iranian Shah, Reza [Shah] Pahlavi, who annexed it by force, tried to turn its Arab people into Persians and changed its historic name from Ahwaz to Khuzestan. This occupied Arab state demanded independence from Iran several times, but these attempts failed due to the violent repression by the Shah regime and later by the Ayatollah regime. If the Arab, Kurdish and Balochi liberation movements coordinate [their actions] and gain funding and assistance from opponents of the Ayatollah regime, they have a good chance of succeeding, especially considering that this regime is bound to suffocate under the sanctions and will not have the strength to cope with domestic rebellions, if they spread and if they are properly coordinated and organized.

"I only hope that the latest fidai operation will not be an isolated incident but the first of a series."

 


[2] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), September 25, 2018.

[3] It should be noted that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. See MEMRI JTTM reports: ISIS Claims Responsibility For Attack On Military Parade In Ahvaz, Iran, September 22, 2018; ISIS Spokesman: The ISIS Operatives Who Carried Out Ahwaz Attack Shattered The IRGC's Prestige; This Will Not Be The Last Attack, September 26, 2018.