February 09, 2005

Anti-Iranian Propaganda Campaign by Pan-Arabists : Intresting development in Islamic World

Anti-Shiite and Anti-Iranian Propaganda Campaign

Iran, Daily Newspaper, No. 3047, Feb. 1st, 2005, Page 11-12
By : Esmaeil Azadi
Word Count : 1488

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq spelled an end to the most powerful Pan-Arabist tendency in the region but an anti-Shiite campaign led by the Saudi billionaire Osama bin Laden promoted into a terrorist act after Taliban was toppled in Afghanistan. The region got rid of an anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian government but now the Pan-Arabism and Bin Ladenism are united to strike a strategic blow to Iranians and Iraqi Shiites because they are afraid of the latter taking power in the post-Saddam Iraq.

This unified network had mouthpieces like Qatari Al-Jazeera television channel and Jordan’s King Abdullah II and above all the US-based National Geographic Society. Many analysts believe that Iran will become a power scaring away pan-Arabism if it is not preoccupied with domestic and international challenges. Tribal conflicts like pan-Arabism and pan-Turkism are stirred in the country to avoid the Islamic government from gaining influence. Moreover, Iran is presented with challenges in its foreign affairs. Senior Middle East expert and university professor, Dr Hamid Ahmadi, comments on this anti-Iranian and anti-Shiite campaign in the region.

Q: The Middle East region seems to witness a widespread anti-Iranian and anti-Shiite campaign mainly due to Iran’s influence. What do you think?
A: Such a campaign is not anything new for the region but it picked up speed after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein (in Iraq) and Taliban (in Afghanistan). Certain Arab groups are ideologically hostile toward Iran. The most prominent ones are Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism. I have to note that this version of Pan-Islamism is much different from the one led by Seyed Jamal and it is directed by Osama bin Laden who calls for violence. These two tendencies suffered two major blows in recent years. The Bin Ladenism lost its bastion in Afghanistan and is now on the defensive and the former ruling Baathist regime – the symbol of anti-Iranian radical Pan-Arabism – was overthrown in Iraq. Now the remnants of these two tendencies have the sentiment that Iran has benefited from these two events.

Q: They suspect Iran of being behind the actions against them. Why?
A: They imagine that Iran will take further power if this trend of events goes on. That is why they have launched a widespread campaign targeting Iran’s national interests, civilizational and cultural heritage, territorial integrity as well as Iran’s Islamic convictions. Jordan’s monarch King Abdullah II and Iraqi minister of defense Hazim al-Shaalan press unfounded accusations against Iran and they are all in such a direction. Moreover, Iraqi Shiites are close to dominating the future government and Pan-Arabists and Pan-Islamists are afraid of Iran’s clout with the Iraqi Shiites.

Q: Was attribution of a fake name to the Persian Gulf in the same direction?
A: Yes, you are quite right. Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism date from long time ago. Inspired with Wahhabist extremism, Bin Ladenism launched a pervasive invasion of Shiism in the 18th century. Iraqi holy shrines were dese4created and Shiites were massacred. Many books were written against Iran. Pan-Arabism took shape in the early 20th century when the Ottoman Empire collapsed. This tendency laid baseless claims to Iran’s territory and they moved to rename the Persian Gulf.

Q: The Persian Gulf has been subject to renaming campaigns by other foreign-based groups.
A: Former Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul-Nasser had launched a pan-Arabist campaign in 1968 and Saddam Hussein continued his conspiracy. Saddam Hussein organized many conferences and published lots of books about the so-called Arabian Gulf. Mercenary academics were also helping him to this effect. He wanted to rename Khuzestan Arabia. He committed his biggest mistake when he campaigned toward Khuzestan. With the victory in 1979 of the Islamic Revolution, some pan-Arabists pointed their fingers to Sistan-Baluchistan province calling it the “Arab Land”. Some Persian Gulf sheikhdoms were in favor of such campaign and they did not withhold any financial aid.
After the revolution, Iran’s national heritage and civilization was somewhat ignored and Pan-Arabists took advantage of this opportunity to launch a creeping move against Iran. They paid the world’s universities and academic centers to work against Iran’s heritage. The main objective was renaming the Persian Gulf.

Q: Can you touch on any indication?
A: Many dissertations presented to the United States military academies use the Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf. These American officers were once active in the Persian Gulf bases and they were bribed by Arab sheikhs. The US-based National Geographic Society is going bankrupt because of the emergence of Internet and satellite. It has lost its client and it is resorting to dollars from Arabs. Iran undertook relentless efforts to have the atlas corrected but the campaign does not cease to continue against Iran. Afterwards, pan-Arabs used Al-Jazeera to serve their objectives.

Q: Jordan’s monarch was on the aggressive but he stepped back very soon. Why?
A: He raised groundless claims regarding a “Shiite Crescent” wanted by Iran but he was heaped with scorn even from Arabs. Some Egyptian, Iraqi and Lebanese intellectuals fired a broadside on him and King Abdullah II had to retreat. I have to note that King Abdullah and his father do not belong to Pan-Arabism but they are influenced. We do not believe in any historical clash between Iran and Arabs but the fact is that the Arab world cannot tolerate a developed powerful Iran in the Middle East. They would be very happy to see Iran invaded.

Q: Aren’t there any other reasons for their hostility against Iran?
A: Pan-Arabs are powerful in certain places and they hold a negative view of Iran. Naturally, Iranians hold a grudge of them. Pan-Arabs started their enmity and Iranians had nothing to do with Arabs. Iran is a Muslim nation with rich culture and civilization. Iran wants to be a regional power to the dismay of Arabs.

Q: Is Shiism a bone of contention between Iran and Pan-Arabs?
A: Yes, of course. Iranians are expelled from Iraq and Shiites are being discredited.

Q: Last year, Iran offered a request to win an observer status at the Arab League but Arabs did not welcome the proposal. Iran is moving towards Arabs and seeks to cooperate with them but they show hostility. Why?
A: The national sentiments of Iranians are not well known to a group of authorities who are of the view that Iran should move towards Arabs. We share borders with Arabs and we had better live in peace but we cannot close our eyes on our national heritage and civilization. We are Muslims and Shiism is our spiritual heritage. Arabs should respect our convictions but they have not done so in the past 25 years. Iran has entered the Arab world and it has committed mistakes. The Islamic Republic has not seen its interests guaranteed. We have had a single case of success and that was Syrian support for Iran during the Iraqi invasion (1980-1988). In other cases, Iran has failed and the country should no longer invest in Arabs. Arabs believe that Iran meddles with their affairs while they are wrong. Iranians have proven their honesty and sincerity but they got no result. Iran should remain a powerful country in the region and the Arabs have to observe the rules of the game. The US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were beneficial to Iran because a powerful Pan-Arabism and a strong Bin-Ladenism were wiped off. Iran did not interfere with these two attacks but these two tendencies continue to claim that Tehran and Washington were in cahoots. Afterwards, they have launched other invasive campaigns against our country and they are trying to pit the United States and Israel against Iran. They are praying for a day Washington and Tel Aviv attack Iran so that they can pillage our rich culture and civilization. The United Arab Emirates has published a book giving recommendations to Arabs after the United States and Israel strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Q: How can Iran react?
A: Any confrontation will be harmful to the Islamic Republic. Pan-Arabist nations are allies of Israel and they have recognized the Jewish state but they are bolstering anti-Semitic sentiments in Iran in order to pit Tel Aviv against Tehran.
The only solution is empowerment of Iran and we should not let our country be undermined. Pan-Arabism and Bin Ladenism want to be a friend of Iran after it cedes its national heritage to them. For instance, they assert that Islam and nationality cannot match. Islam surfaced in Iran 1,400 years ago and there is no contrast between the notions of Islamism and nationalism. Iranian Muslims revived the national heritage of Iran. Patriotic scholar Allama Tabatabie says Islamism and nationalism have no contradiction. In recent years, there has been a verbal attack against pre-Islamic elite like Cyrus the Great dubbing him the first Zionist in the world! Everything results from Pan-Arabs.

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