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It Doesn't Matter If They Are Salafis or Shiites - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Iranian media chorus wishes to mislead the Arab and Islamic world into believing that the Saudi Arabian military conflict in its southern border region with the Huthi insurgents is nothing more than a sectarian conflict against the Zaidi Shiites. According to Iranian publications and “Iranized” media, such as newspapers and Arab satellite channels, Saudi Arabia’s defense of its national borders is being portrayed as a Salafi or Wahabi conflict against the oppressed Huthi Shiites.

It does not require a lot of effort to disprove this and expose those who are promoting such false information as Saudi Arabia has been fighting a fierce war against extremists, takfiris, and terrorists, all of whom are either followers or ideological supporters of the Al Qaeda organization. These groups are undoubtedly cloaked in the Salafi ideology, however despite this the “Salafi” Saudi Arabia has not shown them any mercy, and has not hesitated to pursue and destroy them, both physically and ideologically. This is because these groups have stepped over the line and threatened the country from within by targeting Saudi Arabia’s security headquarters, economic infrastructure, and also its political figures. Only a tiny minority of those with low self esteem in the Sunni Salafi Saudi Arabia sympathies with those who raise these Salafi slogans. Those who follow this ideology are psychologically troubled, and if they were free to do as they pleased, they would ultimately end up attacking one another, in the same way that fire consumes itself when it runs out of fuel.

The Huthi insurgents and the Salafi takfirist terrorists are equally threatening. The former picked a quarrel in Saudi Arabia’s border region and sent in armed fighters to infiltrate the Saudi interior, while the takfirists are comprised of psychologically disturbed [Saudi] citizens who want to destabilize the country from within. These two dangerous factions were handled in the same aggressive manner [by Saudi Arabia] regardless of their sectarian slogans. It is a remarkable coincidence that the Saudi military conflict with the Huthi insurgents that began in November 2009 is taking place almost exactly 30 years after “Salafi” Saudi Arabia was able to end its conflict with a Salafi extremist group that claimed affiliation to the “Ahl al-Hadith” movement. It was this extremist group that occupied the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca [November 20 1979] and who were dealt with very harshly by the government. In fact all surviving insurgents of the Grand Mosque Seizure were sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia, regardless of their ideological or sectarian affiliations.

Insurgents and rebels such as this do not have a specific sectarian banner. Therefore at this time when Saudi Arabia is defending itself against the Huthi insurgents and attempting uncover the Huthi plots and those who are behind them, it is not acceptable for anybody to raise the sectarian dimension of this conflict, or insult the members of another sect, as this only serves to further divide national unity. National unity is required to confront the external enemies, whose objectives are to divide and weaken Saudi Arabia and incite riots between Saudi Arabia’s different sects and factions. In addition to the fact that sectarian statements sow dissension in society, it also causes peaceful and neutral people to adopt attitudes contrary to those of the national consensus, and this is exactly what Iran and the Huthi insurgents want. This can be seen in the Iranian plots to destabilize Arab countries that do not [traditionally] suffer sectarian conflict, and this is what Iran is doing today in Yemen, and what it did in other [Arab] countries prior to this. It is worth nothing that following the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the Iranian wolf was keen to devour its wounded neighbor. Iraqi Shiites genuinely attempted to resist this Iranian influence and were calling for national unity to fight against the Iranian interference. However all these voices were silenced after the sectarian tensions in Iraq began to intensify. This is an important lesson that must be learned by everybody in order to ensure that this tragic experience is never repeated.

Dr. Hamad Al-Majid

Dr. Hamad Al-Majid

Dr. Hamad Al-Majid is a journalist and former member of the official Saudi National Organization for Human Rights. Dr. Al-Majid is a graduate of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh and holds an MA from the University of California and a doctorate from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.

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