Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Islamists and the Gulf States’ stability | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The intense attack that is being carried out against Islamists in the Arab world, particularly in the Gulf States, is akin to a priceless service for Iran and its regional political and ideological expansion project. This is because such attacks are not the same thing as objective criticism. Iran is trying to infiltrate our Arab world via “certain” regional Islamist factions. Iran has drawn up two plans to help it carry out its expansionist desires. The first plan relies on marketing the Iranian influence via deceptive Iranian revolutionary slogans such as “Islamic unity, resistance to Israeli occupation and undermining US influence.” Such slogans have worked, resulting in some regional Islamist factions cementing ties with Tehran in return for Iranian financial aid. For Iran, the “return” for such a trade-off is priceless, particularly in terms of its political and ideological influence in the region.

However this plan has been damaged and completely exposed by the Syrian revolution. At the same time, Tehran and its regional lackeys have become the subject of mockery and ridicule for their meaningless assertions of their support for the vulnerable [Syrian] people, for they make such assertions whilst continuing to defend the Bashar al-Assad regime, which is the most tyrannical and blood-thirsty regime in the region. Indeed, the nature of the al-Assad regime is clear to see in the manner that it is dealing with the vulnerable and unarmed people of Syria, who are only seeking freedom and dignity. This ridicule and mockery of Iran and its allies has reached the point whereby Iran’s loyal Lebanese lieutenant, Hassan Nasrallah, appears almost pitiful as he continues to claim that the ouster of the Bashar al-Assad regime would mark an end for the “resistance” regime [against Israel]. Nasrallah is making such statements when he is well aware that this ploy is repulsive and stupid; it appears that the most he can achieve by repeating such repulsive and stupid rhetoric is to demonstrate – to his leaders in Qom – that he is “doing his duty.”

The second plan, with regards to Iran’s political and ideological expansionist strategy, relies on exploiting the estrangement between Islamist trends and Arab governments, using this as a bridge to infiltrate our region. In this endeavour, Iran is adopting the saying that “if your friend has turned away from you, come to us and we will give you comfort.” This was the message that the King of Ghassan sent to one of Prophet Mohamed’s companions, Ka’b ibn Malik, during the Tabuk Expedition. This is precisely what the Iranians managed to achieve by exploiting the Arab estrangement with Hamas, offering their hand in friendship to the Palestinian movement, thereby achieving something that the Arab states have failed to fulfil. This is what the Arab intellectuals who were upset by the Islamists’ deserved parliamentary victories in Egypt, Tunisia, Kuwait and Morocco, have failed to understand; they have therefore begun to warn other Arab states against the Islamist trends in their countries. This all is happening at a time when our region is experiencing a pivotal battle in Syria against Iranian influence, a battle that requires our joint collective efforts against Tehran, rather than undermining our efforts and preoccupying Arab public opinion with marginal issues that are not as dangerous or important as our struggle with the looming Iranian threat.

In fact, inciting hostility and antagonism between Arab states’ governments – particularly Gulf States – and domestic Islamist movement, not only undermines our collective efforts to resist Iran and its plots, it also means demolishing an innovative experience that should be copied and pasted in the remaining Arab states. This experience relies on “merging” Islamist trends with government operations, ensuring that their activities and programs are part of government work, as is the case with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. In fact, this relationship has relieved the existing tensions [between governments and Islamist movements], and those countries that have followed this path have avoided the chaos and unrest that struck Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. This chaos and unrest was a result of the bitter hostility between the governments and domestic Islamist trends, a situation which served as an incubator for tension and then revolution.

Therefore, it is ill-advised to delight in warning Gulf States against Islamist trends. Such advice would only serve to create a dangerous climate of chaos and unrest, whilst also doing Tehran a great favour, as Iran’s mouth waters whenever it hears of a state of antagonism or tension between Gulf States and their domestic Islamist trends, as Tehran is always the primary beneficiary of this!