Since talk began about the Shia crescent “encircling” the region, signs of Iranian interference in a number of locations are clearly visible. Iran wants to make the most of the consequences of the recent Hezbollah-Israel war and the popularity that Hassan Nasrallah now enjoys. The Iranian plan to export the revolution was rejected at a time when it was headed by characters such as Khomeini, Rafsanjani and Khamenei. Today however, it has a new face and new “mythical heroes” and of course, it is possible that it will receive the necessary acceptance in the Arab world.
The Shia, as a sect, has existed in the region for a long time but there had been no plan to export the Shia way of thinking and to increase the widening gap between the Sunnis and the Shia, however, there is more and more evidence that the campaign has begun to take on various forms.
There is a clear Iranian/Shia infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood and many of its leading figures and protégé movements such as Hamas in Palestine. The thinker behind the movement, Khaled Meshaal sings the praises of the relationship between Iran and Hamas. The Shiazation of Palestine is a tangible reality.
There has been infiltration of independent newspapers in Egypt and a number of them have began to publish columns slandering the Companions and Wives of the Prophet (PBUH), influenced by the traditional Shia message about the main Companions of the Prophet as well as Aisha (may God be pleased with them all).
Entertainment has also not been spared from the signs of the aforementioned plan. In one of the most popular television series of this year entitled ‘Ibn al Rashid’, produced by Syrian and Jordanian production companies, one episode demonstrates evident promotion of Shiism. It did so by portraying the character of Amin, after he had been sent away to study in Khurasan, showing a massive interest in Shia writers and reading and repeating controversial paragraphs and requesting that the books be translated into Arabic.
Even in Sudan there is information that indicates that the horrific assassination of the late journalist, Mohammed Taha, was a result of his adopting of Shia views that were not shared by extremist groups. The Iranian project is concealed by the cloak of Shiism and the two elements serve each other. These issues are critical and sensitive in the Islamic world and to maintain a rational distance between the two sides would calm rather than fuel the situation. However, an attempt to trespass onto the territory of others will upset the balance.
The position of “Revolutionary Iran” towards violent movements within the Islamic world is suspicious. It has issued postage stamps bearing the faces of Sayyed Qutb and Khalid al Islambuli, two leading figures of violence and extremism. Not only has Iran named one of its major roads after Al Islambuli, it is also home to a number of leading figures within the Al Qaeda organization. It is inevitable that all of this would provoke shock and apprehension regarding the grand Iranian project in the Middle East.
There are alarming signs of Iranian activity on Arab and Islamic territories. Such activity needs to be understood and studied accurately in order to learn of other objectives.