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The Great Sedition - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It seems that Hussein Shariatmadari was right when he said, “If anything happens, the Americans and Israelis will regret it. Hezbollah is just a sample of what might take place. This can be compared with what we can do”.

This Iranian hawkish journalist, the editor of the Keyhan newspaper and adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, made this statement last March to Asharq Al-Awsat as he was outlining the capabilities and resources of the Iranian Islamic Republic in response to those that may wish to prevent it from expanding or possessing military nuclear capability. Yes, he was right in his warning as we see the divine party [Hezbollah] occupying Lebanon and demolishing civil peace.

Hezbollah’s military coup was not haphazard. It constitutes a part of the Iranian resistance system and a card whose time has come to be used to strengthen Tehran’s negotiating stand and “incidentally” strengthening the stand of al Assad’s Damascus. It is not an issue of resistance or of the communications network or an airport officer. All this is nonsense.

Even if Hezbollah believed that Siniora’s government – whose executive power has been usurped – was capable of actually activating such decisions or decrees, the most that was expected of the divine party’s reaction on the political level was to announce that it quite simply rejects these decisions. No one would have been able to force it to abide by these decisions since it knows that no one in Lebanon has these “holy” weapons except itself. Who would it be afraid of?

Hezbollah perpetrated this internal war primarily in favor of the Iranian agenda. Hezbollah cannot deny its organic ties to Iran in the fields of armament, policy, doctrine, and media (a few days ago, the Al-Manar television channel announced that it would broadcast a two-part documentary on Iran’s military might). The party is an integral part of the Iranian establishment. Even its proclaimed motto that is emblazoned on its official banner – “The Islamic Revolution in Lebanon” – notes the parenthetical mention of “in Lebanon”. In other words, Hezbollah is part of a broader plan that includes the whole Muslim world and Nasrallah and his followers are no more than the local proxy agent of this plan in Lebanon.

The divine party is tied to the Iran of the Khomeini revolution and it is delegated to disseminate its ideological context. The party itself is not embarrassed to admit this fact and is actually proud of it. It is enough to see large posters of Khamenei and Khomeini being distributed in all the Shia neighborhoods and villages in Lebanon by the followers of Hezbollah of course.

From the beginning, the party’s close ties to Khomeini’s revolutionary plan were obvious. They were even more obvious in the beginning. Even when he was a young leader in Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah’s statements were more insolent in admitting these ties and this affiliation.

On a certain occasion in Lebanon in March 1997, Ibrahim al-Amin, the then spokesman of Hezbollah, said, “We do not say that we are part of Iran. We say we are Iran in Lebanon and Lebanon in Iran”. This was reported in the Al-Nahar newspaper at the time.

On another occasion, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah told the Al-Muqawamah [The Resistance] magazine, the mouthpiece of the party’s military wing, said, “The religious authority there (Iran) constitutes the religious and legitimate cover of our struggle” (The Al-Muqawamah magazine, No.27, Pages 15 and 16).

Therefore, the tale of the immunity and ascendancy of the arms of the resistance has fallen. It had fallen in the past but the party and its supporters continue to blackmail everyone as they accuse them of treason and lie to the people by saying that the weapons of the resistance will not be pointed inward. This fable has also fallen and the Khomeini party’s weapons have turned inward. Hezbollah can no longer claim that it is not a militia. I say it is worse than a militia because if the traditional characteristic of militiamen is to be mercenaries or to fight without a major ideological principle, Hezbollah’s weapons have a fundamentalist religious characteristic and it is an external tool that is being exploited in favor of a foreign state, namely Iran, as Khamenei’s adviser Shariatmadari has stated.

The truth that Hassan Nasrallah should keep in mind – and I believe that he forgot it in the euphoria of power – is that he has unleashed the effectiveness of sedition in the full sense of the word in a region that is strongly agitated and susceptible to religious and sectarian sensationalism.

He should know that the way he humiliated his allies from the militias of the Amal movement and the Al-Qawmi al-Suri party will lead to strong and violent reactions that will be difficult to end regardless of the results of the Arab committee or the state of the internal Lebanese policy. I am talking about something bigger and more dangerous. Is this educated man – who is well informed about the history of Islam – unaware of the legacy of the wars between the Sunnis and Shia? Does he not see the consequences of this sedition in Iraq? Did he not see the bloody war that took place in Pakistan between the Sunnis and the Shia?

How could he gamble with the destiny of the Lebanese Shia sect which is a principal component of the Lebanese people? How could he gamble and perhaps bequeath to it the hostility of others just because the Wilayat-e-Faqih in Tehran decided to ignite the fire in Lebanon because of its personal problem with the United States?

The divine party has committed a crime against the Lebanese Shias and, just as Walid Jumblatt said, many of them are powerless.

The amazing thing is that during his press conference that preceded the surge of his valiant fighters in the alleys of west Beirut, Nasrallah belittled the existence of a Sunni-Shia sedition, and then said, “No one can scare us with the word sedition,” with a smile of indifference as if saying even if the Sunnis feel humiliated and insulted this will not have an effect on what I do. This is the epitome of an arrogant disregard in a region that is agitated on the religious and political levels.

I do not know if Nasrallah is aware of all that. I do not know whether he now knows that the image of the divine party in the Arab and Muslim worlds has sunk to the very bottom and is associated closely with sectarianism whether he likes it or not.

With the growing indignation of the rest of the Lebanese, especially the Sunnis, what one fears now is the emergence of a climate of extremism and violence. Everyone knows that for a time, [Abu Musab] al Zarqawi in Iraq floated on the anger of the Sunnis against Shia extremism and the bullying of the Badr Corps.

The circumstances, ambiguities, and arenas may be different but there is no escape from admitting that “Hezbollah’s raid” has unleashed a wave of extremism and counter extremism. History will record that Hezbollah was the first to ignite the fires of Sunni-Shia sedition in Lebanon. They may then repent when it is too late for repentance.

For many years we have been criticizing and we will continue to criticize Sunni extremism and the extremism of Sunni fundamentalist religious groups. However, what about the fundamentalist Shia surge? What about the Iranian Khomeini onslaught?

Evil is one and what we are witnessing at present is Shia fundamentalist bullying that is more dangerous than Al-Qaeda. This bullying is tied to the execution of a project and a vision of a big state in the Middle East; namely, Iran. Al-Qaeda, however, terrorized and killed for its own interest and account, an account that is dispersed and chaotic.

I know that many Arab Shias are angry at Iranian policy. I also know that many Lebanese Shias do not approve – some secretly and some openly – of Hezbollah’s conduct. Suffice it to recall that Ali al-Amin, the mufti of Sidon and Jabal Amil, was one of the victims of Hezbollah’s Islamic resistance following an attack on his home only because Al-Amin decided to pledge allegiance to Lebanon rather than to Iran.

The wise Arab Shias should rise to repulse this Iranian onslaught on the Arab countries in order to nip a sedition that was fomented by Hezbollah and that will not stop at Lebanon: I see the ashes and the embers of fires about to ignite. If not extinguished by the wise, their fuel will be dead bodies and illusions.

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi is a Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism, as well as on Saudi affairs. He is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page editor. Mr. Zaydi has worked for the local Saudi press, and has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

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