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Al Sayyid and the Mullah are Seeking Help! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The wonders of politics and fate never cease; Sayyid Muqtada al Sadr is demanding ending the security crackdown against his armed men and is calling for the resorting to the political process.

Meanwhile, the Taliban followers of Mullah Omar are calling on the United Nations, the Red Cross and human rights organizations to intervene in [Afghanistan’s President Hamid] Karzai’s government to stop the execution of hundreds of their supporters!

If anyone had proposed these ideas a few years ago; it would have been perceived as predicting the future or as dreaming – but that is the truth. Sayyid Muqtada al Sadr, who emerged from the rubble of the US occupation of Iraq and who named a whole city ‘al Sadr’ and managed to have significant clout in Iraq after Saddam, was incapable of mastering the political game.

And yet today, al Sadr issued a final warning to the Iraqi government “to take the path of peace and stop violence against its own people,” or else it would be “no different from Saddam Hussein’s regime”.

When did al Sadr and his supporters ever take the peaceful route? And when did he ever renounce sectarian violence for a peaceful alternative so that he may call for peace today?

Al Sadr had devoted his time to provocation; he wanted everything or nothing, which is the simplest proof of political ignorance. Today, al Sadr is resorting to the political process and political mechanisms before it’s too late.

The same applies to the Taliban movement led by Mullah Omar; a group that has reigned through backwardness and takfir (denouncing fellow Muslims as disbelievers) and represented a safe haven to all the takfiris and misguided followers. The Taliban deemed the United Nations and all those under its protection to be kafirs (unbelievers) and attacked them everywhere.

During the Taliban reign, being affiliated to the Red Cross was an accusation and a stigma that in and of itself was enough to warrant execution or prison. There would be negotiations and international mediators involved in order to release those who were affiliated to international organizations in Afghanistan. Likewise, the situation was the same when it came to human rights organizations which the Taliban and its allies viewed as a cover for espionage.

Today, after all that, the Taliban is seeking help from those whom it had previously attacked and deemed disbelievers and is moreover demanding the mercy that it did not show to foreign journalists, researchers and activists on its land. What is noteworthy is that the Taliban justifies its appeal by saying that its elements that have been detained were “arrested on charges of fighting for freedom.”

But does the Taliban believe in the concept of freedom to begin with? And does it respect it? Is freedom a word that exists in the Taliban’s dictionary and among its supporters in Al-Qaeda?

Today the Taliban and Muqtada al Sadr are calling for resorting to the laws of a game in which they have become addicted to breaking the rules. And as the saying goes; the worst thing about being above the law is that you cannot enjoy the shelter of its umbrella when you need it. This is why one finds that al Sadr and the Taliban’s calls for rescue are not met with real compassion since they have lost their sources of support and the wise men have tired of advising them.

However, it is not al Sadr and the Taliban alone who have called out to be rescued by those they had labeled enemies or parties that have let them down. After the 2006 war, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, after declaring a divine victory appeared on television and called upon “everyone who loved Lebanon to put an end to the war”.

Likewise, Khaled Meshaal emerged from the Gaza siege threatening doom and destruction to all those who do not save Gaza – after he destroyed it and seized control of it.

What an abundance of lessons surround us and how little we learn!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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