Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Bahraini sectarianism and al-Sadr exposed! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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For the situation to reach the stage where Shiite Iraqi leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling on the people of Bahrain to boycott the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, after meeting what an Iranian media outlet described as Bahraini “revolutionaries” in Iran’s Qom; then there can be no doubt that what we are witnessing is outright sectarianism, particularly as al-Sadr’s stances have been exposed, especially with regards to Syria, where the people are being killed on a daily basis.

Of course, it is no coincidence that the Kingdom of Bahrain is witnessing Molotov cocktail attacks on one of the teams taking part in the Formula One race, at the same time that there we are witnessing Iranian escalation against Bahrain. It seems that Moqtada al-Sadr is contributing to this, in one way or another, for here we see al-Sadr calling on the Bahrainis to boycott the Formula One race, whilst meeting with those who describe themselves as Bahraini revolutionaries in Qom, whilst the prominent Iranian “mashreghnews” website carried this news item as its top story. However if al-Sadr is meeting with Shiite Bahraini opposition figures, and in Qom no less, then how can anybody deny that what is happening in Bahrain is sectarianism? Is there anything more sectarian than this? In addition to this the Sadrists – who themselves are supported by Iran – are also supporting and defending Bashar al-Assad, who has been killing the Syrian people on a daily basis for almost 12 months; therefore Moqtada al-Sadr is no different than Hassan Nasrallah, who is calling on the Syrian people to carry out dialogue with the tyrant al-Assad! This is a truly strange set of affairs!

Here some might say that we should not make generalizations about what is happening in Bahrain by saying that the Bahraini opposition – or the Shiites – are all with al-Sadr or Iran. This is correct; however we must also make note that the rational or intellectuals have isolated themselves from the situation in Bahrain. Where are the rational or moderate Shiite Bahrainis who came out to condemn al-Sadr’s statements about the Formula One race, or the meeting of Bahraini opposition figures with al-Sadr in Qom? Indeed, no rational Shiite Bahrainis – or anybody with a real and valuable vision regarding the Shiite project in the region – have come forward in this regard. Sunni intellectuals, for example, stood up to the extremists who wanted to decide the fate of the Muslim ummah from Tora Bora, however we do not hear any Shiite intellectuals – particularly after the so-called false Arab Spring – condemning those who want to decide the fate of the region’s Shiites from Qom, or by way of figures like Hassan Nasrallah or al-Sadr, therefore this is truly a frightening situation!

In this case al-Sadr, and prior to him, Hassan Nasrallah, interfering in Bahraini affairs represents flagrant evidence of the abhorrent sectarianism that is affecting the Kingdom of Bahrain, and this is responsible for driving the Bahraini opposition, especially the Shiites and particularly those who have failed to distance themselves from the extremists in Qom, and this includes those in the southern suburbs [of Beirut], or shall we say, the children of Iran. Therefore the Shiite Bahraini opposition, as well as other Shiites in the region, will not benefit by hiding behind demands for reform so long as they continue to allow extremist figures like Nasrallah or al-Sadr to interfere in their affairs. This is not to mention the extremist stances of figures like Ahmadinejad, who is the first Iranian president to visit the occupied Emirati islands. Therefore what the Shiite Bahraini opposition, or revolutionaries – and others – have forgotten is that al-Sadr’s cover has been exposed in Iraq and Syria, so how can they attempt to benefit from this in Bahrain or the Arab Gulf?