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What Turkish threat? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It was very strange when Iraqi Prime Minister [Nouri al-Maliki] said in Washington that he was not worried about [threats to] his country from Iran, but rather he was concerned about Turkish interference. This is at a time when one of the Iranian Supreme Leader’s advisors said that the Turkish model of secular Islam – as he put it – is not suitable for the Arab world, and warned against the danger it represents.

Two warnings of the Turkish threat, one Iranian and one Iraqi, within the space of just one week. Of course this is highly significant, particularly as just last year Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for example, was promoting the idea of the “youthful alliance”, where he sought to create an alliance between himself, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad and [Lebanese prime minister] Saad Hariri. Indeed, he tried to convince them [to join this alliance], alongside [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah, who previously said – against the backdrop of the “Freedom Flotilla” crisis which was headed to Gaza at the time – that Turkey is more Arab than the Arabs themselves. At the time, Nasrallah was showering Ankara with tribute and praise. So how, after all this, has Turkey now become a threat to Iraq and Iran? How have matters reached the stage whereby Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to the Iranian Supreme Leader, says that the Turkey’s approach to Islam is not suitable for the Arab world and its “Islamic revival”?

Of course, the reason for this shift against Turkey, and its portrayal as a threat today by Iran, al-Maliki and Hezbollah, is very simple, and it lies in Turkey’s stance towards what is happening to the unarmed Syrian people, at a time when Tehran and its allies in the region are trying to save Bashar al-Assad from being overthrown, thus protecting Iran’s interests and influence. Unfortunately, this is sectarianism, and so we find, for example, Khamenei’s advisor choosing what is appropriate for the region, and what is not appropriate with regards to systems of governance, and even approaches to Islam! We find al-Maliki volunteering to say in Washington that he does not fear [threats to] his country from Iranian influence, but rather from Turkish interference. Here we can also hear Iraqi officials like Mowaffak al-Rubaie, who we know well – whilst we also know all about his speeches on al-Maliki, Iran and Qassem Suleimani – suddenly appearing on Al-Arabiya warning of the Salafist threat in Syria, and calling upon the Syrian opposition to respond to the Baghdad initiative on the Syrian revolution!

Thus, the story is not about the Turkish threat or otherwise, but it is rather a sectarian story that is being exposed day by day. The proponents of such sectarianism are continuing with a mistake that is now four decades old, namely transforming Syria into an Iranian province. In doing so, Iran thinks that it will extend its influence in the region, especially now that Baghdad is under the control of one of its allies. However, the surprise has come from Syria itself this time, and at the hands of the Syrian people. Therefore, Iran has lost its senses today, and is watching its plot to export the Iranian revolution abroad unravel before its eyes, whilst it is also seeing the map of its sectarian allies on the verge of being completely ripped up, thanks to the Syrian revolutions which repeatedly chants “No Iran, no Hezbollah, we want someone who fears God”.

The beauty of this phase we are experiencing, despite is serious and brutal nature, is that it is being played out in the open. The year 2011 has exposed a lot of lies, delusions, and myths!

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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