[Note by The Saker: some of you had noticed that I did post this article and then almost immediately removed it. This was due to a technical reason: the transcript at the bottom was missing. I removed the article at the request of the author. Now that we have the full text, I am posting it again. Sorry for any misunderstanding. The Saker]
US vs Iran: a case of rotten apples vs rotten oranges
by Anwar Khan
I was reading a recent article by our most esteemed Saker, “US vs Iran – a war of apples vs oranges”, which examined the potential outcomes and scenarios that a war between Iran and US could create. Once again I felt being enlightened by the brilliant military analysis— the kind that only the Saker can provide. Only someone more knowledgeable in military affairs than him can really find an issue with his analysis. But that was until the Saker added an opinion on a religious issue, and suddenly made the article look a little more biased than it should have been, with the usual lionization of Iran and Shias appeared, a common feature now in Russo-Centric political commentary. He said:
Most Iranian are Shia, that is well known. But what is less well-known is one of the key motto’s of the Shia which, I believe, beautifully expresses one of the key features of the Shia ethos, is: “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala”. It basically expresses the willingness to die for the truth at any time and in any place. Millions of Iranians, even those not necessarily very pious, have been raised with this determination to fight and resist, at any cost.(1) (End quote)
Before moving forward, let me clarify here, in no uncertain terms, that this bias is not a crime. We are all biased in some capacity in our perceptions. It cannot possibly be avoided at all times, or even most times. A Russo-centric worldview of contemporary times naturally inhibit a soft spot for Iran as it is seen as an important ally in the Russian efforts to challenge the Uni-polar Anglo-Zionist paradigm. Civilizational parallels between Russia and Iran are also often invoked, though they seem to be of secondary consideration. This is understandable. But what this embrace of Iran by Russo-Centric analysts have done is to (a) promote Iran as this passive political entity trying to peacefully live in a very difficult neighborhood, and overlooking many of Iran related excesses on the sectarian and political front, and (b) conveniently glossing over voices within the Shia community, which offer a much more nuanced view to the algorithm of being than we are led to belief. This, I believe, will not serve us with the complete picture of reality, even if its subscriber hold it to be sufficiently useful as a paradigm. This defensive posture on Iran, without taking into consideration many problems associated with Iranian politics, is also making Russo-centric analysis a little too predictable, and lacking depth.
I am not suggesting that the Saker is consciously peddling (a) and (b). In fact, time and again he has prefaced his writings with disclaimers that he does not hold the Iranian state to be perfect. But nonetheless, the thinly veiled soft spot for Iran shows up in his analysis, and does raise some questions on his objectivity. The folks over at the Soul of the East have gone as further as seeking a metaphysical bond between the Shia and Orthodox ethos, the embodiment of that being, according to them, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the martyrdom of Imam Hussein at Karbala.(2) While the last point is beyond the scope of this writing, let us briefly examine points (a) and (b), and see how they fare to the often invoked but little understood Everyday is Ashura and every land is Karbala, or “the willingness to die for the truth at any time and any place”.
Point (a)—Iranian excesses and getting away with it— is not very difficult to prove. All one has to do is examine the post 2003 American occupied Iraq and the Iranian role in turning it into—for all intended purposes— one of its provinces, and partly, if not fully, responsible for unleashing a most vicious sectarian politics on the populace— turning it into a nightmare where any idea of peaceful Sunni-Shia co-existence is becoming an impossible proposition. Pick your theory. Either Iran willfully unleashed this violence by employing sectarian outfits, or it turned a blind eye to what was happening knowing well it could stop it. There is no third option I am afraid. I can write a book on this issue but I do not see the need for it because those who want to refine their understanding will do even with small amounts of data, and those suffering from Certainty Syndrome will not be convinced even if oceans run dry from pointing the obvious. (3)
Having lived seven years in Jordan and having acquainted many Iraqi refugees who have become become good friends, their personal stories of suffering, torture and murder of loved ones at the hands of Shia militia, like the Badr Brigade, Jaysh al Mahdi, Kataib Hizbollah and Asaib Ahl al Haq, as had a personal impact on me. I have not formed my judgements through watching documentaries. It has given me a window into a world of which very few non-Muslim commentators (or Muslim for that matter) are even partially aware of. These painful anecdotes were supplemented by my own research into Sunni-Shia politics in Iraq, and the incontrovertible conclusion that this tragic sectarian politics could not have been conducted without Iranian knowledge at the very least, or their direct complicity at worst.
The alternative media’s focus on the Anglo-Zionist designs—among them the creation and employment of Wahhabi violence for the service of Empire— often make them blinded to the excesses of Shia outfits and Iran, as they are deemed part of the “resistance” block. Let’s take the example of the recently formed and highly romanticized Iraqi al Hashd al Shaʿbi (Popular Mobilization Units), who are lionized in the alternative media, especially the Russian-Centric (among them the South Front), for their efforts to win back territories lost to ISIS. But the alternative media often fail to mention the horrors—which would have made the Croatian Ustace proud— inflicted by them on the general Sunni populace. I do not belief in sharing violent videos to prove my point. But if you had the stomach for it, I suggest visiting Youtube and typing in Arabic “Shia Militia death squads in Iraq”, or “al Hashd al Shaʿabi murders” and you will be presented with hundreds of grotesque videos depicting violence inflicted on Iraqi Sunni population, among them children and elderly. Many of these crimes take place while the perpetrators are fully cognizant of being videotaped. It is often accompanied with shouts and slogans invoking Imam Hussein’s sacrifice in Karbala. I find it quite baffling how sectarian horrors by the Shia militiamen somehow escape the attention of the alternative media analysts, yet Wahhabi horrors are a daily reminder? Has the alternative media’s desire to categorize Iran and Shia outfits as the “resistance” block have turned them blind to some of these obvious crimes? Those who do mention them in passing, often employ a most soft language for them.
One cannot simply deny that this is happening. You can rationalize it one way or another, like, what I often hear, “yes, this is horrible but they are mainly reacting to what was done to them by ISIS and co”, or “Sunnis brought it upon themselves for siding with ISIS”, etc etc. Other than the inaccuracy of such statements, and the obvious lack of humanity in them, even if this was true, is this the best we have to say? Would Imam Hussein ever consent to such horrors perpetrated on his name, when he gave away his very life for raising the human condition from this depravity? Has the meaning of Imam Hussein’s sacrifice in Karbala parturitate barbarity as a response to barbarity? Is this Everyday is Ashura and every land is Karbala? This is assuming that the victims have any connection with ISIS. Most are simply innocent victims of sectarian hatred.
For those who want to argue that these excesses are the actions of Iraqi sectarian outfits— operating independent of the Iranian state— this position betrays a lack of in-depth understanding of the post 2003 Iraq-Iran nexus. Iran rules Iraq. Simple. This is not a headline from Foreign Affairs magazine or the Atlantic. Nor is this a rant of a disgruntled Sunni. This is the conclusion of every objective observer who has researched the geo-politics of the region diligently. While it could be argued that many on the ground operations of these sectarian militias are conducted without Iranian authorities’ knowledge, but to hold that Iran has no sway over the overall policy of sectarian cleansing is not factual.
If this is not enough to dispel the “the willingness to die for the truth at any time and in any place” myth, think of other betrayals of those raising the banner of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom, for example the Iranian cooperation with the Americans in overthrowing the Taliban, based on a totally fabricated pretext—which Iranian intelligence was fully aware of. I will shed no tears for the Taliban, an entity I detest intensely. But a war on a lie can never be justified, even if it is against the Taliban. There is a BBC interview of the then Iranian President Khatami boasting about this cooperation with the Americans, and how useful the toppling of Taliban was for Iran.Yes, Iranian cooperation—such as allowing the American’s to use their airspace— was a brilliant politically expedient act, but please let us not call it Everyday is Ashura and every land is Karbala. It was hardly standing tall to the wrongdoers. It was Machiavillian machination of highest order.
How about the Iranian performance in Iraq with the 2003 American invasion? Do we need to be reminded of the complete submission and then cooperation of Shia institutions with the occupiers? Iran instructed all Shia religious leaders, the most influential among them Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, to give fatwas or verdicts that resistance to the American invasion was prohibited. This was a calculated political move ensuring that the Baath party and Sunni institutions are given a resounding boot by the Americans, creating the space for the Shia outfits to grab power. Again, a brilliant political move, but hardly a Everyday is Ashura and every land is Karbala.
This last point actually raises many questions which I will not deal with here. I will leave the astute readers to ponder over them:
How do we understand the complete take-over of Iraq by Iran post 2003 American occupation? Is it possible that the Iranians could stretch their muscles right under the nose of the Empire’s military might, the like of which history has not witnessed before? Was the Empire that naive and incompetent to see Iran run away with the prize, only to pose as a more potent military threat and “resistance” block later? Are reports of a certain General Qasim Sulaimani calling General Petraus, cautioning and threatening him that “he rules Iraq”, have any credibility? Or is there a level of cooperation between Iran and the Empire the degree of which mere mortals like us are simply not aware of? Does the Empire really want to get rid of the theocratic Iranian state, or is it an indispensable tool in advancing the Shia-Sunni blood-letting which is one of the pillars of Empire?
As for point (b)— voices within the Shia community that differ from the mainstream narrative— let me introduce you to Sheikh Subhi Tufayli, the first General Secretary of Hizbollah. Below is a translated transcript of a brief interview and a snippet of a talk he delivered. Sheikh Tufayli is someone that many political commentators in West may not be aware of. As a Shia, Sheikh Tufayli’s take on the geo-political developments in the Middle East, is a departure from homogenization stamped on the political Shia narrative, and a proof of the non-monolith nature of voices within the Shia community, of which most non-Muslim or non-Arab analysts are simply not aware of. He is not necessarily right about everything he claims, but he certainly dispels many of the myths that some of us have harbored about Iran, Syria and Hizbollah. He has been called all kinds of names for his controversial stances, among them “an agent of Saudi Arabia”, “a Zionist tool” etc etc. How convenient for people to call someone an “agent” because he/she does not represent their cardboard-cut view of the world? This “agent”, by the way, lives in Hizbollah dominated Beqa valley, where he could be very easily targeted for his harsh criticisms of Hizbollah, yet he puts his life and loved ones lives—some of whom have died under very suspicious circumstances once he openly became critical of Hizbollah— in danger for “being a tool”? We can disagree with people without associating ulterior motives to their claims. Additionally, do Russian-centric analysts know about the population transfers along sectarian lines that Sheikh Tufayli claims to be taking place in Syria with Hizbollah’s participation? Is Hizbollah and Iran really part of the resistance block to the Empire, which is a foregone conclusion in the alternative, especially Russo-centric media? And finally, does the alternative media necessarily has to side with Iran and Hizbollah in their quest to resist the Empire’s designs? Can it not maintain its neutrality?
I do no have the answers to all of these questions, but I am willing to refine my understanding further, even if it causes me inconveniences. I certainly do not hold many of the cardboard-cut notions that many of my friends in the alternative media hold, even when their understanding is highly limited due to their lack of understanding the local languages, religions, cultures, and a very complex geo-politics of the region.
Let me conclude here with the following points, which ideally goes without saying, but since some readers are the trigger-happy type, I feel obliged to mention them to do away with any potential misunderstanding:
*Iran does not necessarily represent the Shia ethos. Just like Saudi Arabia does not represent Sunni ethos. These are states who have wrapped themselves in the garb of religion, doing as much bad as they can, and as much good as they must, to maintain their existence.
*Far be Imam Hussein and his sacrifice from the actions of sectarian outfits in Iraq and Iran. Millions of honorable Shias conduct their lives with utmost dignity and humanity and they are disgusted to no end to see the horrors perpetrated on the name of Imam Hussein, conveniently serving the Empire.
*Those of us who are against the Empire and their employment of Wahhabi groups for the destruction of Middle East, should not feel obliged to side with those who are, in the short-term and in a very limited capacity, opposed to its designs, like Iran or Hizbollah. Our job is to speak the truth wherever we find it, without hesitation, even when it causes us inconveniences and loss of friends and alliances. Remember, both Jesus and Imam Hussein were abandoned and friendless at the hour of truth. It comes with the territory.
George Orwell famously said “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” I am sure what he intended was the whole truth.
Here is the transcript of the interview. It seems to be conducted sometime in 2014-15, I believe. The video link is provided below.
Moderator: Sheikh Subhi Tufayli was born in 1948 in Lebanon. He studied religious science in Najaf Iraq, at the hands of Imam Mohammad Baqir al Sadr. He was one of the first to form the Association of Islamic Scholar in Lebanon in 1979. Then he became the first General Secretary of Hizbollah in 1980. He is known for many of his controversial stances… among them his denial to the obligation of imitating Wilayat al Faqih (Shia theocratic state, as in Iran), in the light of Quranic guidance and Prophetic Traditions. And his belief that the 2006 War [between Hizbollah and Israel] was an Iranian project. As well as his opinions regarding the Syrian Civil War and Hizbollah’s involvement in it. Let’s welcome from Beqa Valley (Lebanon) Sheikh Subhi Tufayli, former General-Secretary of Hizbollah.
Moderator: Your eminence, today a day does not pass except we hear about Hizbollah casualties in Syria. The latest statistics put the figure at over a thousand casualties, since its participation in the Syria War. In your opinion, does Hizbollah, today, find itself to be stuck in the Syria theatre?
Sheikh Tufayli: In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.Not only is Hizbollah stuck in the Syrian theatre, we are all stuck in it. The whole Islamic nation is stuck in this theatre. A theatre of strife, a theatre of serving the Zionists and Americans. Hizbollah and Iran and other regional countries are all stuck in the Syrian theatre which is most unfortunate.
But what really causes me pain is to see that a people’s organization like Hizbollah, a force that was created to be a uniting front of the Islamic nation, leading the fight against the Zionist enemy; an organization that was supposed to raise all the banners and weapons and means for the most important goal, which was the liberation of Palestine.. but most unfortunately the Iranian State and politics diverted all those efforts and means, and all of Hizbollah’s work, its youth, its martyrs, its legacy…Iran diverted it all towards projects of strife that only serves the Israelis and Americans. And serves all the Western projects in our region.
Not only is Hizbollah stuck in the Syrian theatre, but also quickly running out of blood, and with it wasting the efforts, aims and overall direction of the Islamic nation.
Therefore I invite all parties and especially Hizbollah to return to what pleases God and to stop its crimes against the Syrian people. Because the disintegration of Syria is a disintegration of the Islamic nation. Today its Syria, tomorrow it will be somewhere else. It won’t stop. Yes, many groups are involved in this, but Hizbollah is also involved.
Moderator: You have said that what is happening in the Syrian theatre is benefiting Israel, do you believe the actions of Hizbollah is of service to Israel?
Well.. their actions, at the end of the day, only benefits the Zionist Entity, and those who stand behind them in their nefarious projects against Muslim nations. That’s the only conclusion.
Because what is happening in Syria is part of a whole, what is happening in Iraq…in other Muslim lands, Arab lands, they are all parts of a whole which is the destruction of this nation, and its marginalization so that there stands no one in the region except Israel. And I believe that whoever enters the Syrian theatre, knows exactly this… and here I want to address the Iranian leadership in Tehran. I find myself baffled when I hear them talk of “Islamic unity”, and “resistance of Muslims to Israel”, and other Western projects, etc etc; and yet…your (Iran) actions do they mirror your slogans? I am sure you know well what you are doing does not achieve anything except help the Israeli enemy, whether intentionally or un-intentionally, but that’s what it is doing. It is helping Netanyahu and his supporters.
Moderator: But the General Secretary of Hizbollah, Hasan Nasrallah claims that the road to Jerusalem is through Zabadani, Homs and Aleppo, which is opposite of what you see?
Sheikh Tufayli: Yes on the death bodies of Muslims, their children, their homes. Yes [the road through Jerusalem] it is through all Muslim cities except Palestine! These are projects towards Hell. When I hear these kind of slogans I am simply baffled… how does one understand these slogans, after seeing the total destruction of Syria, how can the road to Palestine be through Syria?
Moderator: They claim to be fighting terrorism.
Sheikh Tufayli: Has anything remained of Syria? Are there any terrorists in Zabadani? By their own [Syrian government/Hizbollah] confession, they are claiming that Zabadani is only hosting its own inhabitants and there are no foreigners. Nothing has remained of Syria. Its over. Even with the best case scenario according to them[Syrian government/Hizbollah], they want Syria divided into separate parts. They want to make a small state around the Alawite Mountains along sectarian lines. This is what they want. Its over. Nothing remains of Syria anyways. Even if we hypothetically hold that the Syrian government will succeed in the Civil War, they are irrelevant anyways. For as long as one can remember, they never had any interest in advancing any of its people’s causes, whether the Palestinian Cause or otherwise.
Their [Hizbollah’s] involvement in this war is baseless. I want to ask what is the goal of transferring the [Sunni] natives of Zabadani out of their areas, and people of other villages, and fill it in with other people and create territorial cleansing of sectarian nature, if not to enforce an already thought out sectarian division? What is the need and wisdom in that? I was saying from the beginning of the Syrian conflict that the plan is to make an alliance of minorities, be them Alawis, Shias or Christian under an Israel laid out plan and management. And this compartmentalization of the region is most suitable for Israel as the Muslim resistance is weakened, and any challenge to Israel out of question.
The consequence of [Hizbollah’s] involvement in Syria was most obvious from the beginning. It only would have resulted in one thing and one thing only, and that to become agents of change for Israel, and to become their accomplice. Today in the mindset of Shia, the Israeli enemy is much more preferable than the other side. We hear this logic in the streets… everywhere. That the enemy of Shia is the Sunni and the enemy of Sunni is the Shia, and that the Jew is not the enemy. This is the reality now. We see it everywhere now. In the best case scenario we will have small powerless entities along sectarian lines, orbiting around the Israeli planet, only serving it and nothing more. Oh people have fear of God! Return to your faith! Don’t forget that one day you will be held accountable by God for standing with the Jews against your own kind.(End)
This is a transcript from another talk, delivered in 2016.
Sheikh Tufayli: We know, that the most corrupt people on the face of this earth are the current Iraqi leadership. The most corrupt system, the most lowly, the most despicable is the Iraqi government. I don’t mean the people. No. I mean the government. Americans only want people in power in our lands who are the most pathetic, thieves, scums, the lowest of the low.
And today the Iraqi government today is a Shia one. Don’t make any mistake about that. People have the right to say “this is your government O Shias”. Iraqi is one of the the richest in the world [in terms of oil], yet the people are suffering most miserably. The corruption in Iraq is, arguably, more dangerous, and hair-raising than the sectarian war within it. More dangerous than terrorism, and all other forms of challenges. Corruption is the real destructive force in society. If there was no corruption and criminals running the government, trust me, a lot of other issues, including the sectarian problems could have been solved.
It is important to know that the Shia religious establishment is running Iraq. Those with turbans. Make no mistake about that. There is no scarcity of religious piety in all departments. Its the same people who talk of the oppressions inflicted on the Ahl ul Bayt(Family of Prophet Muhammad), and that Imam Hussein(Grandson of Prophet Muhammad) stood against the oppressors and criminals of his time, and that Imam Ali did this and that, etc etc. Oh please spare me that. I am more than certain that no where in history, not in the Ummayad time, nor Abbasid, nor Ottoman you will find a more despicable example than those running Iraq today. And if our master Hussein sacrificed his life standing for righteousness and truth in the face of an oppressor like Yazid, trust me, the Iraqi government today is much worse than Yazid, in all departments. No doubt about it.
[Iraq]is the core of corruption, rather American corruption. That’s how they want it.
The bitter truth is that we, playing the Shia card and Sunni card, close our eyes to all kinds of despicable acts and enormities. We commit all kinds of crimes, destroy our societies, and allow it to be run by all kinds of dogs, just because “I am a Shia and you are Sunni”.
You see, the American do not want dignified people to run our governments. In Syria its not permissible for a ruler to be dignified. He has to be approved by the Americans. That’s the truth. Same thing in Libya. Same thing in Egypt…You see when Morsi became president, he thought of something. He said “you know what, Egypt as an influential government, along with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey should sit together and solve the Syrian problem”. Turkey went even further, it offered some economic packages and shared market engagements. Something like that. Check this out, Morsi was right about this. Listen to me, if Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudia and Pakistan formed some sort of alliance, just like Nato. These 5 nations have more than 500 million population. They have significant petroleum deposits, which is the lifeline of global economic. They have nuclear capabilities. They have all kind of capabilities. But it is required that you become a follower of a Russia or America, serving the bigger powers…Then they got rid of the guy [Morsi], and brought a 100% Israeli agent [Sisi]. You got that?
Just so you know I was against Morsi. But that doesn’t mean that we overthrow everything. Imprison him and torture him. Or we get rid of Erdogan or others and turn the whole region into a cess-pool like Iraq, Libya or Syria. Oh brothers! I want to address all who are listening to me. The Muslims are being targeted by the West for no just cause by the West. They say that “they are fighting terrorism”, by God they are lying. They created this terrorism, as a means to play with us and destroy us.(End)
(1) Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala, is a statement ascribed to Imam Jaʿfar al Sadiq the great-grandson of Imam Hussein.
(3) For further reading on this sectarian policy, I suggest the writings of Patrick Cockburn.
Thank you, Mr. Khan for a thought-provoking essay.
“… the creation and employment of Wahhabi violence for the service of Empire— often make them blinded to the excesses of Shia outfits and Iran, as they are deemed the “resistance” block.”
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Faced with the Hegemon and Wahhabi and Baathist hostility in Iraq, sadly, I don’t see what else a Shia nation state like Iran could do except trying to consolidate power and control in post-Saddam Iraq.
To do anything else would be to give power to enemies of Shia Islam and Iran.
There are dark impulses and hate in the masses, which find an outlet in sectarian warfare, and which have nothing to do with the religion they claim to follow and in whose name they claim to act.
No, what they did back in 2003 and thereafter gave power to the enemies of Islam (both Sunni & Shia), especially in Iraq, Syria, and so forth. Anwar Khan asks some very legitimate fair questions. (a bit exaggerated maybe, but that’s only good for clarity)
I followed the brutal US Nazi attack/destruction on/of Iraq very closely, and was totally disgusted by Iran’s obvious collaboration with them. It was their (AngloZionists/globalists) intention all along to turn Iraq into a cesspool and corrupt sectarian mess (the Nazi pedophile Biden raved about cutting Iraq into three parts right away). No doubt MI6, CIA, Mossad, Saudis, dressed up as Arabs, carried out many ‘sectarian’ attacks, but Iran disgustingly collaborated, and supported the U$ installed traitors, collaborators, thugs and thieves & their militias, brigades, and death squads.
The only one I liked was Muqtada al-Sadr, but these corrupt traitors (Maliki & the likes, charlatan mullahs, and the Iranian regime at the time) were worse than Saddam Hussein and the US (Nazi) troops, almost comparable to the Saudi/Wahhabis & ISIS, which of course are no Muslims, but merely the ugly sisters of the Zionist entity.
Saker , you got checkmated I think . No big deal since nobody is perfect
Actually, no, Saker is anything but checkmated, he allows Khan and Tufayli to show their belief system biases, perceptual/intellectual pitfalls and circular arguments. To do a line-by-line rebuttal of such a “wall of verbiage” (great turn of phrase thanks to Rhizomatic Schizomass) only serves to give credence to a flawed premise. For a similar “moralist debate” logic, readers should refer to the Chomsky-Harris exchange.
The “my god’s better than your god” that is at geopolitical play worldwide is a snare and a delusion, and Khan predictably follows down the ideologically narrow rabbit-run Tufayli sets out to become predictably ensnared. Any “moral laws” much beyond the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule (I’m sure other religions have similarly compact codes for the great unwashed) are more to confuse than elucidate. It is possible to eat pork and not die, or otherwise offend the universe.
Humans no longer look to Thor or Zeus (or other gods) to hurl lightning bolts to strike down our enemies or mete out justice against evil-doers. Could this be because lightning bolts are now known to be random releases of static electricity? So why do so many humans persist in thinking any deity is “on our side”? We now know 96% of the universe we are immersed in is beyond our ability to sense, but that does not “prove” the existence of any of the deities humans worship past or present. Just like the Biblical/folk-lore logic that the Earth was the centre of all existence, all the gods we created will also fail like Zeus and Thor as the supernatural is revealed to simply be nature we have not figured out yet. Spare me the “you are only worshiping science instead” straw man. Anyone can prove that gravity is real just by dropping a heavy rock on their toe, but no science yet knows the mechanism that gravity employs to instantaneously act over distances we can barely imagine. Invoke “god” as the mechanism for gravity or Dark Matter/Energy to forever remain as ignorant as those clerics who condemned Galileo and Copernicus.
Milgram and Zimbardo demonstrated how Bernays’ disciples so easily use authority and propaganda to convince humans to do inhuman things to others. And if religion as wielded by its authority-figures (church or state) to foment division and hate of others is correctly viewed as the archetypal propaganda system, why are any surprised at the same-old results.
The article is loaded with religious framing and rides on ancient tribal feuds to justify criticizing Iran/Hezbolla (along with Russia, Syria, and ya even Turkey) in confronting, in the only way possible, the US/NATO/Zionist/Saudi machinations at the behest of the Rothchilds, Soros, Kochs and the international MIC.
Humans should be free to believe what they wish, but anyone’s right to religious (or for that matter political/nationalistic) belief ends where the adherents try to force or foist those beliefs on others. Arguing over “what god really wants” has worked out SO well…NOT.
Humans should be free to believe what they wish, but anyone’s right to religious (or for that matter political/nationalistic) belief ends where the adherents . . .
annoy the would-be know it alls who imagine themselves to be essentially omniscient and authorized to speak on behalf of the same all-knowingness they otherwise deride the idea of.
@Talks-to-cats: Not sure where you’re going there…
I’m the first to admit when it comes to what the Dark 96% of the universe is and what it does, I Don’t Know. I can safely conjecture that if (that’s an important if) something as all-powerful and all-immersive as whatever makes the universe go on was an intelligent force (or god) as humans use the term intelligent, all religions everywhere on earth would be more identical in their basic belief systems. Cultural differences sure, but the core religious beliefs are wildly divergent, even within clusters like Judeo/Christian/Muslim. Which god is the right god? Are any of them actually right, and can square the teachings to the biggest chunks of what science can reasonably theorize. And why would only humans seem to be aware of the activities of this intelligence.
Do not confuse certainty/predictability of action with intelligence. Electricity is always “right” in that it follows the path of least resistance. Humans have found many ways to channel electricity to serve our needs, including creating fairly sophisticated logic systems which on some levels appear to be intelligent, capable of complex operation which were until recently thought to only be possible for humans. You’re using one right now to read this. But is the “rightness” of the action of electricity (or lack of electricity) mean it carries some inherent moral right/wrong subtext? Unless someone discovers that god speaks to us through the presence or absence of electricity, I’d say no, there is no moral subtext (McLuhan’s message notwithstanding). Otherwise we’re back to Zeus and Thor.
The really important things about the universe seem to be ubiquitous and fairly consistent (even if we don’t know all the local effects yet, recently discovered gravity waves being but one example), so any intelligence running the universe should be fairly obvious to us at this point… we’ve hit the limits of the technologies which have been used to tease out exotic particles/waves and what’s happening throughout and at the edges of space. Maybe CERN or the bigger collider being built in China may make a breakthrough, but even the scientists involved are saying “maybe”, instead of the confidence they had conceptualizing CERN or long-range telescopes.
We just don’t know, and the first step to finding out is to stop looking around the universe for some intelligence to worship. The universe is wonderous and marvellous without hanging a label like “god” on anything we can’t yet explain. It is our home. Humans should enjoy it, not fear some “jealous god” concocted by a bunch of bronze-age semi-nomadic tribes in the Fertile Crescent, or imagined to be blue in colour and the “destroyer of worlds”, etc.
IMO, you are trying to test something too subtle for your assumptions and procedure to come to grips with.
An illustration : “If daddy really loved me, he’d buy me a pony.”
This makes perfect sense to a nine year old girl. We can even laugh at it when we see it in someone else. But unfounded assumptions (and conclusions drawn from them) like this underlie more of our thinking than we are inclined to acknowledge. Like, again IMO, yours about the transcendental.
Really, that’s the best you’ve got. A snipe about ponies and some tease reference about transcendental. I think your reach exceeds your grasp.
So which unfounded assumptions… that Dark Matter/Energy don’t exist? Well, gravity and the galaxies accelerating away from us disagree with you. As do nearly all the scientists who have studied the phenomena.
That Zeus and Thor were not gods created by humans, reputed to control lightning bolts, aiming them at “evil doers”?
That most current religious faiths and metaphysical belief systems retain their roots in human-centric observations/cultures mistakenly (although understandably) assuming the universe as revolving around the earth?
Now here’s an idea you may not have expected me to present… scientists have been running random number generators on computers, looking for human activity correlations between anomalies in the randomness of the numbers generated. In this experiment they asked groups to meditate and saw significant deviations to randomness.
It’s getting late, so from memory I recall similar randomness disruptions being found with nuns praying and even when the planes hit on 9/11 (that was a BIG spike). So humans from a distance can intentionally, subtly affect the operation of computers, intentionally and unintentionally. Is this proof of god? Doubtful. More probably the action of some energy we don’t scientifically know about yet.
And then there’s Jill Bolte Taylor. A neuroscientist.
She describes her near-death experience, but she refers to feeling like she was melting into the furniture, into the life-force energy of the universe, not a god. So more questions. Are humans capable of being more in contact with the life-force energy (perhaps that ubiquitous Dark Matter/Energy?) via the neural activity in the right side of our brains? Maybe Timothy Leary is not dead after all.
So ya, I’m not your average comment section resident. My wife practices reiki, and has amazing experiences with her clients, so I comprehend practical transcendental ideas very well. Especially the “there is no: if I do this, that will definitely happen” mechanism in energy work. The energy of the universe is “right”, and does as it will… kinda like electricity.
The tough part is figuring out if what you sense while meditating is a real observation into the universe, or generated within your own mind. There is no firm answer at this point, just a lot of interesting phenomena and even more interesting questions.
Why is it that those who talk about science are only science enthusiasts, and fine arts people. This is not common among actual practitioners of science.
The people you use as your “appeal to authority” argument are social scientists, not real scientists they are populists who like to be the center of attention at parties among fawning fans hoping that some of the fake glitter will rub off on them by being in the presence of these charlatans — Balph Eubanks of this world.
I think it behooves honest people to be objective, they should shun the allure of becoming seduced by the idea of the caricatures presented to them by the media: MSM or alternate! One cannot think that one people are better and others a joke. This leads to the phenomenon of feeding on one sides propaganda, and confusing the source of any information distinct, even though it was first floated by a musing of its own. These ideas get refined by people wanting to prove themselves, who now thanks to the freedom of internet, can make this idea their own, refine in find some examples, and refine and polish it. In this circular world when you come across this nice polished idea, you think of it as not a polished form of your musing, but you take it as corroboration of your musings, and eat it up thinking that it is a prevailing view.
Ultimately this leads to a feedback system which is out of whack, people looking for validation, finding it, polishing it, until it blows up in their faces. Case in point the US election and the MSM as well as the Trump hopes and the alternate media.
The truth is that one underestimates a people, a problem, a subject, or a theory only to their caricature due to intellectual laziness and perhaps for some peace of mind. However, hope and peace of mind enjoyed under false premises is deadly.
I believe that the Saker works hard at being objective, most of the times he succeeds: but not all the time. However, I believe that his camp followers do him a disservice by turning into groupies. Bringing their own agendas in. This is not a Russia-Centric or Iran-Centric site, however, if one was to read the comments it is very hard to not come to that conclusion.
I hope that people will let him be the prime-mover of his own site without doing their best to undermine his objectivity. Flattery is the kryptonite of a thinking mind–many well meaning people are subverted by their hangers on. I think his readers will do him a service by not putting words into his mouth. We do not do science by democracy. Let him be objective please.
@ Jenn: To begin, where did you see any Russia- or Iran-centric bias in my posts? So in that you must have been referring to others’ posts.
If science is not democratic, then can one presume it is anarchic? Surely science by and for those in authority has been proven a blind alley, Galileo and Copernicus showing the folly of the church or the entrenched intellectual establishment deciding what is real. Or do you mean that the universe is as it is, not as the majority of humans might believe it is? Or better still, are you slyly referring to this quote?
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”― Isaac Asimov
Surely you don’t mean the gods/dogma of all the religions is the “knowledge” and my referencing science regarding Dark Matter/Energy is the “ignorance”.
But I prefer:
” If we take everything into account — not only what the ancients knew, but all of what we know today that they didn’t know — then I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know.
But, in admitting this, we have probably found the open channel.
This is not a new idea; this is the idea of the age of reason. This is the philosophy that guided the men who made the democracy that we live under. The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, and tossed out if necessary, with more new ideas brought in — a trial and error system. This method was a result of the fact that science was already showing itself to be a successful venture at the end of the eighteenth century. Even then it was clear to socially minded people that the openness of possibilities was an opportunity, and that doubt and discussion were essential to progress into the unknown. If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar.” -Richard Feynman
Saker himself has repeatedly said why he posts controversial articles he may or may not agree with. None of us truly are objective, and those who make that claim are either trying to fool themselves or others. Sure I have biases, but they are obvious in my writing. Mostly I have a problem with illegitimate authority, and those who use it to manipulate or abuse others.
I merely challenged Mamzer Meshumad’s contention Saker was “checkmated” by the article’s author and the author’s sources.
Saker (or at least his mods) allowed my views on religion stand, even though I know it goes against his personal beliefs.
As for Milgram and Zimbardo to be dismissed as “only social scientists”: When someone at CERN figures out by bashing particles together why over 60% of Milgram’s test subjects inflicted the fatal voltage, or Zimbard’s prison guards acted as they did, let us all know. In the Lucifer Effect, Zimbardo details the real WW2 inhumanity that otherwise psychological normal humans will inflict on others at the simple request of some authority figure or ideology.
With all due respect I said what I said, I meant it the way I meant it. Throwing names around and quoting people does not add to the gravitas–on the contrary, it takes away from it. An original idea is worth its weight in gold, attempting to lend it extra shine as a good measure (good Housekeeping Seal of approval) by making appeals to authority and using others quotes actually turns it into worthless junk.
The Saker is original, he is not playing games (at least in my opinion), so the questions of checkmating are by definition smearing his intentions by reducing it to the level of some game. This is sabotage, this is how courtiers co-opt the king. This is what is being done to Trump (if he actually had a independent mind). This is not about winning and losing, it is not about take-downs and gamesmanship. I think and I hope it is meant for educating people about their societies and as such it is the duty of the readership to insist on honesty and point out any biases which are legitimate. Most importantly, people should not try to goad him into their point of view through barely disguised flattery.
I think your view of why anyone is allowed to post by moderators is your attempt to read tea leaves, rather than any kind of validation. Why not leave speculation aside.
Anyway, I calls ’em as I sees ’em.
Lets, hope that we can all benefit from his wisdom and not demand his opinions on topics of our interest hoping for favors.
I subscribe to James Burke’s historically supported proposition that when it comes to ideas, “one plus one equals three”. As Newton said, he “stood on the shoulders of giants” to derive his Laws. So referencing and building on the ideas of other great thinkers is the norm for original thinkers, not the exception. If referencing some of the greatest original thinkers of all time while presenting a line of reasoning “turns it into worthless junk”, what authorities are valid in your estimation?
Again, I was not the one who suggested the article “checkmated” Saker, quite the opposite. This is the second time you have included this misinformation in a reply directed at me.
And exactly where did I “flatter” Saker? On the contrary, I mainly put forth an argument I know runs very counter to his personal religious beliefs. By some twisted logic, you are saying I flattered him by noting he and his mods were allowing my posts to stand? To snippily dismiss my observation of that as “reading tea leaves” is an attempt to place yourself in some superior position without any substantive basis.
Did I hit a nerve when I referenced the Chomsky-Harris exchange, which is an archetypal template for sidestepping propagandist attempts to frame an argument such that only certain items are “acceptable” rebuttals, as was plainly evident in the article and the expert it referenced? And ya, I have a problem with the tendency to try to use religion/culture-specific moralities and divisions to advance an argument, where the actual issue originates in a wider (though cynically hidden), totally secular framework. This is simply pandering to convenient “isms” rather than offering any real solutions to benefit the public suffering the harm accepted as “necessary” by the leaders. It is, in your own words, intellectually lazy to not look beyond the pat, if complicated, justifications presented, and move beyond the selfish intentions of those parties trying to make a case of one side vs. the other. Any competent analyst of current geopolitics realizes the long history of the uber-wealthy/powerful almost always playing both sides of any conflict, or at a minimum hedging against alternative outcomes to ensure selfish gains no matter which “side” prevails.
The attempt to slyly elevate oneself to being an authority figure here is a standard trick when the actual material presented by the critic is devoid of any factual or logical substance. The tactic is to obtusely criticize, but offer no alternative line of logic or fact to support an alternative premise, while also attempting to re-frame the issue. Sophist appeals such as for “educating people about their own societies” is to invite readers to go on an intellectual snipe hunt, especially at a multi-cultural site like this. It is one thing to present information and reasoned, supported opinion, it is another to “educate” in the manner you infer. To wit:
“A student (or reader, my addition) is not a container you have to fill but a torch you have to light up.” ― Albert Einstein
Specifically, you appropriate Saker’s “originality” to yourself and attempt to attach your passive-aggressive rhetoric against me to his well-earned reputation. Saker is perfectly capable of making his own position known, particularly given his personal attention in ensuring the original article was presented as the author intended.
I have been reading Saker’s blog long enough (well before I attempted to post) to see how the moderation is handled, and was not new to the news-site comment game when I first posted here. Saker and his mod team have developed a reasonable moderation framework of fairly wide permissibility and of thoughtful action, unlike many other politically-skewed comment sections. This despite agents provocateurs’ both crude and subtle attempts to disrupt thoughtful conversation or honest exposition of information.
Absolutely, I hope that “we all” can benefit from seeing how Saker and his mod-team have handled this exchange.
I leave readers with this: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein
It sounds to me like Jenn is championing information-free, Trotskyite ‘creativity’.
The Leninist ‘order out of chaos’ comes to mind, and we know how that worked out.
@ Franz: LOL! Well, given we are in the age of truthiness and post-fact society, creative intellectual thought no longer requires a foundation of fact or reasoned inference/opinion based on those facts.
To quote (oh gee, am I turning my reasoning into worthless junk?) Stephen Colbert (out of his TV character) said:
“It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But not anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything….”
Pardon the vulgarity, but opinions used to be like assholes, everyone had one.
And as for ‘Repors'[sic], the McLaren Report was based on nothing quite so much as on the Colbert ‘Repor.’
It seems poor Steven had a soul when he started, as did his writers. No longer.
Life imitates ‘art’ now… or at least it imitates artfulness.
Although I have it on good authority that I am in possession of only one, I have had people look at me as if I have two.
Such are the vicissitudes of disputing mainstream news memes.
I have no problem accepting nuggets of real insight from sources that may be otherwise seriously flawed.
Few know that Newton was also an alchemist, his work on which spanned approximately 30 years and was covered by 1/10th of his writings. And Newton was not alone, even though the beginnings of modern science were well under way in the 17th century, alchemy remained very active until well into the end of the 19th century. The status quo never wants to cede ground, and that is still true to day.
I apologize! I was obviously wrong! Look what happened to the original discussion! It has become some kind of polemic between commenters. I actually tried to nudge the discussion back to the original topic of the article–It is clear to me that this resulted in exactly the opposite result. Boys will be boys and they will never want to stop sniping even if it destroys the discourse…
A chess player never allows to be “checkmated”, if he can stop it.
Saker allowed the essay. He could had stopped it. It’s his blog.
Therefore, he was not “checkmated”.
@Mr. Anwar Khan
As a Muslim I will not want to argue against your assertion point by point because your writeup clearly indicate your background, where you are coming from and how you formed your opinion of the world and because I believe that what unite us is more important and concrete than are differences, but I’ll like to state one thing:
before you accuse others of something take a deep look at yourself and question your conscience.
May Allah guide us to the right path amen.
I’ll just like to add that Subhi Tufayli who the author reference was a former secretary general of hezbollah who was removed by the organisation and clearly has a axe to grind with the organisation, why does this resemble more of MSM tactics? Well everyone is free to have his/her own opinion.
Thank you, Anwar ! Your essays rank with the best of the best here, IMO.
Your comments are also among the best.
Wow what a big wall of verbiage. You should make your points in shorter sentences/paragraphs.
Who is actually fighting and winning against the US plan for new middle east?
Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Russia
But why is it such a sensitive issue?
It doesn’t surprise at all there would be bad Shias and score settling after Shai majority achieve political control. What is most surprising is resentment against those standing up and fighting the war.
What is attractive about Shias is the ability to use identification with the larger cause as a strategic weapon. More powerful than nukes.
Wow what a big wall of verbiage. You should make your points in shorter sentences/paragraphs.
Emperor Franz Joseph II : “Nice music. But too many notes.”
Mozart : “Only as many as necessary, Excellency.”
Very subjective analogy, when Anwar is no Mozart.
I agree with Rhizom, having heard a devout Roman Catholic making the same point as Subhi Tufayli above: blame the resistance for the damage incurred in fighting the aggressor. Blame Hezb’Allah, Syria and Iran for the damage incurred by resisting NATzO. Very pious sentiments, turn the other cheek and all that: but the enemies of freedom rejoice in the destruction they cause, while blaming the victim for provoking them. Thus Der Spiegel gloats over the destruction of Syria consequent on Syria’s sixth year of steadfast resistance against the 300,000 strong “plague of wasps” sent by NATzO into Syria.
It seems people calling for higher moral order are all “agents” and “liars” and Nato PR folks.
You guys are not even entertaining the main points of the article. Are shia militias commiting crimes or not? What has this to do with “turn the other cheek”?
It seems these wars and our siding with one group or another have killed our basic humanity. Sad really.
The only “group” most posting here are siding with are the citizens of the countries destroyed by the endless military/militant squabbles over who will take the profits and control the territory. But to paraphrase Goering facing the noose, “no one wants war… except the leaders who benefit most”. But to imagine that Russia, Iran/Hezbollah and China should sit back and allow the US/NATO/Rothchild-backed Zionist/Saudi Wahabbists to have their way all across the Middle East because some Shia-militias (or other splinter groups) are committing crimes undercover of war is a big ask.
I would expect the rogue Shia gangs to be eventually dealt with much as the US/Zionist/Saudi-backed “moderate rebels” are being in Syria. They either cooperate fully fighting with the legal gov’t, lay down their arms and abandon the fight or they can expect to die along with the rest of the terrorists. Their choice…
thanks Saker. will send this article to my contacts for discussion.
Just to be logical: Iraqi Shias, the political class, have their own geopolitical agendas so I am suspicious about the claim that Iran totally controls them and is responsible for say, revenge attacks by Sadr militias which are being kept on the outskirts of Mosul by the Iraqi army for just that reason and for the problems of unit control and integration into the discipline of the battle.
Terrible anti-Iran and anti-Shia hit piece, the sort one normally finds in the Empire’s MSM presstitutes!
I guess the presstitutes must be right after all…. not.
A really laughable claim in the piece is that Iran rules Iraq.
Hmm… ok, I guess that is why ZUSA was in a position to force al-Malik down and still has a military presence in Iraq, with which they encircle Iran, given they also have bases and troops in Afghanistan and in their gulf puppets.
Further, I have read from informed commentators in the region, such as Elijah Magnier, exactly the opposite; that Iran exercises only tenuous control in Iraq, at best.
Also, the preposterous notion that Iran/Hezb are conducting some sort of “sunni” cleansing in Syria is pure msm zio/zamerican propaganda.
Let me ask you this: do you speak any Middle Eastern languages? Are you even remotely aware of the nuanced discourses that take place by Muslim and Arab political commentators when discussing the issues I raise in this article? Can you name me one Arab political analyst that writes in Arabic, not Arabs that writes in English like your mentioned Elijah Magnier? (Rule: you can’t google it). If the answer to the above is a “no”, then I have already foretold your types of readers: certainty-syndrome patients.
“A really laughable claim in the piece is that Iran rules Iraq”
Not really. You just heard the former head of Hizbollah say that. Now you can ascribe all kind of ulterior motives to him for claiming this, which is another favorite of those that can’t fathom reality outside of their cardboard-cut perceptions.
As for US outing al Maliki, etc etc. This hardly proves that Iran is not in control. And of course the US can boot whomever they want. You missed the most essential point of the article: Iran rules Iraq by US acquiescence, not despite its protestation. Hence, I asked the question, are we certain that there are no arrangements between the Empire and Iran that people like you may hold it impossible to be the case? You seemed to be sold that it can’t be the case. But not millions of others who are at the receiving end of the double-dealing, treacherous political landscape of the Middle East.
I recommend a little more room for imagination my friend.
Moi: “A really laughable claim in the piece is that Iran rules Iraq”
Khan: “Not really. You just heard the former head of Hizbollah say that.”
C’mon, the guy is a joke, a pathetic, sad little LIAR. Even Al Arabiya publishes Tufayli, for obvious reasons. Here:
Former Hezbollah leader slams group as US-Russia ‘pawns’
Regarding the recent operation to free East Aleppo from the stench of ZUSA’s backed Wahhabi mercenaries, this great former Hezbollah ‘leader’, had this to say about it:
So, there you have it, ridiculous propaganda spouted by an obvious co-opted traitor.
Did this excellent article deserve this kind of dispute?
If I was to guess,The Saker, to his credit, saw the bias pointed out by Mr. Khan and allowed this articles to be posted.
The truth of the matter is that Russia-centric media is as guilty of blindness as the anglo-zionist one.
There are a lot of commonalities between Shia ethos and Zoinoist ones. Shia were milking perennial victimhood centuries before the Jews thought of it. As to collaboration, the US has bombed the hell out of countries which were not towing the line and some even if they were towing the line.
No matter what we hear about the military strength of Iran, which is a common theme these days, can anyone in all honesty question the ability US to lob a few bombs on Iran just for bragging rights? This is the only country which talked back and was left alone; even allowed to trade, and engage in strategic endeavors with US all thought their time in the outhouse.
This is the a real life equivalent of fixed matches a la WWF or WWE.
Strange article, its about Iraq yet nowhere is Saddam Hussein mentioned, and nowhere is it mentioned that Iraq is majority Shia and minority Sunni.
95% of Iraq is Muslim, with the majority being Shia. During Saddam’s days it was estimated that 65-70% of the Muslims in Iraq were Shia, after Saddam the estimates suddenly changed to Iraq being only 51% Shia majority.
Saddam was Sunni and the Sunni minority ruled Iraq for many years until he was overthrown by the US, and then the majority Shia were able to take over in Iraq. Why on earth would the Shia majority in Iraq want to support their murderous Sunni Saddam dictator during the US invasion? The Shia aren’t house niggers. Most of Shia hatred of the Sunni in Iraq stems from the Saddam dictatorship period. ISIS are just the new Sunni kids on the block, and we all know that the bulk of ISIS’s leadership comes from Saddam’s old army, and they are just continuing their anti-Shia and anti-Kurdish activities under a new name.
Iran has never supported Israel, Iran is too stupidly honest, they’re always said that Israel shouldn’t exist. Sunni states like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc, have always supported Israel. Sunni ISIS has never attacked Israel. Yes the current Shia leadership in Iraq is corrupt, they have to be else the US would never have put them in charge, but Iran is gradually sorting things out in Iraq.
It’s also “strange” how the article attacks the iraqi PMUs*.
I mean, b4 the PMUs were hastily put together, yes, with Iranian support, DAESH was on a rampage, getting close to the capital city Baghdad, and even pushing back and inflicting defeats on the Peshmerga as well.( not to say anything about the zusa trained iraqi army, at gazillions of taxpayer’s dollars, and which just quickly collapsed).
The PMUs changed all that and started pushing DAESH back.
I guess Iraq would be better off without those ‘evil’ Shia pmus, by now certainly they would be largely under DAESH, a creature of ZUSA and its allies and stooges… that would be ‘good’…
Even the article’s title is absolutely terrible; “US vs Iran: a case of rotten apples vs rotten oranges”. I mean, really???
*PS: obviously that the pmus must have committed excesses/war crimes, that is inevitable in any war, and even more so in the type of war such as the one in Iraq. Still, one has to look at the trees, instead of tree branches…
“95% of Iraq is Muslim, with the majority being Shia. During Saddam’s days it was estimated that 65-70% of the Muslims in Iraq were Shia, after Saddam the estimates suddenly changed to Iraq being only 51% Shia majority”
May I ask you to provide a reference for the above?
Not that demographics matter in the above article, but just to prove my point that many who comment lack the most basic understanding of the Middle East, even make mistake in statistics.
Iraq Arab Shias are more numerous than Iraq Arab Shias. But Sunnis are most probably the majority in Iraq. How? Kurds, a different ethnic group is also Sunni. So when you add the Sunni Kurds with Sunni Arabs, they are marginally more than the Shias. In any case, it’s difficult to say anything with confidence on Iraqi demographics because the government provided statistics suffers from manipulations, especially since the government’s very existence and mandate is based on those manipulations.
We have to refer to pre-Saddam statistics on this issue and the best source would be Hanna Batatu’s book “Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movement in Iraq”
You may also check this article on the demographics issue. I doubt anyone would bother though.
sorry, the line in my comment should read “Iraqi Arab Shias are probably more numerous than Iraqi Arab Sunnis”
Ok, taken straight from Wikipedia “The CIA Factbook estimate that around 65% of Muslims in Iraq are Shia, and around 35% are Sunni. A 2011 Pew Research Center estimates that 51% of Muslims in Iraq are Shia, 42% are Sunni, while 5% identify themselves as “Just a Muslim”.” – not that one can trust Wikipedia or the CIA, but these “facts” clearly indicate a Shia majority, its just the size of the majority that is in dispute.
But definitely in the past it was always mentioned that 70% of Iraq was Shia, then all of a sudden what was being said changed. And the change happened post-Saddam. Maybe the US realized that in removing Saddam they had opened a Shia can of worms in Iraq (and the Shia are not as easy for the US to control as the Sunni are), so they started fudging the numbers to try and bring the Sunni’s back into the equation in Iraq, who knows.
Salaam Brother Anwar,
Great article….I posted a comment below about the third part of the series of articles you did on Historical Sunnism. Is it in the pipeline? It’s fascinating information.
walikum salam. I don’t think I will be continuing with that series, and I have informed the Saker about it. The reason for this is because I thought those two articles sufficiently delivered what was its aim—putting considerable daylight between Wahhabism and Sunnism. Anymore fine tuning would have been too technical for the readers. Plus, most of the comments had nothing to do with the content of the article. Not very encouraging to write something and then see few ask about the issues related to the article. Having said that, the few that benefited from it are worth the effort.
In your view, who started the war in Syria? Just want to hear your opinion on this?
All contemporary color revolutions and eventually wars(as in the case of Libya, Syria, the Ukraine to name the few) is a calculated work of the Empire–the Anglo-Zionist one, the differentia to the genus to make it less vague. Not only do they initiate it, they also control, to a large degree, the reactions to it, the thesis-antithesis-synthesis of the Hegelian Dialectic if you will. No scenario is really out of their calculus. That’s how empire’s operate, especially the one we are dealing with now. They create their own realities. Obviously, at some point, like history shows, they fall of their own weight (for those of Marxist orientation), or a Divine intervention (for simpletons like me) to bring sanity to the proceedings.
What’s happening in the Middle East is the result of a plan created and executed with the powerful influence of Zionists manipulating U.S. military dominance. The strategy of perpetual conflict among their neighbors is the purpose of the Yinon Plan to contain and control the Middle East through war, division and chaos. I’m not saying that Zionists invented this strategy, but they perfected the methods of the previous British occupiers to engineer an even more devious and ruthless plan that exploits the boundaries maliciously conceived by the British that pit Sunni against Shia. To also allow for Palestine to be partitioned, when Jews had another Ugandan option as a safe haven from pogroms in Russia and from Nazi oppression, was to ensure perpetual war. So Zionists expanded on the strategies of the British Empire and now manipulate U.S. military dominance to execute the Yinon Plan. Zionists not only learned from the British but from the Nazis as well in orchestrating the brutal execution of their plan that is genocidal, supremacist and as evil at its core as Nazism itself.
Sheikh Subhi Tufayli states that Morsi wanted to unify Sunni and Shia nations including Saudi Arabia and Iran. But with the corrupt monarch leadership in Saudi Arabia wasn’t this a mere pipe dream? On a smaller scale, what did Morsi ever do while in power to alleviate the suffering of his Sunni brothers and sisters under siege in Gaza? What did he do to help counter the deprivation of the blockade on Gaza except keep the border as air-tight as Mubarak, his predecessor did?
The Sheikh and the author here have scathing criticism for Hezbollah and Iranian involvement in the Syria conflict; but just as Russia felt it essential to become involved for geopolitical reasons and to halt the Empire’s rampant hegemony, Hezbollah and Iran had existential reasons to join forces in defeating not only the advancing Caliphate, but the Empire’s strategy to destroy Iran and Hezbollah with control and occupation of Syria. Who can fault them for this except someone with an agenda? Since to pretend this criticism is well-intended is also to buy into an impossible pipe dream that would lead nowhere and cause the destruction of Hezbollah and Iran at the hands of Zionists and Zionist Arab collaborators.
You can’t equate Sunni collaboration with the Zionist/Anglo Empire with Shia collaboration with same. It’s totally disingenuous. May I also add, that just because a narrative is brilliant in expressing a noble objective and some truth pretending good intent; doesn’t mean it’s not a brilliant propaganda piece that plays into Zionist Goebbel hasbara heavily criticizing and demonizing Iran therefore promoting Zionist and Trumpian escalation against Iran.
This article is disproportionately critical of Iran and Iraq (mind you Iraq deserves some criticism for its collaboration with the U.S. instead of Russia). To think that Iraq would be a model of democracy and unity between Sunni and Shia is also very disingenuous considering the suffering, oppression, torture and abuse that the Shia suffered under Sunni control for years. How do you recover any kind of trust after such a brutal experience and not hold on tightly to power to ensure it never happens again? Can generations of pain be so easily and simply erased? The problem is so much more complex than the author is willing to admit, and the problem in Iraq is a microcosm of the situation between the Sunni and Shia led states. Look at what Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen; what the Sunnis did in Iran using chemical weapons during the Iraq-Iran War. It’s ludicrous to think that you can just erase everyone’s memory and it’ll be all kumbaya between the Sunni and the Shia. The Rubicon on that prospect was crossed some time ago and now it’s become a strategic, geopolitical fight for survival, especially for the Shia, and if the Sheikh doesn’t get this, then he’s living in an alternate universe or he is in fact an agent of Zionism trying to guilt Shia resolve into submission and weaken the hard-earned power that they must build on to survive.
If someone were to topple the leadership in Saudi Arabia, maybe, maybe there might be hope of some unity; who knows, but the Sheikh fails to provide any plan for his pipe dream.
This article is so short on criticism of Saudi Arabia for SA’s overt collaboration with Zionism, and so short on realistic solutions to unify the Sunni and Shia; actually not even providing any solution whatsoever, that it comes off as just another HIT piece on Iran playing right into the hands of ZioAnglo imperial propaganda.
Interesting points you make (IMO). But
This article is so short on criticism of Saudi Arabia for SA’s overt collaboration with Zionism, and so short on realistic solutions to unify the Sunni and Shia . . .
Were these the topics of the essay ? If not, why is their omission grounds for complaint ?
Have we lost track of the idea that when a subject is complex there will necessarily be a diversity of opinion ?
“Whatever you think, it’s more than that. More than that !” — The Incredible String Band
Were these the topics of the essay ? If not, why is their omission grounds for complaint ?
How can someone justify attacking Iran and Shia-led countries in general while ignoring those who inflict existential threats against them? Such an omission creates a false narrative.
What should be discussed is how to counter that existential threat to Shia; for instance, in Yemen, because that’s exactly what it is; rather than accuse Iran based on some unattainable pie in the sky. It raises serious questions about the intent and bias of the author.
A little more info on who is Subho Tufayli.
He was the leader of Hizbullah in its nasty period: 1980s and was very subservient to Iran when the regime was particularly nasty.
I wouldn’t take his views (Subhi’s) very seriously even though I agree with much of what Anwar Khan says.
Khan: ‘You missed the most essential point of the article: Iran rules Iraq by US acquiescence, not despite its protestation’.’
Your “most essential point” is based on nothing but hot air.
Khan: ‘Hence, I asked the question, are we certain that there are no arrangements between the Empire and Iran that people like you may hold it impossible to be the case?’
Absurd proposition that runs counter to ALL evidence. BTW, such notions are not new nor are they original… I have heard them before.
In fact, I’ve heard this exact notion advanced re Russia and Putin & It goes a little like this:
“are we certain that there are no arrangements between the Empire and Russia that people like you may hold it impossible to be the case?”
Although I totally disagree with it both re Iran and Russia, I would say that a better case could be made in this connection re Russia than Iran.
Still, it would be nonsense.
Interesting view and thank you for sharing it. The Bahai would also differ with the idea that Iran is tolerant of other religious views.
“Was the Empire that naive and incompetent to see Iran run away with the prize?”
Well given their performance in the Ukraine where they lost the crown jewel of the whole East European region (Crimea) one could easily say yes. Never underestimate the hubris of the USA neo-con faction. They honestly believe that they can “make their own reality”.
Instead of wasting time on this obviously corrupt man, this liar, Tufayli, we should pay attention to Hezb’s current leader, for the man is a giant.
Jewish-American Prof. Finkelstein: ‘Nasrallah only political leader in world whom you learn from’
You are unnecessarily petifogging the thrust of Mr. Khan’s article. The article is not about Tufaili or his certification as a Hezbollah voice. The mentioning of tufaili was so to dispel the myth of Shia narrative having no alternative view.The article is about Shia sectarian violence and getting away with it. You haven’t addressed that despite your hyperbolic comments. Let’s be rational and not emotional.
Firstly, thank you Mr Khan for sharing with us your understanding and position of a terribly complex and muddy situation.
Secondly, (this is for all the commentators) I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. The Saker – brilliant as always – shared with us another fantastic piece. Similarly, Mr Khan did the exact same thing. We don’t have to agree with everything any analyst says, we can just use it as a food for thought. No one is always 100% right. Politics (especially in this age) is a very dirty and cunning game with a spice of backstabbing added into the mix.
Thirdly, we’re all biased to a certain degree whether it be due to lack of knowledge and understanding of all factors or just simply because we’re… human beings. So our perceptions of things may be a tad bit different to what they actually are.
Lastly, Mr Khan makes some undeniable points in his piece. E.g. its nigh impossible to claim that the continuously rising sectarian rift (divide et impera.. remember) in Iraq, which is at the core of its problems “have been conducted without Iranian knowledge at the very least, or their direct complicity at worst”. This point is simply undeniable. When one stands up for truth, one stands up for the whole truth, not just a part of it. After the fall of Iraq, one of the Iranian government’s first priorities – that is if they truly, from the heart, following Imam Hussein’s example, raise the banner of truth and obedience to Allah – should’ve have been – of course in addition to gaining political influence – combating sectarian division and bringing unity and harmony to the Iraqi people. Unity and harmony between a people divided and harbouring decades (centuries?) old hatred isn’t brought by letting the previously suppressed doing a little bit of revenge here and there just to satisfy of the hatred. On the contrary, this causes even deeper hatred and division.
Furthermore, the analysis, as I understand it, isn’t a put down on the general fight against the Wahabbis/ISIS. It’s simply bringing to light some of the wrongs that are being done from the other side (I take it there’s no need to point out the wrongs of the crazies side).
One of my favourite hadith (narration) by the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is that one day he said to his companions, “Help your Muslim brother whether he’s the oppressed or the oppressor.” Aghast, his companions replied, “As for the oppressed, how to aid him is obvious. But what about for the oppressor?” He (pbuh) replied, “By stopping him from oppressing.”
this Anwar Khan sounds like a professional Saudi PR specialist; who when run out arguments and confusing the audience never fall short of condemning their own paymasters the Saudis. After all what is a principle, if you have not got one, but money and oppression.
The video links were removed so the transcripts are most likely fake.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran is the only genuine revolution of the Islamic world amid its conquest by colonialists and imperialists. Saddam was stooge of Western imperialists who rose in ranks with brutal tactics, in timely fashion, to wage war on the newly born Iranian revolution.
Saddam was not defeated by U.S., but by eight years of war on Iran, which if it was not for direct intervention of American imperialists in the war would have been overrun by Iran’s revolutionary army, despite the fact that Saddam was armed to the teeth by imperialists and used chemical weapons.
Saddam was all but a corps of a regime, when Americans came to remove him. He was removed for he had become too useless to continue the Colonialist/Imperialist instituted rivalry between Arabs and Persians. A rivalry that the revolution had overcome, and the imperialists had to use it, via Saddam, before losing it.
Now, we see CIA controlled Saudi pundits as this Anwar Khan peddle Sunni-Shiaa rivalry.
I am not going to go into that history here that Anwar Khan distorts as he denigrates the Shiaa. But, suffice it to say that Iranian revolution is Islamic with a strong Shiaa component. And, the reason for that is that the Sunni world has been sublimated by the British instigated Saudis.
Nevertheless, it is through the Islamic revolution of Iran that the Sunnis have any room to breath, not Saudis. Thus, the paradigm of conflict is not between Sunnis and Shiism as Anwar the clever Saudi pundit depicts, but between imperialism/colonialist forces vs the Resistance against Western imperialism and colonialism and neocolonialism.
Saudi PR specialist? Hardly. Read his scathing article on the Saudis.
It seems few have the ability to process information before embarking the ad hominem attack wagon.
“It seems few have the ability to process information before embarking the ad hominem attack wagon.”
Thank you for beating me to it :)
@Baseer: Here is a quote from your link to Anwar Khan’s scathing denunciation of the Saudis. “Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Saudis rarely missed the opportunity to logistically support and bankroll most sectarian Sunni outfits ever to appear upon the horizons in places like Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Algeria, among others, and turn genuine grievances of the native populace into full fledged sectarian bloodletting, conveniently serving the interests of their masters, the Anglo-Zionists. As an Afghan, the present author has himself experienced first-hand the evil impact of Saudi oil money first in the Mujahideen era against the Soviet Union, and then in the Afghan Civil War of 1992-1996.” Note that Khan nowhere castigates the USA and UK – who control the Saudis, who support the Wahabi terrorists militarily and politically, and who directed them to commit their atrocities in the places listed by Anwar Khan: Bosnia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, Somalia; neither does Khan mention that in all these places the Saudi terrorists were followed up by a full fledged NATzO invasion. Nor does he mention the Saudi alliance with Israel. I think he is a very lofty and very holy but nonetheless devious apologist for the Anglo-Capitalist version of what William Engdahl calls this “Century of War” for control of the hydrocarbon reserves of the M.E and the Maghreb. The position of Bosnia at the head of his list gives the Anglo-Capitalist game away; the old British Foreign Office slogan: “Serbia, gateway to the Mesopotamian oil”.
Peace be with you Brother Anvar,
Great article….I am eagerly awaiting your third and final article on Historical Sunnism. Is it in the pipeline?
I can only ask every reader of this article to please have a quick look at the history of the wars of south India with the east India company at the the turn of the nineteenth century and the preceding decades.
Both the wealthy Shia, the Sunni states of that region and era and also the “Hindu” confederacy lost their independence to the Empire as a result.
The author is only attempting to remind people of this history.
Whatever scripture it is in which you find echoes of your faith, that scripture teaches us all to respect and learn from history, and also that history does have echoes worth listening to, however subtle.
The sectarian violence in Iraq was started by NATO. It was triggered by professional demolition of selected mosques with the blame pinned on the opposing religious group. There were British Special Forces captured by Iraq police, found traveling out of uniform in an unmarked car just before these events. The car was loaded with military equipment, weapons, communications equipment and explosives. The men were taken to a Iraqi police station for questioning. The British Army launched a massive rescue operation attacking their purported ally to rescue the men before they could be interrogated.
I had said: “A really laughable claim in the piece is that Iran rules Iraq”
Khan replied: “Not really. You just heard the former head of Hizbollah say that.”
So what? Tufayli is a joke & a clear LIAR. Even Al Arabiya(!) publishes Tufayli, for obvious reasons. Here:
Former Hezbollah leader slams group as US-Russia ‘pawns’
Regarding the recent operation to free East Aleppo city from the stench of ZUSA’s backed Wahhabi mercenaries, this former Hezbollah ‘leader’, had this to say about it:
So, there you have it, ridiculous propaganda spouted by an obvious co-opted traitor.
For this kind of stuff, including Shia bashing, we already have the msm liars.
iran the orange is not rotten.
the violence, deaths and destructions, in iraq are from u.s. military and contractors, israel, sas.
iran would be on defensive.
countries can live and talk With iran as equals and with respect
not the same with u.s. and israel unless it is from a subservient, inferior position
Re Iraq’s religious groups and %:
Same split, roughly, as the Democrat/Republican split in the USA. Good.
CIA fact book, Wikipedia, Pew Research. You might want to use AIPAC also while you are “researching”
What the Sunni Islam has done to humanity is really all open for every one to see if one visits India and see how many temples and architectures were destroyed by sunni Muslims who burned tortured and converted millions of Hindus and finally got away with dividing the country into two parts.
I find the arguments thin. You must see the overall picture.
The smashing of Arab countries stopped at Syria, with the help of Hezbollah and Iran.
Lebanon and Iran would have been next targets, maybe then Turkey and Saudi, and then Russia as target.
Yes Iraq is in chaos with atrocities and collaborators every day due to US, Saudi, Israel, NATO. So Iran should just have resolved everything?
Well…I’m glad the Сокол posted this article…
Also great discussion…as usual…
I make it a point to read all comments before chiming in…always amazed at the level of erudition here…and the think-for yourself critical attitude that refuses to take anything at face value…really first-class debate that is much needed…
Now to the meat of the matter…I’m glad this subject came up because I do agree that Iran is a very big blind spot in the ‘Russo-centric alternative media’ as Khan points out…
Unfortunately Khan offers very little beef…and way too much religion…his core [valid] message of the ‘rotten orange’ gets lost in excess verbiage…as well as his reliance on mostly a single source that many here have rightly questioned…and finally his conflation of the Iran question with the Sunni-Shia divide that is another [much more complex] matter altogether…
I do agree with Khan that there is too much lionizing of Iran and reflexively assuming that they are an essential partner to Russia…
Here is my problem with that view…the Islamic Republic cannot be considered a fully reliable partner…VVP and his inner circle know this and we can deduce this from many observations of both what is [and has been] spoken and what actions are taken…I will get to some concrete examples shortly…
But first let’s remember that geopolitics is a Machiavellian game by default…nobody is pure as the driven snow…so let’s throw out the good guy, bad guy paradigm right off the bat…
I don’t need to go into history to show that political and military alliances are always marriages of convenience…ie Stalin and FDR…or that they can turn on a dime…ie Stalin vs Truman just months later…
This has been true throughout history…see Byzantium…who as the Big Empire of the day had a habit of allying with everyone and anyone …against the same anyone and everyone…on any given day…
That’s just how the game is played folks…we need to stop thinking in terms of absolutes…and lifelong monogamy among nation-state partners…there is no such thing…never has been…
But there is a spectrum when it comes to ‘alliances’…from very shallow to quite deep…as we shall examine…
Right now Iran is a convenient ally for Russia in Syria in the fight to stop in its tracks the global hegemon’s complete takeover of the Mideast…a project that has been in play for many decades and is being pursued with greater determination than ever at this very moment…especially by the neo-Khagans…
[Don’t think that Drumpf changes much of the dynamics here…but that’s another subject]…
Russia and Iran is the archetypal marriage of convenience…don’t think for a moment that many Russians…both leaders and ordinary folks… aren’t firmly holding their nose…
Let’s start with the Yugoslav Dismemberment…
Many still remember the illegal and massive Iranian arming of Bosnian Mujahedin…used to slaughter Christian Serbs …while Clinton looked the other way…
Let’s not forget that the destruction of Yugoslavia was the original template of the NWO rampage that followed…or that the Yugoslav Project began at exactly the moment in history when the USSR collapsed…and the neocon Project for a New American Century gained critical mass…
Clearly Iran was very helpful in the neo-Khagan Bosnia Project…just as they were helpful to Reagan in providing arms to Nicaraguan Contras in the previous decades of the ’80s…
So it is childish to equate Iran’s standing as a Russia ‘partner’ with that of say China…remember the bombing of China’s Belgrade Embassy in 1999…?…don’t think Xi or any living Chinese national has forgotten…I remember huge Chinese demonstrations in North American cities at the time…
Xi’s visit to Serbia made this living memory plain…the first such Chinese head of state visit to the territory of former Yugoslavia in 32 years…President Xi to Serbia in 2016…[Biden disrespect puts it all into sharp relief]…
Clearly the Sino-Russian partnership is of a much deeper order…and one between two very serious historical entities that have always taken the long view…
In comparison Iran is all over the map…even today it is acting bizarrely and taking the wrong side in an overlooked corner of Southeast Asia…where Saudi-sponsored Bengali Wahhabists are wreaking genocide on the indigenous Buddhists of the Rohingya province of Myanmar… as Gearóid Ó Colmáin points out…
“…Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been unequivocal in his condemnation of Takfiri terrorism. But there is an important fifth column operating at the highest levels of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of Zionism. If Ayatollah Ali Khamenei does not take steps to remove these people from positions of power and influence, the Islamic Republic of Iran could become the next Syria…” https://www.gearoidocolmain.org/rohingya-psyops-us-covert-war-myanmar/writes Ó Colmáin… [boldface added]
Ó Colmáin is well worth reading…the first half of this longish article gives extensive background on the Rohingya conflict…and then the Iran issue is addressed at the subhead…’By deception they wage war’…
…Many of the organisations and media outlets who are reporting truthfully on the Syrian war, have been completely deceived by the sophisticated and well-funded ‘Rohingya’ crisis in Myanmar. Iran’s excellent news service Press TV, have heretofore relayed disinformation and lies from Zionist organisations such as Human Rights Watch which blame the Myanmar state for the violence in the country. They have made no effort to objectively explain the geopolitical nature of the Rohingya crisis nor have the victims of Rohingya terrorism been given a voice. The Islamic Republic of Iran has made major foreign policy errors in the past. In the 1990s Iran supported the Bosnian Mujahedeen, collaborating with the USA in the funneling of arms to terrorists who were massacring Serbian civilians on behalf of NATO interests. Iran hoped to gain influence in Europe and had fallen for Western propaganda which demonised the Serbian government…
And what about Syria…it seems to be an article of faith that Iran’s role is all positive…but here is what Syrians actually have to say…
…Syria will definitely insist that its allies in the war play major roles in its reconstruction. Nobody challenges the role Russia will play. But it is not the same for Iran, the other major ally. It’s not hard to detect resentment among the people and even government officials of Iran’s interventionist attitude. Many Syrians even prefer an alliance with Russia because they believe Moscow is not interfering in their domestic affairs. Moreover, Al-Monitor was told that Iranians’ overbearing, superior attitude especially annoys the Syrian army…
This from an on-the-ground report in post-liberation Aleppo from Turkish journalist Fehim Tastekin…in Al-Monitor…
Then we go back a few years to Russia blocking the delivery of S300 air defense systems to Iran…now finally concluded…
The cover story was because of UNSC Resolution 1929 against military sales to Iran does not hold up…as the pertinent resolution clearly spells out what kinds of weapons are embargoed…’battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems as defined for the purpose of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms…’
Air defense systems are not part of this list…
Clearly Russia’s calculus did not add up to supporting Iran at that time…much to the anger of the Islamic Republic [and their bizarre claims that their indigenous Bavar 373 system was actually better than the S300 anyway]…
Question:…why did Russia not support Iran in 2010 on the S300 transfer…?…after all Russia had been Iran’s main shield against the Western onslaught against their peaceful nuclear program…
We can only guess what the Russians were thinking at the time…but as subsequent events made clear…the Russians would not be pleased at the Iranians failing to reach a diplomatic solution…which they finally did with the nuclear deal in 2015 did …
The S300s were then quickly delivered…Clearly what we see here is that Russia is a stickler not only for the strong role of International Law…but also to be seen as such by the world public…
The message to Iran was clear…we will support you…but you need to show a level of legitimacy that is in line with our diplomacy…
Clearly Iran was not willing or able to deliver at the time…
Another issue with Russia-Iran relations is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization…which was founded in 1996 among Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan…Uzbekistan joined in 2001…
Last year both India and archrival Pakistan signed a Memorandum on Accession and are expected to be full-fledged members this year…an astounding piece of diplomacy in its own right…
Iran applied for membership back in 2008…but is still in ‘observer’ status…due to its ongoing diplomatic troubles…
Bottom line is that Iran’s diplomacy simply has not matured to the level expected by serious partners like Russia and China…
And how can it be…just today we have a report that Iran has grudgingly agreed to buy 12 new Russian short-haul jetliners [Sukhoi Superjet 100…]
This after already placing a huge order for 200 Boeings and Airbuses…
Prompting this comment from a ‘high-ranking’ Russian official today…
…We are providing Iran with colossal support; however, they are purchasing equipment from those who humiliate them with sanctions…
What do you Dimitry Rogozin thinks about Iran’s $17 billion deal with the West’s airplane makers while his country’s competing Irkut MC-21…a brand new liner with a foot wider cabin than the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320…latest technology engines, aerodynamics and fuel efficiency…and for a lot lower price tag…is studiously bypassed by our ‘partners’ in Tehran…?
It is time to take off our rose-colored goggles when talking about Iran…
The question for Russia…when it comes to continuing diplomatic cover for Iran… now becomes… “What have you done for me lately…”
Now for the bigger picture…
I’m sure Drumpf is entertaining notions of cutting an ‘artful’ deal with VVP that will give him the pound of Persian flesh he and his oligarch constituents…namely the Israel lobby and the MIC desire…
On this he is bound to come up disappointed…although Iran has done very little to decrease its irritant factor vis a vis Russia…[its help on the ground in Syria is not as vital as some may believe…Sheikh Hassan’s boys are doing a lot more]…
But Iran is still very useful to Russia right now in the Syria endgame…which is the Astana format…Iran is a vital counterweight to Turkey…who should still be viewed as an adversary…
Here again I see a lot of wishful thinking in these quarters that Turkey has somehow been pacified by VVP…this is dangerous thinking…Erdo still harbors dreams of the Crimean Khanate…
Erdo can and will turn on a dime…the most we can assume is that VVP is in damage control mode vis a vis Erdogan…his on the ground military in Syria [and support of ‘FSA’ takfiris under his direct control] is a dangerous problem that could quickly spiral out of control…especially if the Drumpfstick [or more precisely elements within his entourage which he may or may not be able to fully control] manages to cut a deal with Erdo…
I do not think that VVP in any way sanctioned Erdo’s entry into Syria…in fact I think it blindsided him completely…
I do agree with those here who have pointed out that Syria is still the big flashpoint…and the game is far from over…
I don’t think it would be militarily possible for the US to erode Russia’s military hold on the ground…and in the country’s airspace in particular…the costs would be prohibitive…
But Turkey on the ground and its takfiris are a more serious…and diplomatically delicate…problem…
So Iran is still a bona fide partner at this time…but I think the Russians will only put up with so much before cutting them loose…Astana or not…
Response to your query – we don’t know why your links aren’t working. Mod.
Brilliant overview, comrade!
It has been my inkling for a while that Hizbollah are one of the major assets fighting alongside the SAA. Many of my counter culture pals sing the praises constantly of the YPG. Yet any force fighting in any way with US support is assuredly, by my own reckoning an enemy of the SAA.
Obviously Russia have locked down the skies, and have a small expeditionary force on the ground and still some naval ships in range, yet am I correct in assuming it is Hizbollah who are at the spearhead of the slow pushing back of ISIS, Nusra and their other brand names? And why are they apparently pulling back to Raqqa and Mosul? What is their end game? Waiting for the US to create the ‘safe zone’ then balkanise the region, a la the Brookings Institute plan for many moons before?
Lastly, do you write anywhere else?
Thanks for kind words…
Your question are exactly what many are thinking…
Check out this piece by Mike Whitney…about McMaster…Whitney is solid…and I think his deductions about Drumpf U-turn are worth thinking about…
I cannot say I completely share this conclusion since Drump is entirely unpredictable…and I think at the end of the day he is his own man…
I think McMaster overriding Drump’s Master Plan…whatever that may be…is like thinking the tail is going to wag the Dog…
I think the best we can do is a wait and see right now…
No I don’t write on any blogs or outlets…but I do like to post here occasionally since the level of discussion here is quite extraordinary…
Just thanks for valuable comment.
Great post Flankerbandit (I think that’s what you claim to be anyway – pardon any error)!
Hope it shows up in the chosen comment section.
Thank you for a very insightful comment! (wished we could read your name)
I was addressing the Iranian lionization from a very particular point: “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala”, which the Saker interpreted as “the willingness to die for the truth at any time and in any place”. So yes, the overtone was necessarily one that dealt with a perceived religious or metaphysical truism.
What you have done is bring to the forefront some very pertinent questions on the Iranian lionization by Russo-centric analysts keeping statecraft in mind. The subject matter could be dealt in so many ways( of which mine and yours are two approaches) that leads to many new angles that many readers are simply not aware of, or willing to accept.
Thank you for taking the time for providing some of them!
Thank you Mr. Anwar Khan.
After reading the article, these two statements became the eye opening moment for me :
Sheikh Tufayli: “Yes, on the death bodies of Muslims, their children, their homes. Yes [the road through Jerusalem] it is through all Muslim cities except Palestine! These are projects towards Hell.
Mr. Anwar Khan : “and those suffering from Certainty Syndrome will not be convinced even if oceans run dry from pointing the obvious.”
I don’t like what I read. Reality and truth is not always pleasant to take.
As to the poor suffering Palestinians, the more time passes, the more I realize their victory and freedom will only come through God Himself. And though I am at times, upset and very angry at the lack of justice towards them, I force myself to remember these words: ” Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” –Luke 27:14.
For the record, more times than not, I don’t succeed.
Thank you again, Mr. Khan.
Carmel by the Sea
As-salaamu-alaykum brother Anwar.
Thank you for the insightful essay!
I am interested to hear what your thoughts are regarding the Russian intervention in Syria?
Given that Russia has allied with Iran/Hizbullah in the Syria war theatre does that make them complicit in the sectarian blood-letting that is playing itself out there?
Given the Zionist sponsored insurrection in Syria, what is the most appropriate response of Muslims and Non-Muslims seeking the establishment of justice on earth?
Mr. Anwar Khan,
[quote][i]Most Iranian are Shia, that is well known. But what is less well-known is one of the key motto’s of the Shia which, I believe, beautifully expresses one of the key features of the Shia ethos, is: “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala”. It basically expresses the willingness to die for the [strong][b]truth[/b][/strong] at any time and in any place. Millions of Iranians, even those not necessarily very pious, have been raised with this determination to fight and resist, at any cost.[/i][/quote]
Truth is in the eyes of beholder.
The Central Theme is the Holy Quran is that man is an “oppressor”. This is the Recurring Theme of the Holy Quran. God tells Adam that he should not go near the tree, lest he become an oppressor. Thus, any oppression by man is against the Will of God, and this is the meaning of “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala”.
Whether that oppression is against Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sunni, Shia, wife, mother, sister, husband, Palestinians is against the Will of God. I would suggest that in this Central Theme you read the Holy Quran again completely.
Imam Hussain (as) stood against the oppression, against killing of non-Muslims and forcibly converting them to Muslims, thus to overflow their coffers with wealth.
Also, I will suggest furthermore that against this “oppression” which is the Central Theme of the Holy Quran in which Imam Hussain (as) gave is life, is to reread the Islamic History once again.
Mr. Anwar Khan,
Holy Quran Chapter 2, Verse 35:
وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلَا مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
Erroneous translation: Sahih International
And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”
I wonder what prompted the owners of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim to mistranslate the above verse in their Sahih International. Maybe, it has to do with lots of Sahih (authenticated).
What is the reason for mistranslation:
1. They don’t know Arabic Language.
2. Or, they don’t know the Central Theme of the Holy Quran.
3. Maybe, they are trying to hide the Central Theme of the Holy Quran.
Now look at the Arabic word, the last word in the verse, it says, (الظَّالِمِينَ), now take this word to Google Translation, and it will translate it to “Oppressors” and a plural too.
And, I wonder why did you made a quote: References:
(1) Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala, is a statement ascribed to Imam Jaʿfar al Sadiq the great-grandson of Imam Hussein.
And, then in the quote you misrepresented and misquoted the Imam Jaʿfar al Sadiq, this quote has do with Truth rather than Oppression (Tyranny).
Mr. Anwar Khan,
Muslims are not exceptions. While the body of the Prophet (saws) was still warm and not buried yet the tyranny started with abu Bakr installed as First Clapih, against the Wishes of the Prophet.
Read the Islamic History with an open mind and keeping in your mind The Central Theme of Islam that man is a tyrant oppressor.
Dear Anwar Khan,
As a Sunni most probably you don’t know your own religion but as Shia we have been taught the total Islam. When the Prophet (saws) brought Islam he made all people as equal. The women were given equal rights, including the property rights as per the Holy Quran.
While the body of the Prophet was still hot and not yet buried, these rights were taken away. The first Caliph abu Bakr and second Caliph Omar ensured that all people are Not equal. One of this right is the Equality of Man and Woman in Divorce and as per Chapter 4, Chapter 2 and various Chapters of the Holy Quran.
Today, in Sunni Islam a drunk man and/or in anger man can simply say to his wife or send a SMS, ” Divorce, Divorce and Divorce” and it is a Divorce. This is against the tenants of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet, but on the Commands of the Second Caliph Omar, this Divorce is legal in Sunni Islam.
This is called “Talaq al-Bida” (Innovative Divorce), and you very well know that any Innovation in the Religion leads straight to Hell.
But the rights of Divorce is taken away from the woman. She has to prove that the man is abusive, and drunkard and always beating her wife. And, then after that she has to wait a minimum of 7 years before a divorce is granted. Don’t believe me do a Google on Talaq al-Bida and see what problems India and Egypt are facing.
Let us not go far, here is Your Sahih Muslim for you:
Talaq Bid’a or irregular divorce is where a husband repudiates his wife by three divorces at once. According to the majority of the jurists, the Talaq holds good, but it is against the spirit of the Shari’ah, and, therefore, the man who follows this course in divorce is an offender in the eye of Islamic Law.
Read carefully above how both abu Bakr and Omar changed Islam and went to their oppressive ways. Changed the Islam of Allah and the Prophet.
I can give you umpteen of examples from your own Sahih Books, but lets us not forget two things:
1. You are from Pakistan where most of the murders of Shia take place.
2. You now reside in Wahhabi Land, where ISIS started and surfaced it head.
I am sure that you have not forgotten Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
Mr. Anwar Khan,
Truth is in the eyes of the beholder and is very subjective. As a Muslim, it is Truth to me that God is One and all the Prophets including Moses, Jesus and Mohammad are human beings. This is an untruth to a Christian.
To a Christian, Jesus is a God and it is truth to her/him. To a Muslim it is untruth.
Therefore, all the wars in the world which are for mammon disguised as religious wars, that my Truth is better than your Truth. These wars are nothing but oppression of poor human beings, for the benefits of the super rich.
Thus, Imam Hussain (as) didn’t fight for Truth. He fought for Tyranny and Oppression, which is the Central Theme of Islam.
As a Muslim you should have known this and what you did is try to build your thingy based on Truth. God bless Saker, and he can be forgiven for not knowing Islam very well.
ok big problems with sunni’s and shia’s and Islam – plus big problems with all religions and a shame what is happening in the mideast – without mentioning names of the guilty countries/parties. On this planet at the moment the biggest problems: money, religion, journalists, drugs and politicians – take any order you want as what is the worst.
just wanted to post this – very sad the Yemen and Syria and Iraq, Libya and Afganistan destruction of these countries by other countries – we all know who the guilty parties are I think – at least any being on the planet that has any intellect and reads the Saker – and of course other non main stream websites. I just wish I could say I knew that there was going to be an end to the madness and war – but I can’t – seems also that Trump doesn’t know really what to do and he better get his act in gear quick – or maybe not – seems he has backtracked now and who knows if Is has him in their pocket or not – but yah even the golden rule if followed would fix things – but certainly not the 3 religions that seem to have to fight a war over everything – so follow the money – follow the warmongering – those who shout for war are certainly not on the path to Life – and Life is short – we can all die and resurrect into another being somewhere to continue the journey in the Spirit – but not much is being done on the global stage for peace when big companies need a war and need the purchase orders for more arms and weapons to make money 5 5 5 we will see won’t we all ? unless something/someone drops in on the this little blue planet to either help or take over – humans will not learn how to get together and help each other – the money and ability are there – just not being used to promote peace and feed the hungry and help the poor – so until that day comes we are stuck with the warmongering BS
wow big post – maybe it helps ?
also – I think one bit of trivia – buddha and buddhism never started a war – am christian myself – but real Christ belief – not religion “christian”
we will all see how it shakes out
Sunni’s Shia’s Whahabbi’s have some big problems – as do all religions – from what I have read – Religion, Money, Journalists, Politicians and drugs are this planets big problems – not sure how everyone is going to overcome all these problems – we will see
may God/Allah bless russia, iran, hezbullah, the syrian govt the roadblocks to the zionized west’s
military and economic destruction of the arab/muslim world and to the rest of the globe.
the setting of one group against another is an israeli tactic using the zionized west and itself taking part under cover of dark and arab clothing. oded yinon come to life.
contractors, special forces, mossad, english sas are the vipers setting one group against another. it is not shia beliefs.
i have also spent much time in jordan, syria, lebanon and the iraqis i have met curse america and its boss, israel. the sunni do not curse the shia.
Well, perhaps this author is correct if you look at the history of Iran and Iraq from 2003 on, however if you take a couple steps back, this goes back much farther in history and envelopes US and UK involvement in Iran since the middle of the last century.
Yes, perhaps the Iranians are not as innocent as some purport them to be. But so what? This was an existential threat on their two borders. The west is just upset that they were played in Iraq, and that Iran has managed to achieve so much, with so little. That is the stark difference between the Sunni and the Shia, and that difference in outcome between the two can be traced back to one thing……the truth.
Re: These are states who have wrapped themselves in the garb of religion.
These are states who have wrapped themselves in the garb of religion.
Exactly inside out.
People in the west are used to nation states. Germany = Germans (more or less), France = French people, and so on.
But the groupings that correspond to “nations” in the Levant, from time out of mind, have been incorporeal Religious states. If this seems hard to grasp or believe, see “The might of the West” by W. Lawrence Brown, which masterfully explains the psychological frontier between “east” and “west” that remains (for no good reason but inertia) invisible to westerners.
Orthodox Christians, for example, have been self-contained, international communities throughout the Levant for 1,400 or so years. Similarly with Judahists and others. Their political rulers, to whom they paid taxes and under whose laws they lived were Islamic, and governed defined geographic areas, but they were largely self-contained, self-governing entities within these in which the only meaningful “political” bonds that existed (in the western sense) WERE religious ones.
An Orthodox Christian who moved from Istanbul to Cairo was not in any meaningful sense changing identities from “Turkish” to “Egyptian.” On the contrary : he was, and remained, an Orthodox believer — a member of the territorially incorporeal “Orthodox Nation.” He did not “see himself” as defined in any meaningful sense by where he lived; rather, his identity was a matter of what he believed.
States like Iran are not “wrapping themselves in the garb of religion” so much as they are fundamentally religious/ethnic/cultural entities which necessarily function (as they always have) as supra-political entities.
The stubborn clannishness of Judahists — everywhere a community within a community — is a familiar example of this Eastern pattern. As is its willingness to operate, opportunistically, as a fifth column, as it has in the past (e.g., in the Spanish-Moorish wars).
Such existential meta-realities — transcending “politics” — while once vividly fierce realities during the Reformation — have so far faded in the west that it would have been nearly inconceivable for, say, Romanists in the US to have refused army service during WW I because this would necessarily have involved them killing their German co-religionists.
How it came about that western “Christians” so easily dissolved into the solution around them while Judahism and Islam have remained solid — and whether (and how) we mighty be re-crystalized — would be an excellent (and timely) study topic. After all, what group vociferously protested “The Last Temptation of Christ” and its depiction of Jesus ? The “Christians” whose beliefs it middle-fingered ? Or Islamic people ?
Iran have increasingly strong links with the Taliban, which would seem somewhat strange if the Taliban assumed Iran worked with the US to invade their country…I believe there is a Taliban office in Tehran, for example. And delegations have fairly regularly visited Tehran.
Contrary to the article above, whilst Iran may have had some interest in seeing the Russians leave, and invested in some militia groups, they know clearly wish to invest in supporting the taliban (and another group trained by their revolutionary guard, possibly Iranians) in their fight against ISIS and the US/British forces still in their country.
Of course it is fair to suggest that Iran are looking to strengthen and even extend their Shia Crescent which covers parts of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq to the West…
Whilst there is much to ponder, and it is always good to question our opinions, I believe much of the article is religiously slanted bluster…Nonetheless well written.
Iran have increasingly strong links with the Taliban, which would seem somewhat strange if the Taliban assumed Iran worked with the US to invade their country…
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
“The Islamic Revolution in Iran is the only genuine revolution of the Islamic world amid its conquest by colonialists and imperialists. Saddam was stooge of Western imperialists who rose in ranks with brutal tactics, in timely fashion, to wage war on the newly born Iranian revolution.”
Learn a bit about Khomeini s exile in Turkey, then his 15 years in (Sadam’s Iraq), then being warmly welcomed to France and who financed him and finaly – the role of BBC Farsi in paving his road back to Iran. Learn something new every day…..
Iran instructed all Shia religious leaders, the most influential among them Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, to give fatwas or verdicts that resistance to the American invasion was prohibited.
Is this what you heard from the political refugees that left Iraq and/or do you have any evidence of this fact hat you can share?
Sistani asked every single Shia to ask the Americans when they interacted, right from 2003, when will you leave? You can google this fact as well. This is passive resistance. And do you remember that when bombs went of in Kazmain in 2003-4 and much later, the Shias did not resort to killing Sunnis, they threw slippers on American troops in south Baghdad.
The Shias resisted the first time, and the second time. First when the British gave them half the vote they gave the Sunnis, and then in The 90s. Both the times it led to massacres, ethnic cleansing, not sectarian killing, ethnic cleansing like that of the marsh Arabs. The British then put Sunni overlords over the Shia . The Americans left Saddam to deal with them.
Sistani saved Shia lives by asking for the Shias to be passive. And when it came to fundamental rights being taken away from them, he asked them to peacefully fill the streets. Not once did an ayatollah ask for retribution or the killing of Sunnis after every Bombing, shooting, execution. Every time the call was the same, restraint, Sunnis are your brothers, Sunnis are Muslims, these are not the terrorists. Iranian and Iraqi ayatollahs.
What exactly do you expect from the Shia. Do you expect them to rule in Iraq, Bahrain, and other places where they are a majority or do you want them to be under the Sunni minority. And yes the Sunnis are and have been a minority in Iraq. Most of the census till recently were pro Sunni not Shia. Census were not conducted to prevent this demographic reality, that Shias are a vast majority to be revealed.
The grand ayatollah Ali Sistani at the service of empire.
“The grand ayatollah Ali Sistani at the service of empire.”
It seems like you are grasping at straws. Even something that may be intended for something else, say saving lives and not fighting an unbeatable foe at that time, gets interpreted as collusion.
These are excerpts from your link:
“Sistani disagrees with the latest U.S. plan to choose delegates for Iraq’s interim government through a complex series of nationwide caucuses, and instead calls for direct elections”
Is this in service of the empire?
“He also wants the Iraqi interim government to rule on whether U.S. and allied troops may remain in Iraq after June 30, when sovereignty is scheduled to shift back to Iraqis”
It was Sistani who made sure that the US troops don’t stay on by making the elected politicians bend to his will
“Sistani has said that no law in Iraq should conflict with Islamic principles, and he wants Islam to be recognized in law as the religion of the majority of Iraqis. He has not promoted an official role for Islamic clerics in Iraq’s new government; clerics play such a role in neighboring Iran”
He’s stressing on Islam as the guiding principle but he’s not shoving down a shiite Islamic state on the other minorities
“He counseled followers that they could work with the occupiers–as long as, at the end of every conversation with them, they “would ask [the occupiers] when they were leaving,” Nakash says. He did not call for Iraqi resistance to the occupation.”
Passive resistance. Imagine being treated that way. You come in kick the Baathist out and the new guy says thank you and when do you leave.
It’s not only a pragmatic approach but it prevented the formation of sectarian militias a lot earlier. It’s also such a unique way of sending the message across.
The more I read your link, the more I feel it contradicts your statement.
Dear Anwar Khan
“And if our master Hussein sacrificed his life standing for righteousness and truth in the face of an oppressor like Yazid, trust me, the Iraqi government today is much worse than Yazid, in all departments. No doubt about it.”
I don’t think you have read much about Yazid or understood Imam Hussain’s sacrifice. The analogy is flawed.
I agree with you that Imam Hussain would have stood against the Iraqi governments corruption, but he would have stood against it the same way imam Ali stood against the first three caliphs, I.e., in principle. Imam Hussain stood against Yazid not just because he was an oppressor, Abu Bakr became an oppressor the moment he took away Fatemah’s land, and the moment he bore false witness, the moment he assumed caliphate, the moment he concocted a false Hadees. And these crimes were very severe. But imam Ali did not lead or start a rebellion. The reason imam Hussain stood up is to save this religion, this path to salvation. It has so much more to it than just worldly politics and corruption and atrocities. Because abu Bakr committed atrocities with his rida wars. Imam Ali on assuming his caliphate immediately set right the wrongs of the first three.
Imam Hussains sacrifice goes beyond oppression. It involves the raising up of the human spirit. The shaking up of the conscience of man. And yes, forcing man to make a choice, between oppression and fighting oppression.
The Shias if they justify their atrocities by citing imam Hussain are wrong. And Shia will tell you that.
Dear Anwar Khan
“Does the Empire really want to get rid of the theocratic Iranian state, or is it an indispensable tool in advancing the Shia-Sunni blood-letting which is one of the pillars of Empire?”
What are alternatives in your view? Do you think it would be better if the Shias, including in Iran were to live under some form of oppression? By oppression I mean, say the Shia were to not be politically demanding. For all this recent trouble started when the Shia wanted an equal say in their future. Do you believe the Shias should remain under a secular leader such as the Shah. A despot such as Saddam. Should they ask for more power based on their numbers in Lebanon or continue to be ruled by the future movement. Would it be better for them to let the caliphas rule in Bahrain? Should the Shia role over and die in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia when the Taliban, Isis, nusra comes calling? Should they not intervene in Syria when the weakest link to their resistance is targeted? Should they let their shrines like ones in Saudi Arabia were be destroyed?
Would it be better if they lived with dishonour rather than resist honourably?
Dear Anwar Khan
You call saker’s point of view biased based on his observation of Shia and Sunni practices. I agree, that a bias is there but why should it not be. It’s like saying Allah was biased to Able because Able was good. Would any sane person want it the other way around. Your apparent bias is also evident. Most Sunnis that are non sectarian refer to themselves as Sunnis that don’t consider sectarianism important. You on the other hand stress upon it.
You list excesses committed by the Hashd Al Shabi and point out videos as YouTube as proof. Have you heard of the White helmets? What is your opinion of them and their videos. But that does not mean these videos that you are pointing too are not genuine. I’m only stressing a point. Also I agree, and in the past I have written about the killing of Sunnis by the Shia using death squads in Baghdad. Even devious methods such as blood donation drives that lured Sunnis to their deaths. I’m not justifying these atrocities. However, The ones that commit these excesses are not acting within the principles laid out for them. Moreover, The Hashd al Shabi are not entirely death squads. Many joined on Sistani’s call. Sistani laid down principles for them to follow. Here is a list:
Please show me similar rules of engagement of any sectarian Sunni outfit.
Dear Anwar Khan
You point out that Iran is projecting power through these militias. I agree this is true. You point out that these organisations commit excesses and that Iran is to blame. For that you have to not just provide such videos of atrocities, but have to show that this is part of Iran’s overt or covert policy to commit these atrocities.
“These painful anecdotes were supplemented by my own research into Sunni-Shia politics in Iraq, and the incontrovertible conclusion that this tragic sectarian politics could not have been conducted without Iranian knowledge at the very least, or their direct complicity at worst.”
You are simply asking for too much. If you expect clean hands in a civil war, you are expecting the undeliverable. You are holding Iran to a different standard than the rest of the lot in that region, and are judging it harsher still.
Iran has helped other Sunni militias in their fight in the past from the Kurds to Iraqi Sunni militias to Sunni militias in Afghanistan. The ones that it does not make peace with are the ones that are politically backed by the empire and its despots.
Dear Anwar Khan
I had written this rebuttal earlier, before shakers reference to the killing of the diplomats, but for some reason it was not posted
“I will shed no tears for the Taliban, an entity I detest intensely. But a war on a lie can never be justified, even if it is against the Taliban. There is a BBC interview of the then Iranian President Khatami boasting about this cooperation with the Americans, and how useful the toppling of Taliban was for Iran.Yes, Iranian cooperation—such as allowing the American’s to use their airspace— was a brilliant politically expedient act”
Does the caveat you place in the start of the paragraph, not exactly the opposite of what you are doing in the rest? But much more importantly I’ll point out a similar analogy for you. A mob gathers and kills Uthman. Uthman took something from Ali. He took away Alis right. When the committee asked will you follow Allah his messenger and the Earlier two, Ali said “no, only Allah and his messenger” Uthman said yes, even the other two. Uthman was made caliph because he was willing to follow the previous two, Ali was not. After being denied, deprived, basically wronged, Imam Ali tries to stop it (killing of Uthman) but is later blamed for the killing by just about everybody. Muawiyah asks for revenge, Ayesha, who called Uthman names, starts blaming Ali, the blind people of Syria, just about everybody blames the one person who stood patiently when his right and by extension that of the Muslim ummah is plundered by Uthman.
The Taliban kills Iranian diplomats from inside the Iranian embassy, a crime that a 1000 years ago destroyed the khwarzim empire, it enters mazar e sharif and kills Shias there, it enters bamiyan and kills Hazaras In The 1000s. Then when the Americans decide to attack the Taliban, using the Sunni northern alliance, you are blaming Iran for what, being rid of a wrongdoer by no action of its own other than an unsubstantiated use of airspace, for being passive. Even if it’s true, it’s still not something unjustifiable. What should Iran do, use its defences to stop an American attack on the Taliban. How can this be a rational argument or expectation?