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Is Karbala Sunni?

Is Karbala Sunni?

Wednesday, 12 May, 2021 - 06:15
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

It is rare for Iranian evil in our region to be mentioned in the West, whether in the media, research or politically, without the term “proxy war” between Iran and Saudi Arabia.


But the question that has never been raised in a practical way on these levels is: Where is this proxy war? What are the Saudi militias? And where are the militias of Arab moderation? Or the camp against the Iranian evil? Let us enumerate, dear reader, the armed militias affiliated with Iran, both Sunni and Shiite.


There are Hezbollah, the Houthis, Hamas, the Jihad, the Iraqi Hezbollah, and others in Iraq, as well as the various Shiite militias in Syria. Where are the militias affiliated with the Sunnis, or Saudi Arabia?


A naive person will tell you that Al Qaeda and ISIS are Sunni, and therefore Saudi. However, both organizations have targeted Saudi Arabia, not Iran, while Al Qaeda leaders and their sons lived in Iran, the last of whom was the movement’s deputy, who was killed in Tehran in August.


Hezbollah, for example, besieged the government house (the Grand Serail) in Beirut while no did so in the suburbs (Hezbollah’s stronghold), just as Hassan Nasrallah’s party engaged into the Syrian war, while no militia for Saudi Arabia and the forces of moderation were active there.


Another fresh example, where activists, most notably Shiites, are being liquidated in Iraq by Iranian militias. The last of whom was Ihab al-Wazni, who was assassinated in Karbala last Sunday. As a result of that assassination, the city saw angry demonstrations against Iran.


Accordingly, is Karbala Sunni? Is what happening there a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, or a revolution to restore the country that seeks freedom from Iranian occupation? In fact, this is what Iraqi protesters are calling for.


Here I quote a famous saying: “All people look at what I see, but they do not see what I see.” It applies to the United States and the West who look at Iran’s actions, but turn a blind eye to what we see and ignore Iran’s crimes.


A simple example is Washington’s recent statement, a few days ago, that it “suspects” that a ship carrying weapons destined for the Houthis is coming from Iran! Is there more recklessness than this? The Houthis, backed by Iran, are targeting Saudi Arabia, while using Jerusalem as a slogan!


Unfortunately, the West, along with the Americans, would not have ignored Iranian tampering in the region if every assassination operation in Iraq or Lebanon against activists was answered by liquidating pro-Iranian leaders. Then the equation would have been completely different.


This is not a call for assassination and violence, but rather to say that the peaceful nature of activists, Sunnis and Shiites, have reassured Iran’s militias and pushed the West to silence, because the latter only recognizes the victor on the ground. This is out of good faith. I say out of good faith, because in the event that the oppressed raise their weapons against the Iranian militias, then some people in the West will claim that these oppressed are terrorists, and the excuse of course is the false and deceptive expression of “proxy war.”


Violence and terrorism in the region are Iranian, and the victims of Iraq, for example, are Shiites. So how can it be said that it is a “proxy war”? Those who foster this claim are conspiring with Iran against the region and its people. Such expression cannot be taken seriously, whether in the media, politically, or even at the academic level.


Happy Eid… We will meet after Eid Al-Fitr, God willing.


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