Spreading Iranophobia, Propagating Anti-Shi’ism

05 November 2012 | 20:32 Code : 1908734 Review General category
An essay by Mohammad Ali Mohtadi, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs
Spreading Iranophobia, Propagating Anti-Shi’ism

 

Every once in a while, the officials of the Zionist regime talk about the threat of Iran for the Persian Gulf littoral states; thus, the statements made by Mr. Netanyahu in encouraging the Arab states to enter the struggle against Iran is not a new matter. Since several years ago, Zionist officials have proposed this issue in their talks. On this basis, efforts have been made in the Middle East, since some time ago, to change the axis of conflict, which has always revolved around the Arabs and Israel or the world of Islam and Israel, so that a kind of coalition, even unofficial, can be formed between Israel and some Arab countries against the Islamic Republic of Iran. It means that Israel and these Arab states would unite against Iran. This project was not an easy one and needed some thinking and planning. Particularly after 2006 and the 33 day war in Lebanon, where Hezbollah succeeded in heavily defeating Israel and was able to prevent it from reaching its goals and the US from implementing its new Middle East plan, the issue of attempting to create an axis of Israel and Arab states against the Islamic Republic of Iran has intensified.

In order to intensify activities in this regard, two axes have been considered both in the field of political behavior and in the field of propaganda. One axis is to enflame the differences between the Shiites and the Sunnis, in order to falsely show that the Shiite Iran pursues the spread of Shi’ism and is a threat for the Sunni world. Therefore, Sunni communities should be united and prevent the spread of Iran's influence. Many efforts have been made in this regard, both politically and through propaganda, and the US and Israel have unfortunately been able to find many people in the Arab world who were ready to start their activities in this regard in exchange for money. The Al-Arabia and Al-Jazeera satellite networks have been especially active in this regard. Aids were also given to strengthen the Salafi and Takfiri movements in the region. In this project, countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar play significant roles. In coordination with Israel and the US and intelligent services of Arab countries, particularly Jordan and Egypt before its popular uprising, they have advanced this issue.

The second axis of this project is to create fear among Arab states about Iran's military power. It has been falsely claimed that Iran's military power and the spread of its influence, especially in the Persian Gulf region, is to the disadvantage of the Arab countries; even Iran's nuclear project, which is peaceful, has been drawn in the public mind as a military project which seeks to threaten neighboring countries, particularly the Arab states, not one that seeks to threaten Israel and to create a balance of power with Israel. Great efforts have been made to advance these issues and Israeli officials, in particular those from its intelligence service, Mossad, have been very active in this regard. The goal of this project is to transform the axis and direction of conflict in the region, which for more than half a century was the Arabs against Israel, to a confrontation between the Arabs and Iran. On this path, the Arabs would move toward Israel to fight against the threat created by Iran and, in the end, Israel would be accepted as the security system of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran, instead of acting as the Arab states' ally in liberating Palestine and achieving the rights of the Palestinians, would be considered as a threat for the Arab world and would therefore be isolated. Of course, not all Arab countries are included in this project, and this is mostly related to the Persian Gulf’s Arab states and, to a great extent, to Jordan and Egypt. Unfortunately, following the outset of popular uprisings in Arab countries, both the US and Israel and several Arab states have been active within this framework and have prevented the Islamic Republic of Iran from establishing close relations with the revolutions in the Arab world. 

But, what can Iran do to prevent the advancement of such an atmosphere against itself? Just as they have used extended possibilities to instill the idea of the expansion of Shiite-Sunni differences and to frighten the Arab world of the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the minds of authorities and the people, combating such a project also needs great planning in which the role of many elements must be determined. A major part of this planning is related to official diplomacy. Another part is related to public diplomacy and the role which non-governmental organizations and forces can play in cultural, scientific, academic, and media spheres. The other part is related to the media.

Of course, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the friends of Iran, especially the resistance movements, and those Arab states which have not joined the anti-Islamic Republic of Iran project have become active. But it seems that the other side enjoys great possibilities and has succeeded in instilling these incorrect conceptions. In particular, several religious circles have also shared the same idea and were easily deceived by this political propaganda. In the past, several religious figures in Al-Azhar made statements in cooperation with this project. Perhaps the most important religious personality, at the present time, who pursues this project is Mr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi in Qatar. Part of this issue has found a religious and ideological aspect and religious researchers and scholars must become active in creating closeness between the Islamic sects and neutralizing the widespread propaganda. The expansion of Wahabbism and the Takfiri ideology has had huge costs for the US and Israel. Unfortunately, despite great efforts which have been made in this regard, there has not been effective planning to fight against these movements. The propaganda of the enemy has influenced many moderate Sunni personalities and groups to remain silent against the domination of the Salafi and Takfiri ideology. This is also a domain for activity. 

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