West’s Policy Is to Sow Discord among Muslims

12 May 2013 | 22:09 Code : 1916092 Interview General category
Summary of an interview with Dr. Mostafa Boroujerdi, Iran’s former ambassador to the OIC and the Vatican
West’s Policy Is to Sow Discord among Muslims

From the beginning of the Arab revolutions, many believed that following these developments and taking into consideration the popular nature of these revolutions, we would see a decrease in differences between Shiites and Sunnis. After two years of these developments, to what extent can we say such a trend has occurred?

With the downfall of dictatorial regimes in the region, the occurrence of political turmoil is predictable. Ethnic competition should also be seen as one of the clear signs of this development. Undoubtedly, the history of relations between different Islamic sects has witnessed many ups and downs. The supporters of the status quo compete with each other in order to keep their power. Consequently, when these competitions are within the political sphere, they are considered as democratic behavior. However, when they enter security and military spheres, they create great dangers for the society’s identity. What we witness today in the Arab countries of the region is indicative of the transition of these competitions from a political phase to a military phase. 

Unlike other developments in Arab countries, developments in Syria have intensified due to foreign interference as we see the presence of large numbers of foreign forces particularly those close to al-Qaeda. Can we say that the Syrian case has created a distortion in the trend of developments in the Arab countries? If this is the case, what are the reasons? Could the West have been influential in this issue?

The crisis in Syria cannot be analyzed without considering its history, power structure, the dominant political and social system and economic questions. At the same time, the conflicting interests of neighboring countries, regional and international powers, and the ambitions of some small countries as well as the developments of recent years in the region should be considered in any comprehensive analysis.

Since the downfall of Saddam which resulted in the revival of Shiism in the political power structure in Iraq through democratic means, we have witnessed some uneasiness about this historical development in some regional countries. Specifically, Saudi Arabia has taken a leading role in this regard. These countries have used any political, security, and economic means to ensure that the new Iraqi government does not gain total sovereignty. In this regard, encouraging ethnic differences has been used as a security approach and extremist groups have been blessed with the financial support of countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Developments in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen once again intensified the concerns of Arab countries that are ruled in a traditional and undemocratic way. The traditional rulers of regional countries have spent lots of money to inflame ethnic differences in order to show that the people of these countries are not in line with Israel’s interests because the expansion of a democratic approach in Arab countries has been a serious threat to any government’s appeasement with Israel.

At the present time, radical movements have infiltrated Syria and have shown anti-Shiite behavior, including the attack on the tomb of the Prophet’s companion. How can these behaviors be analyzed? Can it be said that this issue is an indication of the highlighting of ethnic differences in Syria and this issue in the region? To what extent do you assess this issue as a threat?

The role of the anti-Shiite groups in developments in Syria must undoubtedly be observed within the framework of the macro-policies of the traditional countries of the region. While feeling threatened by the wave of the Islamic awakening, these countries have commenced a dangerous game in Syria and by inciting ethnic wars and dispatching forces from outside the country have entered a new phase in Sunni-Shiite relations. Although entering this phase might lead to some victories in the short run, in the long run its flame may spread to anyone who pursues anti-Shiite actions. Then the Shiites, whose number in the world has reached 200 million, may react to these measures and no one would be able to ask them to refrain from doing so.

What should the approach of the Islamic scholars be, particularly the Shiite scholars? What is the best approach with regard to these radical actions?

Considering the influence of the Islamic scholars among the governments and the people, it seems that they should strongly warn those who have started this dangerous game and talk about the unpredictable consequences of such measures and attempt to use all possibilities, especially the media, to control the ethnic wars. Close relations between Shiite and Sunni scholars can calm the existing atmosphere and prevent the expansion of violent measures.

tags: arab syria islamic shiite sunni

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