The silent love affair between Tehran and the Arab Left

Khalid Amayreh , Saturday 13 Apr 2013

The Arab left, with its two wings — Marxist-Leninist and the pan-Arab nationalist — seems to have found an unorthodox ally in Tehran, especially since the onset of the Arab Spring

The convenient marriage between Iran and the Arab left would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, given the traditional ideological paradoxes between patriarchal Persian Shiism, on the one hand, and leftist orthodoxy on the other.

Indeed, a casual viewer of Hizbullah's Al-Manar television, or the Iranian-funded Al-Mayadin TV, these days would probably think that the two Shia propaganda organs were becoming neo-Nasserite or even fully-fledged Marxist-Leninist, Pravda-style.

Nothing reveals this amicable but doomed alliance between the Mullahs of Tehran and the orphans of secular anti-Islam Arab nationalism more than the choice of guests hosted by these two outlets.

In fact, every conceivable enemy of Sunni Islam, especially that of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been given ample time on these TV stations to spout their venom and vent their frustration against Sunni Islamists whether in Syria, Egypt or even Turkey.

Even Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement, which ought to enjoy unanimous Arab and Islamic backing, given its impeccable record of resistance and steadfastness in the face of Israel, is shamelessly being castigated as part of "the Ikhwan (Brotherhood) of America." Some Shias and Arab leftists have gone so far as accusing Hamas of having become a "Zionist movement."

This, of course, is childish nonsense that doesn't deserve the dignity of a reply.

Behind the alliance

There are certain reasons behind the present undeclared alliance between the worshipers of Ali Ibn Abu-Taleb and modern Arab Pagans, whether nationalist or Marxist-Leninist (secular Arab nationalists consider Islam as irrelevant and outdated).

For Iranian Shia clerics, any authentic political Sunni model is more than undesirable and unwanted. It actually constitutes a mortal threat to Iran's ultimate strategy of spreading Shiism in the Arab world.

It is well known that the raison d'etre of Shiism, especially the Jaafari Ithnashari (the Twelvers) is to destroy or at least undermine Sunni Islam. Iran does, of course, deny any bad intentions to that effect, but actions speak louder than words.

In Egypt, Iranian money is flowing unimpeded to fill the coffers of the Egyptian opposition, especially the Nasserist group headed by Hamdeen Sabbahi.

The Iranian goal is to weaken and topple the so-called "rule of the Ikhwan" in order to make it easier for the clerics of Qom and Najaf to spread Shia polytheism in the largest Arab country of 90 million.

In context, it is not really unthinkable to presume an Iranian role in triggering religious sectarianism between Muslims and Copts in Egypt, since this would create more trouble for Egyptian Islamists.

In Tunisia, Iranian money is channeled to secular and socialist parties and groups for the purpose of unseating and undermining the quasi-Islamist movement, An-Nahdha.

And in Bahrain, Iran-funded Shias seem hell-bent on turning the country into a Shia fiefdom, which would be used as a foothold for invading Saudi Arabia and taking over the Makki Haram, in order to transform the paramount Muslim sanctuary into a pagan temple where 12 mini gods called imams are worshipped instead of God Almighty.

But the main battlefield as far as Iran is concerned remains Syria. There, the traditional Iranian designs would convert Syria into a Safavi state orbiting Tehran or Qom in 30 or 40 years. However, the Syrian revolution seemed to have reversed or even turned these Iranian dreams upside down.

Now, the Iranian goals seem to have become more modest and realistic. Iran now wants to keep the arch-murderer of Damascus in power a few more years in order to enable the esoteric Alawite sect and other smaller Shia sects (the Jaafari, Ismaeli and Druze) a better bargaining position in order to ensure better power-sharing arrangements in the post-Assad Syria

The demise of the Alawite dynasty in Syria will (I won't say would, because this demise seems to be a foregone conclusion) introduce a new strategic reality in the Middle East.

True, Syria will be busy for years rebuilding what has been destroyed (and what is yet to be destroyed) by the Assad machine of death and destruction. Nonetheless, the disappearance of the Alawite tyranny will ultimately shake Tehran to the ground and may very well make Iran adopt a new national policy based on isolation and introversion.

The naive Arab left

Arab nationalists (not all of them) and Arab leftists are too secular to understand Iranian designs and long-term ambitions in the Arab world. They are simply carried away by Iranian rhetoric about fighting Israel and America when in fact the true and central Iranian goal is to prepare the ground for spreading Shiism in the Arab world at the expense of Orthodox Islam.

Unfortunately, the fact that most Arab nationalists are quite disinterested in religion, especially Islam, and wouldn't care whether Iranian clerics curse and vilify the symbols of Islam, such as Abu Bakr, Omar, and Aisha, the mother of the Believers, even in their presence (which really renders their Arab nationalist credentials quite dubious to say the least), allows the Iranians to pursue their venomous sectarianism unhindered, given the shocking apathy and gullibility of their Arab allies.

Indeed, with their startling naivety, Arab nationalists and leftists would be the first to be targeted and liquidated by the Shias should the latter succeed in having their way. We all remember how the late Ayatollah Khomeini dealt with the Todeh Party, the Mujahideen Khalq, Abu Al-Hasan Bani Sadr and Sadeqqutub Zadeh, just to name a few of Khomeini's opponents.

Does any person with an iota of brainpower think the Iranian Shia establishment would be more merciful with its Arab foes than with its Persian foes?

Such would be the punishment of traitors who have chosen to betray their religion and their Umma in order to seize a moment of cheap opportunism that won't last long. 

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