Fighting the Bigger Oppressor First

A Syrian detainee, who was arrested over participation in the protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, is seen in a prison vehicle at Damascus police leadership building to sign his release papers 11 July 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Khaled al- Hariri)

By: Amal Saad-Ghorayeb

Published Thursday, July 12, 2012

In March 2011, a commentator for al-Jazeera wrote: “Events in Egypt and Tunisia have revealed that Arab unity against internal repression is stronger than that against foreign threat.” While this may have been an over-generalization at the time, events in Syria have borne out this assumption. This is due to the deep polarization between Arabs who place primacy on opposition to the Syria regime’s authoritarianism and Arabs who view such opposition as secondary to Assad’s struggle against imperialism and Zionism.

In this essay, I will outline the main moral and intellectual considerations informing the resistance or anti-imperialist camp’s (known as mumanaists in Arabic) prioritization of confronting imperialism over other forms of domination.

The Violence in Syria is Misrepresented

Although supporters of the Syrian opposition often accuse this camp of being ready to countenance any type of violence, no matter how heinous, in the interests of the resistance priority, this accusation ignores the fact that the seeming consensus on the nature and scope of the violence in Syria is a purely manufactured one. Mumanaists do not view the current violence engulfing Syria as a dictatorial regime’s one-sided brutal suppression of peaceful protesters, as is commonly misrepresented in mainstream media, but rather, as a civil war by proxy that the Syrian army was dragged into as it sought to stamp out a US-NATO-GCC-backed armed insurrection.

While supporters of the Syrian uprising contend that this perception of the conflict is designed to reduce the cognitive dissonance produced by the regime’s brutality, few mumanaists harbor the illusion that the regime is not repressive. What they do believe, however, is that the extent of this repression has been grossly distorted by mainstream media. To bolster their argument, they point to a growing number of mainstream media reports which have admitted to the existence a singular master-narrative that is widely used to frame the conflict.

As acknowledged by the BBC in its recent self-study on its coverage of the “Arab Spring”, “journalism is not an exercise in simply relaying raw and untreated facts to the audience…This cannot be done without some sort of framework – if you will, a “narrative” – and therefore the construction of such a narrative by journalists should not be treated as if it were a sin in itself.”

Writing on Syria in the Sunday Times, Peter McKay contends that “It’s not simply uprisings by ground-down peasants against tyrants who repress them. It’s about a transfer of power to rival clans and/or religious groups. About a continuation of the old US-Russia Cold War stand-off.” In a similar vein, the BBC’s world news editor, Jon Williams, has recently admitted in a blog post on Syria that “stories are never black and white - often shades of grey.”

But such admissions are the exception rather than the norm in a psych-ops campaign that is stage-managed by US-NATO-GCC information warlords to bring about a military victory for proxy forces. At the helm of this campaign are politically embedded journalists, political activists and human rights representatives who work in concert to ensure that all coverage of the Syrian crisis remains confined within a carefully guarded body of self-referential “evidence.”

The effectiveness of this information warfare in enlisting public opinion in support of military intervention is substantiated by the aforementioned BBC report: “No doubt these reports…helped stimulate empathy for the [Libyan] rebel cause among the British public, and thereby to facilitate, if not actually bring about the NATO intervention – as similar reports had done in northern Iraq as long ago as 1991.”

Imperialism Cannot Be Equated with Authoritarianism

The second premise guiding the resistance camp’s position on Syria is that imperialism cannot be equated either morally or politically with authoritarianism, let alone demoted to a secondary rank. By contrast, the liberal democratic impulse driving the “Arab Spring” has led some to declare the obsolescence of anti-imperialism as a unifying force in the region. Al-Jazeera commentator Lamis Andoni epitomizes this view with her assertion that “The old ‘wisdom’ of past revolutionaries that liberation from foreign domination precedes the struggle for democracy has fallen.” In the new Arab Spring vernacular, revolutionary struggle is no longer synonymous with resisting US-NATO interventions and Israeli aggression, but has come to mean confronting internal repression even when that confrontation benefits the Empire and its colonial outpost, Israel.

Furthermore, this new liberal political discourse and the preeminent status accorded to securing internal freedoms has served to effectively remove Palestine from the forefront of Arab concerns. In effect, Palestine has been relegated to just another Arab nation which is responsible for freeing itself from its own domestic, i.e. intra-Palestinian, authoritarian rulers, over and above its Israeli oppressors. The mumanaists’ response to this logic is multi-pronged.

As a matter of principle, neither Palestine nor questions of national self-determination in general are viewed as fashions; justice doesn’t go out of style for truly conscientized and committed intellectuals and activists for whom Palestine remains the cornerstone of Arab political identity. What is more, the resistance camp sees this new trend of reducing Palestine to a national cause that belongs exclusively to the Palestinians as a very dangerous development that requires Arabs to unlearn generations of political socialization in order to expunge Palestine from their political consciousness.

Some supporters of the Syrian opposition have argued that the insistence on maintaining the primacy of the Palestinian cause over the concern with authoritarianism, and the concomitant precedence given to Israeli violence over the Assad regime’s repression, is tantamount to claiming that Syrian blood is cheaper than Palestinian blood. But this charge misunderstands the extent of Israel’s iniquity by locating it solely in Zionist aggression, human rights violations or in the circumstances of the occupation. The resistance camp conceives of Israel as the greatest injustice because of its very existence and the unprecedented nature of its oppression, which renders it not merely a human rights cause, but humanity’s cause.

As detailed by the Never Before Campaign for Palestine: “What happened in Palestine since 1947 has never happened before, in terms of the combination of the elements: brutality and racism of the occupier, the injustice of granting one peoples land to others, duration of this injustice, complicity and apathy of the civilized world as well as Palestinian people's will to resist all that against all odds.”

Even on the level of violence alone, Israel’s violence by far exceeds any domestic repression in so far as it is systematic and genocidal violence that is deeply embedded in its military ethos and strategic culture. Indeed, the celebration of violence is part of its collective consciousness as illustrated by a number of recent examples on social media where many Israelis celebrated the killing of Palestinian children. More importantly for mumanaists, any parallels drawn with Israel are Zionist-enabling in so far as comparing Israel’s violence with that practiced by repressive Arab regimes, legitimizes Israel’s existence as just another authoritarian regime in the region.

Not only are such comparisons with Israel morally and ideologically indefensible, but the very equivalence between imperialism and authoritarianism is an intellectually flawed one that is rooted in a liberal-leftist tradition that conceives of all deployments of power as being equally coercive and oppressive, irrespective of the global hierarchy of power.

In the mumanaists’ conceptual hierarchy of oppression, imperialism and authoritarianism are situated in two entirely different levels of domination. This rank-ordering is not based on an ideological abstraction that is divorced from political reality or on the rhetorical value of anti-imperialist sentiment, but on immediate, practical concerns. Imperialism is not evil because it is practiced by the West, but because it harms people’s lives and interests. Empire kills; it kills vast amounts of people, whether it occupies countries directly or intervenes militarily, economically or politically, it is responsible for innumerable deaths, destruction and impoverishment of all those in its wake.

Thus, viewed from a purely utilitarian perspective, or according to a basic cost-benefit calculus, there is no comparison between the type of violence autocratic regimes exercise when they repress dissent and the death and devastation wreaked by Empire. This moral logic would still hold even if we were to set aside the Assad regime’s anti-imperialist and resistance credentials and assume it was neutral on Palestine; when faced with a choice between the Assad regime’s repression on the one hand and the threat of NATO invasion, coupled with the externally-instigated sectarian civil war and terrorism on the other, anti-imperialists and the majority of Syrians alike will choose the former, especially when they don’t have the luxury of rejecting both.

Resisting Regimes Safeguard Collective Rights and Freedom

If anti-imperialists place far greater political and moral value on resisting the Empire than on unseating autocratic regimes, then surely that is even more so the case when those regimes themselves resist imperialism. As in the case of Syria, anti-imperialist leaders are identified with a set of rights and a concept of freedom that is considered far more conducive to democracy, justice and dignity than the western liberal discourse of “human rights” which is informed by the “negative freedom” from authority.

While not rejecting liberal freedoms outright, anti-imperialists view liberal freedoms that stress the individual’s right to be free from government interference and coercion as being secondary to positive and liberationist conceptions of freedom which affirm human agency and self-determination. As critiqued by political theorist, Anthony Bogues, “when freedom morphs only into rights, then the very question of freedom itself is delinked from other forms of domination other than political authority.” Indeed, it could be argued that the universalization of the Euro-American-centric human rights doctrine that has come to dominate the Arab Spring freedom discourses, serves to obscure imperialism and foreign domination.

The great anti-colonialist thinker, Franz Fanon, anticipated this intellectual colonization by liberal rights discourses when he wrote: “History teaches us clearly that the battle against colonialism does not run straight away along the lines of nationalism. For a very long time the native devotes his energies to ending certain definite abuses: forced labour, corporal punishment, inequality of salaries, limitation of political rights, etc. This fight for democracy against the oppression of mankind will slowly leave the confusion of neo-liberal universalism to emerge, sometimes laboriously, as a claim to nationhood. It so happens that the unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”

Clearly cognizant of their deviation from the anti-imperialist struggle, Arab Spring intellectuals attempt to reconcile this disconnect between liberal freedoms and liberationist freedom by arguing that liberation from western hegemony and Israeli occupation can only be achieved once freedom from internal tyranny is won. Andoni contends that “combating internal injustice – whether practiced by Fatah or Hamas – is a prerequisite for the struggle to end Israeli occupation and not something to be endured for the sake of that struggle.”
But this logic operates in a geo-political intellectual void which elides any kind of world systems analysis’ recognition of the hegemony exercised by core nations over peripheral ones. In a world order characterized by an uneven division of labour, the notion of achieving any kind of comprehensive and far-reaching internal change without a commensurate change in the global balance of power, is futile.

If there cannot be genuine revolutionary change from within, given prevailing power disparities on the international level, then the expectation that domestic change will inevitably balance out global power asymmetries is nothing short of liberal self-delusion. It is precisely this reasoning which undergirds mumanaists’ claim that liberation from foreign domination is a prerequisite to genuine democratic change.

Furthermore, resistance intellectuals and activists maintain that there can be no progress or democracy in the Arab world so long as a colonial implant like Israel continues to exist in our midst, perpetually threatening our security. Viewed from this lens, liberating Palestine is the prerequisite for the democratization of the region.

As such, mumanaists prioritize a collectivist notion of rights that emphasizes people’s rights as opposed to human rights. In this collectivist understanding of the term, freedom is conceived as liberation from foreign domination and oppression and the pursuit of self-determination. In effect, to be free is not to be left alone, unencumbered by external constraints and hindrances, but to struggle for justice. Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah provides the clearest definition of what this freedom entails: “[it is] not just the blood of a man, the fate of a woman, the crushed bones of a child, or a piece of bread stolen from the mouth of a poor or hungry person. It is the issue of a people, a nation, a fate, holy places, history, and the future.”

In other words, the ultimate purpose of freedom for Arab mumanaists is not merely the protection of various civil and political rights of the individual, but the trans-historical collective right of the umma in its past, present and future manifestations. In this dispensation, freedom and democracy are not reduced to procedural aspects like elections and political reforms as they are in western liberal thought, but more substantially, the ability of peoples enjoying popular sovereignty to shape their own political identity, control their national resources and participate in determining their national destiny.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is a Lebanese academic and political analyst. She is author of the book, “Hizbullah: Politics and Religion”, and blogger at ASG’s Counter-Hegemony Unit.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

Comments

"The Iranian and Assadi regimes support the Palestinian cause for their own purposes with the Iranian regime trying to impose its Shi'ite sectarian agenda on the Palestinian cause. "

The Iranian agenda seeks to empower a Sunni people (the Palestinians) against their occupiers, and thus cannot be labelled as "sectarian". It is actually the contrary of sectarianism. If Iran's policy was "sectarian", it would never risk undergoing military aggression or punitive economic sanctions by the major world powers, which are a direct consequence of its support for the Palestinians.

"will you defend him [Saddam] too and why didn't his "mumana'a" suffice when your Iraqi allies collaborated with the Americans against him?"

Saddam was first and foremost a munafiq who illegally attacked Iran with the full backing of the US and Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, in order to prevent the Islamic Revolution from spreading to the Arab world. By Islamic Revolution, I mean Arab Muslims inspired by the Iranian Revolution (not "controlled" by Iran), rising up against their western-controlled puppet regimes, such as the PGCC sheikhdoms.

Saddam was brought to power and kept there by the CIA, untill he invaded Kuwait and fell into disgrace.

As for Iran's Iraqi allies, you keep ignoring the fact that it was them who kicked the US out of Iraq, and that Washington now relies exclusively on the opposition led by Iyad Allawi, who is a notorious anti-Iranian baathist.

It was the Arab sheikhdoms of the Gulf who collaborated with the US in the destruction of Iraq, as they enforced the US-led sanctions that killed over a million Iraqis, and hosted US military bases instrumental to the invasion of Iraq.

"The "flawless" support of the Assadi regime came with many strings attached including the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians by the Assadi regime and its allies and breaking the back of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon."

Those are examples from the Lebanese civil war, but this has not been the case over the past two decades, where the interests of the Palestinian resistance and Damascus have streadily converged.

"This proves that the Assadi regime hypocritically uses the Palestinian cause and that their "mumana'a" didn't suffice for the Assadi regime,"

As the previous comment underlines, it is better to support the Palestinian cause out of egoistic interests, than to work actively against it, like the Syrian "rebels" and their friends in Tel Aviv, Washington, Brussels, Doha, Ryadh, Amman and Ankara are desperately trying to.

"and Iran, Syria and their allies have no right to speak when the Assadi regime collaborated with the Americans in Gulf War I and Iran and its allies facilitated the American occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq."

Almost every Arab state opposed Saddam in the 1991 conflict, particularly those who are supporting the Syrian "rebels" today.

Iran never facilitated the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. But, these occupations resulted in situations favorable to Iran due to the US regime's own idiocy and mismanagement.

Iran's announced objective is the complete removal of all extra-regional forces from the region, because these are Iran's enemies. Tehran opposed NATO presence in neighbouring country from the very start. This is extremely logical, since we all know the famous slogan of the US neocons who launched the invasion of Iraq was: "real men go to Tehran" (not "Ryadh", nor "Doha", nor "Ankara").

For the US neocons and the zionist regime, the invasion of Iraq was to be a mere staging ground for the invasion of Iran. Therefore Iran had to make sure (and masterfully made sure) that the occupiers would encounter nightmare scenarios in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These aren't lies, but historic facts that contradict Saudi / Qatari / NATO propaganda, and which you seemingly find hard to accept. Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait et al would have preferred for the US to stay in Iraq and invade Iran next. While salafist jihadi Ben Laden provided the ultimate pretext for all these invasions (go figure).

"And I'm not buying into your lies which denies American backing for Iran's allies and agent like Chalabi, Hamid al-Bayati and the Iraqi National Congress, many of whom were peddling the WMD story and cavorting with the Zionist Neocons."

These people wanted to use Washington to get rid of Saddam, but they never intended to turn Iraq into a US puppet regime, and prevented just that from happening. It was Iranian allies like Nouri al-Maliki and seyyed Muqtada al-Sadr who kicked US forces out. The post-invasion Baghdad government must be credited for having reduced US influence in Iraq, not the other way around.

The WMD story was not their idea either, Washington would have peddled that with or without them.

"and Iranian forces even fought on the ground with the Americans in the Battle of Herat, I wonder how you will spin that one:"

Nobody in Iran confirmed this allegation, except for a handful of individuals from the pro-American faction known as "reformists" (and later "Green Movement"). When the US invaded Afghanistan, reformist president Khatami was in power and his government seeking to pander to and "appease" the west as much as possible. Which explains why people like Abtahi would make such unrealistic claims when interviewed by western journalists, in order to please them and their world-devouring leaders. Sadly for Abtahi, his claims do not mean much, since he was a member of the government, and the government does not decide over major defense affairs in Iran, the commander in chief of Iran's armed forces, Supreme Leader seyyed Khamenei (ha) does - and we all know how sharply seyyed Khamenei (ha) has voiced his opposition to any kind of deal with the US regime, unless the latter changes its imperialistic ways against developing nations.

See, Iran is a democracy, therefore even pro-US candidates can be voted into power (unfortunately). When in 2009 these pro-US forces tried to topple the political system and the constitution, however, they were stopped (thank God).

Safawid Shabeeh, no matter how much you try, you can't erase the bitter reality of your Afghan and Iraqi allies who came to power on American tanks, who needed American firepower to cement their rule for years(then your poodle Maliki asked the Americans to leave after needing them for years) and Karzai who wouldn't last long in power were it not for the Americans, who took billions in weapons and money from the Americans, who fought many battles with the Americans, even against Sadr's forces for years. Then you have the audacity to talk about "causus belli"! And your criminal Iranian regime, Amal and Hezbollah didn't utter a single word condemning this while they have been making non-stop takhween against all of the Syrian opposition. At least, tens of thousands of Sunnis(and no, many of them aren't jihadist and many oppose the Iranian agenda) opposed the treacheries of the Sunni regimes for decades.

"
Thirdly, the fact that the Taliban and Saddam were sectarianist extremists who enjoyed killing Shia and Iranian civilians for the sake of killing, doesn't mean that Iran is sectarian too by opposing these fools! The Taliban beheaded Iranian diplomats while Saddam invaded Iran militarily, and you expect Iran to support them afterwards when they fall in disgrace with their American masters?"

No, I didn't expect them to side with Taliban or Saddam, but I do expect them to shut up with their takhween, not like you who pretends that anybody allied with Iran can collaborate with the Americans and still be a "mumanist". Even Nouri al-Maliki was making takhween! Why do you expect Hamas or other Sunnis to put up with the Assadi regime considering it has killed, displaced and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Sunnis over the decades of its rule and you expect Syrian Sunnis and other Sunnis to support the rule of Bashar?! Would you accept this if Bashar was doing this to members of your own sect?

And look at how you brazenly lie:

"And I'm not buying into your lies which denies American backing for Iran's allies and agent like Chalabi, Hamid al-Bayati and the Iraqi National Congress, many of whom were peddling the WMD story and cavorting with the Zionist Neocons."
THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO USE WASHINGTON TO GET RID OF SADDAM, but they never intended to turn Iraq into a US puppet regime, and prevented just that from happening. It was Iranian allies like Nouri al-Maliki and seyyed Muqtada al-Sadr who kicked US forces out. The post-invasion Baghdad government must be credited for having reduced US influence in Iraq, not the other way around."

then you say:

"The BBC, US regime websites, and a former "reformist" Iranian vice-president trying to pander to the western journalist who interviews him, while neither being privy to strategic decision-making in the defence area (not a prerogative of the government, but of the Supreme Leader (ha)), nor being in a position to comment on these things, do not constitute proof in my books. "

What a joke, the hell with you and Aayat ash-Shayateen in Iran like Khomeini who made takfeer of Abu Bakr and Umar by referring to them as "Sanamy Quraysh" and your Iraqi Shi'ite leaders who were laughing and smiling(hundreds of photos of this on the internet) with the Americans while making takfeer of Abu Bakr and Umar, proving with their actions that the Americans are better than them! And when I was talking about why doesn't the liberation of Palestine by Umar ibn al-Khattab and Salah ad-Din suffice, it was directed towards Shi'ite sectarians like yourself, and you avoided this question because it will expose your hypocrisy. The Palestinian cause isn't a plaything so the Shi'ite sectarians can advance their sectarian agenda, and who don't acknowledge those who fought for it previously or in our time like the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon or those like Hezbollah cleric, Nabulsi, who writes a foreword to book which mentions that Umar is a "coward" and responsible for the establishment of Israel! Umar is a "coward" and Chalabi and Karzai are the examplars of what?

"Safawid Shabeeh,"

This is the holy month of Ramadhan, when God expects us to show kindness to each other. Let's not regress to name calling.

"you can't erase the bitter reality of your Afghan and Iraqi allies who came to power on American tanks,"

You're forgetting the popular vote, my friend. Iran's Afghan and Iraqi allies also came to power through the ballot.

"who needed American firepower to cement their rule for years"

We don't know how Iraqi authorities would have dealt with the takfiri and ba'thists terrorists who attempt to forcefully put an end to popular rule in Iraq.

Actually, I am certain that authorities would have done much better in cementing their rule, if it were not for the US occupation, because the US consistently stoked the fires of sectarianism in Iraq, in line with the zionist agenda and Washington's present policies on Syria.

"(then your poodle Maliki asked the Americans to leave after needing them for years)"

He would have been much better off had the Americans left immediately after the fall of Saddam. American presence undermined his rule.

"Karzai who wouldn't last long in power were it not for the Americans,"

Hamed Karzai wasn't chosen by Iran, I'm not even sure he had any contacts with Iran prior to the fall of the Taliban. Now that he is in power, there is nothing wrong with Iran reaching out to him in order to establish normal, friendly neighborly relations with Afghanistan, notwithstanding the fact that Islamic Iran is very much opposed to continued NATO presence in Afghanistan, and openly says so.

"who fought many battles with the Americans, even against Sadr's forces for years."

Once more, please prove that Sadr wasn't allied with Iran when his forces clashed with the Baghdad government. If he was, then your argument is naturally flawed.

Secondly, please prove that Iran approved of US intervention on behalf of Maliki during these clashes. If you cannot, then again your argument would be flawed.

"Then you have the audacity to talk about "causus belli"!"

If it wasn't for the 9-11 attacks, the US regime could never have mustered enough domestic and international support to launch the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's a historic fact. If you prefer to believe that the event of 9-11 2001 had no decisive impact in "legitimizing" the neocon regime's illegal wars of invasion in Afghanistan and Iraq, that's your right, but you would be strongly disconnectd from the reality in making such an assumption.

"Amal and Hezbollah didn't utter a single word condemning this"

Iran and Hezbollah totally condemned the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and have consistently called for NATO to withdraw all its forces from the region. A simple google search will provide ample proof to this effect.

"while they have been making non-stop takhween against all of the Syrian opposition."

No, they have condemned the terrorists who are desperate to trigger a civil war and to destroy Syria, so as to advance the zionist and western agenda. The legitimate Syrian opposition was repeatedly invited to the negotiation table by Tehran. And Iran supports Kofi Annan's UN plan for a peaceful settlement of the crisis involving dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.

"At least, tens of thousands of Sunnis(and no, many of them aren't jihadist and many oppose the Iranian agenda) opposed the treacheries of the Sunni regimes for decades."

But they do salute US / NATO intervention in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Xinjiang province of China, Syria among others. That's one impressive long list for people you claim not to be "hypocritical" when it comes to US interventions, and whose conduct you contrast with Islamic Iran's policies.

"not like you who pretends that anybody allied with Iran can collaborate with the Americans and still be a "mumanist"."

I never said such a thing.

I do however stress that the above does not in any way imply that Washington's interests would ultimately be advanced through the supposed "collaboration". When it appears that Iran's allies in Iraq have opposed any form of continued US military presence in their country, to me the case is closed.

*However, I yet have to see the fake Syrian "opposition" doing as little as verbally taking position against US / EU / zionist interests in the region!* On the contrary, they have clearly anounced their intentions to work with the west and the zionists against the Palestinians and other nations.

"Why do you expect Hamas or other Sunnis to put up with the Assadi regime considering it has killed, displaced and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Sunnis over the decades of its rule and you expect Syrian Sunnis and other Sunnis to support the rule of Bashar?! Would you accept this if Bashar was doing this to members of your own sect?"

I believe the problem with this analysis lies in its sectarianist premise, which is flawed from the outset.

There are various things one can criticize president Assad's government for, and that is why certain political reforms are required in Syria - as Iran and Hezbollah have aknowledged. But, sectarianism is not one of them. You are reading the whole modern history of Syria through a sectarian lens, which is not consistent with the facts. This sectarianist analytical bias has actually been promoted by none other than the hostile imperial powers ever since the times of classical colonialism, as a tool to "divide and conquer" Islamic lands. In reality, president Assad's government might have been authoritarian, but it is not sectarian. If opponents were repressed, they were not for belonging to this and that sect, but for political reasons, namely their political activities against the state.

"What a joke, the hell with you"

You: "Chalabi, Hamid al-Bayati, and the INC collaborated with the US".

Me: "They did so to get rid of Saddam, not because they wanted the US to stay in Iraq".

You: "Iran fought on the ground alongside US forces in Afghanistan and opened its airspace to NATO. Source: the BBC, a "Green Movement" former Iranian vice-president, and the US government".

Me: "Please give us better sources than those".

You: "That makes you a hypocrite"...

Really?

That specific Iraqi parties instrumentalized the Americans to get rid of Saddam, and then to kick out the Americans themselves, does NOT mean that Iran "fought alongside US forces on the ground in Afghanistan", or that "Iran opened its airspace to NATO", which is what the BBC and US government sources you cite might state, but which you have failed to prove so far.

Please don't mix different replies to different quotes.

"Khomeini who made takfeer of Abu Bakr and Umar by referring to them as "Sanamy Quraysh""

1: Where is the proof for this assertion?

2: Yes, the Shia and Sunni differ on Abu Bakr and Umar. But they agree on the fundamentals of the deen of Islam. Therefore there is no "theological" obstacle to POLITICAL brotherhood between Muslims, regardless of their sect. The differences between Shia and Sunni schools are fewer than those separating Christian Protestants and Catholics, yet the western powers have set these differences in order to cooperate politically and to enslave the rest of the world. Therefore, the rest of the world should cooperate, not only beyond the different sects of Islam, but also beyond the Muslim Umma itself: solidarity between all the Oppressed and Downtrodden of the world is required to defeat the imperial powers.

That is the difference between on the one hand the sectarianist attitude that you promote, and which inevitably results in weakening the Islamic cause and serving the global arrogance, and on the other hand Iran's policy and ideology of Islamic unity.

"your Iraqi Shi'ite leaders who were laughing and smiling(hundreds of photos of this on the internet) with the Americans while making takfeer of Abu Bakr and Umar, proving with their actions that the Americans are better than them!"

Why don't you count in their successful efforts to get rid of US military presence in Iraq?

"And when I was talking about why doesn't the liberation of Palestine by Umar ibn al-Khattab and Salah ad-Din suffice, it was directed towards Shi'ite sectarians like yourself, and you avoided this question because it will expose your hypocrisy."

I did not avoid anything, but responded clearly. Your historical analogy is not functional, because the situations are nowhere identical. Today, the western-zionist empire, which is occupying Palestine, tends to be regarded as the biggest factor of instability negatively affecting the Muslim world. Thus, liberating Palestine is seen as a priority. I don't place particular importance on the Palestinians because they are Palestinian, but because they happen to be a the centre of the strategic context involving the Islamic world. This was not the case when Umar entered Palestine. As for Salah ad-Din, the Shia don't have any particular problem with him.

"The Palestinian cause isn't a plaything so the Shi'ite sectarians can advance their sectarian agenda,"

How would Iran's unconditional support for the Palestinian people serve a "sectarian" agenda, when the Palestinians are Sunni, and not Shia? The contention does not hold ground.

" PGCC "

Trying to rub it in, no it's the Arabian Gulf, "raghm anfak al-haqid", and I wonder are you one of those Arab who speaks Arabic with the effeminate Iranian accent. This in addition to their shu'oobi insult, "A'raab", and you will never see them direct this insult towards the Iraqi Arabic Shi'ite tribes which collaborated with the Americans. Even in your insults, you "mumanists" aren't sincere!

"Trying to rub it in, no it's the Arabian Gulf,"

I'm sorry to contradict you, but the name of that body of water is not the "Arabian Gulf" and never was. We don't go around changing consensual geographical names to stir petty nationalist conflicts among neighbours, and thereby to serve the western imperialist agenda. When the Iranian government starts renaming geographical locations, then we can talk.

""raghm anfak al-haqid", and I wonder are you one of those Arab who speaks Arabic with the effeminate Iranian accent."

Trying to bring accross your points with an attempt at ethnic stereotyping now, how funny is that. And right, "the Iranians" are "effeminate" compared to the "masculine" Arabs - if that's not primitive racism, I don't know what is.

"This in addition to their shu'oobi insult, "A'raab","

I don't know what you are talking about, "Arab" is not an insult in Farsi.

"and you will never see them direct this insult towards the Iraqi Arabic Shi'ite tribes which collaborated with the Americans. Even in your insults, you "mumanists" aren't sincere!"

The only Iranians who insult Arabs are a very small minority of ultra-nationalist bigots exiled in the west, all of whom oppose the Islamic Revolution and accuse the current Iranian government of being "Arab", and of trying to "arabize Iran". These "opposition" groups are financed by the US, and more recently by Saudi Arabia - the same PGCC regime that is paying armed mercenaries to wreak havoc in Syria under NATO supervision. Get your facts straight instead of buying into wahhabi fairy tales.

"These people wanted to use Washington to get rid of Saddam, but they never intended to turn Iraq into a US puppet regime, and prevented just that from happening. It was Iranian allies like Nouri al-Maliki and seyyed Muqtada al-Sadr who kicked US forces out."

"Halalun lana haramun 'ala ghayrina", case closed and I wonder when Nouri Al-Maliki's forces fought with the Americans against Sadr in Basra, was he being a "mumanist"?!

""Halalun lana haramun 'ala ghayrina", case closed""

Let me know when the NATO-mercenaries in Syria do one tenth of what Iranian revolutionaries have done to resist global imperialism (including occupying the US embassy and enduring 8 years of a US-imposed war), then we can say they "did like Iran".

"I wonder when Nouri Al-Maliki's forces fought with the Americans against Sadr in Basra, was he being a "mumanist"?!"

What's your point? Iran did not approve of those clashes, and convinced the two sides to end the fighting. Once more, Iran contributed to peace and stability through its mediation between factions.

I wonder if Nouri al-Maliki, Muqtada al-Sadr and so on, were all Iranian "stooges", why did they fight each other? Maybe, just maybe, Iran doesn't have "absolute control" over every single thing its allies do in Iraq afterall, contrary to what you have been suggesting all along?

Why is it silly when the Iranian and Syrian regimes are demanding that the Palestinians support Bashar no matter what, when the Assadi regime waged many wars on the Palestinian people in Lebanon in Tel az-Za'tar, Saida, the War of the Camps, the siege of Tripoli and they and their allies broke the back of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon just as much as the Zionists and their allies. Why didn't the "mumana'a" of the Palestinians , despite their transgressions which pale to what the Assadi regime did in Lebanon, suffice for the Assadi regime and it's allies like Amal whose main cleric, Abdul-Ameer Qabalan, said that the Palestinians should eat cats and dogs when their refugee camps were under seige by Amal? They are asking for something which they didn't apply to themselves and I wonder if you will defend Saddam's support of the Palestinians, which was just as strong as the Iranians and Assadi regime? His support of the Palestinian cause didn't matter to the Iraqi oppositionists who collaborated with the Zionist Neocons and Americans to overthrow him. The Khaleejis, governmental and non-governmental sources, have supported the Palestinians for decades with billions of dollars, does it mean the Palestinians should grovel to them? Thousands of Hezbollah supporters were welcomed by ordinary Syrians in the 2006 war, yet we haven't seen reciprocation with the Syrian refugees in Lebanon. And why doesn't the liberation of Palestine by Umar ibn al-Khattab and Salah ad-Deen al-Ayyubi and their "mumana'a" suffice for Iran and its Shi'ite sectarians if they really claim that they are sincere for the Palestinian cause, instead of saying that Umar is a "coward" and is "responsible for the establishment of Israel" in a book with a foreword by Hezbollah cleric, Afif Nabusli. Did Umar ride an American tank into power like Karzai, Maliki and Chalabi? And the "damned if they do and damned if they don't" is the hypocritical takhween directed by Iran and Hezbollah towards many Sunnis, even the tens of thousands who opposed and confronted the treachery of the Arab Sunni leaders in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi for decades. How can they compel the Sunnis who opposed and confronted the treachery of these leaders when they were totally silent on their allies who rode to power on American tanks in Afghanistan and Iraq?! And you're right that support for the Palestinian cause is better than conspiring against them, but many Sunnis opposed the Arab leaders and regimes who conspired with the Zionists, and Iran and Syria were very angry when Hamas refused to stand with Bashar, and many supporters of Hezbollah were accusing Hamas of being "traitors" when they didn't utter a single word against Chalabi and Ibrahim al-Ja'fari who were hosted by Hezbollah in Beirut. Also, I didn't say that there was parity with the Iran-Syria axis compared to Sunni Arab regimes, who are no doubt more treacherous than the former. What I am saying that the Iran-Syria axis applies a blatant double standard when it comes to Western intervention and collaboration considering Iran and it's allies actions in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Assad's collaboration with the West going back to Bashar's grandfather collaboration with the French Mandate and his praise of the Zionists as "the lovely Jews" to Hafez's role in Gulf War I. There is also brazen hypocrisy from the Iranian regime, Amal and Hezbollah in the takhween wars which they have been engaging against all of the Syrian opposition while they were totally silent on their allies and you ignore the tens of thousands of Sunnis who opposed the treachery of Sunni Arab leaders for decades, especially in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi, a difference which you pro-Iran-Syria people refuse to accept. I don't ignore the role of the Arab leaders in the war against Iraq like you falsely claim but Iran and its cronies most certainly played a large role in the Iraqi occupation and they were the ones who collaborated on the ground and it was Iran's stooges like Chalabi, Hamid al-Bayati and the INC who were cavorting with the Zionist Neocons for years inciting them and the Americans to attack Iraq. Are you going to tell me that Iran wasn't privy to what it's agent Chalabi was doing? Then Iran's allies rode to power on American tanks, taking billions in money and weapons from the Americans and yes Iran also supported the insurgency, it didn't want the Americans getting too comfortable and Iran knew that the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq would greatly reduce an attack on Iran by the West. You have the audacity to say:

"Fact of the matter is, if Arabs had any sense of honor or decency, they wouldn't throw their support behind any so-called opposition movement that has the very obvious and blatant support of the same foreign powers that have divided us, invaded us, plundered our countries, etc... In addition, any time their is local in-fighting between Arab groups or states, these conflicts should be put aside when foreign powers seek to get involved. Yet people seem to be oblivious to these very basic points, and it will be ultimately the despicable Arabs that pay the price for their decades long treachery, impotence and weakness."

when the Iranian regime, Amal and Hezbollah and a hypocrite like yourself who have been engaging in a takhween war against all of the Syrian opposition didn't utter a single word of condemnation against your allies who rode to power on American tanks, so you and your ilk are the ones who turned a blind eye to the collaboration of your allies while tens of thousands of Sunnis, especially in Saudi opposed the collaboration of the Saudi regime with the Americans in Gulf War I and II, and many of them are in Saudi dungeons, so you either put up or shut up, and we have seen the total silence in this regard like Hezbollah which hosted Chalabi and Ja'fari.

Why didn't you ask about the geo-political circumstances when Saddam fell, when Iran and its Iraqi allies collaborated with the "Great Satan" to get rid of the jaheem of Saddam and I know the majority of Palestinians oppose the Assadi regime, thats good enough for me.

"Why is it silly when the Iranian and Syrian regimes are demanding that the Palestinians support Bashar no matter what, when the Assadi regime waged many wars on the Palestinian people in Lebanon in Tel az-Za'tar, Saida, the War of the Camps, the siege of Tripoli and they and their allies broke the back of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon just as much as the Zionists and their allies."

If the Palestinian Resistance had such an axe to grind with the Syrian government, why did it choose Syria as its main headquarters in exile then? Why were Hamas and other groups based in Damascus if they hated the "Assad regime" so much?

The alliance between Syria and the Palestinian Resistance took shape only after the Lebanese civil war. And in case of a crisis, each member of an alliance is required to stick with the others. The better this system of alliance works, the stronger it becomes. How do you think a handful of western regimes to this very day have managed to enslave the rest of the planet?

How is it not normal for Damascus to demand support from its allies, whom it helped survive for the past couple of decades against the zionists?

Also, what exactly had Saddam done for Hamas, who are the current elected representatives of the Palestinian people?

"Why didn't the "mumana'a" of the Palestinians , despite their transgressions which pale to what the Assadi regime did in Lebanon, suffice for the Assadi regime and it's allies like Amal whose main cleric, Abdul-Ameer Qabalan, said that the Palestinians should eat cats and dogs when their refugee camps were under seige by Amal?"

So Palestinian Resistance groups are justified to severe their ties with the Syrian government because thirty years ago, president Assad's father and his Lebanese allies had some issues with Palestinian groups, at a time when no formal alliance between the two sides existed? If Palestinian Resistance groups consider president Hafez al-Assad's policies during the Lebanese civil as treason to the Palestinian cause, why did they enter an alliance with Syria in the first place? Noone forced them to. And I don't think they really believe they can defeat the zionist regime by relying on western stooges such as Saudi, Jordan, NATO-member Turkey or still military-ruled Egypt either. Time will tell.

"They are asking for something which they didn't apply to themselves"

There is nothing abnormal nor unjust in asking an ally to honor his commitment. A contrario, when exactly did Iran or Syria betray their allies? Islamic Iran doesn't shift sides.

"I wonder if you will defend Saddam's support of the Palestinians, which was just as strong as the Iranians and Assadi regime?"

Saddam's reaction to the Muslim Iranian nation's Islamic revolution, which got rid of the pro-western regime of the shah and had clearly announced its intention to combat zionism and imperialism, was to invade Iran militarily. A man who does such a thing is clinically insane, and certainly not a worthy supporter of the Palestinian cause.

"The Khaleejis, governmental and non-governmental sources, have supported the Palestinians for decades with billions of dollars, does it mean the Palestinians should grovel to them?"

The Palestinians shouldn't have accepted any assistance from these sources in the first place, because the PGCC states are western puppet regimes, while Syria under Bashar al-Assad and Iran under the Islamic Republic aren't.

"And why doesn't the liberation of Palestine by Umar ibn al-Khattab and Salah ad-Deen al-Ayyubi and their "mumana'a" suffice for Iran and its Shi'ite sectarians if they really claim that they are sincere for the Palestinian cause, instead of saying that Umar is a "coward" and is "responsible for the establishment of Israel" in a book with a foreword by Hezbollah cleric, Afif Nabusli."

It is perfectly possible for a person to support the struggle for the liberation of Palestine from zionist occupation, while at the same time disagreeing with our Sunni brothers on Umar ibn al-Khattab's merits. Even non-Muslims support the Palestinian cause: are they all hypocritical in their solidarity, simply because they don't care about Umar ibn al-Khattab?

As far as I know, the Palestinian cause is not about clarifying the role of Umar ibn al-Khattab in the history of Palestine, but about liberation from illegal zionist occupation.

"Did Umar ride an American tank into power like Karzai, Maliki and Chalabi?"

You forget to add the Syrian opposition to that list, who are using western-provided weapons and other material to destabilize Syria.

"even the tens of thousands who opposed and confronted the treachery of the Arab Sunni leaders in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi for decades."

Were did you get the strange idea from, that Iran has had any problems with those who confront the treachery of the Arab leaders? On the contrary, they enjoy full support from Iran, because they got their inspiration from the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"How can they compel the Sunnis who opposed and confronted the treachery of these leaders when they were totally silent on their allies who rode to power on American tanks in Afghanistan and Iraq?!"

Are you suggesting that every Sunni is opposed to president Assad? And that in order not to "compel the Sunnis", Iran must cease supporting its long time ally, who is a firm member of the Resistance Axis?

"And you're right that support for the Palestinian cause is better than conspiring against them, but many Sunnis opposed the Arab leaders and regimes who conspired with the Zionists,"

I didn't state the contrary, and my issue is with the pro-western Arab regimes, not with the Sunni Arab people at all.

"and Iran and Syria were very angry when Hamas refused to stand with Bashar, and many supporters of Hezbollah were accusing Hamas of being "traitors" when they didn't utter a single word against Chalabi and Ibrahim al-Ja'fari who were hosted by Hezbollah in Beirut."

Ja'fari and Chalabi proved that they are no US puppets and that they will not participate in the zionist / US / EU agenda for the region, whose ultimate goal is to destroy Iran and the Islamic Revolution. The same can certainly not be said of the Syrian opposition, who have officially announced that they will collaborate with the US and Israel against Iran, in other words, they intend to help the zionists achieve their real goal.

"Also, I didn't say that there was parity with the Iran-Syria axis compared to Sunni Arab regimes, who are no doubt more treacherous than the former."

Yet, you prefer to side with the so-called Syrian opposition, which is an emanation of the same Arab regimes you consider to be more treacherous than the Syrian government itself! How does that make any sense?

"What I am saying that the Iran-Syria axis applies a blatant double standard when it comes to Western intervention and collaboration considering Iran and it's allies actions in Afghanistan and Iraq"

Where is your proof that Iran and its allies want(ed) Iraq and Afganistan to remain under US occupation? All evidence points to the contrary.

Wasn't it an Iranian ally in Baghdad who consistently refused to give in to US demands for prolonged American military presence in the country?

There is no double standard. Iran wants NATO out of the region. If this is best achieved by merely letting the imperialist powers dig their own graves with their incessant interventions, then so be it. But there is no way you can blame the US regime's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan on Iran.

"and the Assad's collaboration with the West going back to Bashar's grandfather collaboration with the French Mandate and his praise of the Zionists as "the lovely Jews" to Hafez's role in Gulf War I."

I prefer Assad's collaboration to the collaboration of the "opposition"-PGCC-Jordan-Turkey axis, which, as you admitted yourself, is much more treacherous, and certainly not tactical but systemic.

"There is also brazen hypocrisy from the Iranian regime, Amal and Hezbollah in the takhween wars which they have been engaging against all of the Syrian opposition"

That is incorrect. Iran invited the Syrian opposition for talks, and is supporting Kofi Annan's plan for a peaceful solution to the crisis through dialogue between the involved parties - plan which the Syrian "opposition" so far has obtusely been rejecting, in line with zionist and neocon designs for the region.

"and you ignore the tens of thousands of Sunnis who opposed the treachery of Sunni Arab leaders for decades, especially in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi,"

I do not ignore them, nor does the Iranian government, which is actually supporting them every day.

"I don't ignore the role of the Arab leaders in the war against Iraq like you falsely claim but Iran and its cronies most certainly played a large role in the Iraqi occupation and they were the ones who collaborated on the ground and it was Iran's stooges like Chalabi, Hamid al-Bayati and the INC who were cavorting with the Zionist Neocons for years inciting them and the Americans to attack Iraq. Are you going to tell me that Iran wasn't privy to what it's agent Chalabi was doing? Then Iran's allies rode to power on American tanks, taking billions in money and weapons from the Americans and yes Iran also supported the insurgency, it didn't want the Americans getting too comfortable and Iran knew that the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq would greatly reduce an attack on Iran by the West."

And that is where your reasoning is flawed. Iran had no way of knowing that the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq would have the opposite effect than what their planners had intended, and that they ended up reducing the chances of an attack on Iran by the west. Iran has no "crystal ball". This uncertainty alone was reason enough for Iran not to throw its support behind those occupations, as the stakes were much too high.

"You have the audacity to say:"

I did not write that comment, but I have to agree with what the brother said.

"Fact of the matter is, if Arabs had any sense of honor or decency, they wouldn't throw their support behind any so-called opposition movement that has the very obvious and blatant support of the same foreign powers that have divided us, invaded us, plundered our countries, etc... In addition, any time their is local in-fighting between Arab groups or states, these conflicts should be put aside when foreign powers seek to get involved. Yet people seem to be oblivious to these very basic points, and it will be ultimately the despicable Arabs that pay the price for their decades long treachery, impotence and weakness."

when the Iranian regime, Amal and Hezbollah and a hypocrite like yourself who have been engaging in a takhween war against all of the Syrian opposition didn't utter a single word of condemnation against your allies who rode to power on American tanks, so you and your ilk are the ones who turned a blind eye to the collaboration of your allies while tens of thousands of Sunnis, especially in Saudi opposed the collaboration of the Saudi regime with the Americans in Gulf War I and II, and many of them are in Saudi dungeons, so you either put up or shut up, and we have seen the total silence in this regard like Hezbollah which hosted Chalabi and Ja'fari.

"and I know the majority of Palestinians oppose the Assadi regime, thats good enough for me."

The question is how you reached such a conclusion, since no public vote or referendum was ever held on the question.

As for those who might oppose the Syrian government, we'll see how their position will evolve when their newfound Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and NATO friends deliver the Palestinians to the zionists on a silver platter.

We Arabs cannot resist imperialism and Zionism if we are led by corrupt regimes like the one in Damascus. That's why we have lost in 1967, 1973, 1982, 1991 and 2003. It is therefore obvious that we should first get rid of dictators before confronting other enemies.

Our main enemies now are corrupt dictators and sectarianism. Arabs who in this day and age see fellow Arabs from other sects (or Iranians) as their main enemies are either idiots or working for the US and Israel.

"Our main enemies now are corrupt dictators and sectarianism. Arabs who in this day and age see fellow Arabs from other sects (or Iranians) as their main enemies are either idiots or working for the US and Israel."

I cannot agree more. Very well said.

Personally, I think we can go a step further and identify where the sectarian agendas emanate from. Let's take the case of Syria, for example: a country where sectarian tensions were low untill recently (I am leaving aside the discussion about the Asad regime being a dictatorship or not - if it is, then it represses all sects equally). Enter the PGCC-, western- and zionist-funded "opposition", charlatan "sheikhs" such as Saudi-based Ar'our calling for the genocide of local minorities, and you get to witness ugly manifestations of confessional violence between native people of the region, something we know every true zionist loves to see.

This is while Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, seyyed Khamenei (ha), is urging unity among Muslims on an almost daily basis, indefatigably meeting intellectuals from all over the Islamic world (Sunni and Shia) to strengthen mutual ties, and sacrificing material advantages, accepting the toughest sanctions imposed by the world-devouring hegemonic powers and daily threats of military aggression by the zionist regime, all for the sake of Palestine's liberation (as you know, some political forces in Iran, who represent a small minority called "Green Movement", prefer to abandon Iranian support for Palestine in exchange for normalization of ties with the US and EU - ironically, the king of Saudi recently offered them billions in cash, as a widespread YouTube video of their meeting documents).

And yet in reverse, that's not what Iran and it's allies were saying when they were collaborating with the Americans to depose their Sunni enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, so don't pretend that there is no sectarian agenda from your side and sectarian tensions were low in Syria because of the iron grip of the Assadi regime and to say that it represses all sects equally is a joke, and your ilk had no problem with the Western and Zionist Neo-Con backing in Afghanistan and Iraq. Kama tudeen tudaan.

I must add, it requires quite some stretch of the imagination to portray the Afghan civil war of the 1990s as an essentially "sectarian" conflict - it was not. Iran backed the Northern Alliance, which mostly consisted of *Sunni* Muslims (Tajiks, Uzbeks, etc). Clearly, Iran is supporting Sunni Muslim groups in Afghanistan too. While in Iraq, the opposition to the Islamic Shia government is led by a secular Shia, Iyad Allawi. As you can see, it does not all run along "sectarian" lines at all.

Every political conflict should not be mistaken for some inevitable "clash of the sects". This way of sectarian thinking, by the way, is being promoted among the people of the region by the imperialist powers, who are still using the same old "divide and rule" tactics they used during the classical age of colonialism against the nations of the south; now they are obviously trying to stir sectarian divisions between Sunnis and Shia, as Iran's Supreme Leader has repeatedly warned about. I wonder when will certain people wake up to this?

In a nutshell, there's a massive difference between opposing someone because he attacked you, and opposing someone because of his/her sectarian background! That's the difference between Saddam and the Taliban / wahhabis on the one hand, and Iran on the other.

So does this apply to the Assadi regimes and its wars against the Sunnis? Iran and its cronies like Amal and Hezbollah have no right whatsoever to talk about "Western intervention" when Iran and its allies collaborated with the West in Afghanistan and Iraq and I don't care about Iran's enmity to the West or that it played both sides by backing some of the Shi'ite insurgents. Iran, Amal and Hezbollah have been engaging in a non-stop takhween war against all of the Syrian opposition from the beginning of the Syrian uprising when not a single one of them, and Muqtada Sadr doesn't count, utter a single word when their allies were cavorting with the Neocons, riding American tanks into power in Afghanistan and Iraq, taking billions from the West, proving their brazen hypocrisy. I dare you toshow me one hypocrite from the Iranian regime, Amal or Hezbollah who condemned their allies for this and you will never find them because they have brazen sectarian ta'assub while tens of thousands of Sunnis opposed the treacheries of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi regimes, whose treacheries the Shi'ite sectarians hypocritically use to further their sectarian propaganda while ignoring the treachery of their allies. Put up or shut up.

"So does this apply to the Assadi regimes and its wars against the Sunnis?"

What "wars against the Sunnis"? The Syrian government is fighting a Saudi-sponsored, western-backed bunch of armed groups, not "the Sunnis".

"Iran and its cronies like Amal and Hezbollah have no right whatsoever to talk about "Western intervention" when Iran and its allies collaborated with the West in Afghanistan and Iraq"

You are yet to prove that Iran "collaborated" with the west in trying to destroy Iran. Because that's what the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were: attempts to destroy Iran.

The current plots against Syria serve the same aim: to destroy Iran.

Iran, with the support of the Muslim masses, will prevent that from happening, just like it prevented Iraq and Afghanistan from being used as a platform against Iran. Thanks to Islamic Iran, US hands will be cut off from Syria, just as they were cut off from Iraq.

"and I don't care about Iran's enmity to the West or that it played both sides by backing some of the Shi'ite insurgents."

It seems you don't really care about the future of the Muslim world, all you seem to be interested in is your personal "crusade" against the Resistance Axis.

"Iran, Amal and Hezbollah have been engaging in a non-stop takhween war against all of the Syrian opposition from the beginning of the Syrian uprising"

"when not a single one of them, and Muqtada Sadr doesn't count, utter a single word when their allies were cavorting with the Neocons, riding American tanks into power in Afghanistan and Iraq, taking billions from the West, proving their brazen hypocrisy."

You forgot to mention the Iraqi and Afghan people. I wonder why that is. They voted Iranian allies into power. Are they hypocrits too?

And Muqtada Sadr is an Iranian ally like almost everyone else in Iraq.

"I dare you toshow me one hypocrite from the Iranian regime, Amal or Hezbollah who condemned their allies for this and you will never find them because they have brazen sectarian ta'assub"

Maybe the same sectarian ta'asub explains why Iran's allies in Afghanistan are Sunnis? Or why the ringleader of all anti-Iranian forces in Iraq, Iyad Allawi, happens to be a (secular) Shia, and not a Sunni? The attempts to portray Iran's policies in Iraq or Afghanistan as essentially sectarian, are contradicted by the most elementary facts.

"while tens of thousands of Sunnis opposed the treacheries of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi regimes,"

Yes, and that's why Iran has been supporting them.

"whose treacheries the Shi'ite sectarians hypocritically use to further their sectarian propaganda"

No, I don't care about sects. I use the PGCC regimes' treacheries to show that the patrons of the Syrian "opposition" are none other than the major pro-western puppets of the region. This has nothing to do with sects, the Shias have had their share of treacherous elements too.

"while ignoring the treachery of their allies. Put up or shut up."

They did a good job kicking the US out of Iraq and preventing the country from falling into the hands of the treacherous Persian Gulf monarchs.

Iran has no sectarian agenda, because the Islamic Revolution in Iran has always been pan-Islamic, not sectarian. Do some research about the Islamic Revolution, its ideology, its slogans, as well as statements by its leaders: Shia-Sunni unity has always been a pivotal, central objective.

Secondly, Iran did not cooperate with the US in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, it just let its different enemies kill each other. Then, Tehran cooperated with kicking the US out of these countries, because everyone knows that the US and Israeli regimes ultimate goal in the region is to neutralize Iran, therefore it is not in the interest of Iran to be surrounded by US military bases.

Thirdly, the fact that the Taliban and Saddam were sectarianist extremists who enjoyed killing Shia and Iranian civilians for the sake of killing, doesn't mean that Iran is sectarian too by opposing these fools! The Taliban beheaded Iranian diplomats while Saddam invaded Iran militarily, and you expect Iran to support them afterwards when they fall in disgrace with their American masters?

Despite these facts, Iran always offered a hand of friendship and brotherhood to non-sectarian (non-takfiri) Sunni forces opposed to US and zionist imperialism, still does, and will always do. Of course, there can be no "alliance" with people who call you an "apostate" and issue fatwas allowing random murder of your civilians. But outside of takfiri circles, Iran places no limitation whatsoever on cooperation with Sunni Muslims (see Iran's engagement in favor of Sunni Muslims in Palestine, Bosnia, Myanmar, Kashmir, etc).

No, I don't expect Iran or the Iraqi and Afghani Shi'ites to put up or side with Saddam or Taliban. What I do expect is for Iran, Amal and Hezbollah to shut up with their hypocritical takhween when their allies needed the Americans to get rid of Saddam and Taliban and why does your ilk expect Sunnis to put up with the Assadi regime after what it has done to the Sunnis over the decades of its rule?

How can Iran have no sectarian agenda when it and its allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to spread the Ithna-Ashari creed among Sunnis all over the Muslim world and I am well aware of the brazen hypocrisy of the Iranian regime in this regard and it's hypocritical calls for Islamic unity while declaring Abu Bakr and Umar kuffar, and "Sanamy Quraysh" a du'a which Khomeini praised, "Aj-Jibt wa Taghut", and Umar is a "coward", and the mausoleum which Iran built for Abu Lu'lu al-Majoosi and the celebration of Umar's death. So much for your bogus calls for Islamic unity, Umar is a "coward" and your buddies who rode American tanks into power are what?

Secondly, Iran and its allies most certainly did cooperate with the American invasions and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and this is a bitter reality which a muta'assib like yourself can't accept. I also don't care that Iran played both sides or about it's enmity towards the West, when you are a two-faced hypocrite when it comes to Western intervention, than I have little sympathy for the Iranian regime, just like the Khaleejis and Saddam got a taste of their own medicine when the pro-Iranian stooges collaborated with the West against them. And yes Iran, doesn't want to be surrounded by American bases, but it needed them to achieve its goal of bringing its allies into power and its Iraqi allies were egging the Americans and the Zionist Neocons to attack Saddam for years. Why were Chalabi, Bayati, Kho'ei, Bahr al-Uloom meeting with the Americans in the lead-up to the war?

The Shia aren't the only ones to proselytize, every major denomination does. Islamic unity does not necessarily suppose agreement over every religious matter. It essentially means political cooperation between Muslims despite such differences.

Also the Iranian government never labeled Abu Bakr and Umar as kuffars nor did it ever "celebrate" anyone's death. That's simply untrue.

More importantly, the Iranian government never considered Sunni Muslims to be unbelievers. Unlike the foreign takfiri terrorists in Syria, who have declared war on the Shia and other religious minorities.

All these allegations won't change the fact that Tehran is actually helping Sunnis from the four corners of the world as we speak, and is not asking them to turn to Shiaism nor anything else in return. Which cannot really be said about the Syrian opposition and their Saudi / Qatari / western backers. Compared to Iran, what have *they* done to promote Islamic unity?

You are furthermore implying that Tehran would have run the risk of allowing the US to gain permanent military bases right at its doorstep, which, if the neocon plan had succeeded, would certainly have been followed by military aggression against Iran. There was no way for Iran to be sure beforehand how the US occupations would turn out. Therefore it's obvious that Iran steadily worked to undermine and bring these occupations to an end. Why is Iraq free of occupation troops today, and why is Washington's influence on Baghdad negligible compared to any other government of the region (except for Islamic Iran and president Assad's Syria)?

The pro-western dictatorships recurrently blame and demonize Iran to deflect the attention from domestic shortcomings, as well as from their fundamental dependence on the west. It should be asked: which Muslim government other than Iran, has managed to sever all the shackles of neocolonial enslavement?

If you really don't care about the nature of relations between Iran and the US regime, you effectively do not care about the bigger picture, which is what ultimately matters. I for my part prefer to trust the single most independent nation of the Muslim world (i.e. Iran), over some dubious al-Qaida networks shipped into Syria by the biggest American stooges of all, like the PGCC or Jordanian monarchies, who by the way have not really had a "taste of their own medicine" as of yet, given how they are still in power and desperately funding terrorists to destabilize Syria, like they helped the US bomb Iraq.

In this region, there is no major power resisting the global empire except for Iran. That's why anyone interested in the liberation of the Muslim world from imperial domination will prefer president Assad and the Resistance Axis over some Saudi-funded armed gangs.

Finally, if you believe Iran is not honest about resisting the west, then I wonder what you'll say of the Syrian "rebels"? When has that lot even remotely mentioned resistance against foreign occupation or zionism, and when have they ever defied the global empire? Following your logic, these armed gangs are clearly much worse than the Iranian government in terms of "collaborating" with the west, hence you should condemn them far more than you point fingers at Iran.

While what you say is commendable, I suspect you mistook Ms. Ghorayeb's point. Living under a dictatorship is obviously not the ideal, I believe the argument is evident. By marginalizing our collective Arab identity and forgoing Palestine as the center piece of the discourse, Western ideals become the holy grail; instead of unifying for the cause.

No, I did not mistake her point. The Syrian regime does not fight imperialism and Zionism. That's just propaganda by a self-serving, brutal, criminal regime to attain the domestic legitimacy which it lacks.

Because of this false premise the problem Amal Saad-Ghorayeb poses is itself spurious: we do not have to choose between fighting Asad or fighting the U.S./Israel. Fighting Asad (or Al Sa'ud, or the Algerian junta for that matter) is part of the struggle against imperialism and Zionism: it's because we have these unrepresentative, corrupt regimes that we Arabs have been an easy prey for the last sixty years.

The Syrian regime does fight imperialism and zionism, due to its flawless support of Hezbollah and the Palestinian Resistance. This is a historical fact which no amount of propaganda will achieve to cover up. Throughout the past years NATO offered president Asad no less than full integration into the western-led capitalist "global village", in exchange for him breaking all ties with Islamic Iran and Hezbollah. We all know he refused plainly and repeatedly. Actually, this is the only reason why zionist leaders in Washington and Brussels are after him now.

Then, a study of the composition of the so-called Syrian opposition, their behaviour, their rhetoric and their network of alliances shows that they are not at all interested in fighting zionism or imperialism: this opposition is hosted by the west, western imperialist regimes are officially supporting them, zionist leaders openly admit they want president Asad to go, Syrian opposition figures promise to break ties with Iran and to recognize Israel, western stooges from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council are arming the "rebels" and shipping in NATO-trained Libyan / Tunisian al-Qaida elements, while wahhabi "sheikhs" in Saudi issue genocidal fatwas against the religious minorities of Syria (a well known, racist wahhabi mantra is that religious minorities are "worse than Jews"). This is not fighting imperialism, this is serving the imperialist agenda of "divide and conquer" which aims at carving up the region into small, eternally feuding, fanatical "ethno"- or sectarian pseudo-states, so the zionist can tranquily keep occupying Palestine and the western hegemonic powers can pursue their exploitation of the region's resources and the abuse of its people.

If one is to apply the popular standard "three strikes and you are out" then Ms. Saad-Ghorayeb should not have even bothered to write this last entry.
Often a good illustration of the lack of clarity of an idea or concept to the speaker is the inability to present such ideas clearly and unambiguously in under 100 words or so. Ms. Saad-Ghorayeb is still , after 4 tries, trying to explain in a rational way why support for tyrany is more important than social justice, democracy and individual liberty. Obviously she has failed in all her previous attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable in her thesis. The clearest demonstration of this can be found in the last paragraph of her latest futile attempt: (what is important is) "the ability of peoples enjoying popular sovereignty to shape their own political identity, control their national resources and participate in determining their national destiny."
And how are these citizens going to shape their own political identity under a ruthless dictatorship that does not recognize their right to free expression or freedom of association?
May I humbly suggest that ideologues seldom, if ever, make a rational convincing case since knee-jerk reactions of ideologues of all stripes turn out to be a mish mash of smug self serving opinions whose main purpose is intellectual exhibitionism. It is not often that we get to see an ideologue present a cogent case , definitely this is not one of these exceptions.

I don't believe you for one second and you can couch your defense of the Assadi regime behind the the Palestinian cause all you want, but your Shi'ite sectarianism is obvious and we already saw how you pathetically justified Hafez al-Assad's collaboration with the Americans by pulling an obscure quote from a book no one has heard of and it was the Assadi regime and its cronies which broke the back and weakened the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon just as much as the Zionists and their "mumana'a" didnt suffice for the Assadi regime or its cronies like Amal, proving that it isn't about the Palestinian cause, but about Assad remaining in power at all costs and Iran maintaining its sphere of influence. Who are these "mumanists" who acknowledge the brutality of the Assadi regime as you certainly won't know this from watching Al-Manar, NBN, PressTV, etc.? And your fellow "mumanists" didn't apply their bogus standards and takhween when Ahmad Chalabi and the INC was cavorting with the Zionist Neocons inciting them and the Americans to attack Iraq using issues like Saddam's support for "Palestinian terrorism", or when Iran and it's proxies collaborated with the Americans in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, taking billions from them along the way. Then we see Hezbollah lavishly hosting Chalabi and Ja'fari in Beirut and they pretend that they aren't sectarian?! I hope you write your next article about the "treachery" of Hamas(as many Lebanese Shi'ites accuse them) because they refused to stand with Bashar, Hamas are "traitors" and Chalabi and Ja'fari are "mumanists"!

Here are a few simple, but extremely relevant questions everyone should ask him- or herself:

Has the regime of president Asad been flawlessly supporting the Lebanese and Palestinian Resistance for more than two decades now, or not? Was he / is he being targeted by Israel and the west because of this support, or not? Can the same be said of the Syrian "opposition"? Or perhaps of the western PGCC stooges, all of which have military-level strategic ties with the west, while guaranteeing cheap oil supply through unequal neo-colonial treaties?

Now one can try to spin the reality to fit one's agenda, but the answers to these questions are pretty clear.

Concerning Iraq, by the way, "supporting Palestinian terrorism" was not a prominent argument against Saddam back in 2003: the fake WMD story and "support for al-Qaida" were... As for Chalabi, are you really buying into the official US propaganda that Washington was "misled" by poor little Chalabi into invading Iraq? This was an attempt by the US media to cover up neocon responsability in the illegal invasion. Rumsfeld's special bureau tasked with fabricating bogus WMD "evidence" against Saddam, and his various anonymous sources à la "Curveball", had nothing to do with Iran's allies. The truth is that people like Chalabi did not play a role in the neocon decision to invade Iraq, the Americans committed this on their own initiative. And guess who provided the US regime its initial casus belli to invade not only Afghanistan, but also Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, etc, in the following years? It was certainly not an ally of Iran, but none other than Ben Laden, a salafist-jihadist (and CIA operative, some would say).

As for the post-invasion government of Iraq, everyone knows its relations with the US started souring from the first day, untill prime minister Maliki, with Iranian assistance, kicked the occupation forces out. Even before the imperial gun-touters left Iraq, Washington's rabid hostility to Iran's allies was evident, much as its open support, since the 2005 Iraqi election, for the opposition led by neo-baathist Iyad Allawi's secularist bloc.

The Iranian and Assadi regimes support the Palestinian cause for their own purposes with the Iranian regime trying to impose its Shi'ite sectarian agenda on the Palestinian cause. Saddam was a brutal tyrant, and yet, he was a even bigger supporter of the Palestinian cause than the Assadi regime, will you defend him too and why didn't his "mumana'a" suffice when your Iraqi allies collaborated with the Americans against him? The "flawless" support of the Assadi regime came with many strings attached including the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians by the Assadi regime and its allies and breaking the back of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon. This proves that the Assadi regime hypocritically uses the Palestinian cause and that their "mumana'a" didn't suffice for the Assadi regime, and Iran, Syria and their allies have no right to speak when the Assadi regime collaborated with the Americans in Gulf War I and Iran and its allies facilitated the American occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. And I'm not buying into your lies which denies American backing for Iran's allies and agent like Chalabi, Hamid al-Bayati and the Iraqi National Congress, many of whom were peddling the WMD story and cavorting with the Zionist Neocons. Of course, this is a bitter pill to swallow for hypocrites like yourself and I have no doubt the the Iranian regime was privy to this and was a big supporter of the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and Iranian forces even fought on the ground with the Americans in the Battle of Herat, I wonder how you will spin that one:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16152064
http://www.defense.gov/home/photoessays/2005-04/p20050412c2.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNQhMUOy__s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIq4n7-jQsM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_uprising_in_Herat

Condemning Iranian and Syrian support of the Palestinian cause for their own self-interest is really quite a silly point to make. At least there's support - even if it is based on self-interests, this is politics after all not a fairy tale. Or are Iran and Syria in a position of being damned if they do and damned if they don't?

And support for the Palestinian cause due to self-interests is better than conspiring against the Palestinians like the rest of the Arab world has been doing - think of Egypt blockading Gaza, Qatar and UAE hosting Israeli leaders, etc... Think also of the American military bases in the GCC that were used to pound Iraq into submission. As long as Iran and Syria don't ask the Palestinians to relinquish their national rights and to recognize Israel I don't see a problem with this support even if it is based on self-interest as you describe it.

There is really no parity when comparing the Iran-Syria-Hizballah axis to the Arab World. Iran is a strong military power that is able to stand up for itself and protect its own interests. Most of the Arab countries are weak and impotent puppet states that whose regimes are highly dependant on their Zionist masters for survival. Syria also has measures of strength, such as their so-called "food autonomy" which is helping them get through these sanctions and their missile and chemical weapons program. And Hizballah, well, a little militia armed with basic weapons and smart tactics was able to stop a powerful Israeli invasion force. Naturally the latter 3 actors, whatever their faults, make it difficult for the Arab states to continue promoting the narrative that the Arab world is weak and impotent and that it would be better to submit to the demands of the Zionists rather than struggle for independence.

The Arab regimes, especially the GCC and Jordan, have continuously conspired to thwart any nationalist/patriotic leaders and movements. They have also conspired to fulfill demands of their zionist masters. You mention Iranian involvement in Iraq and condemn Iran for expanding its sphere of influence in Iraq without asking yourself who conspired with the Zionists in weakening Iraq? During the 1990s when 1.5 million Iraqis died due to sanctions wasn't it the Arab states that more or less (with some later exceptions such as Jordan) conspired to keep these sanctions enforced? Couldn't the puppet Arab regimes have stood together and refused to abide by the sanctions - thus saving millions of Iraqi lives? Furthermore, the air force and military bases that the zionists used to launch air raids and attacks on Iraq since the 1990s upto 2003 - were they not located in Arab Sunni countries and not in evil Iran? Yet you have the nerve to blame Iran for what happened in Iraq, all the while turning a blind eye to the BLATANT involvement of the Arab puppet states in Iraq's weakening and destruction.

The same goes for Afghanistan, since last I checked Pakistan is not Iran and is in fact a SUNNI country that has kept NATO continously supplied with military logistics and facilities which they have used in their occupation of Afghanistan. Yet, you interestingly also ignore that piece of information.

As a final point, I am not particularly fond of Assad's regime. Yet, I'm aware of the history of the US' attempts to overthrow various regimes worldwide by using the humanitarian intervention factor in order to advance their interests. Fact of the matter is, if Arabs had any sense of honor or decency, they wouldn't throw their support behind any so-called opposition movement that has the very obvious and blatant support of the same foreign powers that have divided us, invaded us, plundered our countries, etc... In addition, any time their is local in-fighting between Arab groups or states, these conflicts should be put aside when foreign powers seek to get involved. Yet people seem to be oblivious to these very basic points, and it will be ultimately the despicable Arabs that pay the price for their decades long treachery, impotence and weakness.

Do you think if the Syrian regime falls, that the outcome in these geo-political circumstances will be favourable? America-Israel-GCC aren't arming and funding the opposition becuse they care about Syria, they are doing so to advance Israeli power and to turn Syria into a failed state like Iraq and Libya.

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