Saturday, October 14, 2006

"The Safavid apostates"

A videotape urging Bin Laden to fire the existing leadership of AlQaeda in Iraq, attributed to one Abu Osama al-Iraqiya, appeared on an internet site late last week (sponsored by something called "Qalama Haqq", about which, needless to say, nothing is known). A summary of the contents was published by Agence France Presse with a Dubai dateline, and the AFP account was reported by Al-Quds al-Arabi on its front page on Friday October 13. The tape was played on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV. Reuters picked up the Al-Arabiya TV summary, and this appeared on the WaPo website, but then the story died, and today (Saturday October 14), Al-Quds al-Arabi reports, again on its front page, statements by an official representative of the Mujahideen Shura ("Advisory") Council in Iraq (said to be the foreign fighters' umbrella group), to the effect there is no truth to the tape, calling it a fabrication by "the crusaders and the renegade [or apostate] Safavids".

The speaker on the tape complained bitterly that the Iraqi AlQaeda organization had run amok, was killing prominent Sunni figures, was displacing Sunni families, and was generally alienating people to such an extent that some are saying they are actually making the task of the Crusaders and the renegades easier. The speaker also complained that the Iraqi AlQaeda leadership had ignored and rejected earlier strictures of Zawahiri in which he warned the then-head of AlQaeda in Iraq, Zarqawi, that he should work toward uniting Muslims rather than dividing them, referring particularly to Zarqawi's misguided policy of killing Shiites. The speaker on this tape implores Bin Laden: "You hold in your hand the keys to fitna; it is yours to open or to shut". The struggle in Iraq would continue, he assured Bin Laden, but you have to get rid of current leadership. (The imlication is that Zarqawi's successor, the current leader, hasn't done enough, and the drift to fitna is continuing).

Today's Al-Quds piece quotes someone called Abu Leith al-Muqaddasi from the "media committee of the Mujadideen Shura Council", who passed a message to Al-Quds al-Arabi that said "there is no basis in truth to the tape, which is a pure fabrication by the Crusaders and the renegade Safavids."

At about the same time as the appearance of this disputed tape, there also appeared a new tape from the Mujahideen Shura Council itself, announcing the formation of a new coalition of armed groups, incorporating also local Iraqi tribal leaders, in a clear attempt to underline its denial that there is any discord in the ranks at all.

So there you have it. From somewhere, either in the psych-op world or in the real world, the issue is raised: Foreign mujahideen in Iraq are killing people indiscriminately, including Shiites, and this will lead to fitna if something isn't done to stop it. The reply from the official umbrella group for foreign mujahideen: There isn't a problem, in fact this type of complaint is exactly what you would expect to hear from the the enemy, namely the Americans (the Crusaders) and the Iranian Shiites (the apostate Safavids).

There has been some sophisticated discussion in Al-Academiya about this issue, including a cameo appearance by the humble Badger to try and minimize the inevitable distortions, but unfortunately this petered out and the assembled experts apparently decided to go with Al-Quds al-Arabi for once in their lives and dismiss the tape as a hoax.

Fair enough. But what about this new description of the enemy as "Crusaders and Safavid apostates"? It isn't the "Zionist enemy" any more, it is the "Safavid apostates". This is a major departure. I've tried to indicate in earlier posts the way in which official Saudi thinking has shifted from an Israel-the-enemy to a race-based Persia-the-enemy position (posts dealing with texts by Mamoun Fandy and Ghassan al-Imam, starting with the Oct 8 post called "Signs of a latent Saudi-Israeli alliance to confront Iran") in line with the new Bush anti-Iran approach for the whole region.

What is at issue here is the conversion of Sunni-Shiite rivalry into a full-throated race-based anti-Persian campaign. Always a good idea to know what the issues are.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just great. Bush, Qaeda, and Saddam now all agree that they hate Persians. Wonderful to see such unity in the ranks...ugh.

4:46 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Bush, Qaeda, Saddam, and you forgot also the Saudis and the Israelis. It's a lot to try and comprehend isn't it...

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, and they didn't before?
And why we can not say that Iran, or rather Ahmadi Nejad and the whole staff from Supreme Leader,Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, down to people at majlis hate Bush, Saddam, al Qaeda and, of course, Israel ?
Saudis they do not hate, they just want primacy in the umma.

8:31 PM  
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