Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saudi clerics call for group action against the "US-Persian backed" Iraqi Shiites

A group of 38 Saudi bigshots, including preachers, present and former university professors, and government officials, all of them is some way or other considered to be religious authorities of some description, issued a statement Monday on a Saudi website, which depending on how you read it, either calls for pogroms against Iraqi Shiites, or perhaps stops a short step short of that. And the Najaf authorities have replied angrily that Riyadh should take a resolute position against this.

A Reuters reporter did a summary of sorts in Arabic, and there is an AP version, but both of them left out important parts, perhaps understandably. A commenter kindly sent the link to the original statement. Here is one excerpt I originally saw in Elaph:
After almost four years of the occupation of Iraq, it has become apparent that the aim is the seizure of Iraq jointly by the crusaders and Safavid rafida ("rejectionists", referring to Shiites as heretics), enabling their ambitions in the region, protecting the Jewish occupiers; the elimination of Sunni influence in it [in Iraq]; the deterrence of the Sunna in the region generally; and the creation of a Shiite crescent, the idea and the execution of which they do not conceal. It has come about that Iraq, by virtue of its Islamic and Arab character, and by virtue of its geography, its history and its [natural-resource] wealth is something they wish to dissipate and plunder. Its official division has become a public [plan], and it can be expected to occur at any moment. [Already] the rafida have the south and the main provinces of the center; the Kurds have the north; the Sunnis have what remains in the center.
Here is an another excerpt:
[Sunnis should not stand idly by as their brother Sunnis are killed, tortured and displaced in Iraq, but should] expose the practices of the rafida at every level and every position of every pulpit and gathering and opportunity--more than that, you should call special meetings on this subject, and you should besiege those who toy with Iraq and its people informationally and legally, and you should arouse the concern of the Islamic population to do their duty with respect to them.
On the specific question of jihad:
[The statement says jihad is unquestionably one of the basic ideas in religion] and what has been taken by force can only be recovered by force, and praise God there are among the mujahideen of Iraq wonderful examples of sacrifice and effort in the path of God, who have terrified the enemy and cut down their strength, and we value them for that and may God be pleased with them. However, there have been recent and novel events in the field that have emerged from our struggle, and they [the novelties] are in need of a legal grounding that cannot be found out except by those [clerics] of the divine science, who are more knowledgable, and have longer experience, and have a more fundamental understanding of these novelties, and who understand the reality of the struggle between ourselves and our enemy. And therefore we implore all the mujahideen to put their hands in the hands of the clerics, and not undertake anything without them...
The enemy have the US and Iran and the finances of Iraq behind them, the statements says in another place, and we (Sunnis everywhere) must not let them down. The gist of the whole statement seems to be a call to consciousness-raising about the dangers and the need for action. "What has been taken by force can only be recovered by force," but the ultimate question of jihad or not should be left to local religious authorities. But the underlying threat of spontaneous popular action is there.

In any event (according to the above-linked Elaph account today) that is the way the Shiite leadership in Najaf read the statement. Acting collectively, they issued a statement accusing these 38 Saudi sheikhs of "legitimizing the taking of blood and property and money of the Shiites". And the Najaf statement called on the Saudi authorities to take a "resolute position against the statement."

Al-Quds al-Arabi points out that the 38 do not include the popular preachers that have regular programs on Saudi state TV. So this is not yet a national cause. On the other hand, it remains to be seen how the Saudi government reacts to the call to take a resolute stand against the 38.

While it is understandable if Arab media turn away from publishing a statement like that of the 38, you do have to wonder how much of what is going on in the region is getting through to the US "policy makers". The NYT this morning buries a reference to this deep inside a story about Washington diplomacy, something they really like to write about.


Blogger Dancewater said...

I think the overall plot of the Cheney administration is to get the Saudis fighting the Iranians... otherwise known as "let's you and him fight"

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The statement is available here:


7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

see "fourth" on jihad as one of the most important articles of faith...

7:14 AM  
Blogger badger said...

thank you! I'm going to read that later today.

7:16 AM  

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