Execution of Nimr al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia and Iran: religious or political conflicts? – II
by Salah Lamrani on 14 Jan 2016 0 Comment
It is absurd, outrageous and irresponsible to give a sectarian characterization to these demands for democracy for the sole reason that, in fact, they would allow better representation for Shiites, which is characteristic of any representative democracy. As such, any claim of democracy could be caricatured as the simple manifestation of partisanship because it would be enough to point to the political (and/or religious) colour of protesters or spokespersons of these movements to deny their legitimate and universal character. One could even say, a little more abusively, that this would amount to give a sectarian nature to an act of banditry after discovering that the perpetrator was Sunni and the attacked Shiite, or vice versa, even though none of them knew it and that the motive was obviously purely material. And even if the thief and/or murderer argued (rightly or wrongly) from a sectarian identity to rally gullible accomplices, would the leading cause not remain the material gain?


Nimr al-Nimr only referred to his sectarian affiliation in order to inspire unity, as he did in this same speech of October 2011:

“Who claimed that the Shiites are the only ones being oppressed? Should we remain silent because we are not the only victims of arrests and repression? But it’s even worse! How would this be an excuse (for the regime)? Should we tolerate them (unjustly) arresting Sunnis? On what basis? Why do they arrest thousands of people (Sunni and Shiite)? We are all victims (of this regime). Where is the money, where are the billions? Unemployment, imprisonment, deprivation affect the entire population… We will continue to demand the rights of all the oppressed.” 


He also denounced sectarian allegiances, recalling that since Islam abhorred any kind of oppression, the responsibility of a Muslim is to dissociate from any oppressor, whatever he is: Saud and al-Khalifa families first, until the al-Assad family, both Sunni and Shia are innocent of the crimes of these ruling families, and must condemn them on pain of being accomplices, he affirmed in December 2011, concluding that the oppressed must unite against their oppressors. Finally, Nimr al-Nimr was a fierce defender of the Palestinian cause, and called his government to send its armed forces against Israel instead of attacking Bahrain.


Some media have talked about the “provocative” character of the speeches of Nimr al-Nimr, but these are absurd or even indecent “oratorical precautions” that seem to ignore the massive and unprecedented violence, physical, not verbal, to which they are a response. In one of his last speeches dating from June 22, 2012, two weeks before his arrest, Nimr al-Nimr evoked the death of Prince Nayef, Minister of Interior and heir to the throne, by explicitly stating that the only reaction possible in the face of the disappearance of the murderer, torturer and jailer of their children – including members of his own family – was to glorify God and rejoice, only the “Angel of Death” being able to reach these absolute monarchs who claim the throne in life.


A statement that is entirely “proportionate”, to use a term dear to our political and media men, and that certainly does not justify the withering epithet “provocative” against cold-blooded despots, murderers and torturers: on the contrary, in such conditions of oppression, rather it is his wisdom and moderation that should be praised, as he has always rejected calls to violence and sedition which they strove to drive him to, and has always been a strong advocate of peaceful dissent.


The accusation of being an “Iranian agent”, an instrument of Persian “expansionism” – although Iran has not committed any act of aggression since the nineteenth century – was also brought against him. But his denunciation of the Syrian regime, strategic ally of Tehran, is an eloquent sign of his independence, repeatedly claimed, and witnessed by the United States themselves according to Wikileaks. Moreover, Nimr al-Nimr has shown the inanity and contradictions of this unsubstantiated accusation, recalling that oppression against the Shiites, inherent in Wahhabism, came well before the Islamic Revolution.


Such persecutions have occurred since the establishment of the first Saudi State following the alliance of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and the House of Saud in the eighteenth century and lasted until this day, extending to the entire population, as clearly indicated in the Amnesty International report. And besides, Nimr al-Nimr pointed out, it ill becomes the Saudi regime and the Gulf countries, whose territory is home to many US military bases and the West flooded its weapons, to accuse them of getting any help from Iran, which can consist only of moral support.


Nimr al-Nimr was therefore a genuine national political opponent, in the noblest sense. That is why Amnesty International has clearly denounced “a political and grossly unfair trial” and a manipulation of related questions:

“Saudi Arabia’s authorities have indicated that the executions were carried out to fight terror and safeguard security. However, the killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in particular suggests they are also using the death penalty in the name of counter-terror to settle scores and crush dissidents.”


Why did the Saudi regime decide to execute Nimr al-Nimr in this particular context? Definitely out of spite at the failure of their campaign in Yemen, which reveals itself as a spectacular failure despite the 9 months of war without mercy from a coalition of the richest Arab countries – supported by the West – against the poorest of them, in which Saudi Arabia cannot even defend its own territory against the regular Yemeni strikes and incursions decimating their troops.


Similarly, the investments and hopes of Saudi Arabia in Iraq and especially in Syria went up in smoke since the Russian intervention, Daesh – which Saud is the father of, Wahhabism the mother, and the West the matchmaker – beating a retreat on all fronts. These colossal expenditures, combined with falling oil prices, strain the Saudi economy and impose reforms on it, so that its leaders are reduced to bloody acts of revenge such as the execution of Nimr al-Nimr and more destruction and crimes against the civilian population in Yemen, where Riyadh announced the end of the cease-fire, hoping to instill terror in all and stifle any demands with this bloody message.


What about the sectarian issue and the “rivalry” between “Sunni” Saudi Arabia (or rather Wahhabi) and Shiite Iran? It is clear that Saudi Arabia, which, since the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, has spent billions of dollars flooding the Muslim world with anti-Shiite diatribe, shamelessly slandering the followers of this school and presenting Iran as the main enemy of the Arab-Muslim world (well before the United States or Israel), has continued to do everything possible to give this sectarian colour to the conflicts.

The propaganda of Daesh recruits “jihadists” to fight in Iraq and Syria by the same processes, persuading brutes conditioned by decades of Wahhabi propaganda to defend the original purity of Islam against the “Shiite and Alawite innovators” who must be driven through with the sword. This speech, galvanised by the plans of Washington, London and Paris in the Middle East and their unlimited means and resources, could have affected tens of thousands of fanatics at the beginning of the Syrian crisis, but it has lost much of its impact on contact with reality on the ground, especially since the indiscriminate crimes of takfiri terrorists were brought to light.


The vast majority of their victims are indeed Sunnis, and from the beginning of the crisis in 2011, especially in Syria where the majority of the loyalist army is Sunni, all ethnicities, religions and sects fought Al Qaeda, Daesh and others side by side, as they have peacefully coexisted for centuries. This new barbaric act of Saudi Arabia could also constitute a provocative act aimed at reviving these sectarian tensions and rally the Sunni world behind it, like the cut of its diplomatic relations with Iran subsequent to the attack against its embassy in Tehran, a convenient pretext for a certainly premeditated action.


What is the real role of religion in all this? This applies to those wars like all previous wars: religion is never the real motive, but is a mere pretext to hide purely political purposes, struggles for influence and power, between aspirations for independence and freedom and will of hegemony and domination, at the scale of nations, the region and the world. To be convinced that the “rivalry” between Iran and Saudi Arabia is of a political nature and not religious, just remember that if Iran is an Islamic Republic since 1979, it is Shiite since the sixteenth century.


When Iran, under the Shah Muhammad Redha Pahlavi, was the main ally of the United States and the “Middle East’s policeman”, was he not the ally and even the master of Saud? The current king of Saudi Arabia, Salman b.Abd-al-Aziz al-Saud, has he not himself greeted the Shah with dances in the early 1970s? The Shah was he not a Persian, was he not allegedly Shiite? Saudi Arabia was it not Wahhabi? Certainly yes. But that was no problem, because the essential was safe, namely the bonds of mutual vassalage to the US and its imperial and neo-colonial policy in the Middle East to which Tehran and Riyadh, just like Tel Aviv, were faithful agents.


It is therefore absurd to claim that sectarian issues form the basis of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which dates only from 1979, the year of the Revolution of Imam Khomeini that transformed Iran into an independent, anti-imperialist and internationalist power, and implacable enemy of the United States, like Cuba in 1959, against which Washington feared a “domino effect” of triumphant sovereignism that has indeed taken place in Latin America and is underway in the Middle-East. So they had to fight Iran, under the pretext of the “fight against Shiism” for Saudi Arabia, the “fight against the Persians” for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (the Iraqi population being mostly Shiite, the sectarian pretext was unthinkable), and the “fight against fundamentalism” or “nuclear proliferation” scam for the United States.


Nimr al-Nimr strongly denounced this imposture in his speech, addressing the Saud and condemning their seditious policies both within the country and in the region:

“We see no problem between Sunnis and Shiites, between Sunni countries and Iran. The only problem is you, and you laugh at the world [by exploiting this alleged sectarian rivalry]. There are no problems between Sunnis and Shiites, they are just lies and falsifications that you use to deceive the ignorant of your supporters and thugs who claim to be ‘Salafist': the ‘Salafists’ of Nayef, the ‘Salafists’ of Saud, which give no consideration to religion, the ‘Salafism’ which is based on murder, rape of honour, betrayal, collaborationism with the United States, such is their ‘Salafism’. These are the Saud.”


By his faith in non-violent struggle and in the invincible power of a word of truth facing the most backward, the most ruthless tyranny, Nimr al-Nimr embodied in an exemplary way the aspirations of Arab peoples for democracy and dignity. Although the condemnation of his execution was fairly warm in the West, often hiding behind timid condemnations of principle of the death penalty, all genuine supporters of the right to self-determination of peoples and freedom of expression may consider Nimr al-Nimr as a martyr and mourn him.



Translated from French by Jenny Bright

Source: http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr/2016/01/execution-dun-clerc-chiite-en-arabie.html

Courtesy The Saker


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