“Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Monday that there is no difference between the uprising against tyranny in Bahrain with other Arab countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia or Libya. The Leader, who was addressing a large group of people in Mashhad in the first day of Noruz (the Persian New Year), said this claim that Iran is supporting the Bahrainis because they are mostly Shia is absolutely false. Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran has been supporting the Sunni Muslims in Palestine over the past 32 years and this shows that Iran makes no difference between Shias and Sunnis. The Leader said those who are trying to interpret the Bahraini people’s uprising against despotism as the conflict between Shia and Sunni are in fact doing the “greatest service” to the United States. “Do not turn the anti-despotic movement of a nation into a Shia-Sunni problem,” Ayatollah Khamenei warned. “We will not make a differentiation between Gaza, Palestine, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia,” the Leader asserted……..” Mehr News (Iran)
I don’t agree with Khamenei on many issues: the idea of Wilayat Faqih (rule of a supreme cleric), on theocracy, on secularism, on free speech, on the death penalty, and on many other issues.
But this one is different. Apparently Khamenei is pissed (putting it succinctly) that the vast Saudi official media dominating the Arab waves, and its surrogates in the Gulf states, are painting the Bahrain uprising as primarily a Shi’a-Sunni conflict. I happen to agree with Khamenei on this point, as do most Arabs, almost all Arabs, outside the sectarian-divided Gulf region. The rulers of Bahrain and their partners in Apartheid have been using this Shi’a-Sunni rift, enlarging it shamelessly for their own purpose, dividing the region and inflaming it. The Saudis and some other tame and controlled Gulf media have been aiding and abetting this shameful sectarian approach. On this one I agree with Khamenai, even though I disagree on many others.
““The new potentials created by the recent developments can reinvigorate and promote Iran’s regional power in political, cultural and social dimensions,” Deputy Head of the General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Gholam Ali Rashid said. He described the new developments in the region as the beginning of a new era which will serve Muslims’ interests and will endanger the interests of the western countries. Decreasing enemies’ concentration on devising and hatching new political, security and military plots against Iran is the least benefit of the recent developments for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the commander continued……..” Fars News (Iran)
This Iranian commander seems to agree with some Arabs in the Gulf region who claim fear of the mullahs. I doubt his claim that regional uprisings against dictators and absolute monarchies will strengthen the Iranian regime. On the contrary, if more of the Arab regimes are overthrown by popular uprisings, this will increase the likelihood of an Iranian spillover, especially now with many Iranians restless about their government and the economic crisis of the country. Arab revolts will encourage the Iranian youth to demand real change.
Which means, if you want change in Iran and reduced power for the theocracy, then you should wholeheartedly support Arab revolutions from North Africa to the Gulf. Does this mean that, say, the kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia or the oligarchs of Abu Dhabi should support Arab revolutions (and not only in Libya and Syria)? Well, yes: if’n they ever ask me, I’d advise them to go for it and scream “er7l, er7l, depart, depart” as they look in the mirror.