The brutality of minorities is an Arab phenomenon that emerged in the wake of Khomeini’s 1979 revolution in Iran. Thereafter, it began to spread in the Arab world—with Iranian support—until it became omnipresent. It is seen by the West as a natural given, not as anomalous to history and reality.
The malevolent minorities in the Arab world are intrinsically linked with the Iranian regime. They are answerable to it, act in its name, ally themselves with it, and provide the regime with all kinds of services—even if this results in abandoning their longstanding caution and usual apprehension. This has transformed these minorities into instruments of an imperial, political and religious conflict that run counter to their entire history and nature, and threatens their future and posterity.
The largest minority in the Arab and Muslim world is the Shia minority, which follows the Shia sect, that has repeatedly stoked revolutions against the Sunni majority since the dawn of Islamic history. Today it rejects politics, promotes revolution, and has rendered “awaiting the Mahdi” the main tenet of its followers for centuries. All its religious institutions have been resolutely built on this principle, until the Khomeini Revolution brought about a coup d'état in the sect through the “Wilayat al-Faqih” theory and the policy of “exporting the revolution.”
The Khomeini project failed to export the revolution through direct military war with Iraq. The second Supreme Leader, Khamenei, then pursued a new policy of supporting some “minorities” and turning them into “brutality.” It was only natural to start with the Shia minority in the Arab world, and in Lebanon in particular with Hezbollah, and by supporting Shia minorities in Iraq as well as in the Arab Gulf States. The progression of its agenda is clearly visible in the Kuwait Model from the 1985 assassination attempt on former Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed by the Shia Iraqi Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis—who was killed together with Qasem Soleimani in 2020—and Shia Lebanese Mustafa Badreddin, who was liquidated in Syria in 2016, up until the al-Abdali Cell in 2017, with a volume of weapons and planning sufficient to bring down a state, not merely carry out a terrorist operation or assassinate an official. The recent reproach by some Kuwaiti Shia against Saudi Arabia and al-Baqee’ will not be the last of this trend.
Iran has followed the same approach with the al-Houthi group, which is affiliated with the Zaidi sect in Yemen, by drawing the Houthis towards the Khomeini version of the Twelvers sect of the Shia. Subsequently, Iran sought to transform the Houthis into a “savage minority,” leading to today's brutality, terrorism, persecution of the majority and other minorities in Yemen, targeting of Saudi Arabia and threatening the world at large and international trade.
Outside the Shia framework, the Iranian regime has allied itself with some representatives of the Christian minority in Lebanon, namely, the Awn Current. This current has turned brutal and forged an alliance with savages in service of the Iranian regime. It has demonstrated its ability to transform Christ, the Cross, and the Holy Virgin into soldiers in the battle for “brutality by the minority” led by the Iranian regime. The statements made by former Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe are but one example of this current’s invariable strategy.
Contradictions are a weapon of politics and thought adopted by many states, political parties and movements, and amounts to one of the mechanisms adopted by the Iranian regime and its savage followers in extending influence and imposing hegemony over many Arab States. One example of this is the combination of the “discourse of pride” and the “discourse of weakness,” and it suffices to monitor the discourse of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis to infer the underlying meaning of such discourse.
The persecution of minorities smaller in numbers and influence is one element comprising the strategies concocted by “brutal minorities.” We can cite many examples here: Lebanon's Hezbollah persecutes the Christians and the Druze, Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forced persecute Iraq's many and multiethnic minorities, which are part and parcel of the country’s history and civilization, such as the Kurds (as an ethnic minority), the Yazidis and Christians (as a religious minority), the Houthi militia persecutes the Baha'is and Jews of Yemen, and so on in a consistent policy and a unchanging methodology.
These brutal minorities reap gains and suffer losses like any other current or political party. Lebanese Hezbollah gained through absolute control of the Lebanese state, but lost by turning it into a failed state, and proved across-the-board impotence that runs counter to all of its rhetoric during the recent events in Gaza and refrained from attacking Israel in any way, shape or form. Apparently, it has learned the lesson of 2006 well, as was the case with the Houthi militia, Daesh and al-Qaeda, which made some gains in the beginning but suffered losses later on.
Human nature and the logic of history stand as testament to the fact that “minority brutality" is one of the greatest existential risks to the former, and that their leaders and political, cultural and economic elites at this stage of human evolution will bear a heavy burden in the future when things return to normal.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, in al-Ittihad.