Following the success of the Iranian revolution in 1979, its “owners” raised the slogan of exporting the revolution to their Arab neighborhood. Indeed, this is what happened. At present, Iran has established a full-fledged occupation in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the part of Yemen under Houthi control. In fact, the Houthis are the facade and extension of the Wilayat al-Faqih in the country, on the basis that there are some factional groups there affiliated to the Wilayat al-Faqih, but in reality, these groups are subordinates to the Iranian state that now holds complete power over most Arab countries in the Levant.
It is widely agreed that the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime was a great gift given to Iran on a silver platter after the famed Iraq-Iran war.
What is also widely known, or rather undoubtedly certain, is that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always spearheaded the confrontation of Iran’s expansion throughout the Arab region. It has also become a certainty that the expansion of the Wilayat al-
Faqih is motivated by occupational ambitions. In addition to the four countries it now controls, namely Syria and Iraq, two of the greatest Arab countries, the former having been the beating heart of Arabism, and Lebanon and Yemen; its control has extended now to most, if not all, of the Red Sea, as well as the Bab el Mandab strait and the Arabian Sea. Even some major states now consider Iran to be the main player in this strategic region.
All this has led to a conviction that the terrorism and expansion of the Wilayat al-Faqih in the Arab world has become more dangerous even than the state of the Zionist enemy, to the point that the Supreme Leader has earned the title of the Adolf Hitler of the Middle East; not to mention the warnings that Iran is now a few steps away -or maybe even closer- from having a nuclear program. Surely, this is not something to be dismissed, not just as far as Arab states are concerned, but rather for all Eastern countries!
At this point, it does not come as a surprise that some countries in the region are considering the reinforcement of their military capacities and acquisition of quality weapons, since Iran does not seem to be halting its destructive and dangerous policies anytime soon.
Therefore, some observers believe there should have been real pressure on former US President Donald Trump to cancel the nuclear deal with Tehran on 9 May 2018 after a long visit by a senior Saudi official to Washington.
Saudi Arabia’s effective confrontation of Iran’s invasive interference in the Arab world, including in major Arab states like Iraq and Syria, is indeed a real confrontation of the actions of the Wilayat al-Faqih. Perhaps we must remind readers in this context that the Peninsula Shield Force, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council, was the one to thwart the terrorist operations in Bahrain that Khomeini and Khamenei’s Iran were undoubtedly behind. As we know, even the Shah’s Iran had targeted several Arab Gulf countries, including Bahrain, of course.
History, ancient and modern, tells us that the above does not apply to all Iranians. A great part of this brotherly population has historically stood by the Arab nation. Iranians are not a single people, but rather several peoples in one country. These include Kurds, some Arabs, and some nationalist minorities that now publicly voice their nationalist sentiments, like Turkmen, Feylis, and many others that openly declare their real affiliations and state their Arab identity or “nationalist” affiliation to the Arab nation.
For this reason, those Kurdish-affiliated Iranians must not be included in this spectrum. As a matter of fact, many people of Iranian origin, including, of course, those who were historically Kurds, identify as Arabs. Some of these became the elite of the Arab nation after forming some of the most important Arab nationalist parties, like the Baath Party or the Arab Nationalist Movement, or taking leadership positions in Palestinian fedayeen factions. They were also some of the greatest leaders of the nationalist pan-Arab struggle and the national Palestinian struggle.
Therefore, it would be erroneous to count all Iranians as followers of the Wali al-Faqih and enemies of Arabs and the Arab nation.
This also applies to our Kurdish brothers who have always played major roles and took the lead in the patriotic and nationalist struggle, especially in the Levant. As a matter of fact, the historical hero Salaheddine al-Ayoubi was a Kurdish gift to Arabs and the pan-Arabism movement, and to Islam and Muslims everywhere, in the Arab world and beyond.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.