It is not easy for Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the Shiite scholar, to stand along with the few people who are against an influential Shiite figure like Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, a man who heads 70,000 fighters, owns an arsenal bigger than any militia in the world and receives $1 billion from the Iranian regime in addition to other funds from religious organizations supporting him.
Despite this, Ali al-Amin reiterated his criticism of Hezbollah’s actions and involvement in the Syrian conflict. He frankly and eloquently spoke his mind regarding Nasrallah’s support for those Lebanese Shiites who seek to protect the Assad regime. Sheikh Sobhi al-Tufaili, a Lebanese Shiite leader, did the same. He addressed Nasrallah saying that Shiite fighters “are not defending Sayyidah Zainab (granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad, whose shrine is located in Syria) but president Bashar al-Assad and that Iran is dragging them into any war it wants.”
Mohamed al-Amin and Hani Fahes are two Shiite leaders who preceded them in responding to Nasrallah. Last year, they signed a statement condemning Assad’s crimes and condemning any support of him by any party, particularly by Hezbollah. They announced that they stand by the Syrian people. The response to this moral stance was a campaign launched by Assad’s and Nasrallah’s media outlets accusing them of Wahabi Shiism!
The wars and strife we are currently witnessing have nothing to do with Shiites or Sunnis. They are a result of political exploitation.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Had religious leaders Mohamed Hussein Fadlallah and Sheikh Mohamed Shamseddine been alive, they would have taken similar stances against Hezbollah as they were known for their moderate and brave stand. They were also known for their call for co-existence with all religions and sects and stood against all historical myths used to ignite hatred and clashes amongst different sects.
This is why we appreciate that it is difficult to utter what is right during these times. We appreciate that those who do utter what is right, despite the majority’s opinion and despite the intimidation of arms, are brave people with principles.
Upon the orders of Iran
Nasrallah does not care about sending the sons of his sect to Syria. Thousands of them currently fight in Damascus suburbs, the city of Tartus and the Syrian town of Qusayr. All of this comes to serve the orders of the Iranian regime which says that the fall of Assad regime means its own fall.
When Sayyed Ali al-Amin addressed millions of Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites, he frankly announced his condemnation of Nasrallah’s actions and Assad’s crimes. He is bridging the huge gap that widens every day between the Sunni and the Shiite sect. The wars and strife we are currently witnessing have nothing to do with Shiites or Sunnis. They are a result of political exploitation. Saddam Hussein was not a Sunni as much as he was an opportunistic dictator. The same goes for Assad who is not an Alawite as much as he is a criminal who happens to be president. Hassan Nasrallah is not a Shiite leader as much as he is a leader of a militia and an employee of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s office.
The sectarian war and the mobilization towards it aims to send those who are fooled by the war to Syria to die for personal goals. Late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden killed Sunnis like Assad did. Nasrallah caused the death of thousands of Shiites during absurd wars with Israel and other Lebanese sects, not out of his love for Palestine and not out of defending Hussein, but out of his desire to seek leadership and personal glory.
This article first appeared in Asharq al-Awsat on May 28, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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