Imagine a situation in which your neighborhood is under criminal attack. Your religious authority advised citizens to help protect the place. So you and your neighbors decided to create a “neighborhood watch”— a vigilant group to support the police. You coordinated your work with law and order authorities, who provided you with training, supervision and weapons.
The situation improved and the gangs were beaten. In the meanwhile, the religious majority in your group went under the bad influence of a foreign power. Original goals were forgotten, new directions were drawn. Rogue elements took control and began to act like the gangs they fought. They used their newfound power to serve foreign and personal agendas, oppressing and prosecuting the different other, in the name of God.
Ethnic and religious cleansing using barbaric methods became their main mission. Instead of disbanding them, the government decided to incorporate the militias into the security system, even if their allegiance and leadership are officially foreign. The government probably thought it was the second best option. Since they couldn’t get rid of the problem why not try to manage it.
However, the result so far is: Criminal mobs are acting in the name of the system and under its wing and flag. They get paid, trained and prepared to finish what they started, under foreign leadership, against the best interest of their country and people.
Same horror movie
It is boring to watch the same horror movie twice. You already know what is going to happen next — no surprises. Imagine how tragic if it was a true story — your own. Worse, even though you memorized the scenario, knew all tricks and moves, you cannot do anything about it!
The first show was in Lebanon, 1982. A sectarian party was created, with the telling name “Hezbollah,” the Party of Allah — like there was no one on His side but them. Iran openly sponsored, armed and provided for a supposedly Arab-Lebanese political party. We were sold on the idea that the party is defending the country against Israel, even as the “Party of God” sold hashish in our streets.
As Arab governments became powerless in the face of the “Evil Empire,” it is refreshing to see people rising and seeking support from the Arab and international community. In Beirut, Sanaa and Baghdad, we witness how ordinary, peaceful Arabs are fighting back. This week, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated in Iraqi towns against Iranian hegemony, corruption and sectarianism.Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
Times can be short for liars, and the truth has a way of testing the most foolproof lies. So, 25 years later, the Party failed the first test, with a bang, by running an assassination squad against all opposing political, security and media figures, including the prime minister, Rafik Hariri; attempting a coup, overtaking the government, and fighting sectarian wars abroad on behalf of Iran. Israel, in the meanwhile, has received no more than shouting speeches.
The scenario was followed in a similar movie by the same director. In Yemen, “Ansarallah” (the supporters of Allah) followed the script of “the Party of Allah” in letter and logo. Even the pretext of fighting America and Israel, thousands of miles away, was used as a banner. Iran pushed the party up the system ladder till it became the effective government.
Iraq’s Shiite militia
Now the same disastrous transcript is being written and executed in Iraq. Again, Iran is creating a Shiite militia, giving it all the support and guidance it needed to run its dirty work in Arab countries. That included killing, torture, sectarian cleansing and corruption as the “Persian Empire” needed to rise again and spread from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan to Syria and Lebanon.
As Arab governments became powerless in the face of the “Evil Empire,” it is refreshing to see people rising and seeking support from the Arab and international community. In Beirut, Sanaa and Baghdad, we witness how ordinary, peaceful Arabs are fighting back. This week, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated in Iraqi towns against Iranian hegemony, corruption and sectarianism.
Iraqis, in the clearest terms, called for Iranians to get out of Iraq and stop interfering in their affairs. They also called for arms to be taken away from militias, the return of refugees to their towns, and the dismantling of Iran’s Al-Hashad Al-Shabi. The war with ISIS is over, they argued, so Ayatoallh Al-Sistani’s fatwa of 2013 for citizens to carry arms and fight back no longer applies.
Moqtada Al-Sadr is an Arab Shiite cleric with millions of followers. He has always advocated the above demands, calling for Iran to get out long before anyone else dared to. To show his seriousness about collecting arms and dismantling militias he proposed to dismantle his own, too.
A true Arab leader like Al-Sadr deserves our support. Thanks Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it is about time we ended this Iranian horror show once and for all. The train may have started in Yemen, and now in Iraq, but should not stop there. Lebanon and Syria should come next. Iran, too. Our oppressed brothers and sisters there deserve our full support. Let’s “Free Iran” and we shall all be free.
The article was earlier published in Saudi Gazette on August 8, 2017.
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi journalist and writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter: @kbatarfi.