In an interview with The New York Times, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, described the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as “the new Hitler of the Middle East”. The Crown Prince said: “We learnt from Europe that appeasement in such cases will not work. We do not want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat in the Middle East what was done in Europe.”
This assessment by the Crown Prince of the Iranian situation seems quite apt as, since the revolution, Iran has adopted a brutal ideology, namely Vilayat-e-Faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), which is the legitimate cover for the continuation of the revolution and incitement of problems and terrorism in the region and around the world.
The Guardian Jurist, also known as Supreme Leader, is the ultimate authority in Iran, quite similar to the Papal States of the Middle Ages. The Papal States regarded the leader as God’s representative on Earth. Article five of the Iranian constitution expresses that as long as Imam Mahdi remains in occultation, the absolute guardianship and the leadership of the Ummah in Iran is given to a Jurist who is decent, pious, informed of the demands of the times, brave and qualified for leadership.
After decades of Saudi, Gulf and international patience, full confrontation is the optimal and final solution for dealing with such a regimeDr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin
In addition, Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist does not acknowledge nationalism as it has a sectarian view that claims the loyalty of all Shiites of the world to Iran.
The constitution says that the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution has the right to rule the “Shiite” nation since the original legitimate leader, i.e. Imam Mahdi, is in occultation. This suggests that the utmost loyalty of every Shiite in the world must be to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
Thus, Iran transformed sectarianism into constitutional texts by turning the Shiites of the world into an agenda under the rule of the Guardian Jurist. It turned them into armed groups, spy cells, militias and organizations with utmost loyalty to the Guardian Jurist with no account of their nationalism.
Many Shiite militias are operating on the directions of the Guardian Jurist including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, Houthis in Yemen, and sleeper cells in the Gulf States or around the world.
Referring to its close ties with Shiites in Iraq including Sistani and other Iraqi Shiite clerics who studied in Qum, the Director of the Gulf and Middle East Center of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hamed Reza Daghani, said that the Iranian “soft power” in Iraq was the key factor in achieving Iranian ambitions in Iraq and in the region.
Therefore, the Crown Prince’s description is profound and precise as the Iranian totalitarian ideology is no different to Nazi Germany or any totalitarian regime embracing expansionism, racism and disregard for all international conventions. Over the past eight decades of its emergence, containment and compromise only resulted in failure in dealing with the totalitarian ideology.
After decades of Saudi, Gulf and international patience, full confrontation is the optimal and final solution for dealing with such a regime, a main supporter of terrorism which continues to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and to destabilize their peace and security.
Only confrontation can give birth to those who choose to abandon the totalitarian revolutionary ideology and reject revolutionary concepts for the concepts of nationalism, national states, respect for international conventions and refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of other countries.
This is the only way to create a healthy political atmosphere that may contribute to the stability of the region and change its current chaotic reality.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on February 1, 2018.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin is a Middle East affairs specialist and security analyst based in Riyadh. He can be contacted at Ibrahim.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Alothaimin.