MidEast

Hezbollah Blamed for Fomenting Intra-Arab Tensions

A columnist for a Saudi website argues that Hezbollah hasn’t simply exacerbated tensions between Shi’ites and Sunnis, but has also opened a rift within Shi’ism. The opinion editor of Asharq Al-Awsat, Mshari Al-Zaydi observes in This repulsive war has just begun:

Now, Sheikh Qaradawi, who once described Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah as heroes, describes Hezbollah as the party of Satan, and sees Nasrallah as a dangerous despot to the Muslim nation. Azhar scholars in Cairo attack Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and Hezbollah. Qaradawi praises Saudi scholars’ early stance in which they warned against Hezbollah and its hidden agenda against the Sunnis.

What did Nasrallah and his followers gain from preferring velayat-e faqih to Shi’ite Arabs? Iran, at worst, will go back inside its borders and return to its linguistic, cultural and geographic framework, because it is a complete nation. But what would Arab Shi’ites do, when they are part of the Arab fabric, or even the Muslim fabric, from Pakistan and India in the east, to Lebanon in the west, and from central Asia in the north, to Yemen in the south, not to mention in the diaspora in Europe, what would those do when the war has ended?

How much damage is being caused by Nasrallah to the future of coexistence in the Islamic world? This question is especially urgent as fatwas to support the oppressed are being issued in Indonesia in the Islamic Far East.

Velayat-e faqih – “guardianship of the jurisprudent” – is the legal and religious principle upon which the Islamic Republic of Iran was founded, under which authority is vested with the Supreme Leader. It has been explicitly and repeatedly embraced by Hezbollah.

The implication is that not just Hezbollah, but also Iran, is responsible for fomenting tensions between Sunnis and Shiite Arabs.

Hezbollah has made ‘protecting’ the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque a central pretext for pouring forces into Syria. Iranian officials seem to have adopted the same line:

Following Lebanese Hizballah’s official May recognition of their full-involvement in Syria, it would appear that Iran is not only becoming more open about their involvement, but also utilizing many of the same narrative points first honed by its regional Shia proxies… In June, three IRGC members were claimed by Iranian sources to have been killed while operating around Damascus’s Saydah Zaynab Shrine. Proclaiming IRGC members have been killed defending the shrine recycles the exact narrative Lebanese Hizballah and other Iraqi Shia groups have been utilizing for many months. This line also demonstrates that Tehran has become more comfortable with using sectarian-based messaging to convey why it is willing to lose men in the Syrian war.

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