Iran Sends George W. a Word to the Wise

In this open letter to George W. Bush, no doubt sanctioned by the Iranian leadership, the author gives the president a history lesson on the division of Islam, who the terrorists are, and why they exist. According to the letter, published in Iran's Tehran Times, the Wahhabis are a violent sect that were 'disloyal to the prophet' and who want to return to 'the violent, pre-Islam era.' The Shia, who not coincidentally rule Iran, seek non-violent solutions, the author writes. Clearly, Iran is none too pleased with the Saudis.

By Hassan Hanizadeh

November 10, 2005

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Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States: The Heart of the Wahhabi Sect.

Hello Mr. Bush. As an Iranian journalist who has been following international developments for over thirty years, I would first of all like to inform you of some facts which might help you adopt correct political stances in regard to the
Middle East.

The global events over the past decade which led to the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. Army are most likely the result of a series of historical events rooted in religious inclinations.

Unfortunately, when studying the reasons behind events, Western political analysts most often fail to consider the historical dimensions and the less obvious factors that give rise to the ominous terrorism that threatens your nation and the world.

Most likely, U.S. political analysts fail to analyze - without bias - the root causes of terrorism due to political and economic factors like the critical need for oil in your country.

But more generally, when formulating political decisions and strategies for the Middle East, Washington has traditionally ignored historical events. Rather, its decision-making has always been driven by the flawed advice of certain countries that most often provide false information. [Apparently, the writer refers to primarily Saudi Arabia, as the headquarters of the Wahhabi sect of Islam].

As you know, diplomatic relations between my country of Iran and yours, the United States, have experienced two very different phases [before and after the 1979 Revolution], and a series of incidents have affected these relations in a contradictory way.

Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, 1919 1980

—READ: A Brief History of the Pahlavis

Since 1979, i.e. before the collapse of Iran's former monarchist Pahlavi regime [The Shah], my country was regarded as a U.S. satellite, and diplomatic relations between the two States had two prime objectives.

The Crown of the Former Shah

The first objective was to prevent the penetration of communism into the critical Persian Gulf region. Toward this end, Iran quite efficiently carried out its duties as the regional gendarme and safeguarded Western interests against the threat of communist ideology.

However, the second objective, which was apparently neglected for a time, was to pit the Shia branch of Islam against the violent Wahhabi sect. Nevertheless, after the collapse of the Pahlavi dynasty, diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States were cut and thus, by taking advantage of the political vacuum this created, Wahhabi leaders tried to promote terrorism.

As you know, the Wahhabi sect became ascendant in the Arab Peninsula at the beginning of the 20th century, and although less than 100 years has passed since, the group actually has deeper historical roots.

After the demise of the Prophet Mohammad in 632 CE, a division occurred between the Prophet's companions over how to carry out Islamic governance (the Caliphate). This is a question that continues to badly effect political developments in the Islamic world.

An Iranian Artist's Rendition of Shia Founder Imam Ali

Those who were loyal to the Prophet Mohammad and his valuable doctrines, exemplified by Imam Ali, preferred to use nonviolent means to solve the social crises of the time. Others, however, tried to return Arab society to the violent pre-Islamic era, known as the time of ignorance, believing that Arabs were the superior race and that the only way to sway non-Arab nations was by the sword.

These differences, between those that believed the Arabs superior to other races and Imam Ali and his companions, obliged Imam Ali, who was the Prophet Mohammad's cousin and son-in-law, to immigrate to Iraq.

When possible, Imam Ali practiced the Prophet's laws peacefully and nonviolently, but the extremist Arabs continued opposing moderate Muslims, and even shed their blood in the battles of Jamal, Seffin, and Nahrawan.

Finally, in the year 661 CE, the Arab extremists executed a plot and martyred Imam Ali, striking him with a poisoned sword during morning prayers at the mosque.

Two decades later in the year 682, these extremist Arab criminals brutally killed Imam Ali's youngest son, Imam Hussein, and 72 of his companions and family members, including a 6-month-old infant, on the outskirts of Karbala, 105 km southwest of Baghdad.

These two sad incidents have had a lasting effect on the psyche of Shia Muslims, who were actually the followers of Imam Ali. However, there was no formal conflict between Shia and Sunni.

Nevertheless, in the 16th century tensions rose between the Safavid dynasty in Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the area of modern-day Turkey, that resulted in a number of wars.

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah: A Friend or Foe?

In the first half of the 20th century, the leaders of the Hijaz government made the Wahhabi school of thought their official religion to oppose any kind of reformist Islam, to prevent the penetration of the more humane and peaceful Shia sect, and to undermine efforts to establish a union of the various tribes on the Arabian Peninsula.

The ideology of this dangerous sect is based on slaughtering women and children, mistreating people, cutting off the heads and hands of men before the eyes of others in public places, and opposing Western civilization or any kind of religious reform.

The behavior and activities of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups that have carried out the September 11, 2001 terrorist incidents and the London and Madrid bombings, are the result of the intolerant beliefs of this inhumane sect.

Constant bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as every type of violence against women and children in Pakistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, and other parts of the world, are carried out by this hideous group.

Unfortunately, a number of Arab countries with expanded political and economic ties with the United States are trying to manipulate regional events so Western public opinion will be unable to fairly judge the peacefulness of Shia Muslims.

The Wahhabi-Controlled Holy City of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

Along these lines, under the influence of a number of Arab countries, the United States and other Western nations are using their vast capacity o produce propaganda to magnify the Shia threat, with the intent of isolating the Shia so that the Wahhabi sect can dominate the Middle East. Mr. President! Pay attention!

Now that elections in Iraq are about to be held, neighboring Arab States will certainly seek to exclude the Shia, who are actually the majority of the Iraqi population, from the political scene, and impose Wahhabi domination over Iraq. The weak excuse for this is that otherwise, a "Shia crescent" might be established in the region. [Editor's Note: Explain]

So allow me to draw your attention to some important points. First of all, a comprehensive investigation must be conducted to determine the identity and nationality of all the terrorists currently detained by the United States and its Western allies in places like Guantanamo; and second, that there be an probe into the question of whether any Shia armed forces have ever videotaped the beheading of a foreigner for broadcast on TV.

I therefore advise you to avoid being influenced by Arab leaders who pretend to be friends of you and your country, but actually wish to annihilate the West and the civilized world through the promotion of the Wahhabi ideology.

I hope that U.S. citizens, officials, and particularly you, as president of the United States, will fairly judge the Shia.

It is specifically suggested that you establish relations with Shia leaders in order to become familiar with their humanitarian character and learn the facts from the source, to at least to promote your own interests and prosperity.

Hassan Hanizadeh

Iranian Journalist

Tehran, Iran, November 2005


Iranian Television: Remarks from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at Tehran University, October 21, 00:02:43, MEMRI

"For most American governments, generating crises around the world is a necessity and a tactical need, so as to distract people's attention from domestic issues and problems."

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
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