Studying the Nature of Arab-Iranian Relations
During an online discussion with the dear friend Amr Al-Abyad, his opinion was Iran is an enemy to Arab nations and Pan Arabism, maybe not less than Israel case. Amr had plenty of points justifying his attitude against Iran, you can study it here. However, I will not discuss these points here, I will assume it to be true (except for those related to Hezbollah, that I know personally it is not, this I shall discuss later) and go for studying the reasons of this anti-Arab hatred among Iranians.
During Bosnia & Herzegovina war, and like any other Muslim on earth, I was intimidated. However, when I am intimidated, I do not demonstrate and burn flags, as I believe this changes nothing, I prefer to read and study the matter, to figure out the way led us into it, therefore I can imagine a way-out of it. Studying the problem by that time, I went back to find the seeds in Balkan wars, era of the Eastern Question. I found the seeds of hatred put by Turks in the 19th century to create a heritage of hatred among Serbians against Muslims and Islam. Specifically against Bosnians, who are believed to be partially Albanian rooted, descendants of those who accessed the domain during Turks domination. With a similar fashion I will access the Iran Question, and share with you some answers, only to the best of my knowledge and judgment.
Iran and Roots of Hatred
Worthy to say first that Persia held a special status among the nations dominated by Islamic Empire in the 7th & 8th century. Maybe this status played a role in keeping Persia with its distinctive national identity while others were Arabized. We have the fact that while Egypt and the historical Sham were great nations, they were already captured as parts of the Eastern Byzantine Empire capitalized in Constantinople. Being part of a previous Empire for decades, had surely facilitated these nations acclimatization to be part of Arabic Islamic Empire, to mutate overtime into prosperous Arab nations themselves. North African countries were divided into small cities on the shores of Mediterranean with cosmopolitan nature, and Barbaric desert tribes inwards. Therefore, it was easily Arabized as well. Iraq was itself a province of Sassanid Iranian empire for nearly 10 centuries until the Islamic domination replaced the Iranian (Today, this still affects the Iraqi-Iranian relations in specific). Persia was different, it was a glorious empire, apart from the defeat Kesru II experienced against Hercules of Rum in the early 7th century. Only until it was captured by the Arabic Islamic Empirical forces. It was the first time for Persia since mellinia to be a follower state or a province of others, this stands as a major factor resisting the stains of the new Empire. This is typically why Iran became Islamic, however, non-Arabic state.
Moreover, during the Arabic invasion, Arabs were misled enough to destroy the statues and monuments, under the impression that these statues were worshipped, while Iranians were Zoroastrian not pagans, they worshipped no idols. Somehow, violence took place in Persia more than other captive states, maybe due to more resistance. Needless to mention the sayings that Iranians were welcoming the Arabs conquest is ridiculous. As ridiculous as those about the Copts wlecoming Arabs. Even an army of angels upon conquist of a city, will have a drifting elements who causes a more or less turblence here and there. This is never welcome to the conquered nation.
However, this lead Iranians to hate Arabs somehow, but not Islam, the tales about Iranian conspiracy against Islam is simply baseless, as fictious as the tales that Iran adopted the Shiites Islam to destroy Islam from within! Whoever adopts this belief, ignores the fact that Iranians were Sunni Muslims for nearly 1000 years, before the Safavid dynasty roles, shifting the official religion from Sunni to Shiites Islam.
We should remember also, that prolonged suppression of Shiites all through Islamic history from Umayyads dynasty onward, added a punch of hatred toward Sunnis, who were named by their Shiites opponents as Nawaseb, meaning those who fought against Prophet's descendants, as a response to Sunnis who called them Rawafid, referring to their rejection to the -so called- agreed on Caliphate.
Iran, Shiism & Geohistorical Implications
It was the facts of history and geography not conspiracies what linked Iran to Shiism since very early in Islamic history. Iran and Iraq altogether were the land fertile for Shiism linked by geography and historical events. During the latest part of his struggle against Umayyads, Imam Ali headquarters were shifted to Kufa in Iraq. Wherein, majority of battles and major events took place, and wherein also Imam Ali, supposedly was buried after his death as well as good number of his Imam descendants. Logically, Ali's army and allies, Shiite Ali, were the nucleolus of today's Shiites communities, those who lived in Iraq and western Iran, who commemorates their defiance to Ali and Hussein with webbing and weeping rituals in memories of Karbala. Moreover, it was normal for Shiites under the Sunnis Caliphates, to live in the perephries of states, in Iraq, Iran, Eastern lower Gulf…etc. as the cantonal life is the only choice before the oppressed minorities.
Disputes between Iraq and Iran is historical, not border related, only like those between Serbians and Bosnians. Extending from Sumerian era to the modern history, in addition to the 10 centuries before Islam wherein Iraq was an Iranian province, it was captive again under Iranian power during the Safavid empire and until Ottomans conquest over Safavids, to capture Baghdad as late as the 17th century. While border disputes extended until the British power imposed itself, declaring the Kingdom of Iraq, after World War I in 1920, succeeded by crowning of Faisal ibn Al-Hussein as King of Iraq in 1921. Border disputes continued until the 50s of the 20th century, during which the Arab-Israeli dispute took the major focus of Arab nations including Iraq. Then, after Nasser's defeat in 1967, and later on his death in 1970, the matter of border disputes, specially the oil rich Khuzestan became to focus again. Amazingly, from 1969 onward, Iraqi media started to deal with Khuzestan as an Iraqi province, calling its Arab and tribal inhabitants to revolt against Iran. Also a dispute about three islands in the Gulf, that belongs to UAE!!!, and Shat El-Arab waterway dispute. These all kept warming things up, until 1974, when Iraq first attacked Iran troops near Shat El-Arab.
Khomeini, who is mocked up today by Iraqis, was a favored guest of Saddam Hussein, the vice president to Al-Bakr by this time. Simply because he was an opponent of his enemy, Shah of Iran, and once the Shah bribed Saddam with disclosure of anti-revolution organization in Iraqi army, that happened to come to Shah Iran knowlege through the HQ of CIA in the Middle East, that was flagged as US Embassy in Iran, Shah alarmed Saddam and Al-Bakr, Therefore, in return, Saddam exiled the Iranian revolt, Khomeini, who was in his sixties by that time.
When the Islamic Republic was declared in Iran, a fear was rising in Iraq as well as all Gulf monarchies from revolution export from Iran to the neighboring countries, based on Khomeini statements about "spreading the word of truth and facing the Great Satan of America", the interests of Iraqis with long history of dispute and hatred, met with the interests of panicking Gulf monarchs. Altogether with the interest of Americans to suppress the revolution in Iran, which did not only deprive them from their faithful servant Shah-n-Shah, but also captured their agents in the US embassy of Tehran, in a worldwide humiliating act to the US glory. It was then when Saddam launched his, so called, Qadissyiah against Iran in 1980. Iraq succeeded first to capture Khuzestan. However, Iranians regained it in 1982 counterattack. Only before the war starts, Saddam exiled 100s of thousands of Shiite Iraqis from the border zones, as he believed their loyalty to Iraq was questioned. They were Iraqis no doubt, but the arogant Sonni tyrant, who is protected to role Iraq under protection of his stream (like the case of Asad family and Alawi stream in Syria) ignored their nationality and exiled them based on their belief. This can never be calles a secular act !!
Iranian counterattack took place in May 1982, and in June of the same year, Saddam, showed his Pan Arabist face, asking Iran to give peace a chance, letting his army to withdraw in peace from Iran, so he can help Lebanon against Israeli invasion. Surely, he was not seeking the welfare of Lebanon, but his own. It was then when Iranians started to be the aggressors, as Khomeini not only rejected the peace settlement, but also stated he will continue the war until Saddam is fallen and replaced by an Islamic regimen!! Followed by Iranian attack targeted Bosra, however, it was a failure, and the Iranian causalities were severe. The war kept ongoing, hard on both sides, but none was willing to scream first. By the end of war, Iraq experienced some tactical victories, then both parties became interested in ceasefire by 1988.
Another hatred inflamming action came from the Egyptian former president, Anwar Sadat, while all the world, including his ex-supporters in USA refused to recieve the exiled Shah, who smashed the revolts under his army tanks before he knows he is a looser already and escape with his plane, his Friend Sadat welcomed him to Egypt. As this was not enough, Sadat started attacking the revolution there from day one, and before giving peace a chance. This lead Iranians later to name a street after the assassin Khaled Islambuli, who hunted down Sadat, which is a stupid thing also, but this is the case alltime. Blood calls blood, hatred calls for hatred, and idiocy calls for idiocy.
US Alliance with Iraq
With my due respect to Amr theory, stating the US support to Iraq during the war as Iranian propaganda, we have the following facts, all from the National Security Archives and can be found at'
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82. Wherein you can find much more details, hereunder a glance of it
- In June, 1982, President Reagan decided that the United States could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran
- In 1982, Iraq was removed from the US State Department's list of terrorist-supporting nations to ease the legal impediments for the transfer of "dual use" technology to that country
- Commerce Department files reveal that the Reagan and Bush administrations approved at least 80 direct exports to the Iraqi military from 1982 to 1989.
About Irangate, we admit it proved US had sold weapons under Reagan administration to Iran, trading it against release of hostages in Lebanon, CIA agents headed by Buckley in Beirut. It was imposed on the USA by the hostage situation, not a choice, alliance or help to Iran.
In 1993, Hady Nasrallah martyred while defending the soil of South of Lebanon. Israelis-the everlasting USA allies- slaying Hady, the 1st son of Hassan Nasrallah, stands as a proof of Hady's faith as well as his father's deep belief. This is not typically the way people who sell out their countries behave. This is the way of real men and real patriots. This is one of the reasons make me stubborn when it comes to Hizbullah. Getting support from Iran and Syria, will never make me believe the propaganda of the Iraqi Ba'ath in this regard. Would I be in his place, I was to seek support even from Satan in person to free my land. Needless to mention that 2001 and 2006 wars stand as additional solid proofs of seriousness. While Saddam was trying to reach Jerusalem through Kuwait oil, Nasrallah known his way to the occupied south of Lebanon. As Mutanabi once said,
in 2003, upon Iraq invasion, US troops were assembled in Kuwait, not in Iran. In Jan 2008, George W. Bush urged Arabs to confront Iran, 'the world's leading sponsor of state terror' as he expressed.
We have an overt enemy, with whom we have an exsistence dispute. The day Israel will apply the international credos, giving up the occupied land in Gullan, Difa and Ghazza, is the day wherein Israel will loose 70% of its regional power. Then, they will never do it in peace. As for Iranians, what we need all to do, is to call for a new start, apart from the historical hatred. I was in a meeting in Sharm El-Shiekh, therein all country reps were available except the one from Iran. Because he failed to get the Visa, while Israelis can access as far as Sharm without even a passport!! What can we call this? Discrimination I can say, that fosters hatred and calls for more blood shedding. Let's wise up and save energy for our real wars.
Finally, I admit I am not an expert in the matter. However, I found no reason to desert the revealed truth to seek conspiracies. Moreover, a man whom I trust like my own self had visited Iran several times and had strong communication with Shah, Khomini as well other leaders. This man is Hassanin Haikal, and I trust the outcomes of his analysis, supported by documents about the Iranian revolution and Arab Irani dispute.