Jihadi Explains Iranian Realpolitik

Abu `Abd al-Rahman `Atiyyat Allah (possibly this person) has written a new booklet titled Ru’ya kashifa in which he tries to convince his Jihadi brethren that Iran and Hezbollah are not working with the U.S. and Israel as part of a grand conspiracy to subjugate Sunnis. Rather, he argues, Iran and its cat’s paw Hezbollah are seeking hegemony in the region. Achieving it means supporting popular Muslim causes and making temporary alliances with ideological enemies or competitors. Below is a summary:

  • It is hard to analyze Shia states and groups because of their doctrine of dissimulation (taqiyya), or concealing one’s true beliefs. p.4
  • Dissimulation is permitted in Sunni Islam if you are in danger. But the Shia make a habit of it. p.5
  • Outwardly Iran and Shia groups stress Sunni-Shia unity; embrace causes that are important to Muslims, particularly the Palestinian issue; and put Iran forward as the only authentic Islamic state, which fills a void left by the absent caliphate. p.12-14
  • Inwardly, Shia sincerely believe in Islam, but it is an Islam of their own making, not true Islam; they believe they are the only true Muslims; and they are seeking to dominate the Islamic world. p.15-16
  • “The hostility between the Rejectionists [the Shia], America, and Israel is real hostility.” p.19
  • Those who believe there is no real hostility between Iran on one side and the U.S. and Israel on the other have bought into conspiracy theories, which are a regrettable flaw in our culture. p.19
  • The hostility of Iran toward the U.S. and Israel is partly religious, in that Shi`ism retains the religious hostility toward Christians and Jews found in the true religion, Sunnism. It is also due to Iran’s desire for power. p.19
  • Iran helped the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq because of its self-interest–the U.S. eliminated two of its enemies, the Taliban and Saddam. This is a good example of the opportunistic and circumstantial nature of Shia politics. p.21
  • The Shia make these kind of decisions because their greatest enemy is the Sunnis. They can live with Jews and Christians, but not Sunnis. Look how Iran treats its Sunni minorities, how Hezbollah behaves toward Sunnis, and how the Shia government in Iraq has dealt with Sunni Iraqis. p.21, 24
  • Contrary to what many Jihadis say, Hezbollah is not Israel’s collaborator. But Hezbollah will talk to Israel and work with it on a limited basis if it suits Hezbollah’s interests. p.22-3
  • The Shia are pragmatic. They are willing to work with anyone regardless of their stated beliefs. This includes working with Wahhabis. p.23
  • Hezbollah supports Palestinian militants to achieve the wider aims of Iran. It has adopted a popular cause to increase its popularity. It is also filling a leadership vacuum left by other Arab states who have failed to step up. p.32-3
  • Hezbollah is a tool of both Iran and Syria. It serves their interests and policies. p.36
  • Hezbollah prevents any Sunni resistance from setting up on the Lebanese border with Israel. It has cut deals with Syria, the U.S., and even Israel to retain its control of the area. p.36

Despite the excessive focus on dissimulation (which also plagues Western analyses of Shia politics) and the Iran-wants-to-rule-Sunnis argument (does it really want to rule Indonesia?), this is a good primer on Iran’s realpolitik in the Middle East and dovetails well with the findings of an excellent new book, The Limits of Culture. That `Atiyyat Allah has to chastise his fellow Jihadis for their conspiracy thinking and their overemphasis on cultural motives when analyzing state behavior shows that they are problems for the Jihadi analytical community. Same could be said for us.

abu-abd-al-rahman-atiyyat-allah-ruya-kashifa رؤية كاشفة

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