Making Iraq the Hub for Worldwide Shiite Revolution
The Western media are tireless in dissecting the thought patterns of the radical Islamists who rule Iran. Their insights are colored by their own Western perceptions.
Now, the Al Qods Brigades chief, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a died-in-the-wool Shiite radical, tells it as it is seen in Tehran. In a rare appearance last week in Kerman, he talked candidly at an Iran-Iraq War commemoration ceremony, about Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Iran’s forthcoming presidential election – but not Iran’s nuclear program.
The closest he came to the subject was in his remark that the Americans and Europeans are in no condition for more wars, confirming the overriding belief in Tehran that the Obama administration will not launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities or allow Israel to do so.
His dominant themes are interesting given that he is an important military-intelligence operations figure in daily contact with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Here, we summarize some of the high points of his speech.
Solemeini: All Shiites are united behind Iran
For the Al Qods chief, a key topic of interest is the antagonism faced by Shiite communities in Muslim lands and the reasons behind the killings of Shiites in Pakistan, Syria and other places.
This must be brought to public attention, he stressed. The ulama (the Shi’a nation) are concerned.
After spending more time in Damascus and Beirut than Tehran lately, Soleimani, omitting any mention of the Syrian rebels, asserted that the majority of the Syrian people are behind Bashar Assad.
This support is shared by all the world’s Muslims, he claimed, because the Shiites have been transformed into a single community with a single leader (Iran).
There may be problems with this trend, but they are not widespread. “The Shia regard Iran as the leader of the Muslim world.”
The key issue from Iran’s perspective, said the Al Qods leader, is Iraq.
“With stability, Iraq will have a positive influence on the Arab world. Exporting revolution, which sometimes requires cultural work and sometimes institutionalization, is very effective.”
When Soleimani talked about “cultural work” and “institutionalization,” he was referring to the hard work he put in over the past decade – since the US invasion of Iraq – for turning Iraq into an Iranian instead of an American sphere of influence.
Iraq will carry “the revolution” across the Arab world
Now that the revolution has been exported to Iraq, he said, “the cultural and institutional work that has been done there will help create conditions for exporting revolution to other parts of the Arab world.”
In other words, Iraq – and not Syria – has moved to the center of Tehran’s expansionist ambitions as the primary vehicle for attaining its goals – not just in the Gulf but throughout the Arab world.
Commenting that some Arab countries are trying to turn Iraq’s clock back, Soleimani stressed:
“The current status of Iraq continues and reversing this new course is not possible. The US and some regional countries advanced 90% along their path in Iraq. They chose to achieve their ends through the legal means and elections, but were not successful.”
The Iranian official went on to boast that no country had championed Sunni interests more faithfully than Iran. “No Arab country has had the courage to give a single cartridge to the Palestinians,” he said, whereas the Supreme Leader alone pledged his support for the Palestinian people.
Turning to the Afghanistan War, Soleimani said “The Americans completely failed in Afghanistan and will not stay there. Of course, they will keep their bases, but they will not go to war. The Americans and the Europeans are currently running away from Afghanistan.”
Everyone obeys the Supreme Leader
“In Syria, some Arab countries (Saudia Arabia, Qatar, UAE) have spent billions of dollars in order to negatively impact the situation, but the government and nation of Syria has resisted."
Referring to the Islamic Awakening, he said, “In Lebanon’s previous election, they (Gulf countries) spent $1.2 billion to prevent Hizbollah wining, but they failed.”
He said in conclusion, “The Supreme Leader has emphasized the people’s presence in the upcoming election. This is a component of the Islamic Republic’s power and is more effective than a military maneuver.
“The people do not pay much attention to political currents, they serve and listen to the commands of the velayat ( the Supreme Leader). It has been proved to the people that the velayat is the basis of the Islamic Republic’s system of government. We are the pioneers of war with complete belief in the velayat and obedience to the Leader. It is on this basis that the power of Iran is unbreakable.”