Why Pakistan just doesn’t get it

Pakistan recently announced to shut down more than 20 NGOs, which included the notorious George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, thus evoking memories of the time the CIA utilized a polio vaccinations programme almost a decade ago run by international NGOs to spy around Pakistan’s tribal areas apparently looking for Osama bin Laden. The increasingly pro-India US continues to express its opposition to the country’s much needed strategic shift toward Russia and, even more so, Iran. For Pakistanis who’ve been paying attention to history and how it connects to the crises Pakistan has dealt with and helped create in more recent times, this can only mean that the country is showing signs of actually learning from its failures. It must not, however, distract us from the fact that we are at a crucial phase in history, with a chaotic series of events expected to take place in our region which demand an advanced Pakistani narrative, cognizant of the nature of geopolitics, borne out of genuine introspection on our historical failures. Such has always been missing from the Pakistani media, the intelligentsia and most importantly, the leaders. The key area of focus is our relationship with the USA and our history of ‘working’ with it, why it has been continuously disastrous for us and why it seems our nationalistic crowd fails to diagnose the issue accurately.

Pakistan’s modern day circumstances can be traced back to the deepening of its engagement with the USA during the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and 1980s and the period that began for the countries since then has consistently been an awful one. Grasping the reasons behind Pakistan’s turmoil – mainly pertaining to terrorism – seems not to be anyone’s strong suit and represents a seemingly widespread naivety among the populace regarding grand regional imperialist strategies and designs. While everyone loves to condemn the US, it seems policymakers and the populace alike seem unable to use an ample pool of known content and information to properly indict the destructive regime. Suffice to say, with the coming war against CPEC, the entire nation requires a serious look into how it got into the politically, economically and strategically weak position it finds itself slowly escaping from at last with its foreign policy tilt. Weak discourse and empty narratives must be discarded as useless baggage and better ones adopted.

As regurgitated by the country’s National Security Advisor, retired Lietenant General Nasir Janjua, at a speech in a seminar on 18 December 2017 organized by the Centre of Global and Strategic Studies in Islamabad, the USA was ‘failing to achieve peace’. It was not ‘recognizing Pakistan’s contribution to its war against the USSR’ and had created problems for Pakistan by ‘abandoning’ Pakistan at the end of the USSR war. It had callously ignored Pakistan’s ‘services in triggering the end of the bipolar world and the fall of the Berlin Wall’. The rest contained the usual and unfortunate‘we are peaceful mantra’ and a view of the bonuses of ‘regional cooperation’ and Chinese Belt and Road Initiative as a conduit to peace.

In studying the speech by the senior government official, one can easily spot out a number of glaring issues with how Pakistani policymakers weigh the benefits and downfalls of who we choose to cast our lot with or work with. Without opening the Pandora’s box of hardcore evidence regarding the true nature of US foreign policy around the world, notably the Middle East, one can easily label the ‘mistakes’ and ‘failure to achieve peace’ narrative as too fraudulent for anyone to still be using. Even while making direct reference to the USA’s stubborn approach toward diplomacy with the Afghan Taliban, the NSA seemed unwilling to call out the war in Afghanistan for what it was. There was, quite obviously, no mention in the speech of the Soviet Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the communist regime in Afghanistan in 1978 that mandated Soviet military intervention in the country to protect its ally. Doing so would, after all, lead to the ‘uncomfortable’ territory of highlighting the USA’s intentional baiting of the USSR into the war as opposed to the US/Pakistani propaganda of ‘saving Afghans from the invaders’. The communist regime was violent, as was any regime in the history of Afghanistan, yet its overthrow did not necessarily make the brewing of an ideal situation for massive chaos worth it.

While these statements may be attributed to a heavy reliance on clichés and dusty old narratives that have become procedural, the ensuing equation of the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (who have murdered in excess of 50 000 Pakistani civilians) with the Afghan Taliban by the NSA was beyond self sabotaging and suicidal for a number of reasons. The reason behind this would be clear only to those who valued the strength of discourse and matching hostile propaganda narratives; it has been longstanding US and Indian propaganda to portray Pakistan as a lunatic state financing those who murder its own people. That too, for the hope that they would attack the US or India! Mullah Omar, founder and chief of the Afghan Taliban until his death a few years ago, had distanced himself from the TTP to avoid conflict with Pakistan in 2007 as reported in researcher Antonio Giustozzi’s (Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit) book ‘Decoding the new Taliban: insights into the Afghan field’.(Giustozzi, 2009) Why the guilt? Was it ever required of Pakistan to be overly concerned with the welfare of the Afghans, whose attempts to antagonize it had been continuous since 1947 including even a failed invasion of our tribal areas in 1962? The soft stance Pakistan has shown toward Afghanistan may simply be ignorance of history and delusions of how well religion can bridge the gaps between the neighbours.

The NSA could have made mention of the need for Pakistan to maintain ties with the Afghan Taliban as would be any country’s right when made target of a proxy war by its enemies using Afghanistan as a base. Even making mention of the grand regional designs against CPEC did not seem to allow a connecting of the dots and recognizing the need for proactive involvement in hybrid warfare as everyone else seems to be doing these days.

Are Pakistani strategic circles even capable of forging the right narrative and address the US for what it is? A look back at the USSR war in Afghanistan and how the Pakistani role is perceived there by our people would be adequate. How do those Pakistani leaders who participated in the war against the USSR view the event? As a ‘Jihad’, or as the time our country was used as a launch pad for chaos in the region? To get an idea of the significance of Pakistan’s region, one may take a passage out of the famous Henry Kissinger’s 1982 book, Years of Upheaval:

“The southern rim of Asia — Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan — is a region of the world that may seem remote and strange to Americans, and yet it is a pivot of the world’s security. Within a few years of my 1973 journey, it became an area of upheaval. From the Iranian Revolution to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the Iran-Iraq war, events dramatized the vulnerability of the Persian Gulf — the lifeline of the West’s oil supply. The vital importance of that region had been one of the themes of the shrewd strategic analysts I was to visit next: Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.”(Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, 1982)

That’s quite an important placement Pakistan has. Have the country’s policymakers ever been appreciative of this fact in the pre-Belt and Road era? Or do they continue to grasp only a small part of it, given Minister of Interior Ahsan Iqbal’s odd comment at a public speaking event in Islamabad on 19 December that the ‘era of geopolitics is over and that of geoeconomics has started’? Salvation from the naivety lies quite obviously in deciphering which policies in the past still contribute to suffering for the nation today, and the Soviet-Afghan war remains the best case study.

Anyone who listens to the ‘analyses’ offered up by Pakistani proponents of the ‘Jihad’ narrative, unwilling to admit that the poisoning of the Af-Pak region and serving of a wider imperialist agenda for no real gains to Pakistan, will know very well their obliviousness regarding the strategy that the US had in place for the region. The fact their position as ideologues of the Pakistani right wing and thus opponents of foreign hegemony over Pakistan makes their romanticization of the USSR war ironic and self contradictory. Reading Zaid Hamid’s book ‘from Indus to Oxus’ on the USSR war, in which he participated and still heavily promotes, one gets an accurate summing up of the geopolitical naivety that still seems to plague us; the author lavishes praise on the ‘Afghan Mujahideen’ and General Zia ul Haq.(Hamid, From Indux to Oxus, 2012) He entertains the almost insane delusion that an army bolstered by the influx of extremists from throughout the world (opportunistic dumping by Arab states of their criminals and terrorists, in truth, to Afghanistan) would be able to form a ‘unity government of Mujahideen’ after the USSR withdrawal. Religious extremism brought into the region and the well was perpetually poisoned. To think that ethnic strife already present in Afghanistan would not be compounded by adding layers of extremism on top of it means that proponents of the ‘Jihad’ narrative are unable to come to grips with the actual purpose the war against the USSR had served.

The late General Hameed Gul, the vehemently anti-US former ISI chief who directed the siege of Jalalabad in 1989 by Pakistan-backed factions in Afghanistan, had always demonstrated love for the Afghan Taliban in various interviews with foreign and local media. Romanticizing their horrid governance as ‘Islamic rule’ can only be seen as bizarre. The late Colonel Imam, an iconic figure for Pakistani nationalists and prominent military trainer of Afghan rebels since the 1970s, offered a more nuanced view of the Afghan war (as well as of the ideological ambiguity of the Taliban and thus potential persuasion to moderation compared to radical Salafist groups) yet still insisted on idea of an ‘Islamic government’. Based on whose belief system? Does this not represent misplaced priorities? Or is it part of a pattern of cognitive dissonance and inability to admit the imperial agenda Pakistan served as a pawn for? While not doubting the patriotism of such men, we must critique their sudden turn toward suspicion of the US as being too late and too little. Indeed, in a 2009 interview, Imam expressed surprise at the US’ lack of interest in securing an acceptable settlement to the Afghan situation at the end of the war despite clearly holding a consistent belief in the untrustworthiness of the US.(Imam, 2009)

Similar to the humanitarian lipstick plastered across Western interventionism after the start of the 21st century was the appeal to the fascination the Pakistani establishment had with ‘Jihad’ and Islam by Brzezinski in 1979:

“We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. – That land over-there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.”(Brzezinski, 1979)

It is all too easy to bait into subservience a country which pays no heed to who it deals with and for what purpose it deals with them.

To raise a few eyebrows among our military elite today whose discourse still revolves around words such as ‘cooperation’ and ‘stability’, one may present a passage from a 1998 interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski with Le Nouvel Observateur:

“And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?”

“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.”(Brzezinski, 1998)

The intentional poisoning of the precious ‘Jihad’ effort using already-available radical elements from the Arab world, as the MSNBC reported in 1998, was always going to happen:

“The CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan … found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to “read” than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.”(MSNBC, 1998)

Anyone with a basic grip on history – which apparently means none of the military personnel from Pakistan who eagerly embraced Operation Cyclone and shook hands with Brzezinski – would be well aware of US opposition to secular, effective governments in the Muslim world and usage of radical groups to oppose them. The Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and al Nusra, the list goes on and on and the circumstances for their strategic utilization seem to persist continuously.

Brigadier Mohammad Yousuf, working for the ISI during the Soviet-Afghan war, makes no mention of Brzezinski or the overarching US stratagem for the region in his famous book ‘Afghanistan, the bear trap: the defeat of a superpower’ either.

To pontificate about how the US ‘abandoned’ Pakistan after the USSR war is almost juvenile and epitomizes the chronic short sightedness of the country’s policymakers. What should be dwelled upon is why we did not see the ‘abandonment’ coming, why we expected better from a criminal US administration whose character was laid bare in the 1980s with the Nicaraguan Contras affair and why we still continue to bring this up time and time again.

One can be sure that the US-Indian alliance is going to throw the kitchen sink at Pakistan just as the NATO/Israel and Gulf alliance threw it at Syria. Let us recognize the urgency of the situation that is brewing and alter our tone and the quality of our discourse. To still be unable to have a national consensus on the extent to which we were used during the 1980s by a criminal US administration led by strategists of mass violence is a sad state of affairs for the country.

Brzezinski, Z. (1979). Retrieved from http://imperiya.by/video/uKjQ3oTczBp/Zbigniew-Brzezinski-Taliban-Pakistan-Afghanistan-pep-talk-1979.html

Brzezinski, Z. (1998). (P. Le Nouvel Observateur, Interviewer)

Giustozzi, A. (2009). Decoding the new Taliban: insights into the Afghan field.

Hamid, Z. (2012). From Indux to Oxus.

Imam, C. (2009). (I. Ahmad, Interviewer)

Kissinger, H. (1982). Years of Upheaval.

MSNBC. (1998).


As Pakistanis, we need to stop comparing Iran to Saudi Arabia.


This is going to be a slightly unorganized and unstructured post, so bear with me in that regard.

To put it bluntly, Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) despise each other. The two countries themselves are different in every way that determines their geopolitical position in the grand scheme of things, and by grand scheme of things I mean war and conflict in the Middle East. The Western narrative on the Middle East – thoroughly and intentionally lacking truth, as is painfully clear to anybody keeping a track on events in the region – simply loves to play up the sectarian conflict between Shias and Sunnis in the region. It is sad, irritating and ultimately ironic that the Pakistani viewpoint on the Middle East and Iran and KSA’s role in it actually mirrors Western propaganda. A country such as ours with a large population of youths full of enthusiasm for the ‘Muslim Ummah’ has quite a few facts to reconcile to in order to escape the beyond-stupid narrative that emanates from Pakistani right wingers, nationalists and ‘analysts’ such as Zaid Hamid or Orya Maqbool Jan on the Middle East. After all that has happened in the region – with no war or conflict occuring as an isolated event – it is necessary that we Pakistanis adjust our naive, childish views borne out of a nonsensical fascination with the Muslim world which leads to us seeing all Muslim countries as similar to us and thus formulating their national policies in ways different to us. What comes after this insanely ridiculous assumption is the cliche’d, political-sectarian-correctness style narrative of ‘Iran and KSA are destroying the Muslim Ummah with their proxy war, Shia and Sunni must unite!’. Lazy thinking mixed with a weak, almost cowardly will to keep some sort of ‘balance’ between ‘Shia Iran’ and ‘Sunni KSA’ is something to be seen whenever we discuss events in the Middle East. It is high time to rip this narrative to shreds and remove the sectarian bias from our eyes. How this seemingly considerate stance is itself indicative of a sectarian bias on the part of Pakistanis will become apparent soon enough. This post is, obviously, tailored toward a Pakistani audience and anyone hosting similar juvenile misconceptions about the nature of the conflict between Iran and the GCC in general. Note: I do not intend to use this post to substantiate the completely abhorrent role of the West and Israel (strong emphasis on the latter) in every situation of war in the Middle East; the entirety of that would need a different post altogether and thus lays as an assumption for this particlar post. Needless to say, I am referring to the Iran-Saudi enmity which began after the former’s revolution in 1979.

Iran experienced its Islamic Revolution in early 1979, establishing an Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini by April that year. It ended a long dictatorship by the Shah (Raza Pahlavi) of Iran, a Western puppet who ruled the country with an iron fist in a way beneficial to the West whose oil companies valued their stranglehold on the heart of Iranian economy. The CIA had orchestrated an overthrow of the democratic Iranian government led by Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 after he had dared to nationalize the country’s oil, something it admitted in declassified documents released in 2013, and thus brought a pro Western dicatorship to the helm. Iran experienced very little progress in terms of basic human development during its time under the Shah and had no political sovereignty. The harsh and strict yet focused Islamic Revolution would take over the reigns of the country with popular support because of the resentment of the Shah and his usage of the feared SAVAK, the secret police and intelligence agency he had raised with CIA help, to curb dissent using torture and intimidation. The Islamic Republic was inherently hostile to the West and the reversal of Iran from a vassal state to an enemy state would take place at breakneck speed. The seizing of the American personnel in the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 by Iranian religious students and the botched and rather embarrassing attempt by the US in April 1980 to rescue the hostages taken from the Embassy (Operation Eagle Claw) using helicopters which wound up destroyed one way or the other set the tone for the relationship between the US and Iran in the years to come. Sanctions, policies of isolation toward Iran from countries alligned with the West, proxy wars and much more would be the norm from then on.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established in 1932 by British patronage of the al-Saud family in reward for its service to the colonial power against the Ottoman Empire in World War 1 and consolidation of British power in the Arab lands after the collapse of the Ottomans as well. By the time the war was over and the British emerged among the powerful victors, the Arabian peninsula comprised three main authoritative Arab figures; Sharif Hussain Ibn Ali of Hijaz in the west, Ibn Rashid of Ha’il in the north and Ameer Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Najd in the east. As narrated by Yemeni-English independant researcher and historian, Numan Abd al-Wahid, Sharif Hussain Ibn Ali had been the most vital Arab ally for the British, having turned against the Ottomans who controlled the Arab lands in 1916 after a promise by the British to grant the Arabs a unified Arabian state from Gaza to the Persian Gulf after the war. Ibn Saud’s own contribution in the war effort against the Ottomans had been meagre compared to Sharif Hussain’s, but nonetheless they both found themselves on the same side by the time the latter decided to press for the British to live up to their promise. The Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916 and the Balfour Declaration in 1917 (the latter being, in legal terms, simply a letter albeit to a powerful individual) amounted to the British spitting in the face of the Arabs eager, and no doubt foolishly and naively so, to have their own country after years of living under non Arab rule. The British had gone back on their word and began to not only draw borders for the Arab world based on their own – and French- whims but also promised Jews a homeland in Palestine. Sharif Hussain rejected these designs and adopted a stance of no-negotiations toward the British. The British, after exhausting their attempts to persuade or coerce him into acquiescing peacefully to the new political order of the Arab world, began funding and arming Ibn Saud and his army of fanatical followers, known as the Wahabis. Ibn Rashid, whose stance mirrored that of Sharif regarding the British and their broken promises, would be subdued by an invasion by Ibn Saud in 1921 and his territories added to Ibn Saud’s. After a drawn out process of attempts at ‘diplomacy’ with Sharif Hussain, Ibn Saud was finally unleashed on the Hejaz in 1924 and by late 1925 had conquered it in its entirety, driving Sharif Hussain away and making Ibn Saud the de facto ruler of the Arabian peninsula. His army of Wahabis had committed horrible acts of massacre throughout the campaign, notably killing Islamic scholars and burning books and literatures on Islamic jurisprudence wherever they could find them. The violent, takfiri ideology of Wahabism thus took centre stage as the dominant socio-political code of life in the new territory which the British would name ‘The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’ in 1932. KSA was born courtesy of patronage by the British. The short-sightedness of the Arabs who sided with and trusted the British against the Ottomans was not limited to Ibn Saud, but his readiness to continue to serve the British after their deceit and receive territorial and financial reward for it contrasted starkly to the opposition of his peers to the violation by the British of their promise of a unified Arab country.

The birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran was thus as an anti Western state existing largely off its own resources and exercising sovereignty in politics and foreign policy while the birth of KSA was as a Western puppet in the Arab world after turning cloak for the sake of selfish, tribalistic ambitions and monetary reward.

I saw an illustration posted to the Facebook page, Pakistan Defence, social media’s most popular and thriving stronghold for Pakistani nationalists which seems hell bent on proving to the world just how stupid we are when it comes to anything unrelated to India or, perhaps, Afghanistan. It depicted Arabs as being ‘forced’ to take shelter under the diabolical Western umbrella because of Iran which the West was using to ‘threaten’ them. Never before had I seen something so profoundly stupid and nonsensical, so completely removed from reality and so blatantly an example of an anti-Shia bias seeking to hide the fact that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, created in 1981) states in particular were complete Western surrogates, rentier states who used their natural resource wealth to purchase skilled labour from abroad to handle their economy as well as unskilled labour from the third world. The petrodollar system, formed in the early 1970s as a pact between the US and KSA which guaranteed sale of oil by the GCC in dollars only while the US provided them military security, cemented the relations between the US and the GCC. There exists no such understanding between Iran and the US (whose twisting and turning regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015 which even European states show interest in upholding demonstrates how beholden Washington is to the anti-Iran Zionist lobby) and it has only found itself for brief periods on, technically, the same page as Iran in matters where neither had to bend to accomodate the either. An example of this may be the two countries’ opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan; it is true, however, that Iran largely had its own reasons to despise the Taliban after they murdered its diplomats in Kabul in 1998, forcing Iran to mass its forces on the border and almost invade the country. The famous Iran Contra affair , a complex, far reaching and multifaceted plot extending far beyond the allaged and Jimmy Carter-approved objective of getting Iran to return the US hostages from the 1979 sacking of the US Embassy, also comes to mind, whereby using clandestine methods Israel and elements within the US establishment sold weapons to Iran in the 1980s. Iran was fighting a war imposed on it by Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who the West and GCC had turned from enemy into ally for the sake of crushing the much poorer Iranian nation which only had support from 2 or 3 countries. One of the objectives of the Iran Contra strategy was also to manage to bleed both Iran and Iraq, considering Iraq had been the most economically and militarily powerful, self sufficient and prolific Arab country before the war with Iran. The GCC was as happy as the West in supporting Saddam as he went about gassing Iranians and sustaining the most pointless war in recent history.

By the time it became clear the war wasn’t going to have a clear cut victor, KSA and the GCC were all too happy to participate, with the blessing of the US of course, in the wrecking of Saddam’s economy by collapsing the price of their own oil to abnormally low levels and thus ensuring Saddam – and the Soviet Union who he was militarily and economically aligned with – found it extremely hard to sustain their own oil exports in their respective war efforts in Iran and Afghanistan. But, wasn’t KSA simply supporting ‘Sunni’ Saddam (secular, in actuality, and only anti-Shia because of Iranian Shia influence after 1979) against Shia Iran? Perhaps the same strain of foolish ‘sectarian’ analysis would lead to us assuming so. A fun fact: the majority of Saddam’s armed forces were Shias themselves.

The very formation of the GCC itself, with KSA its (oil) richest country and long time Western ally, was intended to ensure that a pro-Western monopoly over most of the world’s oil in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf was created. The dollar would be strengthened all the more and sanctions thus turned into a serious weapon for the West. It would take away power over the world’s oil markets from OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and Arab countries not firmly aligned with the West and headed by Arab nationalists such as the Baathists whose ideology was intrinsically anti-colonial and anti-Zionist as well. Perhaps one could attempt to awkwardly explain Saudi Arabia’s antithetical position toward genuine Arab nationalist movements, be they the Baathists in Iraq and Syria or Nasserites in Egypt, could be explain by the ‘Shia Sunni’ analysis?

If KSA is really a sovereign and powerful ‘Sunni’ country and not a complete rentier state with its rich living as uncultured, luxury loving despots who have no political substance and could never craft any sort of national narrative against the West? Even the much hyped King Faisal was not anything out of the ordinary regarding potential threat to Western control over KSA’s role in geopolitics. We won’t ever see a revolutionary insurrection against the pro-Western monarchy in Saudi Arabia as we saw successfully happen in Iraq in 1958 against the pro-Western Hashemite monarchy of King Faisal II? A country with a ridiculous, senseless form of Sharia in place to go with the ‘biddah’ filled lifestyles of the wealthy princes and sheikhs, thousands of political dissidents in jail and a female population suppressed and kept out of political life for the most part cannot compare to the Iranian nation which, after its revolution and the subsequent war with Iraq which cost both sides hundreds of thousands of young, able bodied men, actually governed itself with a religious regime that invested heavily in basic human development aspects such as education and health, implemented family planning programmes (what would Wahabis think of that!) and produced a society much better off in most ways than it was under the Western-backed Shah. Each religious government has its flaws, in my opinion, and a greater pressure on it to ‘loosen up’ as time progresses, but to compare Iran to KSA is plain ridiculous. When Iraq was a powerful nation under Saddam before his suicidally reckless campaign against Iran, the country was renowned for its cultural and educational prowess, not just its vast wealth in oil. I emphasize the capability of these nations to be able to follow their own sovereign goals so as to make clear that it is KSA who tows the Western line – largely managing to be accomodating to the House of Saud’s own small-scale tribalistic politics – while Iran opposes it. These countries are not equals when it comes to the role they play which interests us Pakistanis the most, i.e as Muslim players in geopolitics. KSA does not care about the Muslim Ummah, while Iran has continued to maintain a strong touch dimension of pan-Islamic unity in its foreign policy and has shown no sectarian bias of any real sort in who it crafts alliances with; Sunni Palestinians under secular PLO or religious Hamas, or Lebanese Shias under Hezbollah; if the enemy is a shared one then Iranian support comes in any way.

Nobody can doubt the sectarian aspect of KSA; Wahabism does, after all, declare Shias to be kaafirs and worthy of death to go alongwith many other of its wonderful teachings. It does the same for non-Wahabi Sunnis but good luck explaining that to admirers of KSA in our naive country. The highest Shia authorities in Iran – and Iraq – do not condemn Sunnis in any way (or the Sahaba; can’t forget that now can we) while you can get plenty of takfiri fatwas out of KSA regarding Shias. What my point is that when it comes to subduing Wahabism – or forsaking the facade of Sunni unity – for the sake of the interests of its Western masters, KSA is all too willing. Let’s not forget that Wahabi movements have, in the past, directed their anger toward KSA for whatever reasons, be it the presence of a monarchy there or the eventual capability of their slow-working brains to figure out the KSA is a Western puppet state. The Saudis had to curb Ikhwani uprisings soon after the creation of the Saudi state and largely wish to keep true Wahabism out of the lives of their wealthy elites, exporting it instead around the world via funding to madrassahs such as in the case of Pakistan during the Soviert War in Afghanistan. How does one try to describe Saudi Arabia as having concern for Sunnis when Saudi-affiliated terrorist groups readily butcher them as willingly as they do Shias?

Iran is indeed a Shia power and it does not shy away from seeking out relations with Shias in other countries. Those attempting to compare Iran’s Shia politics – which are not in any way a negative ploy seeing as they are effective in establishing transnational links of political, religious and ideological unity and thus facilitate Iranian power against Zionism and the West – to Saudi Arabia’s spreading of its vile, divisive, dangerous ideology around the world do us a disservice and make us look stupid. Pakistan has no reason to respect KSA; culturally, religiously, geographically and even historically even a slight amount of research would reveal our closeness to Iran compared to the Arabian peninsula or whatever other strange connections Pakistanis feel they have with the ‘Khadim e Haramain’ (a position they achieved through no competence of their own). Iran also does not seek to shun Sunni allies. Hamas, owing to its Qatari patronage and Qatar’s initial support for the terrorist-mercenary war waged with multilateral funding against Syria from 2011 onwards (accompanied by a promptly and comprehensively debunked trainwreck of a propaganda narrative by the West and media based in the GCC such as Al Jazeera about a ‘popular revolution’ or ‘moderate rebels’ or ‘Syrian regime using chemical weapons’), turned on its long time supporter in the Syrian government headed by secular Arab nationalist Bashar al Assad in 2012 and supported the terrorists (Jabhat al Nusra, FSA, Ahrar al Sham, ISIS etc) against his government. Syria had, like Iran, supported the Palestinian cause albeit from much earlier on considering the civilizational, ethnic and cultural links Syrians have with Palestine and Syria’s continuity of national anti-colonialist and anti-Western narrative. Iran, quite obviously supporting Assad throughout the conflict alongwith its Lebanese partner in Hezbollah (perhaps the most powerful armed group in the Levant, with an impressive military victory registered over Israel in 2006), could have found this as an ideal excuse to not only shun Hamas but build up the notion of Sunnis as untrustworthy. Instead, Iran would restore relations with Hamas in 2017 as the Syrians and their allies closed in on victory after having cut them off during the war. Iran would then also begin reconciliation between Syria and the new Hamas leadership.

I’ll cut it short here, seeing as this is my first post on WordPress, and seeing as it is after all a truly simplistic fallacy I wished to address. There’s a lot more examples of how KSA serves its Western masters and collaborates continuously with Israel, but this information itself should suffice in demonstrating that Iran combats an enemy of whom KSA is merely a puppet. Saying that Iran-KSA ‘Shia Sunni’ conflict is what’s wrong with the Middle East is plain stupid and wrong.