This commentary was published in Asharq al-Awsat on 10/06/2011
The Supreme Leader of the Khomeinist revolutionary state in Iran, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, was frank and overt in giving his blessings to the Arab revolutions [taking place in our region] and which he considers to be an extension of the revolution instigated by his mentor Sayyid Ruhollah Khomeini. However, Khamenei's blessing did not extend to the popular uprising taking place today against the al-Assad regime in Syria.
According to the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper, which follows a pro-Hezbollah and pro-Syrian line, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivered a speech on the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini from in front of Khomeini's tomb in southern Tehran which was attended by some of Iran's most notable figures, during which he said that Iran supports the popular uprisings being staged by all Muslim peoples, with the exception of those being instigated by Washington, thereby ruling out the popular uprising taking place in Syria.
Khamenei said that the architect of the Islamic Revolution – his predecessor Grand Ayatollah Khomeini – had anticipated the events that the Middle East has witnessed over the past few months and which saw the Arab people rise up against their oppressive ruling regimes. Khamenei stressed that: "Our position is clear, when the movement is Islamic, popular, and anti-American, we support it." Without explicitly referring to Syria, he add that "where [popular] movements are instigated by the US and Zionism, we won't support them. When the US and Zionists interfere to overthrow a regime and occupy a state…we stand on the opposite side."
Khamenei deserves to be praised for his candor which has spared us the agony of engaging in heated arguments with those who, whenever they read or hear anything contradicting the Khomeinist Republic's propaganda, "thrust their fingers into their ears, put their heads in the sand, and become obstinate and arrogant."
Those who uphold the pure revolutionary logic of the "resistance" often neglect a fact that is staring us in the face, namely that there are no truly impartial stances being taken with regards to what is going on in the Arab World and the revolutions and major political changes taking place in the strategic map of the region.
Hassan Nasrallah, the loyal disciple of Khamenei, who showed great pride in following the Guardian Jurist, struck the same chord by differentiating between "pure" and impure Arab revolution. Nasrallah cheered, encouraged, hailed and applauded what happened in Libya and Egypt, welcoming this "revolution of the free peoples." However the Hezbollah chief, like Khamenei, remained silent when the time came to comment on the popular uprising taking place in Syria. This uprising has been brutally suppressed by the Syria regime in a manner that goes far beyond the violence seen during the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions.
Khamenei also tied what happened in Bahrain with what happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya; connecting all of these events with an all-encompassing Islamic revolution that was, of course, first inspired by the "pure" Khomeinist revolution in Iran. Khamenei's most loyal disciple, Hassan Nasrallah, followed suit, even though Bahrain is calm and stable today, and there are no tanks patrolling the streets of Bahraini cities, or military helicopters opening fire on the population, as is the case in Syria.
The end result is that the interests of Iran, and its agents like Hezbollah and possibly Hamas, are not served by the collapse of the Syrian regime, as this regime provides these states and groups with an advantage in the regional power game. Therefore we have not heard anything about the Syrian people's "honorable" heroism and sacrifice, and they are not included in these so-called "blessed" Islamic revolutions. In direct contradiction to this, the overthrow of the Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gaddafi and even the Saleh regimes is "useful" to the Iranian project, and for Tehran and its agents to extend their regional influence.
In short, the Tehran's mullahs and their followers in the Arab World are following an equation of "profit and losses" [with regards to supporting or denouncing Arab revolutions]. However they portray the manner in which they make such decisions, to the zealous masses and through the media, as being according to high idealism.
What is ironic is that during Khamenei's latest speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Khomeini, he attacked the West's policy of double standards. According to the Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper Grand Ayatollah Khamenei denounced "the double-standard policy adopted by the US administration and its exploitation of human rights issues to achieve its own interests."
This cunning "mullah" did not stop for a second to acknowledge that he himself had just practiced a similarly outrageous double-standard by describing the popular uprising in Syria against the brutally suppressive al-Assad regime as being a US plot, rather than the product of decades of oppression and public anger. Furthermore, Khamenei portrayed the bulk of the Syrian revolutionaries, or those sympathizing with them, as agents or fools being incited or coerced by the Americans.
I assume, although I cannot be certain, that matters have become plain for everyone to see, and this is something that should have been clear a long time ago, over the past decade. This was after Arab satellite TV stations, newspapers, writers and intellectuals, from trends other than the Muslim Brotherhood, actively began to defend the "resistance" rhetoric espoused by Iran and its allies including Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. The bottom line is that the clamor of the Iranian, Syrian, and Muslim Brotherhood slogans are based on pure political "interests" and secular calculations. However Iran has always responded to such reasoning with vilification and accusations of treason.
Once again, I would like to stress that the Supreme Leader [of Iran] is not to be blamed for his candor, rather those who believe the honeyed words of politics and politicians should be blamed.
The "resistance" slogan and the liberation of Palestine was the dagger that the Khomeinist propaganda machine utilized to create a rift within the Arab ranks. This same dagger was lately unsheathed by the Syrian regime, when it purposefully instigated a confrontation with Israel along the Golan Heights' borders, under the pretext of commemorating the anniversary of the Six-Day War. This also aimed to warn Israeli against allowing the Assad regime to collapse. In a recent interview with The New York Times, President Assad's cousin, Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf linked the security of the Syrian "regime" – rather than the security of Syria itself, for example – to Israel's security.
This is truly a macabre joke! The question that must now be asked is: Is this the "first" anniversary of the Six-Day War that we have ever observed? Was this the first time that the inhabitants of the Golan Heights and the Palestinians in Syria commemorating this occasions? Where were these crowds of protestors last year?
This was a brutal exploitation of the Palestinian cause for immediate political interests. The political elite in Damascus brutally capitalized on the Palestinian tragedy, and Khamenei did the same in Iran. His goal was to hit back at the enemies of Tehran, by raising the slogan of resistance, opposition, and of course Palestinian liberation.
In line with the famous Islamic saying "although he is a liar, he is telling the truth [in this instance]", the office of the Israeli Prime Minister issued a statement last Sunday asserting that the Syrian regime "the Syrian regime is trying to divert attention from the massacres it is committing in Syria." Although the Arabs might not admit this publicly, many will agree with the Israeli take on the Syrian regime's latest actions in the Golan Heights.
The problem is that the Palestinian Cause, with its deep moral sentiment in the Arab mentality, is being exploited and harmed by such abuse and continued attrition. Many Palestinians are being sacrificed in this political game, just as many other Palestinians were in the past. These Palestinians were sacrificed, not only by the Syrian regime and its latest showing in the Golan Heights, but also by Khomeinist Iran, Saddam's Iraq, and even by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. None of these political figures, or there successors, have contributed anything to the Palestinians cause, except fiery rhetoric which helps such regimes cling onto power under the pretext of serving the Palestinian cause which is something that they exploit as an excuse to justify the legitimacy of their rule and ambition.
The only hope left for us, if there is any, amidst the political and moral exploitation of the Palestinian cause that we are currently witnessing, is for everybody to remove these exhausted masks once and for all, and to place all their cards on the table. The Arabs have now grown weary of the excessive use of metaphors, and slogans.