While some western analysts suggest that U.S. military involvement in Muslim countries plays into al Qaeda's hands, lending credence to their narrative of Western crusaders seeking to occupy sacred Muslim soil, Ahmadinejad flips that story line on its head, suggesting that al Qaeda provides a pretext for U.S. military adventure.
Ahmadinejad further suggests that al Qaeda essentially does the bidding of the Saudi regime, in its turn a U.S. stooge. PressTV, the Iranian government's English language media outlet, relays his thinking:
Meanwhile, in another speech in the southern city of Hoveyzeh on Thursday, the Iranian chief executive drew an analogy between the September 11 attacks and the Holocaust, and described West's often-stated concerns over human rights, war on terror and democracy as an "explicit lie."A separate PressTV story adds this snippet from what was apparently the same speech:
"The Western states have always resorted to massacre of defenseless people, in order to infiltrate into special regions, under the pretext of the September 11 attack and Holocaust," the Iranian president remarked.
"Some Western states invaded the region (Afghanistan and Iraq) in the wake of the September 11 attack, while al-Qaeda's main hub is located in another country in the region, which enjoys huge oil revenues and good relations with the United States and Western countries," Ahmadinejad maintained.
"There are states in the Middle East that do not hold any elections and their women are not even permitted to drive a car, but the US and European states support their governments," he said.According to Ahmadinejad, then: the U.S., aided by Saudi Arabia and with Israel as its proxy, uses al Qaeda as it once used Nazi Germany to find pretexts to dominate the Umma. That puts the Nazis, "the Jews," the Saudis, al Qaeda and the United States on one side of the ledger -- leaving Iran as the Guardian of Islam. Christians, Jews, Nazis, Wahhabis...it's all the same crusade.
Ahmadinejad said that al-Qaeda is supported by "a certain state" in the Middle East region that has huge oil revenues and receives military and intelligence support from the US.
Why am I reminded of Harrison Ford's weary exhalation in (pardon the title...) "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade": "Nazis! I hate those guys"? Do Iran's theocrats ever get tired of battling all those allied agents of Satan? Perhaps they did, to a degree, in Khatami's time. But first stimulated by Bush's mirror image Manichaeism -- which may have helped enable Ahmadinejad's election -- and now under pressure of internal unrest, they've reverted to paranoid Khomeinian type.
As a backdrop, Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently trading accusations of meddling in Yemen's dealings with the restive Houthi minority, which is Shiite. Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of airstrikes against the Houthis; Yemeni and Saudi officials accuse Iran of supporting the rebels. Recently,too, the Iranian parliament and various government officials rushed to denounce a Saudi cleric who attacked the Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani, the most revered cleric in Shiite Islam. That spat also involved the Houthis, whom the cleric accused the Iranians of supporting.
The Iranian Parliament's declaration denounces the Saudi cleric as a "lackey' of the U.S., though it stops short of accusing the Saudi government of full complicity:
"Once again, the voices of Americans expressed through a Wahhabi cleric in Saudi Arabia, who has inadvertently used the weekly prayer to speak against the interest of Muslims at a time when the Ummah (Muslim community) needs unity and solidarity, "said the text read in parliament.
Iran is "proud to stand apart from the United States, Great Britain, the Zionist regime and their lackeys who sow discord among the Muslim nation, also claims [the resolution], which asks Saudi Arabia to take "measures" against al-Sheikh Ureifi.These mutual denunciations between the Saudis and the Iranians go back to the founding of the Islamic Republic. "In this age," thundered Khomeini, "which is the age of oppression of the Muslim world at the hands of the U.S. and Russia and their puppets such as al-Sauds, those traitors to the great divine sanctuary must be forcefully cursed" (Ray Takeyh, Hidden Iran, p. 64).
It's one thing to accuse the Saudis of doing U.S. bidding, or to be crushing Shiite militants. But the rhetorical tie-up of Saudi Arabia with al Qaeda and the implication that both are agents of the U.S....is that a relatively fresh burst of creativity from the Iranian president?