Khomeinism empowered extremism, says Al-Jubeir
Khomeinism empowered extremism, says Al-Jubeir
In a hard-hitting piece in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, he said that Saudi Arabia welcomes better relations with Tehran, but the latter needs to stop supporting terrorism.
“The fact is that Iran is a leading state that supports terrorism, with senior government officials directly involved in a number of terrorist attacks since 1979, including the suicide bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut and the bombing of Alkhobar Towers in 1996,” he wrote.
“One cannot get around the fact that Iran uses terrorism to advance its aggressive policies. Iran cannot talk about fighting extremism while its leaders, Quds Force and Revolutionary Guard continue to fund, train, arm and facilitate acts of terrorism,” he said.
“If Iran wants to demonstrate sincerity in contributing to the global war on terrorism, it could have begun by handing over Al-Qaeda leaders who have enjoyed sanctuary in Iran.
These have included Osama bin Laden’s son, Saad, and Al-Qaeda’s chief of operations, Saif Al-Adel, along with numerous other operatives guilty of attacks against Saudi Arabia, the US and other targets. It is a fact that Saif Al-Adel placed a call from Iran in May 2003 giving orders for the Riyadh bombings that claimed more than 30 lives, including eight Americans.
“Yet he still benefits from Iranian protection,” said Al-Jubeir.
“Iran could also stop funding terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, whose secretary-general recently boasted that his organization gets 100 percent of its funding from Iran. Iran could stop producing and distributing improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which have killed or injured thousands of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Iran could halt supplying weapons to terrorists and sectarian militias in the region who seek to replace legitimate governments with Iranian puppets,” he wrote.
“In Syria,” he said, “the blood of the more than 500,000 people slaughtered by the regime of Bashar Assad stains the hands of Iran, which sent forces — both regular troops and nonstate actors — to prop up the Syrian regime. Iranian leaders have said publicly that if not for their efforts, Assad would have fallen from power.”
He said: “Iranian officials sometimes lament sectarian strife and violence. But here again, the facts are stubborn. The region and the world were at peace with Iran until the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic revolution, whose principal slogan remains, ‘Death to America!’ Mullahs seized power and vowed — as written in their constitution — to export the revolution and spread their ideology through religious and sectarian conflict.”
“To export the revolution, Iran set up so-called Cultural Centers of the Revolutionary Guard in many countries, including Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Comoros Islands. The aim was to spread their ideology through propaganda and violence. Iran went so far as to propagate that the Shiite Muslims living outside Iran belong to Iran and not the countries of which they are citizens. This is unacceptable interference in other countries and should be rejected by all nations,” wrote Al-Jubeir.
“It is this ideology of ‘Khomeinism’ — driven by an appetite for expansion, fueled by anti-Western hatred and motivated by sectarianism — that has energized and empowered extremism. Only by ridding the world of this toxic and radical mind-set can sectarianism be contained, terrorism defeated and calm restored to the region. If Iran is serious about combating extremism, then it should refrain from policies and actions that give rise to extremism,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia is a leader in the war against terrorism,” said Al-Jubeir. “My country brought the world together for an international conference in 2005 to align nations in the fight against terrorism. The Kingdom contributed more than $100 million to create a global center for counterterrorism at the United Nations and established a 40-member Islamic Military Coalition to combat terrorism and extremism. It also is a member of the US-led Global Coalition to Counter Daesh and is part of the coalition’s continuing military operations.”
He said Iran’s record is one of death and destruction, as the situation in Syria and parts of Iraq clearly attests. “Words will not change that; concrete action will,” said Al-Jubeir.
“Saudi Arabia’s position has remained constant with regard to Iran. The Kingdom would welcome better relations with Iran, based on the principles of good neighborliness and noninterference in the affairs of others. That means Iran has to abandon its subversive and hostile activities and stop its support for terrorism. Thus far, Iran’s record has not been encouraging.”
Migrants in Lebanon seek to break stereotypes with new radio show
- Migrant domestic workers can be treated like they are invisible, and this radio show can change the way they are perceived by illustrating and highlighting the multi-faceted dimensions of their identities and lives
- Projects like the Lebanese radio program could be used across the region to change attitudes toward migrants
BEIRUT: Since arriving in Lebanon, Sudanese migrant worker Abdallah Afandi has been turned away from beach resorts, mistaken for a cleaner and prevented from renting an apartment — all because of the color of his skin.
Now he is hoping to challenge the “racism and prejudice” he says he has encountered by taking part in Lebanon’s first radio show to be hosted and produced by migrants from countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Philippines.
The aim is to give Lebanese people a greater understanding about where migrants come from to create the tolerance and respect that local migrant rights groups say is lacking.
“Many Lebanese see Sudanese only as cleaners and workers — we want them to see us in a different way,” Afandi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The 27-year-old came to Lebanon seven years ago when he no longer felt safe in his home of Darfur in western Sudan, where conflict had raged since 2003.
He now earns a living preparing food in a restaurant and doing maintenance work in a Beirut residential building.
Afandi’s episode is one of a series airing on Voice of Lebanon, a popular independent radio station, featuring migrants talking about their own food and culture as well as the issues they face in Lebanon.
In it, he and two other Sudanese migrants discuss their country’s pyramids and interview Sudan’s ambassador to Lebanon on migrant rights.
“I want to use my voice so that people in Lebanon understand where I come from, my culture, music, food — so they will look beyond what I do for a living, and the color of my skin,” he said.
Migrant workers in Lebanon and much of the Middle East work under the kafala sponsorship system, which binds them to one employer.
Rights groups have blamed the system for abuse of migrant workers and say it leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by denying them the ability to travel or change jobs.
Race is also a factor — last month two Kenyan women migrant workers suffered an attack that Lebanon’s justice minister condemned as “shocking” and “abhorrently racist” after footage of them being beaten was circulated on social media.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said projects like the Lebanese radio program could be used across the region to change attitudes toward migrants.
“This radio show is a brilliant example to be replicated across the region, and to bring attention to stories ‘by migrants’,” said spokeswoman Farah Sater Ferraton.
The show — whose name “Msh gharib” means “not foreign” in Arabic — has been in the works since 2017 and was created by the Anti-Racism Movement, a local non-government organization, with the help of migrants from the community center it runs.
“The title of the show really communicates its purpose — migrants are not ‘the other’. Their voices and stories shouldn’t be ‘foreign’ to Lebanese,” said Laure Makarem, spokeswoman for the center.
“Migrant domestic workers can be treated like they are invisible, and this radio show can change the way they are perceived by illustrating and highlighting the multi-faceted dimensions of their identities and lives.”
The 15 episodes will air in the next few months and are mainly in Arabic, with small sections in the hosts’ native language — particularly when talking about their rights in Lebanon.
Tarikwa Bekele, a 33-year-old domestic worker, is working on one episode with fellow Ethiopians, who make up the biggest migrant group in Lebanon at more than 100,000 people.
They are planning to talk about Ethiopian traditions, famous athletes and a famous model in the hope of showing Lebanese that Ethiopians are not “just working in houses and cleaning bathrooms,” said Bekele.
“There are so many Ethiopians working in Lebanon,” said Bekele. “Once they can see that we are like them — like any other country — I think they will treat us better. Treat us with respect.”
Funding for this story was supported by a fellowship run by the International Labour Organization and the Ethical Journalism Network.