TEL AVIV – The Saudi daily Al-Jazirah published an article Tuesday saying that Iran has replaced Israel as the number one enemy of the Gulf states, and anyone who disagrees is a traitor.
The article, authored by Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh and translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, argues that Iran is exploiting the Palestinian issue as a pretext for “infiltrating deep into the Arab world, shredding its Arab fabric, and dragging Arab society into supporting its expansionary plan.”
The Persian enemy is Enemy No. 1, and the Zionist enemy is [only] Enemy No. 2. We must present this truth directly, flattering no one, to all those [who try] to extort us with the tale that Israel is the Arabs’ Enemy No. 1 and that Iran supports us on the Palestinian issue.
He explains that this is not the first time another country has supplanted Israel as the Arabs’ primary nemesis. Following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, Iraq became the Gulf countries’ foremost enemy, and anyone “who prioritized liberating Palestine over liberating Kuwait from the claws of the Iraqi occupier was considered a clear traitor.”
Al-Sheikh accuses Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria of prioritizing Israel over the danger presented by Iran, and says that in doing so they are “delusional.”
Moreover, let me say this bluntly: Any citizen of any of the five Gulf states who prioritizes the Israeli danger over that of the Persian enemy, whether from a pan-Arab or an Islamist perspective, is sacrificing his homeland, its security, its stability, and perhaps its very existence for his neighbor’s cause. By any national standard, this is absolute treason.
He emphasizes that the Palestinians should expect no salvation from Iran. He also warns Gulf Shi’ites that they are nothing more than pawns for Iran, which is using them to promote Persian national aspirations:
“The [Persians’] goal and purpose is to advance the Persian race’s control [in the region] and establish a Persian empire with Baghdad as its capital – as a Persian religious scholar said in a documented press release,” he writes.
According to MEMRI, this may be a reference to a March 2015 statement by Ali Younesi, adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which he said that Iran has restored its empire and its capital is Iraq.