All Arabs Are Equal But Some Arabs Are More Equal:
The “Palestinian” Arabs and the Forgotten Iranian Arabs
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The Islamic Republic of Iran—which would be better known as the Islamic Occupation Regime—has for over thirty years championed itself as the “Palestinian” Arabs greatest supporters in the Islamist quest to extirpate the State of Israel from the world. Yet, while the non-Arab, Persian Shi’ite regime demonizes Israel and “Zionists” twenty four hours a day, it aligns itself with the Arab Sunni fundamentalist terror gang called Hamas, while also aligning itself with the Arab Shi’ite terrorist gang - Hizbullah - which has a strangle hold on Lebanon.
However, a dirty little secret unknown to most of the world, is Iran’s ethnic cleansing of its own minority Arab population. The ignorance and silence of the world—particularly that of the twenty two member League of Arab States—is absolutely blinding, appalling, and the epitome of hypocrisy. It is long overdue for the selective “poster child” of oppression (the “Palestinians”) to cease to exist, as the world’s cause célébre, and that if real peace is to come in the Middle East, then all Middle Eastern conflicts must be addressed. Whether it is the Arab-Israeli dispute, the Kurds, the Copts, the Maronites, Kashmir, or Iranian territorial designs and its nuclear program, all of these problems must be addressed equally. Regardless, this article would like to concentrate on the plight of the Arabs of Iran, a small quiet minority that has been oppressed for decades with no one to speak for them.
Arabs living in the Persian Gulf area goes back to antiquity, and certainly pre-dates the rise of Islam by centuries. Two major Arab tribes played a role in the great wars between Rome (and later Byzantium), and Parthia (Persia). These were the predominantly Christian Lakhmid tribe—which aided the last pre-Islamic dynasty in Iran and the Ghassanid tribe, also Christian, but who were allies with Persia’s deadly enemies, Rome, and later Byzantium. Many historians believe that the bloodletting between Parthia/Persia and Rome/Byzantium led to the power vacuum that would give rise to Muhammad and the religion of Islam. Indeed, the Persians and Romans had so bloodied themselves over the centuries that it didn’t take much for a small Arab army infused with a new religion to bring down both severely weakened world powers.
Arabs conquered Sassanid Iran in the 7th century
Regardless, when the Arabs conquered Sassanid Iran in the 7th century, Iran became Islamized and Arabized. Luckily, they were able to resurrect the Persian language (albeit, written in Arabic characters), but they were not able to throw off the yoke of Islam. As the Arab invasion, deracination, and decimation of Iran continued, Muslim Arab settlers joined the Arab tribes in the area and began to settle down in parts of what today constitute Iran.
The majority of Iranian Arabs are of Shi’ite background and live in the Iranian province of Khuzistan with its capital of Ahwaz (or Ahvaz). Thus, they are known as Ahwazi Arabs . It is in this province and city that deadly force has been used by Iranian Pasdaran and Basij against the Arab inhabitants for years.
Unconfirmed rumors have even spoken about Arabic speaking Basij with Lebanese accents taking part in these massacres. Which of course would only show how the Iranian/Hizbullah axis has reached across the Middle East.
The reports of expulsions, killings, jailing, land confiscation, “Persianization,” banning of Arabic, and general persecution of Iran’s Arabs are well documented by the National Liberation Movement of Ahwaz, the Ahwaz Studies Center, and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Unfortunately, due to the severe and deadly crackdown of the Islamic regime against its own people over the last year and a half, ongoing events out of Iran, let alone Khuzistan, has been severely curtailed.
Why the silence of the world—especially the Arab world—to Iranian atrocities against its Arab minority?
Yet, the questions remain. Why the silence of the world—especially the Arab world—to Iranian atrocities against its Arab minority? (Not to mention world silence against the Iranian people in general.) Granted, Persians and Arabs have despised one another since the Arab Muslim Conquest, yet all are united under the banner of Islam (even with Shi’ite—Sunni and ethnic differences). Certainly, the Islamic regime, Hamas, Hizbullah, the PLO, and the Arab League are united in their ultimate goal of seeing the dissolution of Israel. Yet, why the double standard when it comes to so-called “Arab Palestine” as opposed to the rights of the Ahwazi Arabs? Why no talk of “self-determination,” “inalienable rights,” and “autonomy,” for the Khuzistani Arabs? Are these slogans nothing but claptrap and mantras only to be used against Israel? Why no world protests over the plight of the Iranian Arabs and other minorities living under the Islamic regime? And how ironic that the man who currently occupies the Oval Office is totally silent on Iranian atrocities against its own citizens, while excoriating Israel at every opportunity.
While most of the world knows about the Arab-Israeli dispute, and the “Palestinian plight,” most people have probably never heard of Khuzistan, Ahwaz, or the fact that not only are there Iranian Arabs, but that they are being systematically oppressed and murdered. One can only compare the two scenarios with that of selective criticism to the exclusion of all else. No matter what Israel does—or does not do—it is excoriated, vilified, denounced, and delegitimized. Yet Iran goes happily along giving the finger to the world as it continues with its oppression of its own people, boasts of its nuclear might, and threatens to complete Hitler’s job on the Jews of Israel.
This article is not meant as a slap against the Iranian people who have suffered for over thirty years from a bloodthirsty regime. And this article is certainly not advocating a twenty third state in the Arab League. (“Palestine” is counted as one of the twenty two states of the LAS.) Yet, it is ironic that while non-Arab and even non-Muslim countries have been invited to have observer status at the Arab League (Venezuela, Brazil, India, and Eritrea) - no such observer status - let alone membership - exists for Khuzistan (or as the Arabs calls it, “Arabistan.”) Ironically, even the Republic of Turkey will soon become an observer to the Arab League.
While the Khuzistan Arabs would probably eschew any kind of support from Israel, it would be most interesting if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government had the intestinal fortitude to call Iran on the carpet in regard to the treatment of its own people and own minorities. Even Israel merely criticizing Iranian treatment of its Arab minority would no doubt infuriate and shame the Arab and Muslim world. While Arabs sit in the Israeli Parliament and Arabic is an official language of Israel, no such accommodations exist for the Arabs of Iran.
It would be a most interesting scenario if a secret poll could be taken amongst “Palestinian” Arabs and Iranian Arabs. The question to ask is how many Iranian Arabs would rather be living under the “Zionist regime” and how many “Palestinian” Arabs would rather be living under the Islamic regime. The world knows the answer to this question. Unfortunately, it is a question that will never be asked.
In the meantime, the leftist liberal establishment (including the media) would do itself justice if it ceased its fixation on the “Palestinians” and began to concentrate on issues such as the Iranian oppression of its own peoples and all of the other ethnic and religious conflicts in the Middle East. Until all of these issues are addressed, peace will never come to the Middle East—or to the world at large.