Saudi Journalist: Iran – Not Israel – Is The Gulf States’ No. 1 Enemy
On March 8, 2016, Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh wrote in his column in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah that today, Iran is the No. 1 enemy of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, supplanting the historical enemy Israel. Any citizen of the Gulf who disagrees with this assessment, he added, is a traitor.
Arguing 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,” he emphasized that the Palestinians should expect no salvation from Iran. He also warned the Gulf Shi’ites that they were mere pawns for Iran, which was using them to promote Persian national aspirations.
“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. This tale could still be true vis-à-vis the Arabs to the north [of the Arabian Peninsula], and in Egypt, because Israel threatens [Egypt] and its security and stability. But as for the [Saudi] kingdom and the Gulf states, it is Iran, not Israel, that tops the list of the enemies and the dangers that lie in wait for us, face us and threaten us. Iran is exploiting the issue of the Palestinians and the liberation [of Palestine] as a pretext for infiltrating deep into the Arab [world], shredding its Arab fabric, and dragging Arab [society] into supporting its expansionary plan.
“It is true that the Palestinian issue has throughout history been the No. 1 Arab cause, and liberating Jerusalem from the yoke of the Israeli occupation has doubtless been the No. 1 issue for us, with nothing more important. However, at this time, and in light of the Persian ambition that the extremist Muslim Iranian government is backing with all its resources and for which it is mobilizing all its forces and capabilities, the Persian enemy takes priority – and must take priority – over the Israeli danger.
“For example, when [former Iraqi president] Saddam [Hussein] invaded Kuwait, occupied its territory, expropriated its sovereignty, and annexed it to Iraq, Kuwait’s Enemy No. 1, and the No. 1 enemy of the [rest of] our Gulf countries, was not Israel but Saddam’s Iraq. Furthermore, I am not ashamed to say that anyone in the Gulf, particularly among the Kuwaitis, who prioritized liberating Palestine over liberating Kuwait from the claws of the Iraqi occupier was considered a clear traitor. The Lebanese need to realize this, as do the Egyptians and the Palestinians…
“I do not think that any reasonable Gulf resident would consider the danger [posed by] the Zionist enemy to be greater than [that posed by] the Persian enemy. The
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