Shi’a/Army Clash: The External Dynamics Of Zaria Incident (1)

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President Buhari
President Buhari

By Mohammed Qaddam Sidq Isa
As the heated controversy triggered by the sharply conflicting narratives about last weekend’s violent confrontation in Zaria between the Nigerian military personnel and members of the Shi’a movement persists, many Nigerians express surprise at Iran’s particular interest in that particular incident considering the fact that the incident was neither the first nor even the worst of its kind in the country.
Notwithstanding the credibility or otherwise of any particular narrative about the cause of the incident and how it played out, which in any case isn’t my topic today, it’s obvious that Iran’s interest in it is simply too disproportionate to have been solely motivated by humanitarian concerns, after all. Besides, Iran’s attitude towards Nigeria in this regard and the language it uses smack of sheer arrogance and disdain for Nigeria’s sovereignty and indeed raise questions about its motive and motivation.
Anyway, though the federal government is presumably taking measures to prevent a recurrence, its apparent lack of an adequate understanding of the underlying factors that fuel the persistent tension between the Shi’a community and the constituted authorities in Nigeria makes its task particularly challenging. This underscores the need to engage relevant experts to unravel the peculiar nature of the relationship between Iran and the Shi’a communities around the world.
Nigerian leaders don’t probably realize that, when it comes to the Shi’a communities around the world, Iran does not actually feel bound by the relevant rules of international law that determine the extent to which countries can go in their relationships with one another. Iran simply assumes that it has an unconditional moral authority to interfere in the internal affairs of any country under the pretext of protecting the interests of the Shi’a communities. On their part, the Shiite communities in various countries feel spiritually bound to imbibe and maintain allegiance and loyalty primarily to Iran instead of their respective countries.
This relationship is based on a bizarre Shiite theocratic political ideology called Wilayatul-faqeeh under which whoever happens to be the Waliyyul-faqeeh i.e. the Supreme Leader of Iran is automatically considered the actual leader of all the Shiites all over the world, and their total allegiance and loyalty must therefore be principally to him. This ideology was first implemented in Iran in 1979 following Khomeini revolution who was also the first to assume the position.
Ever since then, Iran has been manipulating the Shi’a communities and has in fact managed to turn them into its puppets in its relentless pursuit of its Shi’a-coated but actually Persian agenda.
In Lebanon, for instance, the Shiite community has effectively transformed itself into a parallel political entity within the country occupying a sprawling and exclusive enclave in Beirut, and maintaining a well-funded Iran-sponsored militia i.e. Hizbollah, which is believed to be stronger than even the Lebanese army. It also maintains other parallel security and intelligence agencies, significantly independent economy and independent international communication infrastructure, etc. Besides, its leader, Hassan Nasarallah openly maintains that their loyalty is to the Supreme Leader of Iran, and that their ultimate goal is actually to turn Lebanon into a state under the leadership of the Waliyyul-faqeeh i.e. the Supreme Leader of Iran.
In Iraq also, and despite being now already effectively controlled by Iran, yet, the former leader of the Iraqi Hizbollah, Waathiq Al-Bat-taat who was though assassinated last year, argued, on an Iraqi TV channel, that the Iraqi ex-soldiers who had fought against Iran in the Iraq-Iran war during the 80s don’t deserve any government benefits as Iraqi ex-servicemen because, according to him, they fought against the army of the Waliyyul-faqeeh i.e. the Iranian army. In fact, he vowed that, should another war break out again between his country, Iraq and Iran, he would fight on the Iranian side against his own country, Iraq.
Anyway, these explain why when last weekend’s showdown between members of the Shi’a movement and the military in Zaria broke out, and in the middle of the crisis while Zakzaki was still under siege inside his house, he received a phone call from Iran by an Iranian who simply introduced himself to Zakzaki as Husseini.
In a widely circulated recorded audio clip of the conversation between them, the caller is heard asking Zakzaki about the situation out there who in turn is heard describing how extremely dangerous it was for his him. Husseini is then heard reassuring Zakzaki that he would raise the matter with the authorities in Iran.
The following day, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif phoned his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama to express his country’s “deep concern” over the incident. Also, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian warned that “the Muslim nation of Nigeria and the rest of the world Muslims want to see Sheikh Zakzaky sound and safe and in good shape”, adding that, “Sheikh Zakzaky’s fate is very important to the Muslim world and Iran.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Nigerian envoy to Tehran to express its demand that “Iran seriously demands clarification of the dimensions of the incident, treatment of the wounded people and compensation of the damages incurred at the earliest.” On his part, the Nigerian envoy assured the Iranians that “he would inform his government of Iran’s concern and provide Tehran with a response.”
Yet, the Speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani also sent a strong letter to his Nigerian counterpart, Yakubu Dogara, calling for “the immediate release of Zakzaky.” Also, the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission called on Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “follow up on the issue via international bodies.” Afterward, Iran’s President himself, Hassan Rouhani demanded for a probe into the incident.
On their part also, Iran-sponsored media outlets e.g. the Lebanon-based Al-Manar Arabic satellite TV channel and Press TV etc have equally taken a particular interest in the incident, and some Iran-sponsored organizations and individuals in some parts of the world organized protests against Nigeria over it.
To be concluded..……

Culled from

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