Washington is rediscovering the “Shiites”

Washington is rediscovering the “Shiites”
Washington is rediscovering the “Shiites”
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the launch of what was called the “war on terror”, which included many forces according to the American definition, the globalized Salafi-jihadi movement was at the forefront of it, many parties believed that the priority for Washington would be to confront this trend on the ground, politically and intellectually. A significant sector of Arab and Islamic elites, including Islamic or liberal “Shiite” elites, saw that the opportunity became conducive to a “deep” dialogue with the United States in particular, and the West in general, to establish new relations on the basis of confronting the common enemy, which is Islamic extremism. The “Sunni” rookie at that stage. The climates that prevailed in the early years after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 fueled such rosy hopes. Of course, the actual American policy remained directed against the anti-hegemonic forces in the world and in our region, regardless of their ideological and intellectual backgrounds, and at the forefront in our region is Iran and Syria, and the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine. However, the globalized nature of the Salafi jihadist movement, and its transformation into an ideology that is increasingly spread thanks to the communications revolution, posed an unprecedented challenge to the American and Western leaderships. The latter was aware that the real reason for such a proliferation was due to the concerted American and Israeli wars of aggression in the length and breadth of the Arab-Islamic space, with the devastation residing in its societies and resulting from the policies of the regimes of dependency, tyranny and corruption, a general feeling of humiliation and an overwhelming desire for revenge. What compounded the anxiety of the aforementioned leaders was the ability of globalized jihadism to attract youth circles, most of them of Arab and Islamic origins, in the West itself, and push them to carry out attacks in its capitals, such as those that occurred in Madrid, London and Paris, and dozens of others failed.
The challenge of confronting globalized jihadism, through a more accurate understanding of it as a phenomenon, and the elaboration of appropriate policies to besiege and isolate it among the common Muslims, especially the wing that considers fighting the United States a priority, and containing the factions that advance the war on other enemies inside or outside its country, all of this has ended the successive US administrations and governments Many Western countries to allocate huge financial resources and to recruit armies of experts and advisors to achieve these ends. Since that period, the so-called “anti-extremism” programs directed at Muslims have flourished and have become a source of livelihood for some of their “enlightened” elites. But the noticeable decline in the strength and popularity of the jihadists with their various organizations, especially after the defeat of ISIS and the decay of al-Qaeda on the one hand, and the intensification of the hybrid war between the axis of resistance, with Iran at its core, and the US-Israeli alliance on the other hand, whose risks and costs exceeded many times First, many Americans concerned with regional affairs awakened from their slumber, and their condition today is: Damn it, we have forgotten the Shiites!
One of them, Andrew Peck, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran affairs between 2017 and 2019, wrote a remarkable article on the Atlantic Council, titled “The Shiites are a black hole for US policy in the Middle East.” Beck notes that, in his view, the fundamental difference between what he calls Sunni and Shiite radicalism is the extreme centralization prevailing in the second, due to Iran’s leadership role that governs the movement of the parties and organizations affiliated to it. He considers that the main positive of Donald ’s policy towards the region is the shifting focus from Sunni jihadism to Iran and its allies. However, this focus on the political level did not translate into an openness to the multiple Shiite reality. “In the event that Trump wins a second presidency, one of the primary goals of our Middle Eastern policy is to complete the shift in focus to the Shiite rather than the Sunni case,” Beck says. The openness to some of its milieus and the messages addressed to it must be accompanied by raids and sanctions targeting others … the goal is not to make the Shiites love the United States. This may be okay, but it is not necessary. What is necessary for the Shiite political meeting in countries where there is a plurality of representation of the Shiites is to begin to exert pressure on the radical parties and restrict them, not only through confrontations and arrests, but by imposing political costs on the parties that represent them. In a sense, we have seen a field translation of this in Iraq in the past 18 months. Circulating this experience in other countries should be an American goal. ”
Needless to say, Lebanon is at the top of the list of these countries, and that what is being discussed is, in addition to revitalizing the role of the “embassy Shiites”, an openness to Shiite environments that the United States classifies as affected by the resistance line and its high prices. The most significant response to the American strategy of seeking to group the resistance into a part of a sect may be to work to build a broad, cross-sectarian national front that includes the majority affected by the American-Israeli hegemony and the dying sectarian system.

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