NEW DELHI: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei raised eyebrows on Monday as he tweeted, “Muslim world should openly support people of Bahrain,Kashmir+ , Yemen etc and repudiate oppressors and tyrants who attacked people in Ramadan+ “.
As part of his Eid address, the Ayatollah tried to bring together the global Islamic community by identifying common enemies — in this case Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arabs as well as India. Khamenei also brought up the Palestine issue as the reason for a full-fledged Islamic jihad against Israel. “Palestine is the first important issue of the Muslim world.
According to Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence), when an enemy dominates Muslim lands, jihad is the duty of all, in any form possible,” he said. “Today, the fight against the Zionist regime is obligatory for the Muslim world. Why do some abandon this job?” he asked.Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s attempt to revive the Muslim vs Jew issue is interesting, because in the Middle East political cauldron, the old Arab versus Israel battle no longer holds.
For that matter, the Palestine cause has flagged in recent times, as the Islamic world has found itself convulsed by revolutions and Islamist groups wreaking havoc from Iraq and Libya to Afghanistan and beyond.
Iran is part of the big sectarian war currently under way in West Asia, which explains Khamenei’s reference to Yemen and Bahrain — these are territories Iran would like to bring within its sphere of influence and where it is engaged in a bitter battle with a Saudi Arabia-led alliance.
Bringing Kashmir into this could mean a number of things.First, it could be an attempt to draw Islamic attention on Kashmir and India. Iran has traditionally taken both a neutral and a hostile position against India on the issue at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.Second, it could be an indirect reference to a growing convergence between Delhi and Riyadh, that would be a source of concern to Iran, which has traditionally enjoyed very close ties with India.But in the present international context, Delhi and Tehran are fighting over a gas field, while India’s signature projects are going slow in Iran.