Western intelligence services are fomenting “bloody sectarian, ethnic and national conflicts” in Syria and countries in transition, Iran’s supreme leader said on April 29. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Western propaganda and “mercenary media” in the region are falsely portraying the Syrian conflict in sectarian terms – as Shiites vs. Sunnis. But the two sides are instead “supporters and opponents of anti-Zionist resistance,” he claimed. The following are excerpts from Khamenei’s opening speech at the World Conference of Ulama and Islamic Awakening. The two-day event gathers nearly 700 clerics and scholars from around the world.
U.S. and Western Role
“[O]ne of the most dangerous things that threatens the movement of Islamic Awakening is the efforts to foment discord and turn these movements into bloody sectarian, ethnic and national conflicts. Currently, this plot is being seriously pursued by intelligence services of the West and Zionism with the help of petrodollars and bribed politicians from East Asia to North Africa and particularly in the Arab region. And the money that could have been spent to bring about happiness for mankind is being used to make threats, excommunicate, assassinate, bomb, shed Muslim blood and to kindle the fire of long-lasting grudges. Those who consider the unified power of Islam as an obstacle in the way of their evil goals have come to the conclusion that fanning the flames of conflicts inside the Islamic Ummah is the easiest way to achieve their satanic goal, and they have used differences of opinion in Islamic jurisprudence… as a pretext to excommunicate, shed blood and cause fitna [strife] and corruption.
A vigilant look at the scene of domestic conflicts clearly reveals the enemy’s hands behind these tragedies. These deceptive hands undoubtedly take advantage of the ignorance, prejudice and superficiality that exists in our societies and they add fuel to the fire. The responsibility of religious and political reformers and outstanding personalities is very heavy in this regard.
Currently, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, Syria, Pakistan, and Iraq and Lebanon are in one way or another involved in or exposed to these dangerous flames. It is necessary to be extremely careful and to look for a remedy. It would be naïve to think that all of these things are due to ideological and ethnic factors and motives…”
Ethnic and Religious Conflict
“Propaganda campaigns of the West and dependent and mercenary media in the region pretend that the destructive war in Syria is a Shia-Sunni conflict and they create a safety margin for the Zionists and the enemies of resistance in Syria and Lebanon. This is while the two sides of the conflict in Syria are not Shia and Sunni, rather they are the supporters and opponents of anti-Zionist resistance. Neither the Syrian government is a Shia government, nor is the secular and anti-Islam opposition a Sunni group. The only achievement of the plotters of this calamitous scenario is that they have managed to make use of religious sentiments of simple-minded people to kindle this deadly fire. A look at the scene and those who are involved in it at different levels can clarify the issue for any just individual...”
Click here for the full text of the speech.
Photo Credit: Khamenei.ir via Facebook