If my analysis is correct, superficial and selective condemnation of terrorism and violence will not do. It is like the patient has brain cancer and we recommend aspirin. We need to discuss the root causes of terrorism and violence and especially by the fundamentalist terrorist regime…. This requires the scholar to be brave and courageous, to let the analysis go where it goes. The scholar should be willing to break taboos (religious or otherwise) and critique myths and icons.
I. Dr. Mahmoud Sadri’s article http://iranian.com/main/2008-429 has many of the same flaws and shortcomings that exist in the article by his brother Dr. Ahmad Sadri. I will not repeat my earlier criticiques in this entry, and simply refer the readers to the earlier critique
II. In this entry, I present my critique of Dr. Mahmoud Sadri’s article. One MAIN problem is that there is nothing original in this essay. The attempt to condemn terrorism and violence against non-combatants who are nor armed is admirable, but unfortunately, Mahmoud Sadri FAILS to apply his own criteria. First, I explain this failure on the Lebanese Hezbollah and then on the fundamentalist regime.
III. Dr. Mahmoud Sadri attempts to save the Lebanese Hezbollah from the designation of terrorism by referring selectively to its bombing of U.S. Marine Barracks in Lebanon AND totally remaining SILENT on Hezbollah attacks on non-combatants who are un-armed. For example, the Lebanese Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh and other Hezbollah members have repeatedly used violence against non-combatants who are not armed.
For a listing of the Lebanese Hezbollah TERRORIST actions many with the help of IRI’s Ministry of Intelligence and IRGC see Professor Magnus Ranstorp, “The Hizballah Training Camps of Lebanon,” :
some TERRORIST attacks include:
1. In 1984, the hijacking of Kuwait Airline 221.
2. In 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner (TWA 847).
3. In 1988 hijacked an Kuwaiti Air liner (Kuwait Airline 422) and murdered 2 of its non-armed civilian passengers who were Kuwaitis.
To sum up, the Lebanese Hezbollah is a TERRORIST entity. Moreover, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the fundamentalist regime are organically linked. In addition, Leb Hezbollah is a puppet of the fundamentalist regime.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah is probably the only political party in the world that in its organizational chart, manifestos, and in actual practice, explicitly places the leader of another country as its own’s ultimate leader. The Lebanese Hezbollah puts The Supreme Leader in Iran officially as its highest leader.  The Lebanese Hezbollah regards the Supreme Leader, or Wali al-Faqih, to have been Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and after his death, Ayatollah Ali Khamanehi. In other words, the leader of Iran can order the Lebanese Hezbollah to do as it commands. In its ideological “Levels of Obedience” chart, the Hezbollah ranks the following in descending order: Allah, the Prophet Mohammad, the Twelve Shia Imams, Wali al-Faqih, and Marja Taqlid (high ranking Shia clerics that can issue fatwa). For the Hezbollah, the Shia believers have to follow the above order. According to one of the best studies of the Hezbollah:
“Hizbullah’s leaders have always pledged loyalty to Khomeini’s wilayat and to that of his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…. It follows that the wali al-faqih has the absolute right to elaborate, mold, or alter the ideology and its application, including the decisions of war and peace, to fit changing circumstances…. Clearly wilayat al-faqih is binding not only on Hizbullah’s leaders and members; the party itself is an extension of wilayat al-faqih, presently under Khamenei’s leadership…. Accordingly, Hizbullah’s actions or practices are not bound by one rigid rule but by many rules according to the circumstances decided upon by the wali al-faqih, whose authority cannot be challenged.”
Hamzeh quotes Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of the Hezbollah, as stating:
“Imam Khomeini was the hujjat of the Imam Mahdi in this ummah. Today I can say that hujjat al-Imam al-Mahdi is Imam al-Qa’id (leader) Ali Khamenei, and hujjat al-Imam al-Mahdi is a proof on us, which forces obedience to this imam [Khamenei] who was appointed by Khomeini. …the decision of peace and war is in the hands of the jurisconsult [wali al-faqih]… Where is the force in us? What is Hizbullah’s secret? The power is in the obedience to Khamenei’s wilayat. The secret of our strength, growth, unity, struggle, and martyrdom is wilayat al-faqih, the spinal cord of Hizbullah.”
By the late 1980s, it became clear that the Hezbollah was not able to impose a Khomeini style regime in Lebanon despite concerted efforts. One of the main reasons being that the Shiites are only about a third of the population.
the above passage is from one of my articles.
IV. The fundamentalist regime ruling Iran is in essence a terrorist regime, using the definition of terrorism that Dr. Mahmoud Sadri wishes to use for the genesis of the usage of the term terror in referring to the reign of terror in the French Revolution. The fundamentalist regime under Khomeini and Khamanehi have used violence against non-combatants who were not armed for political purposes. Why the double standard?
V. In conclusion, it is praiseworthy to see one attempt to condemn terrorism and violence. Unfortunately, Dr. Mahmoud Sadri’s article falls short. It is silent on Lebanese Hezbollah or perhaps implicitly supports the Lebanese Hezbollah by referring to one of its actions while ignoring all its other actions. There is not a single word about the TERRORIST actions of the fundamentalist regime that has been terrorizing the Iranian people for about 3 decades. Why the double standard?
VI. Policy Ramifications
It appears to me that the attempts by Dr. Ahmad Sadri and Dr. Mahmoud Sadri are too superficial for the serious problem of terrorism and violence amomg Islamic groups. Nothing original is presented. The root causes of terrorism and violence in Islamic entities, including and especially in the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran and its proxies such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, is lacking.
If my analysis is correct, superficial and selective condemnation of terrorism and violence will not do. It is like the patient has brain cancer and we recommend aspirin. We need to discuss the root causes of terrorism and violence by and especially the fundamentalist terrorist regime. We need to ask would the incumbent fundamentalist regime be able to survive if it would stop violence against the Iranian people who demand freedom, democracy, and human rights? What would happen if the terrorist regime would to announce that it no longer would imprison (and thus torture, execute or assassinate) anyone who is against velayat faghih system? If a group of university students decided to translate and publish this article, would the regime leave them free? Could the students invite the public for a peaceful rally to demand referendum to change the vf constitution? Could they form a political party, publish a paper demanding such a referendum?
The fundamentalist terrorist regime NEEDS terrorism against the Iranian people to remain in power. This regime uses its terrorist proxies (e.g., Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lebanese Hezbollah) as part of its export of the its fundamentalist revolution. Violence is an integral part of the fundamentalist regime as it is part of al Qaeda and the KKK and the Nazi party. These are extremist violent groups.
If my analysis is correct, then what we need is to replace the incumbent extremist terrorist regime with a secular democratic republic based on civil liberties, human rights, separation of religion and the state, majority rule (based on free and fair elections) and minority rights. There will always be violent terrorist groups and individuals in all societies. As long as they constitute a very small minority, the democratic policy can contain their harmful impacts. In a sick society, these extremist terrorist groups gain power and influence whether it is capturing power in Iran, or supporters in the cases of al Qaeda and Lebanese Hezbollah.
It is the role of responsible scholars to probe the problem of violence and terrorism, seek to find out its root causes and suggest solutions. This requires the scholar to be brave and courageous, to let the analysis go where it goes. The scholar should be willing to break taboos (religious or otherwise) and critique myths and icons.
We need to ask basic questions. Did violence against non-combatants unarmed begin among Muslim only after 1791? Or did Muslims use violence before then? Did the Prophet Mohammad use violence to advance his message, or was Islam spread my words of invitation? For example, why did the Prophet use the early followers in raids to merchant caravans? Was the use of violence against merchants to get their money and property a legitimate use of violence? Did Islam come to Iran by the Arab-Muslim invasion or by words of invitation? Did Islamic rule spread to North Africa and Iberian peninsula by violence or by words of invitation? Did Iranian people became Shia by kinds words of invitation or by the swords of the Safavid kings?
If my analysis is correct, blaming violence of Islamic groups on the French Revolution and modernity, is false. The problem goes much deeper. We need to ask are there any ideological or theological aspects of Islam that are responsible for the pervasive violence? Are these factors a contributing factor? Are the needs to remain power (in the case of IRI) or to gain power (Leb Hezbollah, al Qaeda) the primary drivers of violence?
1. See Hezbollah’s organizational chart at Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), p. 46.
2. “Khamanehi” may be spelled “Khamenei.”
3. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), p. 32.
4. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), pp. 33-34.
5. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse, 2004), pp. 33-34.