Delusion of Grandeur
In four decades, the theocratic fantasies coupled with delusions of grandeur have produced in the Supreme Leader of Iran a carnal passion: to be internationally recognised as the world leader of Shiites. Beyond this and in the long run, he indulges in the idea of being the suzerain of Omat-e Islam, that is all the Muslims, wherever they are, regardless of their histories and philosophical sensitivities.
His passion for supremacy has miserably failed. Who from outside Iran would live in a dogmatic and monomaniac world just by observing the conditions in which Iranians are in today?
The Velayat-e Faqih is a firm filled, top to bottom, with serial liars and serial killers, all fuelled by unrelenting obsession with power, money and an innate sense of megalomania.
When it can, it buys loyalty among Shiite communities outside Iran with the money that should serve its rightful owners, the Iranians, providing them security and comfort.
When the money spent comes to nothing, then the firm uses violence and killings to obtain what it wants, as it does on its own citizens.
The far-fetched dreaming of suzerainty over the Omat-e Islam, that is holding authority on all Muslims, is a laughable vision, pushing the delusions of grandeur beyond pathological limits.
On pragmatic grounds, the theocratic firm is looking for maximising its own interests as any capitalistic company would, even if they have to bed with the devil. A close examination of Syrian mayhem speaks volumes.
If the plight of a given Muslim community may serve the ideological monomania of Tehran’s clerics, its members are angelic victims (Palestinians) to the satanic plot of corrupt infidels (Israel). However, in a nutshell, when there is nothing to gain in protecting a community hard hit by miseries, the clerics pretend the problem does not exist (Rohingya) or repeat the official arguments by claiming their respect for Chinese sovereignty over them (Uygur).
The Iranian diplomatic positions are the antithesis of the Valiy-e Faqih’s pompous preachings on compassion and care for Omat-e Islam and very short on human rights considerations.
Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Guide of Iran, is an unelected führer. In 1989, he came to take the position of Valiy-e Faqih by default, with political and theocratic shenanigans, ending up with a change in the Constitution to match it with his humble position in the Shiite hierarchy.
Khamenei is nowhere near to being an accepted leader in the heart of all Shiites, even in Iran and the Qom seminaries. Thus, the Shiite clerics opposing his policies are censored and coerced into pledging their allegiance to him. Upon persisting in their criticism, they are smeared and destroyed wherever possible.
Except for the Grand Ayatollah of Iraq, Ali al-Sistani.
The Powerful Messenger from Najaf
In Iraq, there is a barrier reducing the nefarious Iranian shenanigans in the region.
In Najaf, a nonagenarian man, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has the consensual respect and prestige among the faithful that Khamenei yearns for, but would never ever achieve.
Al-Sistani cannot be smeared with the usual methods of the theocratic infighting, efficient in the gutters of Qom and Tehran seminaries. As long as he lives, the Iranian efforts to silence him are wasted.
Ali al-Sistani wisely opposes what Khamenei kills for to preserve his political grip.
Where the former advocates the separation of religious authority from the business of state, unity and dialogue, Khamenei is the man enforcing the darkest sides of his brand of ideological Islam onto the political power, spreading seeds of hatred and division.
The homeland of Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani is Iraq. A country left in chaos and misery after the catastrophic American invasion of 2003. The ensuing madness gave the IRGC, the Valiy-e Faqih’s army, the opportunity to create a network of Shiite militia to fight Americans, or any other “enemy they choose to target” by proxy.
The misdemeanours of the Shiite militia did not help to build a better Iraq or be the remarkable force in chasing the ISIS criminals. Iraq provided the Islamic Republic of Iran the base for further hazardous adventures in the Middle-East and a bloody playground vs the American forces.
Of this, al-Sistani did not want to be a part. In the protests of 2019, he backed people’s demands for security, public services, means to fight corruption and stopping the foreign interventions in Iraq’s domestic affairs.
Despite their burlesque arguments and grotesque explanations on many issues, the Valiy-e Faqih and its sycophant plebeians are realistic when it comes to their own worldly interests.
They cannot smear Ali al-Sistani or target him physically, he has the prestige and the dignity that the ayatollahs in Qom and Tehran have long lost.
Any hostile and direct attack from Iran will undoubtedly backfire, more so among Tehran’s Shiite ambivalent proxies. In autumn 2020, the editor of Kayhan newspaper, Khamenei’s barking dog, in an I-know-better-than-thou editorial, strongly advised al-Sistani what he must do, but was promptly ordered to go back to his kennel and keep quiet.
Therefore, Tehran’s clerics mope in silence and wait for an opportunity to prove their superiority. Since intellectual honesty has never been a burden to the propagandists, the little path open for Iranian ayatollahs is to steal a bit of the al-Sistani prestige for themselves.
Thus, the media have a free hand to quote from al-Sistani’s declarations after unashamedly massaging them and adding a few paraphrases in line with the Iranian regime’s interests when possible.
In reporting from al-Sistani, more often than not, they bestow him plenty of Ta’arofs, the cherished double language, and Loghoz لغز, reproachful remarks and sarcasm, often confused with wittiness by the Western foreigners.
The arrest and execution of Ruhollah Zam, in which the Iranian security used al-Sistani’s name as bait to trap him say volumes on the Iranian theocratic mafia methods in preserving their worldly interests.
The Pope Francis visited Iraq
The visit took place on 5-8th of March, a first ever papal visit to Iraq, and was warmly welcomed.
On Saturday the 6th, in the city of Najaf, a holy city for Shiite Muslims, he met the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric and one of the world’s most influential Muslim leaders. Both aimed to strengthen the dialogue between their faiths.
Pope Francis’s and the Grand Ayatollah’s messages were to challenge the divisions and distortions of religious faith. Al-Sistani said in a statement: “Religious and spiritual leadership must play a big role to put a stop to tragedy… and urge sides, especially great powers, to make wisdom and sense prevail and erase the language of war.” Further, the Pope added: “Hope is more powerful than hatred.”
Later, a message of interfaith tolerance and solidarity was to be symbolised by a joint prayer service at the ancient archaeological site of Ur, thought to be the birthplace of Abraham.
In Tehran, there was no feather to put on the turban of Iranian Shiites from the Pope’s visit to al-Sistani. Tehran’s clerics could not find something, anything, that would allow them to appropriate the fruits of al-Sistani and the Pope’s labour, and brag about it. They could not spot a point that would permit them to spill their venom without making a fool of themselves.
Tehran’s rulers are themselves fuelling conflicts in Iraq; no scoop in saying this. For decades, they have refused “to make wisdom and sense prevail and erase the language of war”. Soothing or giving Iraqis hope for a better life is anathema to them.
The regime has responded to the legitimate demands of their own fellow citizen by real bullets. Therefore, for the Iranian theocracy, the violent death of the Iraqis is not a big deal, certainly not a tragedy.
However, pragmatically assessed in Tehran, the public criticism of the Pope’s visit would have badly boomeranged. The bloody crackdown and the killing of civilians by the IRGC in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, two weeks earlier, is still raw and fresh in the minds. So, they kept quiet.
The officials gave the Pope’s visit a cold shoulder and the media made themselves scarce producing short articles buried in tons of the regime’s worn-out lies on various issues, from Covid-19 and JCPOA to the price of food soaring as Iran prepares for Nowruz festivities.
The regime’s propagandists surpassed themselves in the headlines by exaggerated reporting on the Grandeur of the Supreme Leader planting two saplings. (We saw one in the pictures, but let it be.)
Having said all this, you cannot silence the Iranian cleric of ill faith for long before hearing his outbursts of scorn. In the media reports, here and there, the choice of words could raise eyebrows. Often a sentence or a paragraph, in due conformity to the regime’s vocabulary and political agenda, was freely added to what was supposed to be a quote from Pope Francis or Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani; precisely, there were improvisations in reporting.
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Rashad, an honourable member(in his own words) of many learned Islamic societies, and the author of a lengthy list of unpublished, to be published or drafted books in several volumes could not shut his mouth.
He said: The fact that the Catholic Bishop of Rome, Mr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, nicknamed “Francis”, has chosen Iraq from among about 200 official countries of the world for his trip, can be questioned. What are his intentions and thoughts? If we look at Mr. Pope’s positions in the past and his background, we see that he was considered one of the most extremist bishops against Muslims…
Mehr news site, quoting from an indirect source, said: [during the meeting] Ayatollah Sistani hammered the last nail in the coffin of the plan to normalize relations with Tel Aviv.[…] [in their] relations with the Zionist regime […] many countries in the world, especially the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, suffer from oppression, poverty, lack of fundamental freedoms and social justice.
An article published by ISNA analysed: The sacrifices and martyrdom of Sardar Qasem Soleimani and the Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes paved the way for the Pope’s historic trip to Iraq, the land of Abraham. If it were not for their resistance and leadership, this historic journey would not have taken place. […] a real battle would take place between Christianity and Judaism, and the situation in Iraq would have led to the victory of the Jews…
Earlier there was a piece on Iran and Russia on the path to a bright future.
On the day the Pope met with al-Sistani, the Iranian media announced proudly: Iraqi Resistance declares a “new page” in fighting occupiers.
In plain English: Iranian-backed militia declares a new page in fighting the Americans.
The Nowruz of the year 1400 is approaching fast (21st March).
The criterion of the people from every civilization and culture is that when a new century begins, it is welcomed with celebrations and public parties. Except in the Islamic Iran of 1400 H.S.
Give it up and imagine it never was.انگار نه انگار
We will embrace the new era with the shame of the Islamic Republic of Iran dictatorship on our shoulders. We have enough sycophants in the country for it to last a few more decades.
Most importantly, we will vote for an IRGC commander to be our next “elected” president in the near future rigged elections. He will find enough pillars to hang people from, or provide ammunition to execute even more.
In Iran and in the West, reviving the extinct JCPOA will occupy many minds in the months to come, though it is absurd to imagine that bringing back JCPOA or concluding a modified version of it would be a path to a better life in Iran. It would open a new era for the kleptocrats and the endless strings of corruption in the country.
Ali Khamenei will issue more misogynistic orders for women, as he has already ruled that cartoon characters on Iranian TV must wear a hijab. This might be funny, but the Velayat-e Faqih has been the promoter of the phallocentric privileges (none of them amusing) that have ruined many lives in the past four decades. Khamenei will not stop bullying. Why should he?
If he dies from old age, we do have a large supply of hypocritical and despotic men to replace him as Supreme Leader and the Light of all Muslims.
In the coming decades, the lists of those deprived of their basic human rights will lengthen. If we hear about them, those sitting on the tip of the iceberg of prevailing injustice in Iran, we will sign a petition or two and the international NGOs will plead their cause. Episode after episode of shock and horror, Tehran will brush off the cases and vilify the signatories.
Too bad for the hidden part of the iceberg of injustice, the victims of our Islamic state’s violence that will go unnoticed by the public. No one will hear of them. No one will remember them.
Some of us will write or re-write to Joe Biden asking him for help. Others will reiterate their plea to the UN officials to hold a referendum on the future of our political system. Curiously, no one has as yet thought of writing to Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin, Tehran’s best friends, in helping citizens on human rights violations. One wonders why.
None of these mild actions, precious in their own right, will ever produce the results needed for shaking up our political system rooted in our frame of mind and social fabrics. They are no more effective in healing than drinking a tisane when surgery is needed.
Pleading with outsiders while refusing to have a common dialogue among ourselves has been our modus vivendi for more than we care to remember. It substantiates our impotence in confronting the enemy within, and inability to have constructive dialogues among ourselves, the people of Iran, regardless of people’s sex, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
The growing autocratic power of Velayat-e Faqih has not been based on Allah’s willing.
Allah willing is a pretext for the rulers to justify their misdemeanours. It is also a false excuse for those enslaved to the Leader to justify their apathy, lack of vision, and the absence of controlling a maelstrom of conflicting emotions, embarrassment, anger, frustration.
These lines may be labelled cheap sarcasm, tasteless irony, inappropriate satire. But, we should look at ourselves and be honest to describe what is reflected in it.
We have bred the leeches that have ruled us in the past four decades. We must find the way out of their diktats by ourselves. This needs qualities that we have not grown up with, but that we can cultivate and encourage our young generation to explore.
For a few days, the Pope and al-Sistani kindled a little light. It was good to see and feel its warmth. Perhaps, we could keep it going if we really believed in Nowruz.