Tuesday, April 09, 2013

My New Article: "Egyptian Salafis Protest Warming Relations with Iran amidst Rising Regional Sectarian Tensions" at Tahrir Squared

I have a new article that was published today at Tahrir Squared, a web site dedicated to covering issues related to the ongoing "Arab Spring."  Since my own research doesn't really focus on Egypt, I normally wouldn't have thought to write on this topic.  However, I was recently invited to by Dr. Hisham Hellyer, an Egypt specialist and one of the site's editors. 

The piece is centered on recent, growing protests by Egyptian Salafi Sunnis against warming diplomatic and economic ties with Iran as well as against Shi'ite Muslims generally, whom they view as not being Muslim. 

I also analyze the religious and political roots of their animus against both the Iranian government and Shi'ite Islam generally.

"Egyptian Salafi criticisms of Iran and Shi’ites generally are rooted in both religion and politics. On the political side, they are highly critical of the Iranian government’s continued alliance with the besieged Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, which continues to wage a brutal war against both Syrian civilians as well as rebel factions, a war which has killed an estimated 70,000 according to the United Nations.  Indiscriminate air strikes, shelling, and summary arrests, torture, and executions by government forces and allied militias have rallied most  of the region’s governments and predominantly Sunni populations against al-Assad and his government’s few remaining international supporters, namely the Iranian, Russian, and Chinese governments and various Arab Shi’ite political movements such as Hizbullah in Lebanon and Iraqi Shi’ite political parties. Political opposition to political positions vis-à-vis Syria taken by the Iranian government and other Shi’ite political actors in the region is certainly not unique to Salafis, in either Egypt or elsewhere."

Read the rest at Tahrir Squared.