Saudi Arabia, Iran unit in ISIL aversion

تم نشره في Sat 28 June / Jun 2014. 11:28 PM - آخر تعديل في Sat 28 June / Jun 2014. 11:30 PM
  • Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014. (Reuters)

Reuters and al-Ghad

DUBAI/AMMAN - Saudi King Abdullah and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were united on Saturday in aversion against Iraq-grown "terrorist" group who is threatening the region's stability.

Saudi King Abdullah, in a Ramadan message on Saturday, vowed to crush Islamist militants threatening the kingdom, the state news agency reported, saying the world's top oil exporter would not tolerate "a band of terrorists".

The remarks came two days after the monarch ordered all necessary measures to protect the country against potential "terrorist threats" resulting from turmoil in neighboring Iraq, where Sunni Islamist militants have captured some cities from the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"We will not let a band of terrorists who have taken religion as a disguise behind which they hide private interests to terrorize the protected Muslims, to touch our homeland or any of its sons or its protected residents," King Abdullah said in a message at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia crushed al Qaeda after the Islamist militant group began a campaign of bombings and attacks on vital installations and expatriate compounds in the kingdom.

The U.S.-allied kingdom has been rattled by a lightning advance through Iraq by Sunni militants spearheaded by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - aided by other Sunni Muslim militants, tribal leaders and remnants of Hussein's Baath Party - which seized swathes of the country this month.

Saudi Arabia shares an 800-km border with Iraq.

The birthplace of Islam, it sees itself as a champion of pure Sunni Muslim values and regards Shi'ite Iran as its main regional foe.

' A CAST OF MORONS'

Khamenei called the Iraq conflict a "showdown between humanity and barbarian savagery" and criticized Western media for portraying it as a war between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.

Outside powers have often exploited ethnic and religious divisions in Muslim states and "they dream of a war between Shi'ites and Sunnis" that would not happen, he said in Tehran, according to an official statement.

He warned against what he called Western propaganda about "a cast of morons and Saddam Hussein leftovers," apparent references to the radical Sunni ISIL group and Sunni tribes who once sided with the country's deposed dictator and now fight with ISIL.

"The incident in Iraq is not a war between Shi'ites and Sunnis," Khamenei said at a meeting with families of victims of a 1981 bombing that destroyed the Tehran headquarters of the ruling Islamic Republic Party in 1981.

"It is a battle between supporters and opponents of terrorism, it's a war between fans of America and the West and those favoring independence for their nation," he said of the Iraq violence. "It’s a showdown between humanity and barbarian savagery."

ISIL Sunni militants have seized a broad swath of territory in northern and western Iraq in recent weeks in their quest to topple the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, and set up a classic Islamic caliphate.

Deeming Shi'ites to be heretics, ISIL militants have posted videos showing executions of government troops upon capture. Iranian media are rife with reports of other atrocities allegedly committed by ISIL.

Disgruntled Iraqi Sunnis accuse Maliki of excluding them from power, which has prompted some Sunni tribes and former Saddam loyalists to join ISIL's armed rebellion.

Iran is a close ally of Maliki and its official reaction has been guarded as the ruling clergy sought to play down the idea of a showdown between Shi'ites and Sunnis, who make up the overwhelming majority in the Muslim world.

In his speech, Khamenei characterized the events in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East as a Western conspiracy.

Last week, Khamenei said he opposed intervention in Iraq by the United States or any other country to stop ISIL. President Barack Obama has said he would not send ground forces back to Iraq, limiting assistance to military advisers, intelligence and surveillance operations.

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