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16 April 2015


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Swami Bhut Jolokia

I love it. Pots, kettles etc. come to mind.


no it's not that. Actually it is something deeply subversive.

The Wahhabi ulema has long accepted the authority of the monarch in questions of modernity and the like, even though Wahhabism itself was initially inclined to isolationism and withdrawal from the apostate rest of the world.

After the end of the first Saudi emirate at the hands of the Ottomans i.e. Egyptians that resulted in partial rollback of Wahhabi reform, the ulema accepted the need for a strong ruler to protect them and the faith against external enemies, and arranged themselves accordingly with the Saudi dynasty, while maintaining their authority over all matters of religion.

Still, in cases of conflicts over innovations in Saudi Arabia the saudi monarch had the last word and that was generally accepted as long as it was not in open conflict with Wahhabi beliefs.

So, clearly, the remark is an attempt by this cleric at driving a wedge between the Wahhabi ulema, the Saudi rulers, and those Islamists in Saudi Arabia who are inclined to consider their rulers as impious and thus outside the Wahhabi consensus.


I'm trying to figure out who's Ferdinand, who's Cardinal Richelieu, and who's Gustavus Adolphus in this fight. I suspect it's going to end very, very badly.


The Iranian pilgrims spend 500,000,000 $ during the Vajeb Hajj and probably similar or higher during Umrah Hajj. It is beyond my belief that the boycott is not organized. At the end of the day, when Mohammad was in Medina during his exile, he did not visit Mecca as the latter was under the usurpers of his time.


Off topic: It took almost 3 decades but he died by the sword, as he had lived by it: former commander of the so-called Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri has joined his former master Saddam. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/04/17/406734/Saddamera-commander-killed-in-Tikrit


I think we need some qualification of the universally employed term "proxy war" in Yemen. Hadi certainly is the proxy of the KSA with Washington having served as Godfather. But I do not see Houthis as being the proxies of Iran. They are acting on their own for their own reasons on their own territory. The IRI obviously has become sympathetic to them but that is quite a different thing. Of course, it pleases Tehran that a hostile KSA is taking up the Shi'ite practice of self-inflicting wounds. It naturally is deriding their antics; however, I am not aware of their previously indulging in the kind of nasty rhetoric that is staple for the Saudis re. Iran. Indeed, they made a number of gestures aimed at establishing a modus vivendi - even if it's for the time being.

As for AQAP/ISIL, there is no reason to think that the Iranians are under any illusions about an actual tactical alliance. Such a lamebrain idea is the preserve of the Obama bunch - and the Saudis.

Patrick Bahzad


Thx for the info. I wasn't aware of this statement. I think however that pointing to any similarity with ISIS takfirism is a bit far fetched.
You're right about Amoli drawing the Saudis attention onto something, but he is in no way bridging a gap to Sunni "fundamentalist" groups, let's call them this way.
The message he's getting across, is telling the Saudis to be careful who they get in bed with over Yemen, as this might come back at them with a vengeance.
At this point in time, any further analysis of his statement would be highly speculative.


Hmm, didn't the US kill Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri a couple times also?


If I understand this correctly: Houthis hate the Saudis. Al-Quaeda hate the Saudis. Both want the Saudi kings gone, exiled or dead. Both are on the Kingdoms doorstep. So faced with two near enemies the Saudis launch a war with their far enemy, Iran, in mind. Do they think they can control events so that neither Houthis nor AQ get anywhere near their addled monarch's throne? Wars equal chaos; surely sane people don't instigate chaos on their border and there must be some sane minds in Saudi Arabia opposed to all this.

Adam L Silverman

Professor Brenner,

I apologize for any confusion. I've been referring to the fight for regional hegemony between Saudi and Iran, specifically in regards to which side they're backing in Syria for the past several years as a proxy war. I do not consider the Houthis to be a natural ally of the Iranians - unless the Saudi/GCC intervention drives them in that direction. So... I was using the term in regard to the larger fight for hegemony between the two as epitomized by the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

Adam L Silverman


I wasn't trying to imply that Amoli was attempting to become an adherent of ISIS takfirism, rather that his statement echoes theirs. Words matter, especially in these types of situation. You're correct that he's signaling the Saudis, but I think that the language he's using is doing it using language that would resonate the most with the Saudis, the takfiris, and just everyday Sunni Muslims.

Patrick Bahzad

I'm not sure his language - that of a grand ayatollah - will resonate with takfiris, but agree with you, the intended recipient of that message is actually just the Saudis ... Telling them to be careful about their next moves as they might come to regret them.
Also think that one overlooked aspect of Amoli's statement is to appeal to differing reads of the situation between prince Mohamed bin nayef, an experienced man in the fight against AQ, and Mohamed bin salman, who seems more eager to score points with a successful military campaign regardless of what compromises he needs to make ...

FB Ali

"... he did not visit Mecca...."

I would suggest to you that you are wrong. See:


Babak Makkinejad


Statements similar to those made by Ayatollah Amoli have been made in Iran many times over the years.

different clue


Which goes to show that if the KSA falls, something worse could take its place and likely will. Would Ayatollah Amoli really prefer the rise of The Islamic Emirate of Wahhabi Arabia? Drive that wedge deep enough, and that could happen.

different clue


What is $500 million from an Iranian boycott next to the billions of dollars KSA harvests from oil?

Charles I

Israel has done so repeatedly; it thrives on carefully arranged chaos


A belated thanks.


0.5 promille of their GDP or 2.5 promille of their government's expenditure or approximately four to five F-16 on a YEARLY basis.

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