Jihad With the Iranian Rial! ''Distancing Palestine From Any Axes'' - Correct?
30 June 2016
By Tariq Alhomayed
Our newspaper published a story about Iran allocating an annual budget for the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organisation after relations between them were
restored. An official at the organisation's press office said that Iranian
support ''is not an accusation'' and denied that the organisation is
affiliated to any party in the region. He also pointed out that the movement's
policy always focussed on ''distancing Palestine from any axes''. Is this
Just by researching the PIJ and its relationship with Tehran on Iranian news
sites or Palestinian ones that are supportive of the movement, the researcher
finds a series of dramatic contrasts! In July 2015 the leaders of the movement
announced ''a state of anger'' due to Iranian support being stopped and this
resulted in the Secretary General of the PIJ Ramadan Shallah and his deputy
not attending a meal organised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the
southern suburbs. The Palestinian news agency Sama quoted sources that said
that Iranian support, which is considered the primary source of funding for
the movement, was stopped because of the movement's position on some issues in
the region which resulted in ''clear independence from the Iranian position''.
The sources also said that as the organisation is a Sunni Islamic movement,
''it does not allow its position to be dictated by anyone, particularly with
regards to the issues of the Arab and Islamic nation. The movement has an
independent and specific vision that has not changed in decades''. On the
other hand, while Shallah was in Tehran he was quoted by Fars News Agency as
saying ''The victory of Gaza would not have been possible without strategic
According to IRNA news agency, Shallah said that ''shifts in some Islamic
countries provided Zionists with the opportunity to commit whatever crimes
they want to''. Speaking about the current situation in Egypt, Shallah hinted
at ''the conflicting policies pursued by Egyptian officials'' in recent years
and said that ''Arab countries have not and will not support the popular
uprising in Palestine'' and added that Iran ''is the only country supporting
the uprising and the families of martyrs''! Have the movement's shifts ended?
Here is the surprise- according to what IRNA published, when Shallah met
Hashemi Rafsanjani, he said that the movement considers defending Iran as
tantamount to ''defending Islam'' in the same way that the Supreme Leader said
that ''Defending Palestine is defending Islam'' when the two met last.
However, some Palestinian newspapers said that Shallah is the one who said
that ''Defending Palestine is defending Islam''. Who do we believe here; the
PIJ or Iran? Do we believe the ''policies'' of the PIJ or the impact of the
Iranian rial? What is clear is that in this period of jihad with the Iranian
rial, everything is permissible for Tehran's allies regardless of whether they
are Sunni or Shiite!
Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr.
Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current
affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous
positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the
first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a
bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah.
He is based in London.