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'Why don't they talk about the Iranian occupation?'

Saudi journalist Hussein Shubakshi recently published an article in the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily.

In the article, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Shubakshi attacked the “resistance axis” of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas which, he said, wages resistance against Israel's “occupation” of Arab lands while ignoring the Arab lands that are occupied by Iran, such as Ahvaz.

He noted that the resistance axis restricts the term "occupied Arab lands" only to those held by Israel, while the fact is that there are also Arab lands occupied by Iran, Turkey and even Spain, and that all these occupied lands should be accorded equal importance. Failure to do so is a form of "hypocritical doublespeak," argued Shubakshi.

The article was written following the September 22, 2018 attack on the military parade held by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Ahvaz.

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group claimed the attack and later threatened Iran with more attacks, but there was also a claim of responsibility by a movement called "Ahwaz National Resistance", an Arab separatist group.

"The latest armed attack on units of Iran's IRGC – the terror and oppression apparatus of Iran's sectarian Ayatollah regime – reminded us of the need to renew the debate on the term 'occupied Arab lands.' [This attack] was claimed by a faction of the Ahvazi resistance, which is demanding independence for this occupied Arab region that Iran annexed by force in the beginning of the previous century. For many long years, the term ['occupied Arab lands'] has been restricted to the lands occupied by the Israeli enemy, and since the Al-Assad regime sold the Golan [to Israel], it has been applied exclusively to the Palestinian lands,” wrote Shubakshi.

“But the term 'occupied Arab lands' refers not only to the Palestinian lands, to the Syrian Golan Heights and to the Shab'a Farms, all of which are unjustly occupied by Israel. It should also be applied to the Syrian region of Alexandretta, which was forcibly annexed by Turkey along with its Arab residents, and to the three UAE islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which were forcibly occupied by the Iranian regime, that same regime that still holds the Ahvaz region, the overwhelming majority of whose residents are Arabs and members of Arab tribes. In addition, Spain is occupying the Moroccan cities of Melilla and Ceuta,” he opined.

"All these regions are Arab... Unfortunately, however, [the term 'occupied Arab lands'] has been restricted [to the lands occupied by Israel]. This was done by the scoundrels of the resistance and refusal [axis, i.e., Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas], who are unable to demand the liberation of the Arab lands from the Iranian and Turkish occupation, because [their] interests bury the facts and override them, no matter how clear the reality.”

"The hypocrisy of the media discourse of the resistance has become a subject of mockery and disgust. [According to this discourse], the Israeli occupation is 'different' from the Iranian and Turkish occupation, although all the [aforementioned] occupied lands are totally Arab. How pathetic, saddening and embarrassing was the letter sent by the Palestinian organization Hamas to the Iranian regime expressing its sorrow over the attack on the IRGC. How can Hamas convince itself it is a resistance [organization] when it is in the trenches with the criminal and aggressive [Iran], which boasts that it has occupied four Arab capitals and has forcibly annexed Arab lands, making them part of the Iranian territory, and has no intention of negotiating or recognizing the Arabs' right to these lands? Hamas, along with the Al-Assad regime and the terror organization Hezbollah, speaks in the name of resistance while sheltering in the bosom of a regime that occupies Arab lands,” charged the journalist.

He called these actions “hypocritical doublespeak, and it is one of the main factors that weaken the honorable discourse of resistance. The spokesmen [of resistance] are unworthy and have no right to speak in its name. Resistance is too noble and honorable to be represented by unworthy people. [Its spokesmen] must, at the very least, apply the same standards to everyone, and those who currently purport to speak in its name are not doing so. All the occupied Arab lands are precious, and all have the same status and importance. Whoever treats them differently is not one of us."

MEMRI noted that the Arab press, and in particular the Gulf press, has published articles in the past criticizing the Arab focus on the Israeli occupation versus the disregard of Arab land occupied by Turkey and Iran, especially the Ahvaz region.

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