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tv   Frontline  PBS  February 21, 2018 3:00am-5:01am PST

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>> narrator: tonight,ne an epic jour through the most war torn region in the world. >> the chaos has suddenly expanded into a dangerous regial war with iran on one side and saudi arabia on the other. >> two well-armed rivals, and neither side appears willing back down. >> the saudis insist that iran is a hostile belligerent, adventurous nation, attempting to export revolution arod the region. how do you respond? >> talk is cheap. saudis helped al qaeda. saudis are funding terrists. so they started this sectarian message. not us. ex the iranians say you've been busy supporting emism.
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what's your response to that? >> nonsense. the iranians are the ones who are exporting terrorism. they're the ones who are stoking the fires of sectarianis they are the ones who have been on an aggressive path since 1979. >> narrator:rom the iranian shia revolution that ignited the fire, to the threat felt in saudi arabia. >> khomeini described the rulers of the gul being like the shah. they, who must btoppled.ra >> narr: frontline traces the roots of a deadly divide. >> it is a power suggle between iran and saudi arabia for dominae of the middle east and the muslim world. >> iranian and sdi citizens aren't the ones that are sufferin there's been over a million casualties in the middle east over the last decade. they've been syrian. they've beenraqi. they've been yemeni. es>> as the rhetoric escalas
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the proxy wa escalate, neither side seems to appreciate that they're destroying the region. or narrator: filmed in seven countries with cspondent martin smith, part one of ae frontlecial series, "bitter rivals". >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. major support is provided by the john d. ancatherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdanr and peaceful. additional support is provided by the fd foundation: working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awarenessc tical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. t supportistworthy journalism that informs and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. major support for frontlinand for "bitter rivals" was provided
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by the corporation for publicti broadc. with additional support from the henry luce foundation's initiative on religion in international affairs. and the pew charitable trusts,dr en by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. ♪
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>> martin smith: i've reported eafrom the middle east fory two decades. yet i've never visited tehran before. i've come here to report on the eitense rivalry between shia iran and its sunnibor saudi arabia. it's been nearly 40 years since ayatollah ruhollah khomeini led a revolution that toppled the u.s.-backed monarchy. ever since, relations th the outside world have been strained. fo'san american journalist, not easy to report here. this is an authoritarite. it takes courage for iranians to speak out. many have been jailed for opposing the government.
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>> one of the sight that we are going to see on the 22hen imam khomeini has his lecture... >> my guide is sassan. usually sassan works with tourists, but he has been t assignedme by a media agencyon that operates behalf of the government. >> smith: sassan? >> yes, sir? >> smith: you tell me again, who is this man we're going to see?t his gentleman? >> smithyes, tell me. we've given them a list of people we hope to meet. but it's not clear whohe government will actually approve. >> mr. rafighdoost is one of the living historians of the iranian revolution. and me as an iranian, this ise thrst time i'm going to see him from the very close in. person he wants to... >> smith: the man we're going to visit today, mohsen rafighdoost, is a founder of iran's powerfuls mic revolutionary guard corps, the irgc. today, as a result of his connections, he is one of the
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wealthiest men in iran, with stakes in hundreds of companies. in the late '70s, he led protests against iran's unpopular shah, preparing for the day ayatollah khomeini would return from exile. on february 1, 1979, rafighdoost was in charge of khomeini'sty securi. (rafighdoost): >> smith: iran's western-backed monarch, the shah, had left thea country on whe said was a vacation. .omeini seized the moment what was going through your mind anyour heart about what th meant for the country? p
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>> reporter: theple were in a frenzy to catch just a gmpse of the man they revere like ago d. they clawed and clambered and ran to see and be near him for 15 miles, and no more than a tiny fraction of the multitude succeede (rafighdoost):
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(crowd shouting): >> smith: later that same day, khomeini gave his first majo address to the iranian people. it was a rejection of british and american domination of the shah's iran. (khomeini): (applause and cheering) (crowd shouts takbir) ei >> smith: kh would now use religion to reorder every aspect of iranian life. and he declared that islam was fundamentally opposed to the whole notion of monarchy.
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his message was a direct assaul on kings frothe gulf states to saudi arabia. iranians believed it was the end of decades of autocratic rule and repression. (shouting) >> i believe the revolution was a demand for dignity on the part of the iranian people. they wanted recognition for who they were, for their history. for their identity. >> smith: do you think americans generally understa the iranian experience prior to the revolution >> i guess not. i believe the amican people have not been subjected to the type of indignation and lack of respect that the people of irane ubjected to.
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>> film narrator: today both the peaceful economy and the defensive strength of the free world are heavily dependent upon the petroleum resources of iran. >> smith: as the iranians tell it, there were decades of exploitation and abuse. the west had relied upon iran to supply much of its oil. >> filnarrator: ...which has supplied more than a quarter of britain's needs... >> smith: the british had commandeered a near-monopoly of iranian oil profits. >> iran becomes the center of a major international crisis. >> smith: then, in 1951, mohammed mossadegh was nominate by iraparliament to lead the country's first democratically elected government. after mossadegh nationalized iran's british-run oil industryd and chhe shah from tehran, the c.i.a. and british spies engineered a coup in 1953. >> smith: mossadegh was arrested, imprisoned, and lived in captivity for 14 years until his death.
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>> we're not so great at history in america. when we say, "that's history," it's a pejorative. well, the rest of the world takes history pretty seriously. and 1953 definitely resonated in 1979. it resonates today. (man speaking): >> smith: the shah was restalled. ow to stay in p, he built a massive police state, and relied on the west for support. >> iran, because of the great leadership of the shah, is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world. >> what the united states gave the shah, aside from flattery, was military >> smithu.s. sold him weapons. and the c.i.a. trained the saah's secret police, the k, which brutally suppressed l opposition. >> during the trouble, i saw the police beang passers-by indiscriminately with their sticks. >> smith: by 1978, the country
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was convulsed with protests. (cwd shouting): >> smith: the people w control of their own destiny. >> the fact is, the shah has fail to make civilian government work. and until a proper solution is found re, there can be no satisfactory form of government for iran. >> smith: then came 1979, and khomeini's revolution. its impact was felt across the middle east, wherever unpopular elites were supported by the u.s. >> a huge mob armed with rifles and shotguns and screaming, "kill the american dogs," stormed the u.s. embassy compound in islamabad and set parts of it afire. >> 1979 was crucial year, ior think, fhe muslim world. i mean, sunnis were cebrating the iranian revolution as much as shias were.
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there was enormous enthusiasm and support, because khomeini's initial line was not sectarian against sunnis and such. it was anti-american. >> iran today saw the biggestn demonstrt. more than one million persons trched through the streets shouting, "deaththe shah, death to carter." >> khomeini's vision was to annihilate america's presence from the middle east. he wanted this islamic revolution of his to spread, and to see the end of western influence-- cultural, political, military, financial-- in theti islamic world. >> it just provided the example that people, without any foreign help, were able to engage a very brutal regime, supported by, primarily by the united states, and defeat it.
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(sasson): >> smith: to this day, loyal regime supporters gather to celebrate their revolution. they march down enghelab, or revolutiontreet, every february 11. what brings you here today? >> "my country is the best country in all over the world." >> smith: what makes your country the best cntry in all of the world? >>s mith: almost four decade indoctrination have ritualized these anti-american sentiments. hello. my name is martin. how do you do? but what we didn't expect is how everyone went out of their way to welcome an american reporter. >> i like all the people in the
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u.s.a. >> smith: th make a distinction. (man): >> smith: many people stay meay in protest against the regime, but govent employees are expected to attend (man): >> smith: compared to passions of 1979, the whole march had a kind of carnival feel tit.
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rsere were plenty of anti-western posteith all those familiar slons. (chanting): >> smith: more than anything,ab the march wat pride and defiance. (crowd cheering and chanting) >> smith: but in the beginning,s not clear if this revolution would survive. it was the american hostage crisis that would help khomeini
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secure its future. >> the american embassy in tehran is in the hands of s musltudents tonight. spurred on by an anti-american speech by the ayatollah thomeini, they stormed the embassy, fought marine guards for three hours, overpowered them, and tookam aszens of erican hostages. >> smith: the fe that the united states was preparing to reinstall the shah. a small group of students reacted. >> the hostages are in our ehnds. >> smith: masoumbtekar was a spokesperson for the students. >> so that in the case of any military intervention, we ll destroy them. the students, theyelieved that there is a serious possibility that what happened in 1953, the coup d'état, could again happen. history could repeat itself. >> militant muslim students today vowed to kill the 49 american hostages if the u.s. launches a military attack against iran. their demand remains the same-- return the shah to stand trial.
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>> smith: the taking of the stages was initially prompted when president carter reluctantly granted the shahrm sion to enter a u.s. hospital. >> the former shah of iran isom suffering ancer, and is receiving needed treatment in this country. >> the united states gave refuge to the person who had imprisoned thousands of people, who had killed thousds of people on the streets of tehran. he was a mass murderer. e yet ited states let him into their country, took him to a hospital, and then expected the iranian students not to show outrage? >> the iranians burned the united states flag and denounced the u.s. government, saying they would stay until the u.s. sends the deposed shah back to iran. earlier today... >> the students, they thought that they would take the embassy for a few hours, maybe. nst then suddenly the people poured out in milln support of this. and suddenly imam supported it,
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too. >> smith: khomeini. >> yeah, imam khomeini. (khomeini): >> imam khomeini, he named this overwhelming response of the people, he named it as the cond revolution. he used it to actually construct the political institutionsf the islamic republic of iran. nt (crowd chaing): >> this was a tactical py, to take the embassy, to demonstrate revolutionary credenals in the face of the great satan. we were just a useful tool and the regime fostered itsnf legitimacy by nting the united states. >> smith: after the hostage
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crisis, khomeini was fully empowered. post-colonial middle eastern mmates had embraced nationalism, capitalism, and counism, but with khomeini's revolution, iran was embracing islam. >> before '79, islam as a political phenomenon was a marginal idea in the region. the arab world was all about socialism and arab nationalism, and iran was dominated b secular forces. now, once khomeini takes over, s islam arely put in the middle of the table in the middle east. >> mith: a few hours south of tehran is the holy city of qom, iran's pre-eminent center of shia learning. good, okay. >> then you go to the office of ayatollah,f you want to interview anything... >> smith: okay, great,ct. thank you. i'wanted to talk to an ayatollah here about khomein
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revolution. >> after islamic revolution,is ther movement towards religion, towards god. and there is a new role for thei re in all the issues-- global issues, international issues. >> smith: the iranian revolution awestablished that islamic sharia, would now govern iran. d and khomeiermined that a cleric should rule as its head, a cleric who received hisor auy directly from god. >> we believe that imams, they are guided by god. and, therefore, they are able to show us the right path. and this is the idea of shia. >> smith: shia are a minority sect-- around 12 percent of all muslims. they split from the majority sunnis 1,400 years ago following the death of the prophet
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muhammad. >> when the prophet muhammad died in 632, a dispute emerged over who would succeed him. the sunnis believed that the leadership of the muslim state and community would go to his best friend and companion, a man called abu bakr. (men praying) but the shias believe that ali, the cousin, should have succeeded the prophet. s th: shia means "followers of ali." they developed a doctrine that aland his successors were infallible representatives of god. >> he had a certain quality that was similar to that of the prophet in that he was impeccable, or made no errors. he was error-free. the sunnis never agreed to this. >> smith: while in ele, khomeini took this shia belief and formulated a new kind of government around it. he called the principle
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velayat-e faqih, the guardiship of the jurist. >> what khomeini did was that he politicized what was, until then, much more of a religious-slash-spiritual doctrine, and turned it into a political doctrine whereby a jurist, a legal and theological scholar, could actlly rule a state. >> smith: many shia scholars believed khomeini had gone too far. >> he would rule the country, and he would have ultimate andov final sa all matters. and if he issues a command in his capacity as the supreme leader of iran, then obeying him is required, and dobeying him is a sin. >> smith: he declared his alamic revolution in the name of all muslims, sh sunni. but that's not how others saw ha. >> the revolution d two
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certy, rhetorically, theni kh's revolution, the 1979 revolution, was pan-islamic. but right below that rhetoric, these were shia clerics taking over a country and remaking that country the ideas, the beliefs, the mores of the shia clergy. so it was inextricably shia. it was outwardly shia. and all of iran's neighbors saw this. even if it had sort of pan-islamic ambitions, it was very much a shia experiment. lu the fact that khomeini carried out the reon in the name of islam was a source of his popularity and power inld the arab w the fact that he was a shia ruler was also the limit of his power. and it's that limit that the saudis, pakistanis, egyptians,d
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jordanians u order to make sure the iranian revolution doesn't spread. >> smith: no country feared the spread of khomeini's revolution more than here, across the gulf-- saudi arabia. a it wirect challenge for the leadership of the islamice world, and to yal house of saud. until 1979, the saudi royal family maintained relations with iran. the two countries were both western-backed oil-rich monarchies that the u.s. saw as pillars of gulf security. >> we had very good relations with the shah, especially in his later years. i remember before khomeini came,
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i had gone to tehran to see the shah. and i remember driving to his palace, niavaran palace. it was after dk. and there were no lights in the palace, because there had been a strike by the oil workers. and there was no fuel for the generators. and it was very indicative of what was happening in tehran-- that he was losi his authority. >> smith: so there's a big qution mark. khomeini comes to tehran, and you must've been listening carefully to his words. >> absolutely. khomni described the rulers the gulf as being like the shahh must be toppled. >> khomeini really rattles the
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saudis, because the supreme leader was, in essence, unrmining the saudi royal family's own credentials as the leaders of the muslim world, because th are home to mecca and medina, the two holy sites in islam. this is what gives them a leadership role in the middle east. (horns honking) >> smith: an absolute monarchy,a thi royal family retains control over everything, from the country's oito the news media. this is the fifth time i've f reportedm here. in 2005, i was allowed a rare visit inside the royal palace in riyadh. it was the occasion of majlis, where the ngdom's subjects come for a royal audience. it reveals a lot about how this country is governed.
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crown prince abdullah bin abdul aziz, a son of the kingdom's founder, was then the de-facto ruler. to one side sat sunni wahhabi clerics, guardians of traditio who habitually resist change. on his other side, the royal family-- allies to the west. these are the partners in power. (call to prayer over loudspeaker) >> smith: after the clerics and the royals paused to pray together, i took the chance of asking the crown prince about his family's claim to power. if it's okay, i would just like to ask you a couple of questis. he barely responded. what is the legitimacy of the monarchy based on? du (abdullah bin abaziz): >> smith: in fact, their legitimacy is rooted in the deah made at founding of the saudi state in 1932.
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king abdul aziz ibn saud, in order to unify the warring tribes of arabia, signed a pact with fundamentalist wahhabi clerics. f the wahhabislow the teachings of an 18th-century islamic cleric, mohammed bin abd al wahhab, who had demanded a return to an older, harsher ith. >> being harsh, that reflects the circumstances of abia in the th century. you know, when a religious political movement starts, always at the beginning, they are very austere, very conservative, very harsh, very radical.tive, very harsh, very (call to prayer over loudspeaker) >> wahhabism, really, an
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extremely puritan form of islam. the wahhabis believe that islamd has to be cleaf all the accoutrements, that there has to be very literal interpretation of the tex and they are very intolerant about peopleho don't agree with them. (man): >> smith: in riyadh i listened as sdi arabia's highest religious authority, the grand mufti, warned his faithful against deviation. the mufti is a direct descendant of abd al wahhab. >> smith: fundamentalist sunnis believe in a direct personalet connectionen a believer and god. they abhor the shia embrace of clerical hierarchy, saints, shrines, and icons. (chanting)
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>> wahhabism has a very stark anti-sa perspective. there's no nuance wi its perspective on shiism. shiites are heretics. shiism is a heretical strain. which makes them effectively thn-muslims. they're not part otent. throughout the 1970s, the royald family facual challenges.ey were trying to modernize the country and maintaheir alliance with the wahhab clerics.e >> one of thachings of islam is that every muslim should at least once make alg pimage to mecca. >> smith: their guardianship of the two holy mosques of mecca and medina had always been their greatest responsibility. >> t fact that mecca is the source and the shrine of islam gives saudi arabia a central place in the islamic world. >> smith: but then, in november 1979, the grand mosque of mecca came under terrorist attack. >> 15,000 pilgrims were praying
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at dawn, when the 30 giant doors were sealed off by hundreds of members of a muslim sect. the first pictures of ege showed gunfire from the minarets of the muslim's world holies shrine. an eyewitness said he heard machine guns and explosions, possibly grenades, within the c mosqpound. s >> thedi leadership saw this as a challenge to the security and the stability of the kingdom. >> six or seven thousandpi rims remain inside the buildings as hostages. >> smith: it was just days after the hostage crisis in iran began. the assumption in the west was that iran or iranian-insred shiites were to blame. khomeini shot back, blaming the. amer >> khomeini for his part is ited states for the muslim extremist takeover in the holy mosque at mecca. >> but the saudis soon found o that the attack was led by a young saudi militant-- part of a fringe group of wahhabi
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extremists. >> radio announcer: the gunmen seek to rify the religion from what they say is the corrupt influence of the current saudi arabian government. >> smith: then things went from bad to worse, and this time iran s involved. in the oil-rich eastern province, thousands of shia took to the streets in protest. (shouting) this is what the royals had always feared. >> the saudis rightly feared that the shia population in the eastern provinces where all of their oil is are very quickly g going vitate towards iran, and they may become rebellious, they may become secessionist. >> mith: a minority politically, and economically excluded for years, saudi shias waved pictures of khomeini and demanded that riyadh grant them more rights.
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>> smith: they were encouraged by iranian radio stations. >> smith: radio stations in iran called for the shia to rise up against the state here. you weren't in government at that time. >> i was a student. >> smith: you were a student. do you remember it? >> yes. >> smith: what was your reaction then? >> it's not their business toer intein our affairs. the saudis who are shia are saudi citizens, they belong to thsaudi state. their loyalty is to the saudi state. and iran or body else either has the right to interfere. we don't go and and try to provoke minorities in iran. we don't go and try to provoke the sunnis in iran into taking up arms against the iranian state. e >>d not take action against any country. >> smith: the iranians see it
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differently. >> we make our views clear abouh nature of governments that were submissive to the united states, governments that were presenting a message of hatred. >> smith: but back i, there were radio reports coming out of iran calling for shia in the eastern province of saudi tharabia to rise up agains monarchy. >> well... >> smith: that sounds likein rference to me. >> we always rejected the use of force against governments. we may have encouraged people to ask for their rights. >> smith: to crush the uprising, the saudis pulled whole battalions of national guard away from mecca, and brutally suppressed the protest at the same time, back in mecca, after a two-week standoff, the army, with the help ofh commandos, moved in with heavy
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weapons and explosives. and with permission from the wahhabi clerics. >> a religious council had to be cvened to permit the assault on the holy mosque. >> saudi troops have been conducting a mop up operation there after driving out all but a handful ofuslim gunmen. >> smith: scores of rebels were killed. among those captured was the ringleader, juhayman al otaibi. hjuhayman and his followe been outraged by recent social changes and liberaliza condoned by the royal family. over the previous decade, the monarchy had permitt a gradual loosening of religious rules. women had been givennent roles in the media, and were anchoring news programs withou head coverings. western brands, pop culture, and luxury goods flooded the country. >> as the thirst for oil grows bigger, saudi arabia gets richer and richer and richer.
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but western money has brought western attitudes along with it. last year revenue from oil... >> the 1970s oil boom was very disruptive to a traditional society. and the reaction of some of the zealots that they had in 1979 in the takeover of the great mosque was a reacti to that modernization. >> smith: in fact, juhayman would get his way. after his execution, the wahbi establishment pressured the royals to put in place many ofer the cotive islamic practices juhayman had called for. >> the csequence of that siege, the government started to be mase conservative than it w before. me i think the govent was ndying to absolve themselv"w thatare not anti-religious. we are not anti e religious establishment." they emphasize their religioused
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crtials. >> smith: women announcers were banned from tv. even western companies within omudi arabia were discouraged from employing wen. movie theaters and music shops were shut down. >> the was a reaction. trligious authority in the kingdom promotedter practices of islam, whether it in prayers, in the performance of religious duties, and cial mores. meaning, for example, women had to be more veiled, if you like, than had previouslbeen practiced. >> smith: as iran had embraced shia islam, saudi arabia now fully embraced its own
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fundamentalist sunni islam. the double hit that sai arabia took, both the revolution of s 1979 and tge of mecca, did result in increasing sectarianism coming out of iran, but also coming from saudi arabia. is that a fair statement? >> i think perhaps in some social context. but also, there were some who saw khomeini's efforts must be countered by similar sectarianst throm saudi arabia. >> smith: the saudi government would grant their religious esblishment billions more saudi petrodollars to spread wahhabism around the world. >> they have to double down after 1979 becse they have these zealots internally, they have the threat of iran. so they mobilize all their religious resources. they pump a lot of money into religion, basically, both domestically and
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internationally, in order to boost their legitimacy, and in order to ward off and fighthe iranian threat, which was very serious. >> smith: anthen came an historic opportunity to promote wahhabi ideas in a country back across the gulf.un a y that had been founded as an islamic republic-- pakistan. (horns honking) the king faisal mosque in islamabad is the largest mosque in pakistan, and among the largest in the world. evoking a bedouin tent, it's named after saudi king faisald because he fun. (praying) >> the king faisal mosque is a very powerful symbol. w built at the height of
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the relationship between the pakistanis and the saudis. khomeini's revolution was a religious revolution in favor of shi'ism. and that really prompted the saudis then to spend so much money around the sunni world to build up support for saudi arabia and support for waabism. >> smith: since the 1960s the saudis have funneled over $100 billion into fundingosques and religious schools all over the world. (children praying) 60 years ago, there were two 244 madrassas in pistan. today ere are 24,000. many of them are still teachings vative wahhabi doctrines. a majority sunni country with a large shia population, pakistan has become increasiny sectarian over the years. i
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>> you know, whes a young boy, i didn't know who was a shia in my class or who was a sunni. it didn't matter. it was not an issue. but after the iranian revolution and after the saudi money pouring in here, we lit between the shia and the sunni. t is after that, '79, thathis this became a major issue in pakistan. of course, the saudis, they wanted to stop iranian influence, and pakistan became the junior partner.bu t i think for the saudis, the eat opportunity was the invasion of afghanistan. >>bc news has learned that massive buildup of soviet troops is taking place in afghanistan, leading some intelligence analysts to t concludet a soviet invasion u erway. nf smith: in the same year as
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the saudis were nted with the iranian revolution and the siege of mecca, the soviets invaded afghanistan. the saudis seized the opportunity to defend theirre muslim bren against the godless commists, and to gain regional influence. they found a perfect partner in pakistan's president, zia al haq. >> president zia al haq is very muchhe man in charge of pakistan these days. rules the country with his own particular style.ha >> smith: zia come to power in a coup and begun a campaign to islamicize every aspect of pakistani society. >> when pakistan was founded, equal rights for women were enshrined in the constitution. women were accepted in manyes profsions. under general zia's martialaw regime, the orthodox muslim view is gaining ground that a woman ashould be completely covnd veiled. >> we'd never had such a transformative military dictator
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who wanted to change the whole british inherited colonial system of state institutions, the legal system, the constitution, and change it all towards an islamic system. zia introduced sharia courts and set up a parallel islamic c stem of punishments. >> there are puboggings in pakistan and the authorities put microphones around the necks of those being flogged so their screams could be amplified to the crowds watching the >> we ted out with an open hand, hand of love and affection for the people of pakistan. but then i find that at times a squeeze has to be applied. >> all this zia carried out with his own agenda, but which was very lavishly funded by the sais. >> smith: funded by the saudis, with theupport of the united states. >> in addition we are deeply grateful f president zia's visit. he's a military man who received part of his training in ourun y.
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he's familiar with our own nation. his owledge of the sensitivities and ideals of america make him particularly dear to . >> smith: beyond his expression of friendship, president carter pledged to defend pakistan and saudi arabia against soviet expansion into the gulf with its ecame known as the carter doctrine. ro an attempt by any outside force to gain coof the persian gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the united states of america. (applause) >> the united states wanted pakistan and the region to become a bastion against communism. and in order to become aio ba they thought that these religious forces were the best to act as some sort of a great break against the expansion of communist foes. and that resulted in creating a
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monster in pakistan and in the region. smith: president carter approved a covert operation in which the u.s. and saudis would jointly fund the afghanhe mudeen. >> and it was pakistan its intelligence service, isi, that identified the afghan rebe groups that they wanted most to support. and so pakistan really affiliated itself with some of the networks that regarded shiism as, you know, heresy. >> smith: so basically the americans outsourced the erlection of who to back to the isi, to the secretce of pakistan? >> yep. >> smith: and ey chose the most radical elements of the jihadists. pa that's right. partly because..stan chose the most radical elements among ae jihadists because it saw that radicalism otential instrument of control in
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post-soviet afghistan. if they won the war, these were groups that would be loyal to >> in afghann, the soviets are continuing their heaest offensive of the war against the afghan rebels. >> smith: the war dragged on for years. following carter, presidt reagan celebrated the efforts of the afghan fighters... >> thank you very much. >> smith: ...and dramatically increased their support. >> you are not alone, freedom fighters. america will support you with moral and materi assistance-- your right not just to fight and die for freedom, but to fightn and eedom. >> intelligence sources have told nbc news that thead ministration is now sending secretly morthan $600 million worth of military supplies to the resistance fighters in afghanistan. ha now we know, of course, every billion that the americans were giving to the afghanhe muen to fight the soviets, the saudis were matching that.
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>> smith: and the saudis did even e grand mufti of saudi arabiath od decreee war a jihad, and encouraged thousanf saudis to becomholy warriors. one of the first to go to pakistan and join the afghan cause was this man. >> when bin laden came to pakistan, his first job, which was given to him by the c.i.a. and pakistani intelligence, was actually to create ammunition dumps and arms dumps on the pakistan-afghaborder but just inside afghanist. and he dug out these caves, cich eventually became, of course, the famouses of tora bora, where he escaped to after the americans bombed him and invaded afghanistan. ma >> the lasr convoy of
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soviet troops from kabul has crossed the border from afghanistan into the soviet w union on itsay home. the last soviet soldiers. >> smith: by 1989, after ten years of fighting, the mujahedeen had succeed >> 13,000 soviet soldiers killed and the afghan guerrillas stronger today than when it all started. >> the moment the war ended, the americans handed over afghan policy to the pakistanis and th saudis, terally told them, i mean, "we're out of here now.o do what you will. you do what you want." en and what we had th was pakistansaudi joint support for bringing in extremist afghan mujahedeen into power. and, of course, everythi stems from there. if you see the growth of al qaeda and the acts of terrorism against the west, it all stems t froms original cardinal sin whereby jihad is elevated, and
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is then supported at the global level by everyone. >> smith: many of the jihadists trained for the afghan would mature into the jihadists of al qaeda and isis, encouraged byte isudi wahhabhings. why was it that xtremism came from your schools and from your mosques? >> it was the provocation of the iranian relution created a reaction in the sunni world that then transted into extremism and violence on our streets. >> smith: so you blame the iranians? >> in part, yes. and in part i blame ourselves also, in hindsight. because are there things that we could have done? obably. but at the time that... that this was all... that all these d,forces were being unleasou deal with them at the time. 30 years later, you can go back and say, "could things have been done differently?" of course. >> smith: that's an important
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reflectionn your part, i think. i think a lot of americans feel that they never hear that from the saudis. >> but that's the reality. that's the nature of you learou go. >> smith: while the saudis supported jihad in afghanistan,i iran toos in another regional war. across the middle east, west of iraq and syria, and bordering israel, is lebanon. (horn honking) i drove south into lebanon's shia heartland and the town of nabatieh. lebanon has had a large shiari
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mino for hundreds of years. >> there's been a linkage tween the lebanese shia and iran that goes back centuries. so there are family connections at continue to persist. ho the followers ofini going back to the 1960s have been there. >> smith: the shia had been a poor and disenfranchised group compared to lebanon's christian. and sunn >> shia was the marginalized group in that society. population wise, they were big enough, butheir share of power was not that much. so iranian revolution really was a turning point in a type of identity revival. and then, of course, many other issues came, including the israeli aggression. >> the middle east apprs dangerously close to all-outh war tonight, wthousands of israeli troops deep insiden.
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lebano >> smith: in june 19, israel invaded and occupied southn lebanon in order to drive out the palestine liberation organization, which had been i shellingael from here. the residents of nabatiyeh remember those days. what do you remember of the time during the israeli occupation? (man): >> smith: within weeks of their invasion, israel had advanced on beirut. >> israeli waranes pounded the area around the headquarters of the plo in avcentral beirut today, leg scores of people dead and wounded. >> the israelis fired shell
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after shell into the western part of the city. some analystsaid that the arab world had reached an all-time low if it was prepared to stand by and see an arab cital taken by the israelis. (crowd chanting): g >> smith: seiz opportunity, khomeini immediately sent around 1,500 islamic revolutionary guards t lebanon. (chanting) (rafhdoost): >> smith: mohsen rafigoost, one of the founders of the irgc, made more than 30 trips to lenon.
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>> smith: the irgc, which had started as khomeini's prive militia, was always meant to spread iran's influencero ruhout the islamic world. now they began reciting shia fighters fm other local militias. an >> we had n revolutionary guards coming into lebanon. and they were very much theet impetus hings going. this was a very small, nascent organization back then. they would inspire the shia population there living in these little hill villages to embrace the cause of iran. and they marshalled them into military units. they gave them bic training and some weaponry as well. and gradually the ideology of hezbollah spread from the beqaa to the shia areas of southern beirut. (men singing song):
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>> smith: why walebanon given such a priority? >> well, i think they recognized... first of all, there's the obvious ideological struggle against israe and there was an opportunity to be had. >> hezbollah, the party of god, the most fanatical of lebanon's iite muslims, are now firmly, openly and successfully established in beirut. daby day their following grows. >> smith: when exactlybollah was formally established is still contested, but a turning point for the group came by accident in 1983, during the ashura festival in nabatieh. ashura in nabatieh is particularly dramatic.
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the shia faithful cut and beat themselves bloody to honor t death of husayn, the prophet muhammad's grandson, who was martyred in the 7th century.hi but on tday, an israeli military convoy lost i way and drove into the crowd.le peopegan throwing rocks. the israeli soldiers fired back. at least two people were killed, and many injured. tensions had been escalating for months. >> this just in from beirut. at least 40 u.s. marines a ten french soldiers are dead after two explosions. >> sth: a week later there w an attack on israel's allies france and the united states. >> a truck filled with explosives crashed through the gate... >> smith: a suicide bomber driving a uck loaded with tnt blew up the barracks of u.s. marines who had been stationedke as peaers. >> a minute later, the samed happenere at a french military headquarters.
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>> smith: at almost the same time, another suicide driver crashed into the french rracks a few miles away. >> in lebanon the death toll has been steadily climbing all35 day-- 125, 1... >> smith: 241 u.s. marines and 58 french paratroopers died. >> the explosion was the worst attack on the >> smithe era of suicide bombings had begun. the attacks were widely attributed to hezbollah acting under iranian direction. and they continued. >> the latest attack brings to more than 100 the number of people killed in bombiin lebanon this year. >> tmith: the attacks seemedo be working. hezbollah won new followers. >> more and more fundamentalist shiite muslims are volunteering to blow themselves up in what they see as the holy fightes against oppron. >> smith: the u.s. pulled out and israel was forced to retreat. israel would eventuawithdraw all its troops from lebanon.
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(shouting) >> never before had we seen anal israeli withdrrom occupied arab territory. so that was basically the big turning point-- the image of hezbollah as a successful force, which achieved what other other arab militaries were not able to achieve. (singing) >> smith: hezbollah marks their victories every year in a celebration they call liberation and resistance day. >> smith: hezbollah's securitywo d not allow us to bring our own camera crew, so they assigned us one of their own. (man singing):
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>> smith: hezbollah has grown into a major political party with a powerful militia. designated a terrorist organization by the u.s., hezbollah is widely seen as controlled by iran. but hashem sieddine, one of the party's highest rankingci ofs, disagrees... (safieddine): >> smith: the connection between hezbollah and iran is hard to deny. hezbollah's name, the party of god, was given by ayatollah kheini. its emblem is modeled on the irgc's. and they hold allegice to the current supreme leader, ayatollah khamenei. (man):
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>> the ideology comes very muchr iran. not just the military training, but the ry intensive religious lessons that they undergo. even after they've become full-fledged fighters, they're still arning about islam and about the velayat-e faqih and all this kind of thing. >> smith: velayat-e faqih,ua ianship of the jurist"-- liomeini's core doctrine that gave him ultimate ous and political authority. >> velayat-e faqih, this is really the backbone of hezbollah that binds all its constituentsa s together. they have toubscribe to this central ideological pillar. (man): >> smith: with iranian funding, training, armsand exported
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ideology, iran turned zbollah into a powerful militia that serves iran's interests. for security, hezbollah's leader, hassan nasrallah, almost always speaks from an undisclosed location. (nasrallah): >> smith: was it as clear t at theime that this was to be a mar iranian project? >> i don't think the iranians necessarily planned that, you know, in 35 years, by 2017, we will have turned hezbollah into this massive military machine that is even stronger than the lebanese army that israel has called for the first time in nuary of this year its greatest threat. today, my guesstimate on their strength is a standing army of
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20,000 fully trained fighters. >> smith: and it's a force tha projects outside of the borders of lebanon. >> and it's now a force that projectsutside. and it allows iran to project s influence across... across the region. >> smith: one can't fully understand iraand the bitter divides in the region today without looking back to the 1980s and the iran-iraq war. (man speaking over loudspeaker) each year iran rolls out a huge g litary parade to commemorate the eight-year-lnflict. they see it as instrumental in shaping their foreign stance today. >> this event is also an opportunity for iranshow off its military power...
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>> smith: here is where they parade their latest long-range missil. >> ...uniting to keep outde foreign inva. >> we are required to produce ouown means of defense because e united states conducts a campaign of preventing iran from acquiring its means of defense. (man shouting on loud r) that campaign started during tha iran-iraq so we have to do our own defense. >> smith: i don't think it's a war that americans undand very well. your generation, that leads iran, you were all shaped by that experience. >> but it's a very unfortunateop fact that have short memories. and,ctually, some of them ma not want to remember what happened. >> iraq declared today that its fighting with iran is now a full-scale war. netwice today iraqi warpla bombed iranian air bases. iran retaliated with heavy damage to both sides.
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>> smith: in the year following khmeini's revolution, sadda hussein suddenly attacked iran. (louexplosions) he sensed an opportunity to both capture territory and possibly topple the regime before it became a threat. >> are they interested in knocking off, in tpling the khomeini regime? >> absolutely, they'd like to ..e khomeini gone and a moderate regime embedded. >> this was a shock and awe operation almost. everybody expected the iranianve ment to fall within seven iys. >> under khomeinn's armed forces are a pale shadow of their former selves. pee best officers have been purged, shot or es >> smith: iran's military was woefully unprepared. without money or allies, iran focused on building up their ground tro >> the same way thathe revolution succeeded, imam khomeini brought people by
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millions to the war against this aggression. (crowd chanting) >> smith: ayatollah khomeini told his people that iran's troops were "equipped with divine power." (crowd chanting) many of those encouraged to sign up were jusboys. >> how old is he? how old this guy? he must be 14, 14 or something. but he has come here to fight. he has left his mother, he has left his father, just to fight the iris. >> smith: boys as yog as 12 were sent into battle with keys to wear around their necks-- akeys they were told thatshia martyrs would get them into aven. poorly trained and by armed, these younsoldiers were meant to clear the way for the moreen expericed regular troops in what became known as human wave attacks.
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>> young boys aged ten and upwards sent in human waves by the iranians agast the ey're told of the glory of martyrdom. god will make them invisible to their enemies. (gunfire, explosns) >> hi, i'm mohammed. >> smith: mohammed, good to meet you. one of theew reporters to witness these human wave attacko was mmed salam, who had been reporting for the associated press. >> come on in. >> smith: thank you. i found him at his home in beirut. did you see these waves of children? >> oh, yes, oh my god, they gave their little children, the children soldiers-- , 13 years old-- these keys to heaven. i mean, that's-- that's-- that-- that's really-- that's-- that's something that made me cry. i mean, usually the group was a group of children with an elder guy who had the imama, religious-- who was the leer.
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they go through these minefields. hethen they go through the iraqi... fortifications that were actually protected by a network of napalm mines. then they enter iraq, anduring all this process, they were under shelling. they were being blown up. earth up, sky down. (helicopter rotors whirring) they were being bombed by helipters, by warplanes, by howitzers, by rocketaunchers, o and stepn mines. and they kept coming! they kept coming. they kept coming. they were like actually like s waves. and there were me humans than bullets. they were stepping on their colleagues' bodies. (explosions) >> smith: these human wave
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attacks turnedut to be extremely successful. iran learned that by sheer force of numbers they could compete against iraq's superior militare poov the course of the war, hundreds of thousands ofranian boys would be sent to the front lines.♪ ♪ by spring of 1982, iran succded in pushing iraq back >>he iraqi leader, saddam hussein announced a voluntaryaw wi from all captured territory. >> smith: iran was then facedio with the dn to either accept a ceasefire or advance intoraqi territory. >> iranians are showing signs of resistance to the very idea of a >> smithomeini chose war. he declared that iran would nots beatisfied until saddamss ein was toppled. (sinng): >> smith: taking the holy city of karbala in iraq-- that
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became the battle cry for iranian troops. karbala is where in the 7thth centure revered imam husaynyr was mart. it's an event depicted in iranian films. h >> so imamsain is the prophet muhammad's grandson. he claimed to be the successor to the prophet. ♪ and there was a very famous battle that took place in karbala beeen him and the sunni army. the army surrounded him and his supporters, many of his pporters abandoned him, and he was brutally murdereby thisar sunnmy. (man in film):
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>> his murder, his abandonment by his followers has become a great tric tale for the shia community. for most of shia history, that story, the story of hussain, was one of admitting defeat, of accepting your fate as having tr live unjust circumstances. what ayatollah khomeini did was that he reinterpreted is story. it became a source for activisti po for shias to not accept their permanent fate having to live in an unjust state, but o rather in which they could takeatters into their hands and try to change the world. >> ...a dawn raid by iranian jets.g
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>> fight a massive scale is continuing this morning along the iraq-iran... >> smith: with khomeini's push in iraq, the war entered a dangerous new phase. >> ...heavy casuties on both sides. >> smith: sunni gulf states who had mostly stayed out of the fit now became involved. >> no let-up in this war i sight. >> when khomeini began attacking iraq and declaring, publicly, that his aim was to topple saddam and liberate baghdad, that's when saudi arabia and the other g.c.c. cntries decided to support saddam hussein, along with european and-and-andic am countries as well. r >> their nationsunning into millions from countries like saudi arabia enable saddam hussein to buy the arms to keep the war going. >> we supported sadd hussein, because saddam hussein was an ally. it was a war between iran and iraq. iraq is an arab country. we had difference agreements within the arab league, and so we supported iraq.
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iran at the time publicly calleo for the overof the saudi government. >> they want to export their revolution. they want to topple the monarchies. they want to send th militias. of course, the saudis will support iraq. >> iraq buys weapons around the world. countries include france, west germany, russia, jordan, and china and many more. >> we were up against a regime that was receiving equipment from almost everybody. the americans provided it with awac's intelligence. the french provided it with mirage fighters. the russians provided it with mig fighters.d >> smith: e saudis? >> the saudis provided it with all the money they need. >> the ayatollah khomeini has called on the iraqi army tond desert averthrow iraq's president, sadm hussein. >> smith: khomni had hoped iraq's shia-- a majority of the population-- would support iran. but as iraqis, they opposed khomeini's invasion of their country...vo >> when the retion
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happened in iran, a lot of arabs sympathized with the revolution for various reasons. >> smith: sunnis as well as shias? >>unnis as well as shias. but once iran started the war machine and started trying to export the revolution, then people started to realize gradually that this is really a sectarian way to dom >> war has become a way of lifes for bothes, as has as hating each other. >> this bloody war, which s cost 200,000 lives...: >> smithddam hussein, now fully emboldened by his arab and western allies, did not hold back.t >> iraq saidwill use any means at its disposal to i vanquish tranians. >> sadm hussein was not a joke, that was a regime. a real tough, cruel regime. i mean you cannot... >> smith: mohammad salam was in iran with iraqi troops after one notably brutal battle. >> after the battle, i went into the battlefield. and i found sothing strange.
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i found thousands and thousands ncof iranian soldiers in ts holding their aks and dead. i couldn'tnderstand what happened. they had no bullet wounds. they had notng. they simply had blood up their noses and mout and they had urinated in their clothe and we started counting and counting and counting.ou was a full daying bodies. lines of bodies, like the photos of world war in trenches. but obviouslit was the firstaw evidence i s of the effect of chemical weapons. >> smith: so you reported this. >> yes. >> smith: there was no outrage?> h, no, nothing. no, nothing. no, nothing. >> smith: in the arab press there was no outrage?
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>> iraq came out victorious, period. >> smith: that chemical attack was one of the first of a series launched by saddam hussein. recently declassified c.i.a. documents have revealed that the reagandministration knew about saddam hussein's use of chemical weapons. and they suspected he might get away with it. at least once the c.i.a. gave issein the intelligence he needed to targetnian combat units, despite knowingcould again use chemical weapons. >> these dead iranians soldiers lie where they fell. but they do not bear the mutilation or obvious gns of artillery or small arms fire, a possible indication that chemical weapons have been used. >> these were crimes against humanity. american officials should be in prison for tse crimes because they gave saddam hussein the technology. a
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i wactim of chemical attacks personally, and i survived two attacks. where was the outrage? there was no orage. >> in the persian gulf today, both iran and iraq have staged new attacks against each other while diplomatic efforts intensify in an effort to bring out a ceasefire. >> smith: finally, in 1988, eighthyears after it began, wi the war at a slemate, khomeini agreed to a ceefire. >> just as a un teamrrived in tehran to discuss a truce in thd eight-ye gulf war, iran saidhat iraq... >> smith: as many as one millioe people had d >> this has cost more lives than any conflict since world war ii. >> smith: both iran and iraq's countrieand economies had been devastated. iran had been internationally isolated by the war. but six years before, iran could have stopped it. you had a chance to bring thaten war to an d in 1982. and yet u made decisions at
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the top of the government to continue the war. >> no, no, no, n it was important that they confess. our condition was that, no, we do not stop the war unless you confess that saddam hussein is started this war. >> smith: was it a mistake to reject the ceasefire? >> no, no, in 1988, wead a resolution, 598, which addressed iran's major demand. that iraq was responsible to initiate this war. that was very important for us. >> smith: but a lotts were lost in the interim. >> it's the unfortunate situation. >> smith: for that principle... >> that's a question that the iranian people need to ask the international community. why didn't anybody in the international communita word about the iraqi use of emical weapons? i believe the international community owes iran an planation for its disastrous behavior.
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iran doesn't owe anybody any explanation for defending itself. >> from iran came a statement reportedly from ayatollah omeini, who admitted that changing his position and agreeing to a asefire was like taking poison. he indicated that he only did it because things had become so desperate in iran that the survival of the revolution depended upon it. >> i think more than any other historic event, it's been thear iraqhich has really shaped the worldview and attudes of the islamic republic of iran. and it's notable when you lookwi at the las and testament of ayatollah khomeini, heos reserves theamount of hatred not towards arica, not towards israel, but towards saudi arabia. and i think it was really as a result of saudi arabia's support for saddam hussein. >> smith: khomeini's mausoleum
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is just south of tehran. after accepting the ceasefire, his son wrote that the ayatollah "never again spoken public." a year later he died. but for iranians, the survival of the revolution was its own victory. >> and the fact that they didn't win that war, but they didn't lose that r, was a testament to them of their resolve and of the rength of their ideology of the strength of their fth, that they could basically fight e entire world. they could fight the united states. they could fight iraq. they could fight chemical weapons. they could fight saudi arabia and do it all with not having to capitulaten their ideals, on their beliefs, or even on their geographical integrity. he smith: 14 years later, iran would have anchance
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to extend its power into iraq, this time thanks to the united states. e >> this was, oon a time, the fertile crescent. saddam's turned it into a desert >> smith: i came to iraq for the first time in 2003, right afte the fall of saddam.s i wath the iraqi writer and activist kanan makiya who, for more than a decade, had been at the center of efforts to topple saddam. he hadn't seen baghdad since he s 19. how do you feel cong back here? >> i feel that the size of the task is overwhelming, facing reconstruction of this country. >> smith: i was with you in 2003. >> yeah.
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>> smith: just as the american soldiers had taken down saddam. we followed on their heels drove up from kuwait. you favored that invasion. >> i did. for me that kind of regime was an abomination that i was... i-i was prepared to say, and i still think is true, the country had no future whatsoever until-until that abomination. was eliminat (crowd cheering) (gunshots) >> smith: for years, makiya hadt been wching as saddam's sunni arab regime had suppressed all opposition, including the majority shia population with threats, expulsions and a routine brutality. (shouting)
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>> (translated): in accordance with the law, we say he who collaborates with a foreign party is sentenced to death. (gunshots) >> smith: back in 1991 the shia sen up against saddam. the u.s. had just driven saddam's ay out of kuwait. >> out with that brutal dictator in baghdad. (crowd cheering) s >>th: but president george bush sr. had decided it would be unwise to take out saddam. he encouraged iraqis to do it themselves.i >> ...the irlitary and the iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force saddam hussein, the dictator, to step aside. (man speaking on loudspeaker)e >> smithshia believed the u.s. would come to their aid. they were wrong. emoud explosions) saddam came after with extreme violence.
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>> we used to calculate thees casualtif the 1991 uprising at 40,000 to 60,000 people in human rights reports ando on. we now are talking 100,000 people killed. the regime did something for the first time that hadn't done before. it attacks shiites as shiites. (crowd cheering) >> smith: saddam held on to power. but makiya and other iraqi exiles continued tpress the us to help remove him. >>mend i said this at the ti, the chances of something dramaticallyetter than saddam was a very sma chance i personally felt morally obligated to struggle r that five percent, ten percent chance that the transition from saddam to something better might be possible. ♪
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, smith: and then came 9/ and its consequences... >> the war on terror is not confined strictly to the al qaeda th we're chasing. the war on terror involves saddam hussein. >> smith: this president bush would do what his father had t. >> ...the history of saddam hussein. >> saudi arabia has publicly posed u.s. military action against iraq and says the u.s. won't be allowed to use saudi air bases. >> smith: the bush administration sent vice president dick cheney to saudi arabia to get their t for an invasion. but crown prince abdullah warned against >> .ge in the saudi stance. >> abdullah, in particular, felt that we were actively workingai t saudi national security interests. >> smith: to destabilize the neighborhood and allow for iran to move in. >> yeah, and not to heed saudi counsel, which was, "don't do th." >> we do not want people to rush
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into something that could have disastrous consequences. endo you know what will hahe day after? what if... i saudi arabia knew that if you smash the state q, you thuld open up a pandora's box. they just knew i iraq would implode. and then it would offer an s opportunity to the irani take it over, which is exactly what happened. >> smith: but u.s.-saudi relatis were tense. 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were saudis. >> the relationship between the iaited states and saudi ar re that point was so poisoned by 9/11, there was ally very little willingness on the american side to heed this advice. they felt that the saudis, while maybe not directly complicit in 9/11, were indirectly complicit. but the momentum for the invasion out of the pentagon and sewhere, as we well know, was unstoppable. >> this was central baghdad today asaddam hussein's regime finally lost control. t >> statue of saddam hussein
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is still hanging on the pedestal, but as it collapsed ao grea came out from the crowd. there it goes, it is falling down to the ground. it h come apart. thincrowd is going mad, rushg towards it, they've been pelting it with stones. >> smith: taking baghdad took just three weeks. but the bush administration failed to anticipate what would come next. (chanting) >> there was a complete failure to understand the nni-shia equation that existed in iraq at that time. i think the americans have neve, really understven as late as after 9/11, when there should have been much greater understaing of the muslim world, the depth of the antagonism between shi'ism and sunnism. >> smith: with saddam suddenly gone, the fervor and strength oh shia population was on view
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for the first time. (man singing) just days after baghdas taken, shia poured into the streets to begin one of their holiest pilgrimages, the arbaeen. it commemorates the 40th day after imam hussein's death. (chanting) an estimated two million pilgrims turned out. shia themselves were surprised at their numbers. >> the shia powecame as a wave, no one was expecting there is this majority here in the country. we didn't know there had been arab shias. we thought shi'ism is iranism. and then we recognize that we have, we have shi'ism in iraq. f so tl of saddam hussein really exposed the whole this made it a direct fight between shi'ism and sunnism. (shouting): mi
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th: leading the pilgrims that day was an ayatollah just back from years of exile in iran. he and other returning exiles q were eager to remake irato another ia islamist state. (chanting): >>ouasically, very early on, have shia political groups thatr become vy important in shia politi, after saddam hussein. groups that had just spent the 2 last0 years learning persian becoming very close friends with iranian leaders, with leaders of the i.r.g.c., and trusting them as much as they trusted anyve ment. (crowd cheering) >> what the 2003 invasion did was give iran an opportunityne that it could r have dreamt of having, which was to bring shiites into power in iraq who were beholden to the iranian
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state. (man): (crowd chanting) >> smith: the americans did you a favor. they took t saddam hussein. >> oh, yes, you are right. they did us a favor. >> smith: in tehran they were elated. >> to take saddam hussein that we wanted to do. so you were sacrificing your own soldiers for our aim. >> the amecan role in iraq is just a puzzle, i think for meth and k... >> smith: in saudi arabia they were dumbfounded. >> why would the american ha the government to the allies of iran? iran is considered a sponsor of terrorism by the amecans.
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>> and those who were on high before, in particular the baathists, who used their power to repress the iraqi people, will be removed from office. >> smith: then, american envoy, paul bremer, handed iran another gift. >> shortly, i will issue an order on measures to extirpate ba'athists and ba'athi from iraq forever. >> smith: 30,000 to 40,000ad members ofm's ba'athist party-- most of them sunnis-- were banned from hol any public office. and the iraqi army was dissolved. protests broke out immediately. wamoderate shia leaders haed the u.s. against de-ba'athification. >> i considered what hpened as a very wrong mistake and is going toe disastrous for the country.
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(abdul latif al humayem): (shouting) >> the way it was applied it became an instrument to intimidate peoe, even people not ba'athists. it became really a way to-to sh people out. (siren blaring) >> smith: violence followed's bremer orders. first a car bomb detonated outside e jordanian embassy, killing 18 people. 12 days later, a second attack.
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(debris faing, shouting) this one was on the un headquarters. >> the attack was similar to last week's bombing of the jordanian embassy in baghdad. >> smith: the attacks had beenan d by radical sunni extremists. their leader was a jordanian who had been trained in the mujahedeen camps of afghanistan-- abu musab al rqawi. later he would tell osama bin laden at he aimed to begin a )ectarian war. (people shouting ten days after the un attack, a massive bomb exploded outside the holy shia shrine of imam ali in najaf just after friday prayers. more than a hundred people were killed. embittered sunnis and office once part of saddam's regime now joined zarqawi's cause. >> we saw abu musab al zarqawi, and we are seeing aol
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preration of these groups, like-minded ones springing up and joining the cause. >> for the officers who served during saddam regime, i cut his salary and i put him in the street. what do you expect from him? of cours he-he will fight. he will join all the military t groups wry to destabilize the country, because he lost all of his rights. >> these guys are spreading and growing. they havhundreds if not thousands of new iraqi recruits. >> there was a sense in the region that sunnis had lost and that iran was on the rise s because suddenas had more power in iraq. sunnis, in principle, should not feel like they are helpless. they represent 80%f muslims in the region. and yet, many of them are feeling wronged, and it's hard to argue with that perception.
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(chattering) >> smith: samarra, in central iraq. during much of the ninthy, centhis was the capital of the great sunni abbasid dynastyn slamic empire that stretched from north africa across the middle east and into central asia. the great mosque of samarra completed in 851 was then the largest mosque in thworld. it could hold more than 10,000 worshippers. (mahmoud mohammad): >> smith: samarra is a majority sunni city, but it's also an important shia pilgrimage site. (radio chatter) they come to worship under the golden dome of the al askari
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mosque, one of the most sacred sites in a of shia theology. local sunnis used to join them. (mahmoud mohammad): >> iraq got worse today, a lot worse. terrorists committed a uniquely shocking act of religious violence. >> smith: in 2006, two bombs set off by zarqawi's al qaeda in iraq destroyed the dome.oo f k to the streets and began a new wavesectarian reprisals. (chanting)re these among the darkest days iraq has ever endured. >> the anguish and rage of the shia crowds soon turned into bloody retaliation.he >> t attack has sparked rage e d revenge across the country. the majority shia venting their fury on the minori sunni
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muslims. >> many iraqis have been killed in the last two days men were pulled from buses near baghdad and executed. sunni mosques are pock marked by bullets, some still smoldering after grenade attacks. >> smith: within a week of therr samaa bombing, scores of sunni mosques were reported attacked; sunni imams were killed. bodies were dragged through the streets. the violence would only. escala the police lost control.un (gshots) (crying out in pain) (shouting) (sirens blaring) (radio chatter) >> smith: i was in iraq a few months after the bombing. by that point, the bodies of
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sunni men were turning up gularly on the streets of baghdad. >> bravo charlie, this is ala, we found a dead body, over. >> smithshia militia, many of them funded and trained by iran, were operating death squads from within the shia-led government. >> he has no eyes, his ear's been cut off, his nose has been cut off. tore off part of his skin. >> smith: you see a lot of this? >> yes. >> how often do you find bodies? (exhaling) >> um... every day, every other day. >> there was a particularly gruesome style of murder, basically a shia tool, where it was death by power drill. that's kinda how you could tell who was the ctim. the guy had drill holes in his nnad, he was probably a su taken by the shia.
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i mean, what-what the sunnis did was no nicer. but it had sunk to that level. it was was a horrible, horrible period. >> smith: and who were the w shiites the doing this? >> well, there was quite a , llection. certainly, the bade badr brigade was involved in it. (chanting) >> smiththe badr brigade was just one of many militias operating under the guidance of iran's islamic revolionary guard corps. >> the i.r.g.c. is t branch of the iranian military that does foreign operations. ht not doing direct fg themselves, but supporting allies. helping with training. helping with logistics. helping with funding. whnde iran excels is that gr game. is working with people outsidera ofs borders being able to create actual relationships of
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trust, and being able to get t those groudo what iran wants to do. (car horns honking) >> there were hundreds o different armed groups. on the shia side, far more so th on the sunni side. (chanting) and the iranians were having a field day playing or arming this group, contacting this group. all of them were turni back to the iranians. ns smith: qais al khazali one of the most powerful iranian-backed shia militias in iraq today. he claims to have launched 6,000 attacks against american andal ed forces. following the bombing of samarra, he turned his sights on al qda. (qais al khazali):
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(man shouting) >> smith: khazali, who has never spok to an american tv reporter before, was open about the support iran gave to his shia militia in those days. ): (qais al khazali n (hhonking) >> the tensions are sustaineby violence committed on both side the shiite militias have not been disarmed. sectarian scores are settled.00 from 2006 to each month some 3,000 iraqis were killed. (sirens blaring)
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>> the removal of saam hussein h eated this perfect opportunity for iran to establleverage over an important arab capital, baghdad, and that forced the saudis to try to, you know, counteract that and to confront iran. pe this saudi-iraniantition is primarily a competition about the direction of politics in the middle east. the two never figh but they have access to proxy forces throughout the region that can do the fighting on-on-on their behalf. >> smith: within saudi arabia the royals were conflicted about how to respond to the siation in iraq.
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>> the saudi royal family was in a real difficult position and it was on the defsive-- worried about sanctions, worried about other fos of pressure if it were accused again of pporting violent groups like al (indistinct r) on the other hand, it had a restive population, full ofl radieas, which it had funded over many years. you know there were certainly some people in saudi arabia who thought that it was just and important to counter iran's influence in iraq after the u.s. invasion. >> smith: this saudi insurgent was encouraged to go to iraq to fight the newly empoweshia.
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>> so you had young san turning up as volunteers in sunni territory of iraq facilitated by the same kinds of networks that have facilitated the jihad in afghanistan, preaing networks, charity networks, volunteer networks.or >> smith: ne that got money from the government. >> networks that were funded by the government.h. very m and those volunteers would turn up and the next thing, you knowa a sauder would know he'd be getting a call from somebody on a cell phone in baghdad saying, "your glorious son was martyred in a car bombing yesterday, you know, here's a video of his last moments." ♪ >> smith: from riyadother gulf capitals, money also streamed into iraq for the sunnis taking up arms. (a humayem): ex
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(loud osion) pe (sing foreign language) >> and abdullah, in particul was still so bitter toward us for having carried out thesi inva in the first place. i'm sure he was paying people here and there, but without a clear policy objective that we could determin >> smith: paying whom? >> various sunni leaders. they were supporting the tribal leaderships. those were the allegations. i mean, you know, there was never any evidence for that. w smith: i understand the no evidence, but what was your
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belief? >> i... my belief was that the saudis, at... were not funding al qaeda directly, by any means. did some of their largesse get to al qaeda? probably. (loud explosions) >> shock and awe, but this time sunni insurgents were sending in the bombs. the series of coordinated blasts were in mainly shia areas have claimed more than 50 les. >> an al qaeda group claimed responsibility tod and warned of more attacks against iraq's government. >> saudi arabia was joining the great struggle against shi'ism. and they were successful in so far as, you know, the sectarian genie had been let out of the >> the stion in this country has done nothing but deteriorate from al qaeda, the local insurgency, the death squads buried within this government, to to iranian influence.
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all of it... >> but the iranians had much greater bethey had an influence over the majority shia population and the new iraqi government, which was shia. >> smith: at the end of that year, the ia-led government in baghdad cemented their power and pushed their sectarian agenda furtheby rushing forward to execute saddam hussein. it was a decision carried out despite u.s. and arab concerns. >> we wereorried that something will happen. we don't know what that something happen. the americans will change their mind. saddam will run away from-- "run away"-- from the american prison. all sorts of things he can be do. >> smith: you had bodies showing up on the streets of the neighborhoods in baghdad every day.w i was here, i . and in the midst of this, you have a sunni arab leader who is
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up for execution. i mean, the sectarian component of this or dimension of this wasn't lost on you? >> i can assure you that there was no shred of settling scores or revenge in my heart or in my mind when we carried the executn. (man speaking foreign language)> smith: but it was just that. the government released an v officiideo of the execution. but that is not what most of the arab world saw and heard. >> the government said a number of the relatives of those who were killed byaddam's were asked to attend his execution. but they started filming-- srough their iphones and so on-- the scene arted shouting sectarian slogans.
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(shouting) >> smith: muqtada referred to the militant shia cleric whose father had been tortured and killed by saddam. saddam responded: "muqtada? is this how you show your bravy as men?" (shouting) >> saddam, throughout the whole incident, handled himself very well. the rope was put around his neck. he refused the hood. he asked to be allowed to read verses from the koran. >> in the meantime this jeering shouting crowd hurling insults. >> and halfway through the reading of the koran, the trapdoor was released. (man):
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>> the only person who emerged from that scene, that piece of theater, with dignity was the arch-criminal himself, saddam hussein. >> smith: so you were the man that pulled the lever. >> that's right. >> smith: that released the door. >> yes. and saddam came down. >> smith: but clearly then there was a sectarian tone to the taunting and his response. >> i didn't see it that way. >> smith: many sunnis did see it that way. (chanting): (gunshots) >> smith: around the world they came out to protest. india, sri lanka... (chanting) in the west bank, demonstrators
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carried the green saudi flag and railed against iran and shia. (shouting): >> smith: the execution was meant to mark the end saddam's reign of terror. stead he emerged as a sunni hero who had stood up to both the americans and their shia partners. (chanting) s >> really weuldn't have given him that status. i mean, this dictator, this criminal, to tn him into a hero, you see, and courageous, with all this slogans, you see, of sectarian content. it's bad. it helped him; it damaged us. (chanting):
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>> i was physically sick that day. and any lingering doubts and hopes, et cetera, dissipated. ♪ >> smith: so this weighs heavily y you? >> it did, for mars. and, naturally, for a year or o i wouldn't admit to th failure in all its magnitude. but that was a turning point for me personally. it's sickening, you know, to think that i had-- you know, i had a role in this was... was shamef. ♪
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>> narrator: next time, in part two, our journey continues inton the war toandscape of syria. on one side, iran. >> so iran becomes basically the war ministry in syria. >> narrator: and on the other, saudi arabia. >> we support the syrian peopler the ians are killing the syrian people. >> narrator: and into awa devastatinr in yemen. >>emen was taken over by a militia aled with iran and hezbollah. the irians have no business in yemen. >> we know that yemen is important for saudi arabia and we never want to stab saudi arabia in the back. >> that's anothestroyed building there. >> when elephants ght, it's the grass that suffers. there's been over a million casualties i over the last decade. they've been syrian. they've been iraqi.
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they've been yemeni. >> where did the missile hit? >> iranian and saudi citizens aren't the ones that are suffering. >> narrator: next time, a dangerous rivalry and its tragic consequences. >> go to to learn more about the making of "bitter rivals". >> what brings you here today? read the interview with ambassador ryan crocker and others about the rivalry between iran and saudi arabia. >> abdullah, in particular, felt that we were actively workingns agsaudi national security interests. >> to destabilize the neighborhood... >> connecto the frontline community on facebook and twit and if stories like this matter to you, then sign up for ourle neer at >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewersyou. thank you. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, vernt and peaceful world. additional support is provided
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by the ford foundation: workingi visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. the park foundion, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. major support for frontline ando "bitter rivals" was provided by the corporation for public with anal support from the henry luce foundation's initiative on religion in international affairs.e and w charitable trusts, driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's mostch lenging problems. captioned by media access group at wgbh >> for more on this and other programs, visit our website at
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♪ "frontline's" "bitter rivals" is available on dv to order, visit or call 1-800-play-pbs. "frontline" is also available for download on itunes. ♪ you're watching pbs
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