Different Names for the Same Goal

Persians and Crusaders’ goals revolve around hostility to Islamic world and the Arab region and the control of its wealth. For that purpose, they tried to exploit their influence and power to control the nation, stir up sectarian problems and strife and recruit and deploy agents to work for the security services of both sides.

Safavids’ story did not begin with Shah Ismail the Safavid, but a century before that, specifically during the reign of his fifth grandfather, to whom the Safavids are affiliated, Sheikh Safi al-Din Ishaq al-Ardabili, the head of the Sufi order in Ardabil. According to some sources, Ardabil is a city in the province of Azerbaijan that is dominated by the esoteric tendency of its people.

Their method soon spread throughout Ardabil, then Anatolia to Syria. After military confrontations, the Safavids transformed from the sheikhs of tariqa to advocates of a state with its own political goals. The situation in Iran in the last quarter of the tenth century AD, where rupture, chaos and power struggles between the sons of Aq Qoyunlu family was an important opportunity that the Safavids benefited from and took advantage of it to win more followers during the reign of Shah Ismail I, the Safavid, the founder of the Safavid state, which emerged in 1502 AD and took Tabriz as its capital. Shah Ismail relied on enthusiastic soldiers, most of whom were followers, as well as from nomadic Turkmen tribes of Qizilbash, with red turbans. That point witnesses a historical connection with their appearance inside Anatolia at Ottomans’ time!

In 907 AH, Shah Ismail crowned himself king of Iran after his victory over the ruling Turkmen tribes. As soon as that was accomplished, he announced the imposition of the Shiite sect as an official doctrine in the various parts of Iran without any introductions, while more than three quarters of Iran were Sunnis. Whoever opposed that matter met his end, so they submitted thereto. Among the odd paradoxes is that alliances with the Crusader forces are a distinctive feature of the Rafidi Safavid state, which believes that rapprochement with the Crusaders and those who were not on the religion of Islam is better than their rapprochement with Muslims from among the Sunnis.

The Safavid state was plotting with the European Crusader states to eliminate the strong presence of Muslims, i.e., the Sunnis. Safavid was the era of introducing colonial forces in the Gulf region, as it paved the way for it by concluding military and commercial alliances with the Portuguese, Dutch and English.

An agreement was concluded between Shah Ismail the Safavi and Albuquerque, the Portuguese ruler in India, which stipulated the following:

  • A Portuguese naval force shall accompany the Safavids in their campaign against Bahrain and Qatif.
  • Portugal shall cooperate with the Safavid state in putting down the rebellious movements in Baluchistan and Makran.
  • Safavid government of Iran shall turns away from the island of Hormuz and agrees to keep its ruler subordinate to Portugal.

Shah Abbas was an alliance with an English force in the Gulf and he encouraged the Portuguese and Dutch to trade in Bandar Abbas. That was the approach the Safavids adopted in their dealings with Sunni states, i.e., an approach of plotting and conspiracy. Inevitably, that affected many events and the European states benefited therefrom greatly.

While Safavid rulers were harsh and cruel towards the Sunnis, they were gentle and soft with the Crusaders. Shiite writer and historian Abbas Iqbal confirmed that by saying: “Shah Abbas was cruel only to Sunnis. During his conquests to Armenia and Karaj, he brought about thirty thousand Christian families from those states and had them settled in Mazandaran.  He also deported to Isfahan fifty thousand families from the Armenians of Julifa and Iran and built for them the city of Julfa on the shore of Zayandeh Rud River, established churches for them therein and encouraged them to trade with India and foreign countries by granting them full freedom”.

In his book, History of Iran, Shahin Makarios mentions that Shah Abbas issued a circular to his subjects saying: “Christians are his friends and allies of his state and that he commands his subjects to respect and honor them wherever they go. The Shah opened the ports of his country to foreign merchants and recommended that no fees should be taken therefrom on their goods and that none of the rulers or people should be harmed…”. Makarios says that Shah Ismail was the first to undertake those actions openly among Muslim sultans, according to his description and expression.

History has evidence…