Blame the Persians
"It's very, very interesting that a big chunk of the Arab media and political discourse is currently venting its anger over the nature of the Saddam execution against Iran. What began as calculated sectarian anger with the Iraqi government, the Sadrists, or Iraqi Shia has quickly - and largely without explanation - morphed into anger with Iran. The big rally in Amman, which seemed to go off without any of the usual obstacles presented by state security forces, focused on denouncing Iran - including reported calls on Hamas and Hezbollah to sever ties with Iran and on the Jordanian government to do the same. Lots of articles in the Arab (especially Saudi) press have shifted the focus towards Iran."
Joshua Landis also has an unusual case of the same phenomenon in Lebanon, where Druze leader Walid Jumblatt accused Shi'ites of being Zoroastrians:
"Jumblat’s reference to the Shiites as Magian is not only an accusation that they are kufr, but just as importantly, an accusation that they are Persian. It suggests that they have deep and nefarious cultish reasons to take orders from Iran and are merely an extension of that distant power."
Abu Aardvark's analysis of the Sunni/Shi'ite divide in modern Arab politics is worth reading in full, and provides an important sense of the progress of this (modern) phenomenon which I've blogged about quite a bit.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)