U.S. in the Middle East: Good Intentions, Terrible Results
The Americans continue to support various Islamic organizations, such as Egypt's threatened Muslim Brotherhood, in the vain hope that they will cooperate and create "stable" institutions. The Americans have deluded themselves into thinking that the the Islamists will forget their anti-Crusader agenda -- the driving force behind everything they do -- and their ultimate goal of Muslim world domination.
Whether or not America won in Afghanistan is a question that will have to be answered by history. What can be said with certainty, however, is that the West did not slink away with its tail between its legs the way the Soviets did. The Soviets, for those with short memories, were shredded by the Taliban, who, with American weapons and the cunning of the Afghan cheetah, outmaneuvered the clumsy Soviet special forces and their fleets of tanks, APCs and attack helicopters.
The unfortunate part of the saga is that the Taliban and its rotten fruit, Al-Qaeda, repaid its American benefactors by ramming two planes into the World Trade Center and are plotting to do worse. However, the Pentagon seems to have come to the realization that radical Islam will not honor a treaty made with a non-Muslim regime or government. As far as Islam is concerned, treaties made with infidels are ephemeral and function only as leverage for Islamic goals, and are fated to be unilaterally violated when the Muslims feel the time has come. Once the ultimate goal of Muslim world domination has been achieved, the treaties will be worthless and non-Muslims will be forced to convert.
The Israelis made a mistake in the 1970s when they allowed Sheikh Yassin to set up the social organization called Mujama al-Islamiya in the Gaza Strip as a counterweight to the PLO. The organization later took the name Hamas, committed endless terrorist activities against Israeli citizens and has never given up its stated goal of destroying the State of Israel. The Israelis made a similar mistake when they helped the Shi'ite Amal party and the various associations in the Lebanese villages in their efforts to get the Palestinians terrorist organizations -- which harassed the Shi'ite villagers and raped their women -- out of Lebanon. As soon as Arafat and his cronies had been driven out, with Israeli help, the Shi'ites founded Hezbollah, which, thanks to Iran, has the military capabilities of a small country and has been using them to attempt to obliterate Israel.
The American road to hell in the Middle East is paved, as usual, with good intentions and terrible results. When the Americans pulled out of Iraq, after toppling Saddam Hussein, the Shi'ites took over the country: the men of President Al-Maliki work for Iran, along with the Assad regime in Syria. Now, when the Americans are getting ready to pull out of Afghanistan, the future of the country remains an open question and the issue of President Karzai vs. the Taliban remains unresolved. The Taliban's demand to establish an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan based on the Sharia, Islamic law from the 7th century, does not bode well for President Karzai.
Despite the lessons of the past, the Americans continue to support various Islamic organizations, such as Egypt's threatened Muslim Brotherhood, in the vain hope that they will cooperate and create "stable" institutions, or at least have a positive relationship with the West. The Americans have deluded themselves into thinking that the Islamists will somehow forget both their anti-Crusader agenda -- the driving force behind everything they do -- and the Islamists' ultimate goal of Muslim world domination.
Free Syrian Army soldiers (Source: WikiMedia Commons)
Their problem is what weapons to send; to whom to send them; how to send them so that they do not find their way into the hands of the Islamist gangs operating side by side with the Syrian opposition, and how to keep the arms from being turned, in the future, against the Americans and their allies.
Recently, in Doha, Qatar, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry promised Prime Minister Hamad al-Thani, before he turned his country over to his son, that the Americans would supply the Syrian opposition with arms to stop the slaughter of the Sunni population. Apparently the Americans have understood that the civil war in Syria is only the tip of the iceberg of Iranian-Russian interests, and will have consequences not only for the Middle East but also for the regional and global status of the United States.
America's decision to support the Syrian opposition signals a change in policy that overcomes its previous hesitation. It has now formulated a plan that takes all possibilities into account. Supplying weapons to General Salim Idris, the (secular) commander of the rebel so-called "Free Syrian Army" forces may neutralize the forces of Iran and Hezbollah which operate with Russian support.
If the weapons do in fact influence the balance of power on the ground, this change might send a message to the Iranians and the Russians, telling them that America is not prepared to have Russia erode its status in the Middle East and will not accept more procrastination and threats -- and that America has decided to take action. Both the Russians and the Assad regime openly warned Europe not to supply arms to the rebels. Sending American arms to the opposition is the first step in stopping Russia and cutting off both direct and indirect (through Iraq and Lebanon) Iranian support for the Assad regime. It can only be hoped that the American weapons will force Assad to move toward an interim government. In the final analysis, the Syrian civil war may end with a radical Islamic takeover of Syria, a risk one can only hope -- what with all the other Arab Spring Islamist takeovers -- that the West has no intention of taking.
The Syrian regime responded to the American decision to arm the rebels with anger and threats, and declared it would not be blackmailed. After the Geneva II conference was sabotaged, largely by the Russians, it should have become clear that the time for procrastination and naiveté was over. The rebel announcement of the Al-Qadissiya operation in Aleppo in recent weeks meant a Sunni counterattack was on the table, overtly supported by the Western countries in response to the organized Shi'ite slaughter of Syria's Sunnis. The arms race between the United States and Russia is escalating in Syria. Relations between the two superpowers are heading for an unavoidable -- and unprecedented -- clash. Which country is the world betting will back down?
Ali Salim is a scholar based in the Middle East.
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|"Radical Islam" [37 words]||Clive||Jul 11, 2013 14:16|
|When will the US ever learn? Sadly it seems, never. [86 words]||Hass||Jul 11, 2013 08:05|
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.
by Burak Bekdil
It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."
But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.
by Raheel Raza
One blogger writes that Malala hates Pakistan's military. I believe it is the other way around.
I would so like to see the day when Malala is welcomed back in Pakistan, with the whole country cheering.
by Francesco Sisci
Democratic evolution in China was being seriously considered. The failures of U.S. support for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya gave new food for thought to those opposed to democracy. Lastly, the United States did not strongly oppose the anti-democratic coup d'état that overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.
On the other hand, Russia -- dominated by Vladimir Putin, a new autocrat determined to stifle democracy in Russia -- provided a new model.
The whole of Eastern Europe and most of Latin America, formerly in the clutches of dictatorships, are now efficient democracies. This seems to indicate that while democracy cannot be parachuted into a country, there is a broader, longer-term global trend toward democracy and that its growth depends on local conditions.
As economic development needed careful planning, political reforms need even greater planning. The question remains: is China preparing for these political reforms?