Political scientists and orientalists in the West who think that the nuclearization of the Middle East is containable, and not an existential threat to them, are making a serious mistake. These political scientists seem to think Iran's nuclear weapons, Pakistan's bomb and Syria's chemical arsenal are just local problems. Most of these scholars do not speak Arabic and do not understand the Middle Eastern mindset: they deeply wish to believe it is a mirror image of how they think.
It is not. Had Hitler possessed weapons of mass destruction, does anyone doubt that he would have used them against the Russians and Americans? In north Yemen in 1967, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser sprayed poison gas on civilians; in Halabja in 1988, Iraq's Saddam Hussein sprayed poison gas -- including mustard gas and sarin -- on his Kurds, and now Bashar Assad is pouring chemical weapons on his fellow Syrians.
The use of weapons of mass destruction by leaders in the Middle East against their own people is an indication of just how light the trigger finger is of many tribal leaders and religious fanatics running wild in that region. There exists in the Middle East a basic willingness to use WMD, whether chemical or nuclear, against civilians -- with no hesitancy involved -- and with full Islamic religious justification.
If the extremists in Iran, the Hezbollah or the mujahideen of the global jihad get their hands on nuclear or chemical weapons, the world will immediately become a very difference place. Unfortunately, a substantial proportion of the so-called "free Syrian army" is cast in the same radical Islamic mold as Al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front. If the West provides the anti-Assad forces with advanced weaponry, or intervenes to collapse the Assad regime, it is entirely possible that fanatic Islamists will take control of Syria – the same scenario the Americans have already seen played out in Afghanistan and Egypt.
America, which withdrew from the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan -- abandoning the people there to the mercy of merciless extremists -- racked up painful statistics on the loss of American soldiers' lives, the loss of military equipment and a mounting economic damage that threatens domestic stability. Since then, the world, as it did after the Second World War, has been aligning itself into two camps, one represented by the enlightened, if faltering, West, and the other by the forces of reaction and repression: namely North Korea, Russia, China, and Iran -- along with its satellites, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas -- in addition to countries and terrorist organizations spread throughout the African continent.
In this divided world, the leaders of the United States, who are also the leaders of the free world, have been standing at the sidelines, looking on, apparently not wanting to put their hands into the dirt. Historically, such a stand is seen by countries you would not want to live in as an invitation to take over all abandoned ground.
The Arabs, as usual, whose brothers are being massacred in Syria, will wait on the sidelines until someone has taken out Assad for them; as far as they are concerned, the best candidate for this job is America. The leaders of the Arab states excel in taking no action whatsoever while repeating empty slogans -- the most common of which is, "The Liberation of Palestine" -- while at the same time either ignoring the Palestinians or treating them like trash.
The wealthy Arab states, at most, are willing to fund jihad missions, including suicide bombings carried out by unfortunate, brainwashed Islamists whom they send, as part of the global jihad, to blow themselves up along with innocent Arabs and Westerners.
This sorry fact recently came up in a class action lawsuit against the Arab Bank: at the request of various Arab countries, the Bank both financed suicide terrorist attacks, then paid reparations to the families of the suicide bombers.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar self-righteously proclaim they oppose terrorism and hold media-covered seminars for de-radicalization while funding madrasas [Muslim religious schools] in which children and impressionable adults are pumped full of radical Islamic ideology. They build "Cultural Centers" throughout Europe while sending emissaries of the da'wah [Muslim outreach] to incite terrorist operatives to commit acts of violence around the globe.
The hypocrisy -- and duplicity -- of the Arab-Muslim world is staggering. Last month, the Prime Minister of Qatar and Arab League representatives met with American Secretary of State John Kerry to present a revised version of the 2002 Arab League Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. To look as if they were moving their peace initiative forward, they included "the (possibility) of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land" (two percent) to allow for the Israeli retention of blocks of settlements -- while the flow of funds from Qatar to the terrorist organization, Hamas, continued uninterrupted, and still does.
As Hamas, since its inception, has not only rejected any agreement with Israel, but also flatly stated its refusal to accept the right of Israel to exist, the head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, not only immediately rejected the Arab League's proposal, he reemphasized Hamas's demand for the destruction of Israel and the establishment on its ruins of an Islamic Palestinian state. Shortly after that, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal repeated the same intent, that Israel should be obliterated.
Qatar not only inundates Hamas with millions of dollars, it also produces Al-Jazeera TV which daily broadcasts from Qatar programs in Arabic such as "The Right that Refuses to be Forgotten," that perpetuate and immortalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and incite the Palestinians to reject any possible arrangement other than the total destruction of the Israeli state.
While tension between the United States and Russia makes direct American action in Syria problematic, the Arab countries do not have that predicament. As the primary concern of Arab leaders is self-preservation, no Arab leader is prepared to take the risk of directly confronting the Syrian regime and personally backing up his empty talk.
As for Russia, the request by American President Obama that President Vladimir Putin help arm the Syrian rebels sounded nothing short of surreal: Does Obama really expect the Russian fox to guard the Syrian chicken coop and collaborate with him against Russia's interest -- which is assuring the survival of the Assad regime and keeping the price of oil as high as possible? Diplomatic meetings have borne no fruit; when John Kerry sat down with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, evidently the best they could come up with was to agree not to agree.
Without a doubt Obama's discomfort is great: he is trying, with European cooperation, to find a diplomatic solution for a problem that does not have one. It can only end with the death or exile of Bashar Assad. Worse, just as the Taliban in Afghanistan made use of American support to overcome the Russians, the "free Syrian army," composed as it is of operatives from the Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda, once it takes over the country will do just the same. This is not a straightforward black-hat-white-hat American Western in which good triumphs in the end, but a devious, intrigue-ridden, back-stabbing Middle Eastern affair.
The duplicity of the Arab leaders was also seen early in May after the Israelis bombed an Iranian arms convoy on its way from Syria to Lebanon to supply Hezbollah. The Israelis apparently also bombed military targets of the Assad regime. While Israel refuses to comment, it is clear that the attack also served the anti-Assad rebels. But while the American President justified the action, two-faced Arab leaders were quick to condemn it, and fell back on the claim that Israel had violated Syrian sovereignty, as though this were a problem that kept them up night.
Without a doubt, the joint maneuvers held by 41 countries, led by the United States and Britain, in the Persian Gulf -- as well as the gradual detente between Israel and Turkey and the recent Israeli air attack in Syria -- not only send a message to Syria, but also to Iran, which is currently putting the finishing touches on a nuclear device that will threaten every Arab and European within striking distance. If Iran has nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at every capital of Europe, it would not even need to launch them: the threat alone would be enough. All one has to do is look at Europe's refusal to declare Hezbollah a terrorist group -- despite its attacks -- for fear of inviting even more attacks.
Nevertheless, an American decision to provide the Syrian rebels with weapons is a gun the Americans would be using to shoot themselves in both feet. It is Iran that must be struck. If it is, the other players will get the message. Once Iran has been revealed as vulnerable, the arrogance of Hamas, Hezbollah, and even North Korea will wither. The leaders of the Middle East will lower their tone, say thank you nicely, and the sheriff will return to the conflicted Middle Eastern town stronger and more admired.
America does not even need to send troops on the ground, just exploit its air superiority to strike deep at the heart of Iran's nuclear project and the rule of the Ayatollahs. There is nothing to fear from an Iranian military retaliation so long as Iran does not have an atomic bomb. Once it does, it will be too late.