With every Middle East country at each other's throat, the Arab-Muslim world is uncertain of its fate. Some of its totalitarian regimes were toppled in the so-called Arab Spring but they have yet to be replaced by stable governments; the battle for the future of the Middle East is still being fought. The real question is whether the young people, representatives of moderate Islam and secular Arabs who initiated the Arab Spring, will be able to keep the region from being taken over by Islamists seeking to promote their own agendas, and to prevent it from being engulfed by a fundamentalist form of Islam.
Radical Islam may have been weakened but it is still a force. The revolution of the young reformists against the Shah of Iran was exploited by the Shi'ite Ayatollahs to take control of Iran. Turkey's democratic government was overthrown as Erdogan established himself as its Islamist dictator. In the Palestinian Authority-administered territories, Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, rose up against the PA, took over the Gaza Strip, and now eyes the West Bank and awaits the chance to pounce. Islamists almost took over Egypt, but praise to Allah (S.W.A.T.), were defeated at the last moment. Fortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi was terminated by the Egyptian army, commanded by the Minister of Defense, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Past experience has shown that as soon as the Islamists are in control they change the democratic laws and institutions that allowed them to gain power; they are no longer interested in change or willing to accept opposition of any sort. It soon becomes clear that they cannot solve their country's problems; their only desire is to exercise complete political and religious control, and the desperate, faltering masses continue to suffer as before. Eventually, with no help in sight, some will turn to more extreme forms of Islam, praying to Allah (S.W.A.T.) to save them from their hopeless plight, while others, disappointed by the Islamist regime, will abandon religion altogether.
Exposed by the media to the achievements of the West, the masses of the Middle East thirst for change and desire the quality of life enjoyed by the rest of the world. The Islamist movements, on the other hand, especially those that grabbed political power, desire the total alienation of their citizens from the West. Progress, freedom, human rights, a thriving economy, security and democracy are all trademarks of a competing religion, Christianity, while the Arab and Muslim world, despite its oil, land and water, remains mired in the shifting sand dunes of backwardness and reaction.
The values of the Judeo-Christian world and the attendant success of its economies and societies threaten the foundations of the Islamic faith and its universal mission, which to us feels as if it has failed, lags behind the rest of the world and deals only in bloodshed. From an Islamic point of view, such a failure is completely unacceptable. In addition, the mere existence and economic and military success of the Jewish State of Israel and what can be seen on television as its genuine democracy present a terrible challenge to radical Islam: for Islam, the Jews are not a nation but a collection of bits and pieces that have no right to a state of their own, to be condemned to eternal division and humiliation for rejecting the words of Allah (S.W.A.T.). Islam represents the one and only true, relevant and timely religion; there is no need for any other.
Therefore, as far as radical, fundamentalist Islam is concerned, the success of the West in general and of the Jews and Israel – the West's "imperialist branch" – in a flourishing state in the heart of the Middle East, all seem to contradict and cast into doubt the mission and rightness of Islam. The success of the West is unbearable, so the Islamists have declared a war to the death against it and against Israel.
The Islamic agenda demands that infidels and other enemies be dealt with summarily. First the "closest enemy" must be destroyed, in this instance, the leaders of the Arab countries aligned with the West. After that it is possible to go further afield and destroy the "distant enemy," the Christian West. In effect, the various Islamist terrorist organizations operate on two fronts, subversion and terrorism in the West, and internecine bloodshed as they attack the regimes in the Arab states where they blow up each other's worshipper-filled mosques, kill the aged and infants, and rape indiscriminately, all in the name of Allah.
Until now the plutocratic Islamic monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula had a certain security, based on both the tribal tradition demanding obedience to the ruler and on a series of Islamic decrees, issued expressly for the purpose of reinforcing the tradition. Now, however, the monarchs have become aware of the danger. The deprived masses of the Gulf are also exposed to Western media and are aware that the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to name two, are in fact ruthless dictators who keep the country's resources for themselves and do not share their wealth with the people.
The plutocratic monarchs now fear the outbreak of the Arabian Gulf Spring. They are cognizant of the unrest among their exploited, casteless residents, those who do the humblest jobs and have neither rights nor nationality. Like the Islamists, they seek to turn back the clock to the seventh century, when the stability of their regimes was founded on belief in the Sharia, the Qur'an, and the blind obedience to the ruler they demand as a tenet of faith. The monarchs' common interests gave rise to a policy of compensation and distancing, as well as a mutual assistance pact with the Islamist terrorist organizations, with whom they hope to neutralize domestic unrest by sending terrorist operatives to distant countries.
That plan also resonates with the Islamist ideologues, who seek to attack and expand to the West. The monarchs are double agents: on the one hand, they seek the protection of the West, especially the United States, against the Iranian threat. They exploit America's economy and security for their own benefit, while they finance the Islamist terrorist organizations operating against the West. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, again, work covertly to achieve two objectives: one is to support the terrorist organizations by financing subversive and terrorist activities to destroy the Western way of life by subjecting it to Islamic rule. The other is to export the terrorists and their collaborators to other countries, ensuring domestic peace, tranquility and little local opposition.
The monarchs therefore sabotage conciliation with the West, and do their utmost to weaken it to facilitate Islam's takeover of Europe and America. The Islamist operatives in the West concentrate their activities on the immigrant population there, by exploiting the freedom of speech and movement inherent in Western democracy.
In the meantime, Islam is destroying itself. The Islamist movements are up to their necks in mutual slaughter. The Islamist machines of terrorism and destruction, with the generous support of Arab oil exporters attack the sources of American and Western power in the Middle East and Africa, in the belief that the way to overcome America is through subversion, by taking over the sources of energy; thus they try to destroy America's power bases in the Middle East.
Alongside the construction of an Islamic community that grows ever more numerous, powerful, united and influential, the Islamist ideologues are working to weaken "Crusader America." They focus their attacks on their prime target, Israel, which they perceive as America's front line and mainstay in the Middle East. To that end they enlist any agent of influence they can find. Such agents are chosen with great skill and sophistication from within the American Jewish community, a tiny number of whose members regard Israel as a nuisance to their daily routines, businesses and integration into American society. Some of them regard Israel as threatening their future lives as Americans; others seem convinced that to work against Israel's stated interests is the best way to help Israel and save it from itself. These agents of influence, who claim to work in the name of morality and humanity, and who have been fed a steady diet of denial and rejection, are taught to represent Israel as an immoral, apartheid country enforcing an "occupation" on a destitute indigenous population, and to challenge its very existence. They persistently ignore the horrors and atrocities perpetrated against civilians in the Arab and Muslim world which cannot, under any circumstances, be compared to the steps taken to defend oneself against terrorism.
The comprehensive Arab-Islamic effort, also inspired by Western Christian anti-Semitism, is based on the assumption that the Jewish community has disproportional influence on the American administration, and that the administration is in fact pro-Israel. Thus, by using Jewish front men, Islamist operatives and their collaborators invest enormous effort in dividing the Jewish community and creating a pro-Arab spin among its members.
The result is that these anti-Israeli agents, recruited from within, call for Israel to be disarmed of nuclear weapons they say it possesses; and support the Palestinians in their demands – including the "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel – which would severely weaken American interests in the region. The influence of J Street and some of Hillel's activities have damaged the famous influence of the Jewish lobby on the Obama administration's policies.
In their efforts to attack the "distant enemy," on the other hand, operatives of the Islamist movements act with great clarity, skill and success to extend their control and influence in the West and the United States, despite their internal bloodletting. The Islamist ideologues and da'wah [outreach] preachers exploit the Islamic enclaves in Europe and the United States, creating within them networks of collaborators for funding, terrorism and espionage. Their operatives use moderate terminology and pretense to create a lobby representing itself as "seeking peace." They found committees for harmonious interfaith relations whose only objective is to mislead, while da'wah preachers incite their followers against America and Israel, raise funds and recruit terrorist operatives. Zakat [tithed] money, laundered as "donations to charity organizations," are smuggled into the Middle East to finance terrorist activities.
Islamist operatives strive to recruit key figures in Europe and the United States and either to convert them to Islam, or to use them as agents of influence to promote Islamist interests. Recruiters are also active in prisons, especially with black inmates. The recruiters exploit the prisoners' sense of discrimination and deprivation, and lie to them about the "equality" they will find in Islam; in reality, Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula refer to blacks as a'bid, "slaves."
The Gulf states spend enormous amounts on the Islamists in the West, financing their social activities and research funds, buying university chairs and founding libraries and universities. They acquire people with influence, recruit lecturers and students, rewrite history and fashion the America of the future. Qatar, a sponsor of the murderous Muslim Brotherhood, brought Al-Jazeera TV to the United States. Al-Jazeera broadcasts pure propaganda and does not adhere to any of the parameters of responsible journalism, and its only objective is eventually to brainwash the American public with the Islamist agenda. Thus, by using legitimate means, and America's freedom of expression, the Muslim Brotherhood has evaded security filters and infiltrated a genuine Trojan Horse of subversive propaganda through open gates directly into America's hearts and minds.
Ali Salim is a scholar based in the Middle East.