The United States is playing a double game in the Middle East: empowering Shiite Iran, while at the same time enabling Sunni ISIS to overthrow the moderate Arab regimes, as if to stop Iran.
The Americans are well aware that the Sunni Arab countries around Iran will now have to arm themselves to the teeth, thereby gutting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
America, despite its power and the image it projects of working against ISIS in Iraq, does not touch ISIS in its real headquarters, Syria, where ISIS actually could actually be hurt. So nothing really changes, and both Iran and ISIS continue to strengthen.
Even as the members the UN Security Council, eager do business with Iran, voted to allow Iran to build nuclear weapons, the Iranians continue to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip -- all Iranian proxies -- in order to split the Arab ranks.
In other words, the hypocritical Obama administration, in backing the Iranians, keeps trying to sabotage the Arabs and provoke dissension.
The U.S. "divide-and-conquer" policy can also be seen in America's ongoing support for Turkey and Qatar, both loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey and Qatar, however, do nothing but foment incitement and support terrorist organizations. Both countries have totally abandoned the real existential interest of the Arab nation: its historic battle against Iran.
Qatar's role is duplicitous. It plays host to U.S. military bases at the same time that it funds and supports ISIS, which is working against the West and against moderate Arab regimes.
The worst, however, is Turkey, which supports ISIS -- the enemy of the West -- despite Turkey being a member of NATO. Turkey also expends inordinate efforts at retaining its control of occupied Cyprus. Above all, its hypocrisy is scandalous. While it claims to care about the independence and human rights of the Palestinians, Turkey is really nothing but a radical Islamist country now denying independence and human rights to its own Kurdish citizens. At the same time, it supports Hamas and Iran in their effort to crush the unity of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO as the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.
Turkey, like many other nations, including the countries that negotiated with Iran, is just waiting for the sanctions to be lifted from Iran, so that its dubious military and economic relations with the Mullahs will finally be acceptable.
Turkey and Qatar have also divided the Sunni Islamic camp and fragmented the Arab ranks. Both countries give the Palestinians political support, the deluded hope of "return," and funding that is used for rebuilding Hamas's military capabilities and kidnapping tunnels.
It is both folly and underhandedness for the United States to provide these countries with even a tattered umbrella of military aid.
Not only the U.S. but Europe, which supports Iran, would like to see Hamas -- a terrorist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood -- become stronger at the expense of the Palestinian people.
Europe would like to empower Hamas even further by handing it diplomatic and political support. There are rumors that the UN is planning to grant Hamas observer status in the General Assembly, as it did the Palestinian Authority.
We all know that the issue of Palestine could have been resolved long ago by establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state next to Israel, and giving the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees living in the Arab states full citizenship. But the manipulations employed by the Europeans and Americans deliberately perpetuate the Palestinian issue by using "good cop - bad cop" tactics.
Europe and the U.S. whitewash not only Hamas's threats to Israel, but also, more importantly, its deadly subversion of Palestinian Authority. Both Europe and America totally disregard Hamas's planned coup against PA leader Mahmoud Abbas last year, Hamas's war crimes in the Gaza Strip, and the unspeakable treatment of its own people at home. Only one year ago, Hamas was murdering its own citizens extra-judicially, and ordering them to be cannon fodder for the benefit of international television crews.
Hamas, since then, has chosen to use its scant resources to rebuild its kidnapping tunnels and war capability, instead of to develop businesses and turn the Gaza Strip into a magnificent Arab Riviera, as Dubai has become. Hamas's failure does not come from a lack of resources; it comes from a deliberate choice of how to use them.
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are now operating against Egypt and Israel not only from the Gaza Strip, but from the Sinai Peninsula as well. Thus, in addition to allowing Iran to sail to nuclear weapons capability, President Obama encourages the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula with one hand, while with the other hand he claims to support Israel.
After all is said and done, if we Arabs had joined ranks -- even temporarily and even with Israel -- we could have long ago put a stop to Iran's plans for expansion.
But because of our own shortsightedness, we waited too long and now the Iranians have established footholds in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, and are increasing their control of Arab states such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
Iran is on its way in a few years to having nuclear weapons capability. The breakout time, according to President Obama, would effectively be "zero." Iran could then make as many bombs as it would like, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to delver them to the major cities of the "Great Satan," the United States, directly from Iran, from South America, or -- making identification and retaliation impossible -- from submarines submerged off the U.S. coast.
The Iranians, in opposing American policy, which is a tissue of amateur plans and plots, are flexible and exploit Islam's taqiyya [dissimulation] -- religious approval to lie in the cause of Allah and to further Islam. However, they are not even bothering with that, they are telling the truth: "Death to America; Death to Israel."
By this point, near the end of the process of Sunni Muslim self-destruction, a large part of the Arabs' energy has been wasted on internal wars and the misallocation of resources to the barren, useless confrontation with Israel, even while many Arab states secretly collaborate with the Zionists.
All that will be left for the Arabs will be to continue to argue among themselves and with the Israelis about the Palestinian issue. We should instead stop the distractions and the wounds we are inflicting upon ourselves, and put the Palestinian problem behind us by granting equal rights and citizenship to Palestinians residing in Arab countries, in order to shift our focus totally, if belatedly, to the real battle: The Islamic Republic of Iran.
Bassam Tawil is based in the Middle East.