by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 6, Shawwal, 1435)
It is revealing that Muslim regimes in the Middle East that eagerly give billions to takfiri terrorists to kill fellow Muslims are completely silent about zionist killings of Palestinians.
During times of crises, Muslims naturally ask what the regimes in the Muslim world and indeed regimes in the rest of the world are doing to help the suffering people. The Zionist onslaught on Gaza has led to similar questions from Muslims. While the question is natural, the answer, sadly, is anything but satisfactory.
Ordinary Muslims are forced to ask this question because there are many problems confronting Muslims in different parts of the world. They feel deep sympathy for and empathy with them. While they want to express solidarity and help in whatever way possible, such help is limited in scope and impact. Individuals can at best donate money to a charity to help alleviate some suffering and/or participate in rallies to vent their anger and frustration at the ongoing injustices but these cannot resolve the basic problem. It is for governments to take action to stop aggression against Muslims and to institute policies that would ensure such crises do not erupt again.
The expectations of ordinary Muslims vis-à-vis the regimes spring from two diametrically opposite sentiments. The first is their genuine concern for fellow Muslims suffering anywhere in the world. The second is predicated on the assumption that the Muslim regimes can do something. This is a faulty assumption and empirical evidence from repeated crises has demonstrated this beyond doubt that such expectations are misplaced. With few exceptions, people in control of regimes in the Muslim world are agents of imperialism and Zionism; their overriding concern is self-preservation, not alleviating the suffering of oppressed Muslims. In fact, these regimes do not care for people in their own societies either so this should put to rest any notions that they would help Muslims elsewhere.
The suffering of Palestinian people facing a barbaric Zionist onslaught has moved Muslims worldwide, especially during the days of fasting in Ramadan. Seeing little children being blown to pieces on television screens has moved even non-Muslims to condemn Zionist barbarism, notwithstanding the support their regimes have extended to the illegal entity in Occupied Palestine. Most people are also aware that Gaza has been under an illegal siege since 2007 that has caused extreme hardship among Palestinians. Add to that the repeated Zionist attacks on the enclave destroying whatever infrastructure they have managed to build, naturally causes deep anguish.
Let us, therefore, consider what the reaction of the various regimes in the Muslim world has been to the latest Zionist onslaught on Gaza. We start with the Saudi regime that has donned the mantle of ‘leader’ of the Sunnis and the self-styled ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Cities.’ The Saudi regime is also flush with petrodollars; it earns an estimated $300 billion in annual oil sales; its reserves are estimated to be more than $1 trillion. This is no small sum.
Question about the Saudi regime’s conduct is important because it has pumped an estimated $6 billion to takfiri groups in Syria and Iraq ostensibly because they are fighting against ‘Shia’ governments there. To the best of our knowledge, there are no Shias in Palestine or Gaza. We must, therefore, ask: what has the Saudi regime done to help the suffering ‘Sunni’ people of Gaza; more particularly, how many guns, rockets or missiles it has sent to the resistance in Gaza to face the Zionist onslaught? The takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq have no shortage of weapons or other war materiel, thanks to the Saudis and their tribal allies in the region. If the Saudis are championing the cause of the ‘Sunnis’, why are the poor oppressed Palestinians not included in this list?
Instead, what we find is that the Saudis and their allies are actively collaborating with the zionists to destroy such resistance groups as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah. This leads us to conclude that the Saudis do not represent the interests of ‘Sunnis’ despite claiming to champion their cause. This is just a ploy to use against those countries and movements that are predominantly Shia in order to play on the sectarian emotions of ordinary Muslims.
Egypt that has a border with Gaza has kept it shut preventing any relief supplies from reaching the besieged enclave. Similarly the Egyptian military regime tried to stab Hamas in the back by brokering a ceasefire agreement dictated by the zionists that would have put Hamas at serious disadvantage and risk had it accepted its terms. Hamas was not even consulted about the ceasefire agreement. It is important to note that the Egyptian military regime is closely aligned with and financed by the Saudi tribal regime.
What is the reaction of the other ‘Sunni’ governments in the region? Since most are tribal regimes and little more than city-states even if flushed with oil and gas wealth, they carry little weight in international politics. They are more concerned about self-preservation than worrying about suffering Muslims elsewhere. The only exception to this is Turkey that is a serious regional player. What has been its role?
Rhetorically, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan has lashed out at Israel and criticized its attack on Gaza. Has he done anything practical to help the Palestinians? Turkey is among the few Muslim countries—Egypt and Jordan are others—that have diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity. Has Turkey withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv or sent the ambassador of the illegal Zionist entity packing home? Turkey was the first ‘Sunni’ Muslim country to establish diplomatic relations with the zionist state as soon as this cancer emerged in the heartland of Islam. True, Turkey was at the time under Kemalist rule but if the present government is more representative of the people, then it should have no problem severing diplomatic ties with one of the most oppressive and criminal regimes in the world. The overwhelming majority of Turkish people are totally opposed to the Zionist regime and its criminal policies. They have had direct experience of Zionist crimes when the Mavi Marmara was attacked in international waters killing nine Turkish citizens and injuring dozens of others on May 31, 2010.
The Mavi Marmara was taking relief supplies, not guns or bombs, to the besieged people of Gaza yet the Turkish government has taken no steps to prosecute the Zionist war criminals that perpetrated war crimes on the open seas against its citizens. Further, Turkish-Israeli trade has continued to grow. So how can anyone take Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric seriously? It is clear that he is playing to the public gallery without taking any concrete steps to help the suffering Palestinian people.
We must now turn to the policies of the two countries that have been at the receiving end of Saudi-zionist-imperialist conspiracy: Islamic Iran and Syria. Iran has been especially targeted and branded by the Saudis as a ‘Shia State’ (instead of the Islamic State, as if Shias are not Muslims) in a despicable attempt to delegitimize it in the eyes of the ‘Sunni’ majority worldwide.
While the overwhelming majority of ‘Sunni’ Muslims have not fallen for this vile propaganda, some naïve ‘Sunnis’ have.
Has Iran done anything practical to help the Palestinians, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad? The technology, though primitive, used by the two resistance groups to develop their missiles has been provided by Islamic Iran—yes ‘Shia’ Iran of the Saudi conception to ‘Sunni’ Hamas and Islamic Jihad. While these rockets and missiles have caused little damage to the Zionist state, the fact that the Palestinians can continue to stand up to the Zionist bully gives them enormous self-confidence and tells the resisters that their cause is not lost.
Unfortunately, Iran has no direct borders with Palestine. It is, therefore, forced to resort to ingenuity to deliver the technical know-how to the Palestinians to stand on their feet. Without such help, the Palestinian resistance groups would have been wiped out and the cause of Palestine completely forgotten. Those Muslims that are swayed by sectarian rhetoric should ask themselves the simple question: which country has done the most for the suffering Palestinians? Also, they should consider the price Iran has had to pay in terms of the illegal sanctions it has endured for more than three decades because of its principled stand of supporting the Palestinian cause.
In November 2012, following the last Zionist attack on Gaza, leaders of Islamic Jihad and Hamas acknowledged at a Cairo press conference the practical help Islamic Iran had extended to their groups. Dr Ramadan Abdallah, leader of Islamic Jihad was the first to speak out. Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas’s Political Bureau spoke next and he also thanked Islamic Iran. No other country was mentioned. Those that harbor sectarian tendencies should reflect on the public acknowledgement of help extended by Islamic Iran to the resistance groups in Palestine.
There is one other country whose policy we need to consider: Syria. Mercenaries from 83 countries have flooded into Syria targeting its government. They are financed by regimes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Turkey and such other well-known anti-Muslim entities as the Zionist regime in Occupied Palestine and the US. When the mayhem in Syria started in March 2011, there were numerous Palestinian organizations that had offices in Damascus. These offices had existed for more than two decades. Slowly, the Palestinian groups influenced by their sponsors in Qatar and elsewhere persuaded them to close their offices and relocate despite the fact that the Syrian government showed no hostility to them. Unfortunately, some Hamas members have also gone to Syria to fight against the forces of the government of Bashar al-Asad.
Under such circumstances and with such hostility shown by some members of Hamas toward Asad’s government, it would be reasonable to expect that he too would be hostile to them. Yet, we find that far from showing hostility, he has adopted a principled stand far more honorable than many of the so-called friends among other regimes have shown to the Palestinian cause.
At his swearing-in ceremony on July 16, Asad addressed the assembled gathering and he took the Arabian regimes to task that have and continue to finance the takfiri terrorists in Syria. We quote at length from his speech to grasp the message that he delivered by exposing those behind the terrorist campaign in Syria, Iraq and Gaza. Referring to the Arabian tyrannical regimes, he said:
“The existence of these countries is the West’s most important achievement and the most significant cause for Israel’s successes and continued existence. There is no clearer evidence than their current stand regarding the Israeli aggression against Gaza. Where is the ‘alleged’ zeal and ardor that they showed towards Syria or the Syrian people? Why haven’t they supported Gaza with arms and money? Where are their jihadists; and why haven’t they sent them to defend our people in Palestine?
“In order to know the answer, we should know that what is happening today in Gaza… is not a separate or passing event. It is an integrated chain of events: from the occupation of Palestine, to the invasion of Iraq and trying to divide it now and the division of the Sudan all planned by Israel and the West and always executed by the states of tyranny and backwardness in our Arab world.
“Was it not Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman al-Faisal [ibn Saud] who conceded to Britain that he does not object to giving Palestine to the ‘poor’ Jews in 1915? Did those states not incite the 1967 war, whose price we are still paying today, in order to get rid of the [Gamal] Abdul Nasser ‘phenomenon’? Did those states not support Iran under the Shah, only to stand against it when it decided to support the Palestinian people and turn the Israeli embassy into a Palestinian embassy after the revolution?
“Those are the countries that made the ‘King Fahd Peace Initiative’ in 1981 and threatened the Palestinians with rivers of blood if they don’t accept it. When the Palestinian factions rejected it, and in less than a year, there was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon [June 1982] and the ejection of the PLO from Lebanon, not out of concern for Lebanon, but for Israel.
“Those same states surprised us in 2002 with their greatest concession: ‘normalization in return for peace,’ which was later modified to become the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’ in the Beirut summit.
“When Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, it was those same countries that encouraged Israel and the West not to accept a cease-fire until the Lebanese resistance [Hizbullah] was destroyed, describing them as ‘adventurous.’ Because these satellite countries succeeded in their tasks, they were charged with funding chaos under the name of the ‘Arab spring,’ and with leading the Arab League after other Arab countries abandoned their roles. The Arab League itself was reduced to summoning NATO and imposing a siege on the Arab states that refused to comply.
“All of these events constitute a strongly linked chain aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause; all the money spent by those countries since their creation has been for this purpose. And here they are today playing the same role: in Gaza through Israeli terrorism, and in Syria through terrorism belonging to 83 nationalities. The methods may differ but their objective is the same.
“This leads me to another important issue. Some [inside Syria] have expressed indifference towards Gaza, on the premise that we have our fair share of national problems; others have gloated at the Israeli aggression as a reaction to the ingratitude and disloyalty of some Palestinians towards Syria and everything we have offered for decades. Both cases however, reflect naïve thinking; what is happening in Syria and the region as a whole is strongly linked to what is happening in Palestine. Dissociating ourselves from these events would be like watching a neighbor’s house burning and not offering to help.
That is why those who believe that we can live in safety and distance ourselves from the Palestinian cause are mistaken. It will remain the central cause based on principles and the reality that links what is happening in Palestine with what is happening in Syria. We need to distinguish between the resistant Palestinian people and the ungrateful Palestinians, between true resistance fighters–who we should support–and the amateurs who mask themselves in the mantle of resistance to serve their interests, improve their image or strengthen their authority; otherwise, we will be–consciously or unconsciously—serving Israel’s objectives of dividing us even further and making us believe that our crisis is local and isolated.”
For Asad to show such clarity of understanding at a time when Syria is still faced with a mercenary onslaught is encouraging. He could easily have turned on the Palestinian groups and said it served them right for turning against him. Instead, he has shown understanding and realized the importance of the Palestinian cause by linking it with the broader imperialist-zionist conspiracy aided and abetted by the Arabian regimes, to make the region subservient to foreign interests.