Is American Middle East policy duplicitous?
- Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and its vassals, and Turkey are the ones supporting and nurturing the Sunni brand of radical Islamism
- It is unfortunate that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are dictating our foreign policy and determining which ruler needs to go first
- So far, Washington’s role has been to give tacit approval to the destabilizing and nefarious designs and actions of its so-called allies
President Obama and his foreign policy experts are anxiously scrambling to develop a coherent and potent strategy on how to degrade and destroy the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and resolve the Syrian conflict. The US president’s prime-time address on December 6 offered agonizing platitudes and more preachifying from arguably the most powerful leader in the world. Mr. Obama seemed more concerned about non-Muslim Americans displaying anti-Muslim sentiments than building a genuine and effective coalition to convincingly and forcefully wage war against the Islamic State. Although religious and other types of intolerance must not, by all means, rear its ugly head, the American president also needs to understand that the longer the US and its true allies pursue their military campaign against ISIS, the more this political and military incertitude will feed the so-called “anti-Muslim rhetoric” narrative. Let’s remember that Mr. Obama is tremendously prudent when trying to avoid feeding the so-called “Islamic State narrative.”
Many Americans are worried and traumatized by the rampage in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 people. The two terrorists, who perpetrated the massacre, were inspired by the hateful ideology of the Islamic State. What is appalling to many is that the two terrorists were our neighbors, co-workers, etc., who might take the dark path of physical destruction and spiritual bankruptcy. Yes, the followers of the Islamic State have slaughtered more Muslims than non-Muslims. Yes, more Americans have been killed by their compatriots than by violent jihadists. All these statistics fail to comfort many Americans or appease the ire of the Republican presidential candidates, who are, by the way, one of the most incompetent and ignorant assortments of would-be politicians.
President Obama and his foreign policy makers should up the ante by identifying the real culprits of Islamic radicalization. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and its vassals, and Turkey are the ones supporting and nurturing the Sunni brand of radical Islamism. These nations are financing and arming the jihadists in order to supposedly challenge Indian, Iranian, and Russian expansionism. So far, Washington’s role has been to give tacit approval to the destabilizing and nefarious designs and actions of its so-called allies. Other than the Islamic State, the al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) constitutes one of the major opposition forces, which is supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and to a certain extent Turkey. JN’s ultimate objective is to establish an emirate in Syria. It is hard to fathom the “moderate” nature of JN and Washington and its allies are playing with fire by enabling Muslim extremist groups.
TURKEY, SAUDI ARABIA, AND PAKISTAN ARE THE REAL CULPRITS
Is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a ruthless dictator? Possibly.
However, there are many other dictators on this planet who have a worst record of human rights abuses. It is unfortunate that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are dictating our foreign policy and determining which ruler needs to go first. Most of the time Washington has reacted to world crises and it has not always been successful in resolving international conflicts. Let us not forget that in the 1970s former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other American diplomats have negotiated with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, the father of the current Syrian ruler, who was arguably a more brutal and scheming dictator than his son. Why this sudden and morbid interest in Bashar al-Assad? Are Turkey and Saudi Arabia vehemently opposed to the Syrian ruler not because of his human rights abuses, but because of other nebulous geopolitical reasons? It could also be a personal vendetta.
Instead of destabilizing Syria with the erroneous idea of introducing democratic principles and values, Saudi Arabia should take an introspective approach and put its “House of Saud” in order. Abysmal lack of political and religious tolerance is observed ad nauseam. Corruption and nepotism are rampant. Why not establish a democracy in Saudi Arabia? Some Middle East experts caution that such an occurrence will destabilize the whole region and Muslim extremists might eventually run the show in the desert kingdom.
Destabilizing Syria and causing tragedy and chaos is justifiable as long as Saudi Arabia and Turkey pick the fortunate inheritors of the post-Bashar al-Assad regime. After the Syrian ruler is deposed (if he gets), the political vacuum will allow the Muslim extremist groups to coalesce against a much weaker and disorganized so-called “moderate” opposition forces.
What are the prospects for a unified and democratic Syria?
They are probably dim considering the conflicting and implausible plans to put the divided nation together. A federal system of government or even the agreed-upon partition of Syria into ethnic/religious statelets seem more desirable and viable options. It would be a much more promising and less violent alternative if Lebanon, Iraq, and even Turkey would also follow suit. The de facto partition of Cyprus (although not internationally recognized) in the 1970s should set an example for the other war-torn countries of the Middle East. Most of them have artificial boundaries drawn by European colonial powers and their decades-old independence was and is still marred by political upheavals and bloody conflicts. But before all this happens, the United States and Europe should publicly denounce Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan for their role in promoting and encouraging radical Islamism for their own ever-shifting and dreadful objectives. Last but not least, Turkey should be expelled (long overdue) from NATO.