The video of James Foley’s brutal murder filled me with horror, sympathy and anger. The horror was visceral, at the mere thought of what had transpired (I tried watching one beheading video a few years ago and was so traumatized that I haven’t even tried again). The sympathy was for this poor man, who did not deserve to be killed in this manner. The sympathy was also for his family. As a Muslim, I cannot even begin to express my condolences and sympathy for his family. The anger I felt was directed at multiple points: Primarily it was directed at ISIL. This cancer must be eradicated, plain and simple. The people who have bought into this twisted ideology understand only one thing: power. They need to be eradicated, period.
Unfortunately Hizbollah, Iran and others who have been fighting ISIL, Jabahat al Nusra and other Al Qaeda like groups in Syria and according to certain reports in Iraq have gotten no outside support. (Click here to read Syed Hassan Nasrallah, General Secretary of Hizbollah express his opinion on ISIS/ISIL). This is in large part due to the fact that Israeli, big oil, arms manufacturers and other interest groups are determined not to let the American public learn about a reality that is well known in the Middle East: Hizbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups that believe in the integrity of nation states, the power of the ballot box and democracy are the archenemies of groups such as ISIL, which subscribes to an ideology that originated in Saudi Arabia. The reality is that the seeds for ISIL were planted in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of that country. Saudi, Pakistani and American intelligence agencies all played their role. President Regan invited Taliban representatives to the Oval Office and called them heroes. The Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper) recently ran a piece that cheerfully pointed out that ISIL was “refreshing” because they had no intention of attacking Israel. ISIL has also put out statement in which they have made clear that their primary target are Shia Muslims, not the Israelis. Prince Bandar, the former Saudi intelligence chief, was one of the architects of Jabahat al Nusra, an Al Qaeda inspired group that was rivalling ISIL at one point. Now, Jabahat al Nusra fighters have joined ISIL in droves. The irony here is that Jabahat al Nusra were supported by both Ayman Az Zawahiri, the current head of Al Qaeda as well as the Saudi government, not to mention the Turks and with a wink and a nod the Americans. ISIL is like Frankenstein, the ideology it espouses closely represents Saudi Wahhabi ideology, yet the original pit bull (Taliban etc.) has given birth to young that have turned on their masters. The Saudis are now just as terrified of ISIL as anyone else, in large part due to the support it finds within the Saudi regime. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, yet the U.S. government has redacted and refused to share any information that may signal Saudi complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Furthermore, relatives of Usama bin Laden were allowed to fly out of the U.S. at a time when U.S. Senators could not catch a plane. They left without any questioning, quietly in the middle of the night.
All this aside, the Israelis never miss an opportunity to present ISIL and Hamas/Hizbollah as the same brand of “terrorists” They know full well that by doing so, they are gunning for a scenario that would result in a broad, unlimited war with a vast swath of Muslims in the Middle East, thus saving their apartheid state from the righteous anger of millions of Muslims and non-Muslims. The reality is that Hizbollah is hugely popular with Christians in Lebanon while ISIL is slaughtering them when it can. The reality is that Hamas governs a besieged, impoverished open air prison in which both Muslims and Christian Arabs suffer equally. Christian Arabs support Hamas as much as their Muslim brethren and are united in their opposition to the brutal Israel regime. Despite the efforts of pro-Israeli writers such as Jonathan Schanzer, the fact is that Christians in Gaza have lived unmolested by Hamas since it took over the poverty stricken enclave in 2007.
In our humble opinion, the American people need to wake up. Israeli, big oil and other interest groups that are pushing an agenda that lumps organizations such as Hizbollah with ISIL must be given a clear message: “your vested interests will not be allowed to jeopardize world peace.” The irony is that Israel is right now engaged in protracted negotiations with Hamas for a Gaza cease fire as it mounts a public relations campaign that attempts to conflate ISIL and Hamas. Wonder what would happen if the Israelis tried to “negotiate” with ISIL. It is time that the people of the United States realized that there are two groups within the Middle East: the majority, who do not harbor any enmity to the U.S. apart from its support of Israel and its opposition to their democratic right to control their countries and resources as they see fit, and a small minority that subscribe to a deadly ideology that represents Islam about as much as the LRA represents Christianity.
So what is the solution? The solution is for Western states, particularly the United States to subscribe to a foreign policy that does not have control of energy resources as its central driving tenant. It is the drive to have absolute control of resources that precipitated the European and then American support of their European proxy Israel. Israel has long ago lost any foreign policy utility (if indeed it ever had any, but that is not an argument for this article) in terms of securing resources. Gone are the days when resources could be won by direct or indirect (proxies such as Israel and client states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc) intervention.
Instead, the answer is to let genuine grass roots reform and political development take place in the Middle East. Israel should be dismantled. It is a threat to both Jews and Muslims. Instead, democracy is the solution to the issue of Palestine. A democratic, unitary state should come into existence, with (for example) a Jewish President, Muslim Prime Minister and Christian Speaker of the House. To some, this may seem implausible, but the reality is that until the 1920s, Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully in the region.
If this central issue can be resolved, and if the West can resist interfering in the internal affairs of the Muslim lands, then the incentive to label and demonize genuine, grass roots Islamic-democratic systems such as Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood will disappear. Proof of this is Hizbollah and Iran’s fight against ISIS for the past two years. Saudi Arabia’s animosity to the Muslim Brotherhood is also a component of this very dynamic. If this is allowed to happen, then groups such as ISIS will disappear virtually over night as their natural enemies (i.e. Islamic groups that oppose such a nihilistic vision that is anti-Islamic) rally to destroy them.