Mohamed Khodr’s Column
“O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you unto nations and tribes that you may come to know one another (not that you may despise each other). Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety and righteousness. God is all knowing, All Aware. (49:13)
Ten years ago, President George Bush (the father) called upon the Arab and Muslim world to join the coalition against Iraq to liberate Kuwait, a desert nation with oil. President Bush was forceful when he said “Aggression Will Not Stand” and drew a line in the sand. Despite the lies and propaganda of Iraqis killing Kuwaiti babies in their incubators, despite the false tears of a young girl in front of the American Congress repeating this story (later it was discovered that she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Washington DC), despite Kuwait’s hiring of the expensive public relations firm in Washington DC, Hill and Knowlton to indoctrinate the American people that this was an attack by Iraq against a small peaceful nation that should not stand; the majority of Arab and Muslim masses were against a Muslim nation invading another and looting its wealth and killing, imprisoning, torturing, and raping its citizens. Within one month the U.N. Security Council passed a dozen resolutions authorizing the coalition to act with force if Iraq doesn’t withdraw from Kuwait. In his arrogance Saddam Hussein threw his people and the Arab Muslim world into the hands of the United States. To this day the man is unapologetic for the tragedy and suffering he inflicted upon his people, to Kuwait, and to the Arab world that to this day continues to pay the price for his moronic egotism. The Arabs have forever lost the moral and just argument over Israel’s aggression and occupation of the Palestinian people. It seems the only time United Nations Resolutions are implemented is if they are against Muslims with the only exception being in Kosovo.
So why did the Arab nations join such a coalition against another Arab nation? The persuasive argument Bush Sr. used was five fold:
1. The Arabs cannot condemn Israel’s invasion of Arab lands and not similarly condemn Iraq
2. Bush Sr. promised to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by holding a peace conference that would initiate a peace process based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. That was a major carrot and powerful incentive for the Arab nations that finally the United States is serious about resolving this conflict. Syria and Lebanon saw an opportunity to regain occupied lands as well.
3. The coalition would inflict much damage to Iraq therefore serving the selfish interests of animosity for Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States; countries that feared Iraq’s military and Saddam’s sense of power that already shook the region with his war against Iran Thus Arab countries could settle old scores with the madman Saddam.
4. Bush Sr. also promised economic and military aid to Arab nations after the war and as a corollary to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, thereby bribing the incompetent Arab regimes.
5. THE STICK: If the Arab nations didn’t join the coalition or opposed American policy then America and its European allies will impose military and economic sanctions and cut off all aid to such nations. Such was the case with Jordan and Yemen whose economies suffered greatly.
Finally, Iraq was defeated and sanctions were imposed that continue to this day without any hope of ever being lifted. Because of Saddam’s war (although the United States may have deliberately encouraged him) over 1.5 million Iraqi’s have died with over 5,000 children dying each month. No other people in the world would suffer so extremely without overthrowing that regime except the uneducated, indoctrinated, emotionally manipulated Arab peoples in Iraq as they are under every single Arab regime.
The Madrid Conference was held in Spain without Israel even accepting a formal Palestinian delegation. That was ten years ago. What has America done for the Arab world since then? It has poured more billions of dollars, more sophisticated military and technological weapons, cast more vetoes to protect Israel, and has allowed Israel to confiscate more land, kill more Palestinians, demolish more homes, steal more water, and created more refugees. That has been the American reward to the most incompetent and egotistical leaders in the world for their submission to America’s coalition against another Arab and Muslim nation. Given America’s support for these autocratic regimes in the Arab/Muslim it has been the Muslim populations that have suffered oppression and human rights violations. America never has and never will accept true Islamic democratic governments in the region that will oppose American hegemony and Israel’s decades of murder and oppression of the Palestinian people, both Christians and Muslims.
Islam teaches Muslims to fight against Injustice anywhere, perhaps we should start in our own backyard and regain our faith, culture, history, and self respect. The very word “Arab” is disrespected and despised around the world, yet Allah (SWT) gave us His holy word, the Qur’an, in Arabic. He gave the Qur’an to “those who think”. Under the Ottomon Empire and later European colonial rule Islamic institutions and the Arabic language have been attacked More importantly, today none of the Arab/Muslim truly serve Islam or their people except as tools for their self interest. Their priorities have been media control and applause, oppressing freedom of expression and political pluralism, new palaces, cars, and ever expanding hypocrites surrounding them with applause. The country’s income and budget are their own personal bank accounts.
After the tragic and painful Un-Islamic terrorist attack against the United States that innocently killed 6000 of my fellow Americans, Muslim organizations worldwide condemned the attack as contrary to the sanctity of life, prohibition against harming innocent civilians and committing suicide; America is clamoring for war and revenge. The primary suspect, whether guilty or not, is Osama Bin Laden and thus Afghanistan. But many in Bush’s government are pushing for a wider massive attack against any Arab or Muslim nation that has any element of opposition to Israel. This may include Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, and Yemen. Bush has drawn a line in the sand just like his father. Mainly speaking of the Arab and Muslim world he said: “you make the choice. you are either with us or with terrorism. any regime that supports or harbors terrorism will be considered a hostile regime to the United States.” The Arab League and Organization for Islamic Conferences are shaking and wetting themselves. These American puppets know they have no choice but to join in the murder of innocent Muslims or risk losing American money, weapons, support, even risk being eliminated either by America or by their own people once the Muslim casualties mount. No room for neutrality, no room to reject American imperialism and domination, no room for negotiation and logic, no room for justice. It’s our way or hit the highway. Like all Americans I grieve for this tragedy and loss of life. I lived in Beirut in 1982 when Sharon was decimating hundreds of buildings with civilians living in them (America was silent when Israel does the killing). I know what it’s like to pull people out of rubble alive, dead, or only their parts. But a greater tragedy for our nation is if these terrorists hijack our sanity, values, sense of justice, rule of law and the power of logic. We should defend our nation and prosecute those directly and indirectly responsible but we must not yield to the murder of the innocent lest we emulate the terrorists and began a cycle of violence unworthy of our nation and that may hark back to hurt and demean us.
So Bush awaits the answer of the Arabs. Do they have any other choice but to once again ten years later join the younger Bush’s coalition and assist in killing innocent Muslims along with perhaps the guilty terrorists? YES, THEY DO. These leaders this time must exact a price for their cooperation from the United States. Without such American cooperation these leaders should abstain from such a coalition and prepare their peoples for hard sacrifices such as loss of economic aid and sanctions. They will find the Arab and Muslim peoples willing to endure such sacrifices that will reinvigorate them with self respect, dignity, faith, and a purpose for their already existing poverty.
But unfortunately we’re asking them to have courage and sacrifice some of their billions and perhaps even their lives since Bush gave the order to the CIA to go back to its old and Israeli way of dealing with uncooperative people—–assassinations.
1. The Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference should send an immediate high level delegation to Washington DC to assess the evidence against Bin Laden or whomever.
2. If convinced they should return to the Arab League/O.I.C. and present the evidence. At such time both organizations (with Afghanistan present) should take a firm and definitive stand that they will join the coalition and fight terrorism on the following conditions.
a. That the coalition should only go after the responsible party/parties.
b. That an International Conference be held on “Terrorism” with no veto powers for any nation so that the very term is defined and that all nations who commit or support terrorism be identified and sanctioned and terrorism is rooted out of the nation.
c. That this conference discuss the root causes of “Terrorism” worldwide.
d. That this conference develop strategies to address such root causes.
e. That appropriate U.N. Security Council Resolutions be adopted to enforce such strategies.
f. That all applicable U.N. Resolutions be implemented within a given time frame, especially in the Middle East, as the most effective strategy to deal with root causes of terrorism. No more double standards will be tolerated by the Muslim world.
g. That peace negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations be held to deal with the conflicts in Chechnya and Kashmir, given that both conflicts include nations with nuclear capabilities.
h. That the Middle East be declared a nuclear free zone.
i. That the deadly economic sanctions against Iraq be lifted.
j. That a Marshall like plan be implemented by the entire world to lift the Arab and Muslim world from its economic deprivation and hopelessness and bring them into the fold of economic recovery.
k. That true democratic reforms be implemented in Arab/Muslim world allowing the people freedoms of expression, religion and movement. Much of the Muslim Fundamentalist movement is directed against their own leaders and not against the United States.
l. That the United States, Europe, and the Arab/Muslim world develop means of educating and communicating with each other in terms of their culture and faiths. Both worlds are arrogant yet ignorant of each other.
I do realize I am dreaming the impossible but it is the only dream I have to give me hope that our world can find peace and justice among nations. The western world is a world of arrogance of might and wealth combined with an utter disinterest and ignorance of the third world. To the west only the white Christian man has worth, value, and believability. While in the Muslim world there is an ignorance of the west combined with utter despair and frustration aimed at their plight, their leaders, and a culture of blaming the west for much of their self inflicted ailments. Both worlds fear what they do not know and make no effort to reach out to each other for understanding and mutual respect. Both worlds have more in common with each other in their faiths and aspirations then they know..
Living in America, despite the rash of crimes against Arabs/Muslims, gives one a perspective of freedom of religion and expression not existing in the Muslim world, yet Islam is the truest democratic faith. It’s heartwarming that despite the attacks and loss in America so many American Christians and Jews are reaching out to Arab Americans and American Muslims for reassurance, protection, and assistance. I dare say that in this regard there is more compassion among Americans than is generally found in the Arab world. Americans when enlightened about an issue such as Israel’s devastating and murderous regime inflicting horror upon the Palestinians they become more active on behalf of the Palestinians than the majority of American Muslims who are content in their silence and absence from political discourse. Tragically, our leaders are using this terroristic tragedy to attack their opposition and imprison anyone in their way under the pretext of “terrorism”.
Wait a minute, I just heard that the Arab League has taken some serious action this time. They just met and decided if Israel kills more Palestinians they will call for another meeting.
Mr. Mohamed Khodr is an American Muslim physician and a native from the Middle East. He has worked in Academic Medicine and Public health with national and international health experience. He is a freelance writer who often writes columns on the Palestinian cause, Islam and on America’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East. He lives in the Washington DC area.