Originally Published by Gatestone Institute
by Ali Salim
I understand why America lost its deterrence and its ability to fight, but why should Americans die for us? I understand why no one takes America seriously, and I can only come to the conclusion that it is time for us, Arabs and Muslims, to take our fate into our own hands.
Many people repeatedly ask why “the West” — meaning European countries, the European Union and the United States — sits by idly and does not lift a finger to intervene to end the war crimes and crimes against humanity now being committed against Arab and Muslim people.
The present chaos [fitna] now includes the slaughter in Syria, the endless attacks in Iraq, the terrorism in Afghanistan, the bloody confrontations in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, the Sudan and everywhere else there are Muslims.
The reluctance of the West to participate in these disputes has enraged many people, who continually harp on the failures of “the West.” We Arabs have become spoiled, self-indulgent, accustomed to the good life — and slightly delusional: we really do think that someone else has to do our dirty work. Since the West continually attempts to bring order and democracy to the people of Islam, we tend to forget that this is not the West’s job.
We have become accustomed to seeing Americans killed for us in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan. When you look at the Arab states, paralyzed by the catastrophe in Syria, it is hard to understand why the Arabs expect the Americans to clean up this mess.
I am happy that the West does not interfere, and instead makes do with criticism and threatening sanctions. We have to bring ourselves a genuine Arab Spring, without foreign help. We have to plant and water the tree of democracy in the lands of Islam with our own hands, independently.
I am happy that the Western world, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, has not lifted a finger. It is clear the problem is not that he doesn’t want to, but that he cannot. American public opinion will not stand for more massive loss of American life and economic damage in wars other people should be fighting, even if those wars will seriously influence the fate of the West. For that reason at least, Obama made the right call when he said he would direct the battles from the rear: he had no other choice.
We are all lucky he had no other choice. This is the only way the affairs of the Middle East will resolve themselves on their own. Authentic revolutions take place on the front lines, not in the rear. If the desire to rule the roost really were the uncomprehending, hypocritical and condescending world view of the current U.S. administration — because of which we lost the Egypt of Mubarak, and because of which Iran and Turkey are now Islamist countries — we would not accept the revolt of Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, which saved the world from radical Islam. The revolt was successful only because it was our good fortune that Sissi did not surrender to the infantile dictates and blackmail of America and the European Union.
It is the lack of American action that will cause the situation to right itself in Egypt, Syria, North Africa and other centers of unrest in the Arab-Muslim world. The naive fantasies of American and European advisors must not be allowed to interfere with real and necessary processes in the Middle East. We watched, uneasily, as the West — because of its crude and bungling interference, mistakes and amateurishness — helped bring radical Islam to our region. It is a genuine shame that because of Western weakness the forces of darkness and even reaction in China, Iran, North Korea and Russia gained the upper hand and harmed soldiers and innocent civilians.
When I see Obama stand behind the podium in the White House delivering yet another speech, I am convinced that words, or perhaps a few inconsequential strikes, like President Bill Clinton’s retaliation for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, are the most a weak president is capable of. When I hear the U.S. call on the seething Arab-Muslim world to take stock of itself, in the name of an imaginary democracy which can never be implemented in our corner of the world, and when I hear it spout condescending ideological nonsense not only divorced from local reality but harmful to American interests, I am reminded of one of the early Muslims, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.S), a man named Bilal bin Rabah.
Bilal bin Rabah was Muhammad’s (S.A.A.S) loyal black slave. He freed Bilal and appointed him as a muezzin; and Bilal called the faithful to prayer from the minaret of the mosque of the Kaaba in newly-conquered Mecca. As opposed to Bilal, however, the sahaba, Muhammad’s faithful companions, who like Bilal accompanied Muhammad (S.A.A.S) in his prophetic mission, were appointed to high positions as Caliphs and district governors. Bilal with his hoarse voice called the faithful to prayer five times a day, but few answered the call. Both Muslims and infidels in Mecca made fun of him, saying he brayed like a donkey, and many of them paid no attention to his calls to prayer.
I cannot help asking myself if the Muslim Brotherhood’s dream were to come true today, and the followers of Mohamed Morsi, America’s darling, did actually take over the world with their radical Islamic agenda, would they elevate Obama to some high office? Sadly, if radical Islam actually managed to realize its goal and take control of America and Europe, the Muslims who follow the tradition of Muhammad would appoint Obama to a post no higher than muezzin of the Chicago mosque.
For this reason, when I see black Americans convert to Islam (like Congressman Keith Ellison, who converted to Islam from Catholicism), with their weird empathy and incomprehensible yen for Islam and Hamas, I am amazed and horrified by the ignorance of their choice. Do they not know that Muslims were the slave traders who captured Africans and sold them to America? Do they not know that to this day many Muslims in the Arab world disregard blacks and treat them like slaves? In Arab political circles in the Gulf States, Condoleezza Rice and other black politicians are called a’bd or a’bda, the Arabic word for slave. In the Muslim Brotherhood scenario, Congressman Keith Ellison would not be a member of the Islamic Council (the Shura) and Secretary Rice would not be allowed to leave the house without a male relative, to say nothing of flying off on diplomatic missions around the world. She would stay at home and look at the world through the square veil in her hijab.
From the heart of the Middle East chaos I ask myself why we accepted such enormous quantities of arms from America without being able to use them. Why can we not unite and ourselves get rid of dictators like Assad? Why do American soldiers have to die for us? Where is Qatar, which relies on the United States for its defense but operates Al-Jazeera TV for the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihad and incites the Arabs to internecine wars and creates chaos? Where are Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States? Where is Turkey? Where is Egypt and its glorious army? Because of America’s empty declarations, which the Arab-Muslim world scorns like the braying of a donkey, I understand why America lost its deterrence and ability to fight. I understand why no one takes America seriously, and I can only come to the conclusion that it is time for us, Arabs and Muslims, to take our fate in our own hands: the time has come to worry about ourselves.
Ali Salim is a scholar based in the Middle East.