Such “staunch allies” as Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan (all of which are not staunch allies, not allies, and not friends but enemies) have tried to make the Americans believe that they, the Americans, have to stay in Iraq to “prevent Iran” from taking over. By this they mean that the Sunnis should be protected from the Shi’a militia, so that outside Sunnis, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, will not have to supply money, materiel, and men themselves. They have determined that this line is the best way to inveigle the Americans into doing what they want. All the Arabs, and indeed even non-Arab Muslims, have been good at this.
Just look at how so many in Washington were snookered by the assurances of plausible Shi’a in exile about how once Saddam Hussein was removed all manner of things would be well, and Iraq would practically be a Light Unto the Muslim Nations. Those Shi’a-in-exile, or some of them, may simply have misremembered the violence and aggression of their own Muslim country, having been away so long, and having allowed themselves to believe that it was all a matter of Saddam Hussein. Did they forget how Nuri es-Said died? Or Qassem? Or the history of coups and counter-coups and massacres and tribal rebellions in Iraq? Apparently, they did, or convinced themselves that they, those most unrepresentative men, were representative of some non-existent Iraq.
And now it is the turn of the Sunni Arabs to snooker the Americans. And by raising the specter of Iran as the sole worry, and insisting that the best way to deal with Iran is to stand up for the Sunnis and Sunni interests in Iraq — my, how surprising — they are in fact preventing the Americans from dealing with the most important task involving Iran. That task is not to help the Sunnis in Iraq, or to hold back the Shi’a militia (who will not be held back, and the Shi’a government will not really allow those militia to be destroyed or truly disbanded), but to damage or destroy the nuclear weapons project.
Since the Sunni Arabs calculate that those nuclear weapons are likely to be used first against Israel, and the Sunni Arabs would not at all mind an exchange in which Israel were to be destroyed and in turn would destroy much of Iran, that is not what they wish to have the Americans focus on. No, the Sunni Arabs argue, the way to limit the power of Iran is to do two things. One is to help the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, in their brave and principled stance against the Shi’a domination that merely reflects this hideous one-man-one-vote idea. And the second, of course, is to pressure Israel, to force it to give up still more territory to the Arabs, for (and now a look of the utmost sincerity from Mubarak, from Abdullah of Jordan, from assorted Saudi potentates and powers, is directed at the American official with whom that particular Sunni Arab ruler is speaking), “that is the best way to deprive Iran of its appeal to the Arab street.”
In other words, throw Israel to this particular pack of wolves, and let the leaders of that pack howl with delight and claim that “see, we’re the ones who managed to achieve the further weakening of Israel, and not that other pack of wolves over there, the ones who live in Teheran.”
It is disgusting that such obvious manipulation should succeed. But the credulity of the people in Washington is limitless. This is because they refuse to sit still and study Islam. How many books on Islam do you think Bush and Rice have managed to read, and what might those books have been? They are unaware, almost certainly, both of the texts (and what the authors of tafsir, or commentators on the Qur’an, have made of those texts) and the teachings of Islam, as demonstrated in the behavior of Muslims over the past 1350 years of Jihad-conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims, and in the current behavior of Muslims toward non-Muslims in the countries where Islam now rules, as well as the behavior of Muslims toward non-Muslim legal and political institutions in the countries still under the control of non-Muslims.
One — that is one who is a member of the Western ruling classes — can keep avoiding finding things out, or telling oneself they cannot possibly be true, because then the responsibility to deal with that reality becomes, for some, simply too complicated and troubling. Or one can continue to pretend that one does grasp the key matter at hand, and that all kinds of brilliant strategies exist and are being executed, but are deliberately being kept hidden from the public.
Or one can get out of the way — or in an election be forced out of the way — so that those who understand that among the responsibilities of rule is the duty to fully inform oneself about things, and right now, above all other things, about Islam.