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20 Jul, 2008

Islam’s Last Stand?

Originally Published: 20 July 2008

Islam’s last stand? The stand-off with Iran has put the United States / Israel and all the other anti-Iran antagonists in a situation where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

It should also be a tremendous learning experience for the rest of the Islamic world – and indeed all other developing countries in the evolving global order – that a lone country is finally putting up a clear, strategically well-planned fight against adversaries who continue to apply the same strategies of hypocrisy and double standards in pursuing their selective objectives.

Clearly, the West is hugely frustrated by the Islamic Republic’s ability to go eyeball-to-eyeball at the negotiating table, beat economic sanctions (thus matching Israel’s own ability to beat the years of attempted Arab sanctions), play both the geopolitical and military game and fend off multi-pronged pressure tactics.

The Iranians are proving to be significantly smarter than the hapless Saddam Hussein who became a victim of his own bluster and self-delusions.

The United States / Israel know that they will be damned by the world community should they attack Iran, with all the negative global consequences that will create. At the same time, they know that being forced to back off and back down will send a clear signal to the rest of the world that a united stand, patience and negotiating from a position of strength can achieve the desired results.

This is where the Islamic world has a lot to learn. The Islamic world, mostly Sunni, is learning from Iran, which is 100% Shia, that the abject failure of its policies across the global stage is the direct result of self-inflicted disunity and disarray, which has won it neither friends nor respect.

Had the rest of the Islamic world shown the guts and determination that Iran is showing today, a state of Palestine would have been very much in existence.

Indeed, the primary reason for the mess in the Islamic world is the unique ability of many of its leaders, governments and peoples to weaken themselves, turn on each other and also provide nourishment and succor to its detractors to do the same.

Tragically, however, they never seem to learn. If an attack on Islamic Iran does take place, it will be again as a direct result of the help and assistance provided by some or all of the Islamic countries on its borders.

Nor do they realise the totality of the damage this has done.

Even as the Palestinian state repeatedly pledged by the now lame-duck President Bush remains a distant dream, the occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights continues unabated.

Iraq was attacked in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction that were proven not to exist and none of the attackers have been held accountable. Afghanistan was attacked in pursuit of Osama bin Laden who is proving to be equally elusive as those weapons.

The world makes a big deal about Sudan’s human rights violations in Darfur while ignoring Israel’s human rights violations in occupied Palestine. It makes a big deal of Iran’s nuclear ambitions while ignoring the existence of Israel’s own nuclear stockpile.

The entire religion is tarnished with the brush of “terrorism.” In the Indian media, for example, a Kashmiri who commits an act of violence is always branded a “terrorist” but a separatist who commits a similar act of violence in India’s restive Northeastern states (about which the world does not hear much, by the way) is just a “rebel.”

Islam’s history is being falsified and re-written. Cartoons and commentaries denigrating the religion are regularly featured in global media, as is idiotic nomenclature like “Islamists”, “jihadists” and “Islamofascists”.

The Islamic countries of the Gulf are the primary suppliers of global fuel. Almost all their earnings leave their countries in the form of investments abroad, payments for nearly 100% imports of goods and services, as well as remittances by migrant labour.

This works out to billions of dollars a day, and yet they get little or no credit.

Muslim women who wear the hijab are considered to be “oppressed” even though it can be proven that domestic violence triggered by alcoholism in the West, and elsewhere, leaves their own women in a far worse state.

Muslim travellers have to put up with intrusive questions when applying for visas and are the first to be singled out for security checks at airports. Muslim charities have to prove that they are not conduits of funding for terrorists.

In the U.S., presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama has to go out of his way to prove that he is not a closet Muslim and that it is Israel he really loves.

This situation has not come about by chance but is the result of a very carefully planned strategy that virtually every Muslim knows to be true, but which is often dismissed and debunked as a “conspiracy theory”.

It is also the result of what many in the Islamic world feel to be the utter incompetence, cowardice and appeasement of their leaders who, bit by bit, are being cornered into selling their countries, their peoples and ultimately themselves and their souls in the face of this full-frontal and multi-pronged attack.

Some troubling questions arise for the man on the street: Why do the Islamic leaders show such a lack of spine? For how much longer are they going to allow themselves to be thus insulted and humiliated?

An attack on Iran will be the ultimate symbol of this catastrophic failure of leadership, especially if other Islamic countries aid and abet it, or otherwise look the other way.

Just as Iran’s adversaries know that breaking the will and determination of the Islamic Republic is critical to the success of the campaign against Islam, the Islamic world has to know that supporting Iran at this crucial juncture of geopolitical history is crucial to its own future and survival.

If Iran falls, picking off the rest of the Islamic world will be easy. That will be a glorious victory for those who saw Islam as the next “enemy” to be vanquished after that earlier “evil empire”, Communism.