The Arab-Islamic American Summit: An ideological victory of Iran

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By Sayyedah Sarah Nawazish

Amidst all the fanfare, the recent Arab Islamic American Summit kicked off in Riyadh, in the presence of 56 Muslim leaders. Oxymoronic as it may sound, the Arab-Islamic American Summit showcased President Trump in a different veneer. His entire election campaign had been a mouthpiece of opprobrious rhetoric against Muslims, yet here he was, explicating a message of ‘friendship, hope and love’[1]. One might not conveniently forget Trump having sneered at a meek Obama on more than one occasion, ‘bowing’ before the Saudi King.[2] Yet the leading Saudi and Arab newspapers featured Trump, ‘bending over’ to receive the honorary collar of Saudi Arabia’s founder.[3] Obama’s handshake with King Abdullah, during the first year of his presidency was a cause of much hullabaloo, where his slightest of head tilts ran the risk of being labeled as ‘bows’. Whether Trump bowed just as low or merely squatted; it is clearer than ever that Trump unequivocally woos the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a display of ‘principled realism’. The duo spearheaded the coveted ‘Islamic Summit’ which incidentally coincided with Iranian Presidential elections. The current elections of Iran indicate that popular support has espoused a moderate leader, whereas in this day and age, Trump, the current US president is a hardliner, who has been openly reviling the Muslim community.

The tagline of Trump’s speech read like anti-Iran rhetoric calling for measures to isolate Iran. Trump repeatedly denounced Iran during his first foreign trip. It is small wonder that Saudi Arabia, US and Israel conjoin on a common note; blasting Iran accused of expansionist designs in the region. Resonating with the hostility that the kingdom harbours against the post-Islamic Revolution Iran, Prince Mohammad bin Salman downrightly shunned any possibility of engagement with Iran, since it was paving way for the arrival of Imam Mahdi (A.S). If sanity prevails, one might justly ask, why does the kingdom have to worry a tad too much about the ‘saviour of humanity’; a concept foreground in Islam, irrespective of sectarian divisions. Also, the concept is pivotal to a number of religions which believe in the arrival of a saviour, who will establish the reign of justice. Having categorically said that, the prince left no room for speculation in his anti-Iran, or may I say, anti-Saviour-of-humanity rant. For those, who find blasphemy in any show of freedom of expression, this snide remark should not have evaded their psychic radar. Politics is about guarding one’s interests, yet how could one posit arguments against a sacred figure like Imam Mahdi A.S, of whom the Quran and rich Hadeeth literature speak as an embodiment of divine values and an indisputable sign of Allah during the end-of-times, and whose very existence is the very interest of entire humanity!

Iran has been frequently accused of orchestrating state-sponsored terrorism against the US and its allies as James Mattis, US Defense Secretary remarked early this year.[4] Dilating upon Iran’s role in Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, Mr Mattis blasted Iran, not to forget that Iran is also among the seven Muslim countries facing a controversial travel ban by the US. Let’s cast a cursory glance over the world terror timeline in the 21st century. The trajectory of terror attacks unfolds with the 9/11 terrorist attacks masterminded by Al-Qaeda, the bombing of commuter trains in Madrid 2004, was claimed by Al-Qaeda, the London bombings 2005 were perpetrated by men with Pakistani origin, the 2011 Norway attacks were committed by two shooters who did not profess allegiance to any terrorist group, the deadly Paris attacks in November 2015 were claimed by the notorious ISIS, the Istanbul bombing 2016 was said to be committed by a Kurdish separatist group together with ISIS, ISIS claimed responsibility for the Brussels attack 2016, just as San Berdardino, California 2015 shootings were carried out by a husband and wife, pledging allegiance to ISIS. Like

wise the Mumbai terrorist attacks or the more recent Manchester attacks did not even remotely involve Iran.

Let’s review the stance of Iran in the post- Islamic revolution phase till to date. Iran has been vocal in castigating the imperialist designs of the US and its allies. The US and Zionist powers have been deemed as the ‘great Satan’, a derogatory epithet in currency in Iran. Iran accused the kingdom of a tacit partnership with Zionist powers in the past, which this summit testifies to. In the past Anwar Eshki, former Saudi general and Dore Gold the Israeli ambassador to the UN had made the claim of covert diplomatic ties. On the ideological front, that which was latent, has now come to the fore, the kingdom has no scruples in declaring partnership with the US, which by default means fostering ties with Israel against Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen and Syria. Iran enjoys all the aces up its sleeves among the Muslim countries, as none of the countries invited to the summit have ever challenged the US or Israel against flagrant violation of human rights, be it in Palestine or Yemen. Iran stands out as the sole advocate of the rights of people. Hence the Iranian support lies with the people, whereas the kingdom supports the unfounded, totalitarian regimes, merely to further its stronghold in the region. The ideology of Imam Khomeini holds true today as the juxtaposition of opposites in the Arab-Islamic American Summit is reminiscent of the dichotomy ‘Islam e Amreekai and Islam e Muhammadi’(The Islam promoted by America contrary to the real Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad Salallah o Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam). The term was aptly coined by Imam Khomeini.

 

US, Israel and the kingdom have united to curb popular movements in say Palestine, Bahrain and Yemen. The disgruntled masses in Bahrain are against the stifling monarchy, but the kingdom and its allies have teamed against the peoples’ basic right to choose! If at all Iran is supporting these movements, these are freedom movements waged by the people, such as the Palestinians fighting against the brutal Zionist regime. The Houthis have been condemned to eon-old suffering at the hands of the kingdom and the world imperialist powers, with only Iran vowing support.

Hence Iran is the only Muslim country which has promised its support to the oppressed worldwide, be it the Palestinians in Middle East, Houthies in Yemen, Bahraini masses in Bahrain or fighting terrorism of the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Supporting the oppressed against the Zionist powers is the crime which Hezbollah has been held culpable for, as the terrorist activities on the international arena have never seen a single affiliate of Hezbollah. Thus the Arab-Islamic American Summit undeniably impersonates the ideology which Iran has long believed, that is the world imperialist powers pitted against the suppressed people.

History has been an incontestable witness to the world powers engagement with fascists, tyrants and totalitarian rulers in order to eliminate the adversaries. Dominated by cold-war politics, the biggest threat was USSR back then. Hence dictators of other countries were wooed with a view to garner support to counter USSR. Before the 1990s, dictators were not only given due recognition, rather oodles of foreign aid were dispatched to them as well. The geopolitics underwent a complete volte face after the fall of the Soviet Union. Euphemisms abounded; democracy, environment conservation, sustainable development, women’s right, labour rights, child labour and good governance. These were espoused as the indicators which reflected on a country’s performance, and whether the said country met the criteria for foreign aid or not. Earlier the violation of human rights, by all means, did not matter to the world imperialist powers for as long as the fascist dictators vowed to counter USSR. History repeats itself as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranks amongst the lowest of the low in terms of human rights indicators, and yet, the US, with its so-called concerns with human rights and peace, has no qualm

s in uniting with it. Yemen has been subject to worst levels of oppression and violation of human rights at the hands of Saudi Arabia and the US. Whither goes the rant on human rights, popular will and all that jazz. Iraq too has been ridden by ISIS, just as vast swathes of Syria have been under a tangible ISIS threat. Palestine has been home to blatant terrorism for ages now, yet the Arab-Islamic American summit speaks in a language of pleas to safeguard Israel’s interests, as the summit took place on the eve of President Trump’s visit to Israel.

Iran has been accused of fueling sectarian strife in the region. Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, ISIS, Taliban, the Boko Haram menace are not even remotely ‘Shiite’, but belong to an ideology, (in)famously termed as ‘Takfiri’, which is akin to the version of Wahabi Islam practised in Saudi Arabia. Most of these terror outfits have KSA as their birth place. Iran has been supporting Hamas, which is a Sunni outfit. Hence the accusations leveled against Iran to fuel sectarianism are invalidated, as neither Hamas, nor are the Houthis Shiite just as Asad in Syria is not Shiite.

 


[1] http://timesofindia. indiatimes.com/world/us/ donald-trump-at-arab-islamic- american-summit/liveblog/ 58772824.cms

[2] https://www.washingtonpost . com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/05/ 20/trump-mocked-obama-for- bowing-to-a-saudi-king-and- then-he/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=. 392e4bc51b07

[3] https://twitter.com/ JoeNBC/ status/866263418734563328/ photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw& ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww. washingtonpost.com%2Fnews% 2Fthe-fix%2Fwp%2F2017%2F05% 2F20%2Ftrump-mocked-obama-for- bowing-to-a-saudi-king-and- then-he%2F

[4] http://www.bbc.com/news/ world- us-canada-38868039
[29/05, 18:08] SNR: Please find attached an article on the latest Arab-Islamic American Summit.

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