Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why does the ailing west aid its Islamist enemies?

The Australian

Was there ever a more perverse and self-destructive society than the contemporary West? In its attitude to the Middle East and the Islamic world, it appears to suffer from the political equivalent of auto-immune disease: turning on its allies while embracing its enemies.

One year ago, the US and Britain helped street protesters to overthrow president Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Hailing the revolutionary tumult of the "Arab Spring" as the equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West went on to help armed Libyan rebels remove president Muammar Gaddafi by military force. This regional strategy was promoted even though it was obvious from the start that the people who were best organised to take advantage of any elections in the Arab world were Islamists of one stripe or another - religious extremists all, united by their hostility to the West.

And so it has proved. The Islamists are coming to power in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia, and in turn are being increasingly empowered elsewhere. In Libya, sickening atrocities, including the torture and killing of Gaddafi himself by a lynch mob, have been carried out by those brought to power with the assistance of British and US bombing raids.

Yet Western politicians are even now hymning the brave new dawn of democracy throughout the Muslim world. British Foreign Secretary William Hague conceded earlier this month that the regional violence and votes for Islamism were a "setback", but he insisted: "Greater freedom and democracy in the Middle East is an idea whose time has come."

And the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organisation now in the ascendancy, which uses violence and political manipulation to advance its aim of world domination for Islam, is suddenly being hailed by Western leaders as the acme of moderation.

Yet in helping to get rid of Mubarak and Gaddafi, Britain and the US have managed the signal feat of ousting oppressive regimes that were at least helpful to the West, and replacing them with oppressive regimes that are acutely hostile to the West.

One immediate result is that the Sinai desert, neutralised as a trouble spot ever since Israel made peace with Egypt in 1979, has now become an acute threat to Israel's southern border. Hamas is now building arms-manufacturing facilities in Sinai, including those for building rockets, and other Islamic extremists are piling in.

Arms are being smuggled from Egypt into Gaza without interruption. Oh, and Libyan weapons, including Russian-made anti-plane rockets, are now making their way into the Gaza Strip. Well done, Britain and America!

And then there's Iran. Ever since the Islamic revolution in 1979, when the ayatollahs declared war on the West, Iran has been involved in many acts of terrorism against the US and Western interests. Tehran regularly threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and is now racing to develop nuclear weapons to realise its infernal goals.

Yet despite all this, the West has refused to fight back or even to acknowledge the Iranian war against the West, with President Barack Obama advertising US weakness by extending his hand in friendship to the regime.

Obama's catastrophic strategy has given Iran the one thing it needed above all else: time to bring its nuclear weapons program to fruition.

Only now, with the hands on the doomsday clock pointing to midnight, have Britain, the US and Europe finally imposed tough sanctions against Iran. But what use are these when they will almost certainly be busted by Russia and China?

Sanctions are supposed to force Iran to ‘come to its senses’ and stop its nuclear energy program from producing weapons. But the Tehran regime is dominated by fanatics who believe the Shia messiah, the Mahdi, will return to earth either as result of or to bring about the apocalyptic end of days.

That is why the argument that "They wouldn't dare launch a nuclear attack because they know half of Iran would be obliterated as a result" is fatuous. They would be happy if this were to occur.

But despite all this, Western leaders still behave as if the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the dominant issue in the Arab world, and that the expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land is the dominant issue in the Arab-Israel conflict.

Barely a week goes by without Western politicians or the media blaming "Israeli intransigence" in general, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, for blocking the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says time is running out for the two-state solution to the conflict because of "facts on the ground" - code for the Israeli settlements.

His deputy, Nick Clegg, went further, claiming the "illegal" settlement-building amounted to "an act of deliberate vandalism" that jeopardised a peaceful two-state solution.

Yet this was to ignore the fact it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate without preconditions. It ignores the fact that Israel has twice offered the Palestinians a state on most of the West Bank, to which the Palestinians have merely responded by terrorist campaigns.

And it ignores the absolutely fundamental fact that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has said the Palestinians will never accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.

So why does the West fail to see what is under its nose? There are several reasons, including prejudice, ideology, strategic short-sightedness and simple funk.

But the deeper reason is surely the Western belief that the world is basically governed by rationality. So all conflicts arise from grievances, and all parties can be persuaded to settle a quarrel in their own interests.

Refracting everything in the world through the prism of its unshakeable faith in universal reason, the West is incapable of recognising or understanding religious fanaticism, and insists instead on treating the fanatic as a rational actor.

The ghastly irony is that in making a fetish of reason, the West is behaving irrationally by refusing to acknowledge the mortal threat posed to its own existence by the Islamic world.

In other words, this could be the point in history at which the West simply disappears up its own arrogant backside.

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