By Faizal Nor Izham

While Islamophobia continues to run rampant on the streets of Europe, one critical aspect that tends to be overlooked by the mainstream media when it comes to the Western world’s relationship with the Middle East is the steady stream of armed aid the former provides to pro-Western regimes in the latter. Understanding the main source of grievances in the Arab world may offer us a clue as to why there is so much tension stemming from the Middle East today. For example, it’s no secret that the British government has for a long time been highly complicit in its arms dealings with Sunni Saudi Arabia, often used by the oil-rich kingdom to exterminate Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen. And even more recently, leaked emails from Hillary Clinton also indicate that she is fully supportive of fanning the flames in Syria even further through the export of arms to extremist groups such as ISIS.

It’s safe to say that the present clash of civilizations is nowhere near as black-and-white as the average person on the street believes it to be. With the recent banning of burkinis in France grabbing the headlines more than substantial atrocities committed abroad, the more informed among us really ought to sit back and reflect on where our priorities should be in the grand scheme of things. For example, one email leak attributed to Hillary, during her role as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, emphasized that Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s civil war may not seem connected on the surface, but in fact are, citing the strategic relationship between the Assad regime and a nuclear-armed Iran that would spell “a precarious nuclear balance that could not be responded to with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon as it can today.” She therefore went on to claim that the best way to deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is “to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Al-Assad” and that any negotiations with Iran to limit its nuclear program would not help resolve the present “security dilemma”.

What’s even more worrying is that in August, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced even more damaging material in his trove of hacked emails — this time involving Hillary Clinton pushing to arm jihadists in Syria, including ISIS. Despite her testimony in January 2013 during the congressional Benghazi hearings, in which Clinton denied under oath having any knowledge of the weapons trade program with Syrian rebels that took place a year before the Benghazi attack, Assange now claims that 17,000 of these recently hacked emails are “about Libya alone,” and among them is proof that Clinton “pushed” for weapons to be sent to “jihadists within Syria and Libya, including ISIS.” In other words, Clinton’s proposal in dealing with already fiery situation is to fan the flames even further by arming the one terror group which the entire world is dreading today.


Photo: Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images

With the Syrian refugee crisis in Aleppo gradually worsening over time (as a result of continuous Western intervention since the initial outbreak in 2011), plus Britain’s heightened xenophobia towards immigrants in general in the post-Brexit era, it’s high time members of the public attempt to re-examine the real source of the problems the world is facing today, and what can be done about it. For one, it should stand to reason that continuous intervention by Western powers in the Arab world as far back as the start of the 20th century has, and always has been, the main source of all the grievances expressed by the Middle East to this day. This originally stemmed as far back as the overthrowing of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which united most of the Arab world for about 600 years prior to to British colonization of the Middle East for oil at the start of the 20th century (oil was first discovered in Iran in 1908 and later Saudi Arabia in 1938). After the subsequent dismantling of the Ottoman Empire following the First World War and the resulting Sykes-Picot agreement (in which Britain and France went on to carve out the remainder of the Arab world among themselves, including Syria and the state of Palestine), the Middle East’s resulting source of grievances has always been more structural in nature, such as political and economic, rather than religious.

Should we really be blaming the terrorists and leaders such as Assad for all the world’s current problems? Yes and no. While these parties have been highly complicit in the ongoing crisis that Syria and the rest of the world faces today, it also important to remember that they themselves are not necessarily the root source of the problem at hand. And so, with the American presidential election looming at the end of this year, many of us in the West should try to collectively re-evaluate what can be done to calm the Syrian situation down altogether, before things well and truly do get out of hand.


Featured Image: abcnews


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