Taha A. Lemkhir
A voice from Morocco

The custodian of the two holy mosques isn’t King Salman — it’s the U.S.

No brazen emirs with magnificent titles. No honorable daggers. No Arab league or great Islamic nations. No pan-Arab jingoism or Islamist heroism. No Jihad calls or martyrdom aspirations. No Jewish and crusaders conspiracies… When it comes to times of great uncertainty and fear, times of war between real armies, they all seek a hideout, and they all shout wholeheartedly: “God bless America.”

Reviving the sectarian craze:

As the signs of a long-awaited dawn began to loom out of the darkness of a long Persian night that lasted for decades, other signs of a deliberate activation of the dormant sectarian dynamics along with pan-Arab chauvinism can be detected through an attentive eye. Iran is, justifiably, now the main threat to the United States and its allies. But the Sunni Gulf states which are hoping for a quick destruction of the Mullahs’ Republic of terror have already envisioned a scenario for a post-revolutionary Iran which doesn’t necessarily conform with the U.S. policy.

The Saudis in particular are already investing in a resentful Arab population of Ahvaz (southwest of Iran) that could be a potential starting point for a schismatic Saudi plan for future Iran. If we look up to the north of Arabia, we can notice a rapidly developing rift in the Sunni camp. On one hand there is Gaza which aligned itself clearly now with the Iranian Shiite axis, and intentionally emphasized lately this loyalty through a series of provocative statements —which trespassed all the conventional Sunni lines— made by Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders that sparked a wave of criticism within the Sunni camp itself (which is traditionally constitute the base of support to those terror groups) in a context of an undeclared competitiveness (between Sunnis and Shiites) in leading the Jihad in Palestine. And in the other hand the sudden renewed debate over a monument of Saddam Husain (raised in 2017) in the West Bank was intended to stress the differences and restate the stand of each camp. Other calculated moves are taking place in Iraq, too.

All the parties involved know that playing the sectarian card will be their last resort to preserve the theocratic mode of governance and to thwart the U.S. efforts to settle the region on a strong democratic foundation, that is, a state of absolute chaos and constant massacres to baffle the US strategy. In Hizbullah’s words: the ignition of the whole region.

Undoubtedly, the theocratic Gulf states and Islamist powers wouldn’t be at ease seeing a democratic and secular Iran unfolding before their eyes. A new Iran that will reopen the Israeli embassy, and promulgate liberal values across the region and turn its back on the whole Islamic narration by focusing more in building a national identity that finds its roots in the achievements of Cyrus the Great, the pre-Islamic Sasanian legacy and the Zoroastrian wisdom—a great history obliterated by the Ayatollahs’ exclusive ideology.

An unmitigated American custodianship of Islam’s holiest sites:

The recent attacks on two oil tankers in the gulf of Oman had the Saudi eager to see the Iranian vessels wiped out by U.S. armed services stationed nearby. However, as the hours passed and the White House blast didn’t show up, the Saudis began to panic and their premier pan-Arab satellite channel Alarabiya hasn’t stopped bemoaning what it has called the U.S.’ “relaxed” behavior toward blatant Iranian assault against its allies, especially after a series of significant attacks in which one of them targeted a civilian airport in Abha wounding 26 people and made the sacred kingdom extremely embarrassed in front of its subjects.

But it was uniquely bizarre that all those flagrant attacks on Saudi heartland (some reached sensitive points) didn’t urge the king to address the nation like any responsible head of state would have done in similar situation, nor his son the feared Crown Prince —who is also the minister of defense—  found it necessary to reassure the horrified nation. Not a single word!

The kingdom that summoned Arab and Muslim leaders from 57 nations to three “glorious” summits in Makkah in a gaudy meeting room in the holy month of Ramadan, and in which it projected itself to the Arabs and Muslims as a superpower and the leader of the vast Islamic world, is now trembling of fear like a leaf, and relying on the US bravery and the gallantry of the Western soldiers— the same Westerners whom its state-appointed orators in mosques and ulemas of its religious institution call to this day in their Fatwas and sermons infidel pigs and enemies of Allah—to answer the call of duty it should have normally been answering itself. Cowardice and hypocrisy don’t begin to describe their attitude.

However, the U.S. priority is first and foremost directed toward its interests, the safety of its diplomatic personnel and troops, and the free navigation in the region, and it cannot be expected to sacrifice the life of its young soldiers for the sake of a lazy and apathetic ally which is shamelessly unwilling to take measures to defend its own territory and people against bearable attacks.

But here’s the rub: those Gulf states have never been interested in building strong national armies. In fact they fear such a thing—a disciplined body free from tribal influences with a hierarchical chain of command and modern learned brains.

With all the history of military coup d’états against traditional  monarchies in the region, in Iraq for instance, Egypt, Libya or Morocco, the Gulf states have preferred since there inception a weak and nominal military institution, mostly for official shows and prestige of the state and ceremonies. by contrast, they have invested more in the police apparatus and intelligence which are pivotal to control the population while at the same time they don’t pose a real threat to the ruling tribes.

Yet their real army is outside the system. The holy warriors known as the Mojahedeen whom they unleash to fight ideological wars abroad and conduct terrorist attacks in the West. They sent them to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, to Iraq fighting US forces and Shiite militias, to the Syrian civil war… Those do not have a legal status inside their countries, they are not listed in their governments payroll, they are not allowed to carry firearms and are quickly pulverized under the law of terrorism or any law whenever they show hostility to the state.

But never a disciplined national army that could be a potential rival to the overlord’s tribe that dominate the rest of the tribes in each state.

Buying high-end military hardware such as aircraft, tanks, missile defense systems doesn’t mean the ability to use them immediately without the necessary know-how. Not any pilot can fly an F-35 for example, it’s a complicated system that requires special training. And that’s what makes Iran prevails over them and have the upper hand in the proxy wars. Not for its extraordinary military capability, but because it has actually inherited from the Shah era a rather modern army with basic military discipline and knowledge that makes it at least able to use its old armory properly and executes successful operations.

That’s the reality they don’t want their subjects to know. And in order to conceal their failure they promote the conspiracy theory. But Muslims should be exposed to the fact that if the U.S. decides one day to close its military bases and leave the Arabian Peninsula, those army-less tribes, before any external element, will recklessly wreck havoc in the holy land of Islam.

About the Author
Taha Lemkhir is a Moroccan writer and photographer. Degree in Arabic literature and Islamic studies. Critic of Islamism. languages: Arabic, English and Spanish. He Lived part of his life as an Islamist— until enlightenment flashed through his heart.
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