The three-ring circus: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the world

The crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia is like a three-ring circus. One has to decide whose appalling behavior is more riveting to watch, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the world:

  • Iran’s continued repression, support for terrorism, and nuclear weapons’ threats?
  • Saudi Arabia’s despotism, exportation of Sariah fanaticism, and exportation of Wahhabism leading to global terrorism?
  • The world’s efforts at actively ignoring or appeasing all of the above?

On January 6 in Ottawa, Canada, Shia protesters demanded that the government cancel a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia after the Saudis executed 47 prisoners. On the surface, it looks like a worthwhile demand. After all, there were reportedly a handful of innocents among those executed, together with all the Jihadi terrorists.

But one has to ask first: did the protesters just wake up from a decades-long sleep?

What about all the other crimes committed by Saudi Arabia before this one? And why are they not protesting against Iran? Did they not notice that Iran is about as dangerous as Saudi Arabia, if not more? And what about Daesh? Or Hezbullah? Or Hamas? Or the Taliban? Or Boko Haram? Or Assad in Syria? Or any of the countries that are either dominated or threatened by Islamists?

It is unlikely that Canada will cancel its arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and even if it did, it would find a way to re-instate it somehow. The main reason is that the politicians know that a cancelation would make no significant contribution to the Middle East. It would be a drop in the bucket.

The world has not done anything meaningfully positive in the Middle East for a long time. The last time was when it voted at the United Nations for the 1947 partition plan that allowed Israel to declare its independence. Although since then the UN has done everything in its power to reverse that decision, Israel is and remains the only ray of hope emanating from the Middle East.

The Arab world and most of the Muslim world are oppressive to their peoples and a threat to the rest of the world. Not only are they incapable of solving their own problems, forcing Western nations to intervene militarily, but they are also exporting their fanaticism to the rest of the world.

Arab and Muslim hatred for the West and for Jews has continuously been swelling the numbers of haters in the West, mixing with the West’s own garden varieties of haters still nostalgic for the Nazi era. Progressive Arabs and Muslims are trying to resist this assault by allying themselves with other progressives in the West, but most of those progressives are much too busy pretending that there is no problem to worry about.

Don’t be fooled by the lovers’ spat between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Despite their words, they have far more in common that they let on. They are both Islamo-fascist regimes that sponsor terrorism and put to death individuals simply for being born gay, among many other atrocities. If the U.S. is now replacing its alliance with Saudi Arabia with an alliance with Iran, as some observers have speculated, then it is simply replacing one deadly mistake with another. Neither should be trusted. Neither is our friend or partner by any definition of the words.

The harm caused by Islamism is extensive, and the attempts at solutions are very few. Islamism has become so powerful that two of its leading protagonists, Iran and Saudi Arabia, can afford to bicker openly and carelessly. They know that the rest of the world is unable or unwilling to stop them.

So we watch and hope for the best. Maybe it is just a local dispute? Maybe Islam will just evolve like other religions did (never mind the fact that its evolution has gone in the opposite direction for the last decades)? Maybe giving the Palestinians a state (that they do not deserve and that they have shown repeatedly that they do not want) will magically cure all?

So we go back to attacking the easy target. We organize “apartheid” weeks against Israel. We demand an end to the Israeli “occupation”. We claim that Jews are just European invaders. We promote boycotts against Jews in the West Bank and against Jews in Israel. We denounce the IDF as the worst criminals in the world.

Hey, maybe if we deliver the Jews to the Islamists, the Islamists will leave us alone…

The brutal truth however is that appeasement does not work, even when it involves selling out the Jews. Islamism is one monstrous problem that we must be mature enough to deal with before it is too late, if it is not already too late.


January 9, 2015: Added the paragraph “Don’t be fooled by the lovers’ spat…” for more clarity.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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