Jerusalem was lost and regained by Muslims several times in history, first to Crusaders in 1099, regained by Salahuddin in 1187 after the battle of Hattin; lost again to the British when General Allenby entered the city in 1917 and declared: “Only now have the Crusades ended”, regained once more when the Arab Legion of King Abdullah the First captured the city in 1948 in the first Arab - Israeli war and then lost to the Israelis in 1967 by his grandson Hussain. Is this the final outcome? The question has been thrown to us to decide. Shamefully, we are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world versus 12.4 million Jews, a 150 to one ratio!
Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was an election promise to placate the Jewish Zionists and the Christian Right. It also reflected the candidate’s own phobias. It was therefore expected that he would act on his promise. Also expected was an explosive reaction in the Arab Street, only that the explosion did not happen, at least not immediately. This should not surprise anybody because the Arab Street is in ruins and its ethos has been decimated. Its last convulsion --- the Arab Spring --- was nipped in the bud by petro dollars and the mafia which controls the empire. The bosses prevailed and the subjects vanquished. What we have today are Arab masses, crawling the street with no souls, no ambition, nowhere to go, and only a meek will to survive.
Gone are the days of the vibrant capitals of the Arab world: Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad, whose reverberations could be heard loud and clear all over the world. Dim are the lights of the minarets of the Haramain, where treason is casting its shadows. The Algeria of Ben Bella and Boumeddiene is no more, replaced by the irrelevance of Bouteflika. The PLO leaders, who were ever so ready to jump into battles, do not live in barracks anymore. Instead, they live in mansions provided by the occupiers and serve as their security guards. The Palestinian Diaspora in the West is in its more prosperous phase, sedentary and sedate but has to contend with surging White nationalism and Islamophobia. The post-Nakba generations are only loosely bonded with the homeland, obviously with no aspirations to return.
The ISIL interregnum is now drawing to a close with devastation and depopulation from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq with great historical importance, where once 2.2 million people lived, is now rubble and desolate. The Iraqi army together with Shia militias and Iranian “advisers” recaptured the city by getting the American planes to bomb it to the Stone Age. Same is the fate of the other cities in Iraq and Syria recaptured from the rebels. The soldiers sat back and let the American and the Russian planes drop thousands of tons of bombs on buildings and populations, thus creating unhindered entry to the “recapturers.” There are vast areas of voided civilization in the Middle East. Who will fill this void and what will follow, nobody even dares to ask and nobody talks about this on the Arab Street. Perhaps there will be another Arab Spring or some other revolutions lurking in the shadows; who knows?
So, the ISIL is gone as claimed by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, but is it? ISIL was a fake symbol of a genuine concept: the concept of unity of the Ummah. This lives in the consciousness of every Muslim on earth. It was partially manifest in the institution of Khilafah (the last one being the Ottoman). Ibrahim Al-Baghdadi very cleverly exploited this to attract the allegiance of aggrieved Muslim youth but what he offered them was not an Islamically structured foundation of a state but erratic, at times criminal personal behavior and a path to annihilation. So the fate of the ISIL was predetermined, but the concept is very much alive and has not been defeated. It becomes vibrantly palpitant when there is a sense of deprivation such as after the Six-Day war. As long as those conditions exist it will stay alive in the hearts of the people and will re-emerge at a different time and a different place.
Back to the subject. Donald Trump is not a thinking person. He acts on early morning instincts, which issue from his personal prejudices, Fox News broadcasts and Breitbart News, an extremely right wing journal. When that happens, he is free from the constraints of his office and subcerebral mechanisms start working. However, there is a blessing in disguise in his declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is yet to be confirmed, but the indications are that he has unwittingly united the Muslim World. The Munafiqoon were left with no choice but to halfheartedly criticize his action, even though their assent had already been sought and given. The Washington Post reported in its Dec. 3 edition that when Mahmoud Abbas visited Riyadh, to his bewilderment Mohammad Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia presented him with the following plan:
“The Palestinians would get a state of their own but only noncontiguous (sic) parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants”.
The imams in Mecca and Medina were silent about this in their Friday Khutbas. Many Saudis, both at home and abroad are stunned. The Saudi and Bahraini citizens in Jordan were ordered not to join any demonstrations. It is needless to say that the subservient Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi cannot go against the wishes of his paymasters. However, all the fair-minded European leaders, save those in Eastern Europe, who are under the delusions of white supremacy, have come out with strong condemnation of the Trumpian misadventure. Furthermore, it has cemented alliance between Turkey, Russia, and hopefully Iran. It has provided a golden opportunity for Putin to gain influence in the Middle East, which was lost after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It has stirred distant Malaysians and Indonesians into action. What can be more welcoming for the Arab and the Muslim world? God bless you, Donald! So what if no spasmodic protestations occurred in the Arab World? The road to a calculated long term plan became open.
Thomas Friedman’s column in the New York Times: “Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at last” on November 23, hails Mohammed Bin Salman as the great reformer, who is ushering in an Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia. Let us look at this great reformer a little bit more closely. He is being called a great reformer for allowing the Saudi women to drive and allowing cinemas to open in the Kingdom, as if surpassing the reformations of Gershom Ben Judah in Judaism and Martin Luther in Christianity. This great reformer is as astute and as Kafkaesque as Genghis Khan, who is bombing Yemen and blockading it in blatant violation of international law and has killed thousands of poor and innocent fellow Arabs. He has blockaded Qatar, again in violation of the international law. He is demanding a ban on Al Jazeera, the only viable news outlet in the Arab World, simply because it reports news accurately and without bias, which is not to the Prince’s liking. He demands a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood organization because he feels that monarchies like his and dictatorships like in Egypt are threatened by its peaceful political and social activism. In fact it is the Saudi monarchy which is the greatest abomination on earth. Any reform should begin with its abolition and the return of the princes’ ill-gotten wealth, including his own, to the people.
Look further at the Great Reformer. The Prince, while holidaying in the South of France saw a yacht, which he liked and the desire to acquire it possessed him. He bought it for $452 million, while he was imposing austerity measures on his subjects.
Further,” ARTnews” reported on December 8 that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman purchased Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting: Salvator Mundi (Latin for Savior of the World) for $450.3 million. It was sold about ten years ago for less than ten thousand dollars. This raises several questions:
- Just the two purchases mentioned above amount to almost one billion dollars, spent on personal pleasures. Where did this money come from, if not stolen from the people?
- The painting depicts Prophet Jesus (A) as the Savior of the world, a concept diametrically opposite to the Islamic belief of prophethood. To the Takfiris, this must be nothing less than kufr. This is not to mention the prohibition of drawing and exhibiting pictures of the prophets in Islam. So, is this reformer out to reform Saudi Arabia by nullifying Islam?
- Where do the imams and muftis stand on this, especially the muftis in Saudi Arabia?
I have a proposition: Let us ask the important Ulema in the world, especially those in Saudi Arabia about their fatwa on this issue and publish their answers, mentioning those who respond as well as who do not. I am inviting some conscientious Islam lover to undertake this task.
As can be seen, President Trump has just committed the biggest mistake of his life and a great disservice to the Jewish state. He has kicked a sleeping giant. Indeed this will be empty talk unless we use this opportunity to come together as one people. Also, the governments must come together and cooperate. We wish that all the countries in the Persian Gulf cooperated with each other but this is not likely to happen as the kings and the Sheikhs are fighting for their own survival. They are presenting Iran as a bogey, like the Americans used to present Communism, to scare people. Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of defense expenditure after the United States, China and Russia. Israel is a distant fifteenth. Where are these weapons stored and for what purpose?
Trading in arms is an extremely lucrative business for both the buyers and the sellers. Countries buy arms to meet external threats. There are two countries where such threats do not exist: United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The weapons manufacturers control the Capitol Hill and they control the House of Saud, where the money sits. The princes can make big money in arms purchases but there needs to be a designated enemy, like the United States once had in the Soviet Union. Hence Iran!
Iran, with all its faults and its objectionable role in Syria, is a progressive country and now since the war in Syria is nearly over, it should unite with other progressive forces in the region, Shia and Sunni to combat the enemy, visible and invisible. It must act and be seen not as a promoter of Shia interests but as a sincere member of the Islamic family.