By: Maged Taman
If we want a healing between the Arab/Muslim and America we have to examine the wrong policies that led to this struggle. It is not the Arab/Muslim delusions to have these angry feelings against America. It is the American foreign policy that was built on interest mainly (please read the book confession of an economic hit man by John Perkins).
You have to understand that most of the Arab and Muslims do not hate America or Americans but some of American policies. In our region the most important for America is the oil and Israel. Do not misunderstand me I am a pro-Jewish and I am for Israel existence. Things are getting better there now and we should not rock the boat and we all to pray for the peace process to succeed let us examine the policies.
When the Iranians elected Mossadek as Prim minister in the fifties American CIA helped to overthrow him since he wanted to nationalize the oil (against American corporate oil interest) . When the Shah was torturing his people in Iran America was supporting him. America then supported Saddam knowing how butcher he was to fight the Iranians (did they try to make peace between them as per Jesus teachings!!). I was surprised when I heard from a respected American politician saying that we thought both were evil to us so we supported the less evil. One million died in the Iranian/Iraqi war a lot of them were children (I do not think they were sheep).
As always happen when a lot of injustice exits the hard liners and terror/jihad take over.When The crazy Saddam attacked Kuwait (which as other corrupted Arab states where arming Iraq in that war for fear of democracy or spread of Islamic morality) Saddam did not think America will attack him. He mentioned in 1990 to Dan Rather to ask the west about Saddam he was thinking that he was their agent and he miscalculated and president Bush (41) taught him a big lesson. Saddam was saying that he was in his way to Israel, it looks like he forgot to check the map before going. Some people preferred that President Bush (41) would have better given him a face save (closed door politics) knowing Saddam big ego instead of killing thousands of people and loss of all this huge money. Particularly he did not take him out of office and actually they turned down the Kurds and Shiite upraise and let Saddam destroy the upraise. I leave this to historians to debate it since I am looking now from the 20/20 hindsight.
Through the last 30 years America was supporting the most totalitarian regimes in the Arab world particularly the Egyptians and Saudi for Israel and the oil. America knew very well how oppressed we are. The funny thing they say they supported Israel because Israel is a democracy (how about us!!). Most or Arab tyrants would attack Israel in the media while in private meetings with American officials they express their loyalty.
The Palestinian-Israel conflict is their everlasting plan so they keep their peoples busy so they do not ask for democracy or improving their living conditions. Most of these regimes look for their best interest: power, money, glory, fame, family and inheritance, their people comes the very last. They play the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in different directions according to the best of each regime interest.
Moderates like me would just shut their mouth since these very repressive regimes would never listen to moderates and they are very strong that we can not even make a revolution.Before 09/11 I sent an article to one of the famous American news magazine telling them about the severe repression that gave rise to terrorism they did not publish it. 9/11 happened and most of Arab/Muslims were angry since just wars in Islam would usually happen army to army. Bin Laden thought that this kind of terrorism/jihad is the asymmetrical war that only available to the weak against the strong. Most Arab/Muslims supported America to go after Ben Laden in Afghanistan and they did. After revenge which is a normal human reaction the next step to America is to find the roots of terrorism and correct it otherwise we will have more of the same for decades.
As Americans officials stated the terrorists/jihads need to be right once and we need to be right all the time. Most moderates would not like to see any further terror any where but jihads will not dissolve their cells until they see major shift of policies, they will not take my advise anyway. We do not appease jihads/terrorists by changing American policies as well we have to remember that America was appeasing the terrorist Saddam and the other Arab dictators while torturing their people.
President Bush (43) went to Iraq ( big package: oil, protecting Israel, WMD, Saddam-Al Qaeda remote link, freedom, justice....). It is clear from Bob Woodward book that president Bush was quite strong about his Christian convection of freeing people before the attack. They expected that they will be met with flowers which would be only true if they went only for the Iraqi people, which the congress would not approve it anyway, or they do not have the above history I discussed. They made reasonable decisions but nothing is reasonable in this area. When people are oppressed for long time they can easily get brainwashed. The American media showed also that WMD and oil were primary targets of invasion which did not help. Actually every thing can go wrong went wrong.
Even the Saudi who were pushing for the war would not like it to be a short walk, otherwise they may be next on line. The cost of war on human lives and money were great. Again this tell you the need for democracy every where if we are hoping for a predictable world. Most moderate said O.K. Saddam was an evil guy and you made him and you destroyed him and results of wars are unpredictable let us start a new era and spread democracy in the middle east. Moderates still fear it will be a selective democracy against Iran and Syria who present a potential harm to Israel. For honesty President Bush tried to urge the corrupted Arab leaders to give democracy to their people but they stood one hand firm against him. This is the only time you see all of them very united. Then America agreed to the very short steps the Arab leaders want to make. Which most moderates are joking about it since it means we will have a true democracy in our life time only if we have a life span of 400-500 years. The argument is American security is more important and they need these regimes to support them in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and they need the Saudi for oil. So we are back to status quo their interest to have us oppressed again. May be we need President Bush to put only one or two of his critics in the prison so America knows what oppression is.
Muslim scholars who support the Arab repressive regimes should fear God and criticize the Arab leaders and stand to the poor and oppressed (this is God command in both the bible and the Quran). This will facilitate the American promise to support our freedom. It will also form a pragmatic new front that can unite the Arab/Muslim masses to give us the power to negotiate with America. I do not think America has a certain formula for our democracy and we have to unite in one voice Shiite and Sunni. Unfortunately, we do not have as yet a Caliph that Muslims have to follow his guidance.
Unlike what the west think that we want to convert the world to Islam, our primary mission is to convert Muslims to Islam. We want to see morality, democracy and Justice to all people. We want all people to be righteous regardless of their religion or belief, no compulsion to creed in Islam. Conversely the west did not work to spread the morality of its religious belief, it just repressed ours. There is no theocracy in Islam. Actually unlike the Islamic government in early Islam, the new form of government now is a morality-based righteous governments with widespread consultation and sharing of decision between all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Believe me I enjoyed working with righteous Jews in America more than a lot of mean people in my country.
Meanwhile as Muslims we have to be pragmatic, dynamic, flexible and adjustable. This is what people call it the dynamic of politics. The world is just too complicated that people can not make opinions and assumptions and stick to them since the other side can change and yield. In Islam the worst enemies of our messenger Mohamed (pbuh) ended to be his best friends. A lot of diplomacy and political maneuvers are what we need now (talk softly with a big stick). We need to compete with Bin Laden for the hearts and minds of the poor and oppressed Arabs and Muslims. I offered my Taman Health Plan and my New World Order as two gifts to the American politicians to take them both not one only and fix the world. I will come out of my cave in the right time to bless their efforts.