UI – Part 514 – From the Wild West to the Wild Middle East
Many Americans, mostly now the elders, grew up watching westerns. From Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Range, Roy Rogers, to John Wayne we were engaged in stories about America’s expansion westward and the travails encountered as the settlers established homesteads. The Cowboy was the American. Not only were they faced with uncharted territories, unexpected mountains, thick forests or scorching desert, they encountered an enemy, so they thought, that fought to protect for themselves what the ‘white man’ desired, their land. There were many tribes, but collectively we knew them as the ‘Indians.’ It was Cowboys and Indians.
That was the Wild West.
Wild Middle East
In the Muslim world today there is also a confrontation on-going with the forces on each side growing militarily, defensively and offensively. The hegemony of the Middle East, between Shiite and Sunni, one side the Iranians, the other the Saudis, is at stake. Can there be no peace among Muslims or Muslim Nations?
A map of the region places Iran to the East of Saudi Arabia across a sea one side calls Persian and the other, Arabian. Bordering Saudi Arabia is Iraq to the north northeast, Jordan to the north, Yemen to the south and Oman to the southeast.
Iran is bordered to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east Afghanistan and Pakistan. To the northwest Iran borders Iraq.
Since before the 1979 Iranian Revolution Iran has enjoyed a strong military, financed and equipped primarily by America. Within the military are sub-sets of special forces to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Force. Iran has maintained their military and provided backing for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and Hamas in Palestine. America and Israel are enemies of Iran, referred to as the Great and Little Satan, respectively. The Islam practiced in Iran is Shia.
Saudi Arabia is the homeland of the Sunni Muslims, as well as the treasured and revered holy sites in Mecca, the Kaaba, and Medina. At least once during the lifetime of a Muslim they are to commit themselves to a pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, one of the 5 Pillars of Islam.
The Saudi’s have maintained a very strong air force and just prior to the Iran-Kuwait War allowed the United State to establish a military base, an air force installation, in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. It is strategic to our presence in the Middle East. The Royal Saudi air force maintains a base about 500 miles east of Riyadh, the King Abdul Aziz Air Base. It is close to the Persian Gulf.
Since 911 and the military activity in the Middle East, to include Afghanistan, with battles in Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and now Yemen, there has been a role for Iran and Saudi Arabia. Although Sunni, Iraq’s current President (Prime Minister) is a Shiite, Haider al-Abadi, and has been in office since September 2014.
Iran has not intervened directly in the activities of ISIS, but has maintain great interest in what happens in the area, imparting aide, military, finance and equipment as suitable to Iran’s objectives. After Obama’s nuclear agreement, Iran used some of the billions received to buy Boeing large aircraft. Some are being used surreptitiously to transport revolutionary Guards to Damascus to aide in reestablishing Assad’s authority over Syria. Iran has also armed the Houri rebels in Yemen, a Shiite military group, with the aim of taking over that country.
Looking at the region map it becomes obvious that Iran is seemingly attempting to circle Saudi Arabia with military strength with a heart for the Shiite Ayatollah and their Islamic interpretation.
The head to head between Iran and Saudi Arabia, politically and probably more ideologically, Shiite and Sunni, is creating tensions, concerns and problems. In both cases the Mullahs or Imams, the religious scholars, are inept as to anything other than their memorization of the Quran and bias towards a literal interpretation of the tenets of Islam. Beyond that their education is most limited. There are political leaders or members of the monarchy and its extended family that have been educated, many in the United States or European Universities learning engineering and administration. The scholars, the ulema, act as advisers to the elite government officials and instill in them a need to toe the line when it comes to legalities, considering all aspects and enforcing Sharia, or Islamic Law. Such laws are more constrained to consider Muslims first and all others, as infidels, as lesser beings, often ignored when it pertains to crimes committed by a Muslim towards them.
That is the Wild Middle East.
What Does the Future Hold?
Since the Iranian Revolution (1979) tensions have escalated. Turmoil in the Middle East has become more obvious. America’s political elite ignored the problem with Islam, focused more on the spread of communism and the Russians. This was an error of judgement. As a result curbing much of what is ongoing may have been possible. Is it now too late?
The Middle East will have to find an avenue to instill more secular thinking into their countries or find a continued devolution into an abyss of backwardness that is more akin to the 7th Century than the modern world. Modernity is anathema to the Mullahs and Imams as it carries with it freedom, independent thinking, equality and education for all, men and women. The religious scholars themselves are ignorant of the humanities, the arts and liberal philosophical considerations, that allow for discussion, debate and personal thinking, constricting themselves to only the texts, the Quran, the Hadiths (of their choice), the Reliance of the Traveller, and oral history that involves recall of the example of Muhammad and their Supernatural force, Allah. They operate within these constraints to judge others and to structure the environments in which their constituents dwell. If Allah is the only provider, they will wait and see what Allah provides. Productivity is less important than 5 daily prayers. Survival will continue as the history of Islam has demonstrated by raiding the communities and treasuries of others, to include raiding and kidnapping for ransom. Their tribal, clan nature is virtually impossible to shake. They are blind to reality. They prefer to blind those caught in the web of their future as well.
With only the scholars in charge, with only Sharia Law in place, with only governments that rely on the guidance of the ulema, there will be no future for Muslims in those areas, in Islamaland, that entails growth, improved living conditions or lifestyles, or freedom of any sort.
For those that escape, that seek pathways to the West, be it Europe or America, as Russia and Asia have little appetite for hoards of displaced Muslims from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, even Turkey and other currently Muslim majority areas, they want what the ulema prefer they not have. But they must beware, as also the political leaders, the Prime Ministers, Presidents, Parliaments and Congress in the host countries, that the scholars will not stop, they will remain stuck in their 7th center capsule and impart what little they know of the world whenever they are allowed. They will insist and attempt to impart their will as the will of Allah, or the people they control. If not in control, the dissidents are subject to being murdered, as in Iran today, so the scholars can continue to live by the example of Muhammad, and totally ignore progress. The funding of mosques and madrassas in areas outside the Muslim world has enabled this enmity filled, possessed, ideology to spread.
The wild Middle East can spread to other parts of the world, if permitted. It is now allowed in Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, the United Kingdom, etc. Need I continue?
Grace and Peace.
Note: congratulations to U.S. for moving the American Embassy to the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem, this week. It is a long time coming. Credit Trump for his courage in following up on his campaign promise to move the Embassy. Others before him made similar promises, but lacked the courage to follow through.