Dr. Mohamed Mosaad
Almost everyone in the Arab world, including myself fears the proposed US invasion of Iraq, and many ask why the Americans are going to do it. Why will the United States invade and occupy Iraq? There are many answers, some are obvious, others are not. Briefly, we can conclude that US will invade Iraq for two simple reasons. First, US believes it is in their interest to do this. Second, US is sure that they can do it. Yes, it is that simple. Whenever the US will feel like invading a country and is sure nothing will stop them, they will simply send warships to that country and possibly the bills to a second one. I am not sure Saudi Arabia will forever have the capacity to pay those bills.
"Well," we say, "the world will not keep silent!" Really? Let us talk about the Arab world, with which I am familiar. To stop the upcoming invasion, Arabs have tried two strategies, to oppose the two simple reasons of the US. First, their diplomats and writers are doing their best to convince the US that it is not their interest to invade Iraq. Their advice always falls on deaf ears. The US never asked Arabs for their advice. They can do pretty well without them. Second, Arab masses are threatening the US. Yes, once the American troops, which have already been occupying and bombarding Iraq for eleven years, land in Iraq, the Arab masses will immediately take to the streets! Moreover, Arabs will boycott American goods.
Never mind boycotting Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, may I ask to which streets the Arabs will take, and what we will do in those streets? Leave alone Arabs; could we ask which is closer to the Egyptians, Baghdad or Rafah? And which is closer to the Jordanians, Basra or Jenin? Which is stronger, Israel or the US? Did not Arabs threaten Israel as well as their rulers that if Israel would re-conquer the Palestinian cities and villages, they will take to the streets and will never come back even if they have to change their political regimes? Well, Israel conquered the Palestinian cities and villages, destroyed the headquarters of Arafat, and broke through Jenin in a bloody operation. Only a few days ago an Israeli tank shelled a refugee camp in Rafah killing and injuring scores of the Palestinians. The "angry" Arabs neither took to the streets nor confronted their regimes. Why would they move when the US invades Iraq to remove one of the worst Arab tyrants from power?
However, this is not the real question. The real question is, supposing the US will not invade Iraq, does that mean we won’t have any problem then in that country? Saddam sent one million Iraqi soldiers to their death in two unnecessary wars waged against Iran and Kuwait. Besides, he murdered another one million Iraqi civilians. In one event he murdered about one hundred and fifty thousand Kurds in the North. In another event he murdered three hundred thousands Shiites in the South. He used poison gas to kill them. He erased hundreds of villages in Iraq. Saddam displaced about one and half million Iraqis inside Iraq. There are four and half million Iraqi refugees around the world. Again, assuming the US did not topple his regime, would there be no problem?
It is well known that the US turned a blind eye to Saddam when he was fighting Iran. It is also well known that the US turned the same blind eye to Ben Laden, Omar Abdel Rahman, Noriega… But it is not our intention now to judge the US morally. The question is, how can Arabs stop the American invasion and how can they eliminate their tyrant rulers? I think there is only one answer to both questions. The Prophet once said, “One who keeps silent and does not say the truth is a silent Satan.” How many hundreds of millions of silent Satans do we have in the Arab World? If the tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience in the Arab World are not enough for Arabs to “take to the streets”, the American invasion will certainly not make them move. If the corruption spreading from end to end in the Arab World is not enough for Arab masses to move, nothing in Iraq will move them. Are they afraid of being killed by their tyrant rulers? The Iraqis were also afraid of Saddam. But supposing they moved against him, would he kill two millions of them? Would they lose as many children as they lost under the American/British sanctions?
Arab media are full of enthusiasm after each suicide operation in Israel. If Arabs really love being Shaheeds (martyrs) they should listen to the Prophet. According to a famous Hadith, he said that the best Shaheed is a man, who stood before an unjust ruler, and ordered him [to do what is just] and forbade him [to do what is unjust], and so [the ruler] killed him. The Prophet said that this is the best Shaheed! Those who always complain that were it not for the borders, they would have joined their brothers in suicide operations, should know that there are many opportunities in their own countries - just tell the truth!
Until we stand up to our own rulers, until we face the injustices in our own countries, I suggest that Arabs should not pretend to speak on behalf of the Iraqis, whose authentic voice no one has heard since Saddam Hussein seized power in that country. What we can learn from the Iraqi issue is this new principle: "Change your tyrannical ruler before the US changes him for you." Choose the government that you want, rather than letting the Americans choose rulers that they want.
Dr Mosaad is an Egyptian psychiatrist, sociologist, educator and peace activist. His is coordinator of the Abrahamic Forum, and member of the Abrahamic Forum Council, an International Interfaith dialog. He is a member of the Global Council of the United Religons Initiative URI. He may be reached at .
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