Monday, February 6th | 15 Shevat 5783

February 1, 2011 3:07 pm

The Islamic World

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avatar by Ed Koch

Islamic Cairo. Photo: Joonas Plaan.

The Muslim world is on fire.  Mobs are filling the streets of Cairo;  the people of Tunisia have forced out its dictatorial president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali; and in Lebanon, Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, has been responsible for the fall of the government led by Saad Hariri, son of a former prime minister who was murdered by a huge car bomb.  Syria and Hezbollah are suspected of committing the terrorist act.  Hezbollah now is the major supporter of the new Prime Minister, Najib Mikati.

Iran continues with its efforts to build a nuclear bomb.  Pakistan, already in possession of a nuclear bomb, remains an unstable U.S. ally.  Pakistani police forces last week arrested and retain in custody an American diplomat, Raymond Davis, who has diplomatic immunity no matter what his alleged crime is.  He is charged with killing two Pakistanis who he says approached him on a motor bike – he driving his car – and threatened him, causing him to shoot in self-defense.

The Turkish government, admittedly Islamist, continues to hammer Israel, and appears to be seeking leadership of the Muslim world by joining with militants who see the United States as the enemy and terrorists who are attacking Western civilization in their announced desire to impose Sharia, the Muslim code of living, which includes punishment of death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality or converting to another religion.  Iraq continues with its near daily slaughtering of innocent civilians, based on the historic religious wars between Shiites and Sunnis.  In Afghanistan, the lives of our own military personnel are put at risk every day in an unwinnable war, where were we to win, we would be winning nothing worth fighting and dying for.  Syria still covets Lebanon as a lost province and provides arms to Hezbollah which threatens a new war with Israel.  What worries the U.S. most is that two governments friendly to the U.S., Egypt and Jordan, are now in danger of falling.

What does all of this chaos in Arab and Muslim populated lands display?  It should put to rest the opinion of the radical left in the U.S. that all would be well in the world if the West would abandon Israel.  That radical left supports bringing Israel’s independence to an end and supporting the Palestinians in their efforts to turn all of historic Palestine into a single state with an Arab Muslim majority, some of whom – Hamas — are bent on expelling Jews; others for allowing them to live and practice their religion if they accept the supremacy of Islam.

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The question which I have asked many times over the years that I have been writing commentaries is, is the West, in particular the U.S., willing to stand up to the constant attacks on us, physical and economic, or will we at some point decide to go down the road that Chamberlain chose in 1938 when he met with Adolf Hitler, came back to England paper in hand referring to “Peace in our time,” having thrown Czechoslovakia under the bus?  Winston Churchill commented, “Britain and France were faced with a choice between war and dishonor.  They chose dishonor.  They will have war.”

We are now faced with Muslim crowds in the capitals of Arab countries demanding the ouster of governments — Egypt and Jordan — that are at all friendly to the U.S.  Will we now desert those governments the way Britain and France deserted Czechoslovakia?

Yes, the governments of Egypt and Jordan are repressive and dictatorial and the crowds in the streets are  primarily using the rhetoric of democracy now.  But historically, when they win, become even more repressive and threatening to the world, e.g., Iran.  So there is the conundrum and a Hobbesian choice to be made.  Do we side with the repressive governments that are friendly to the U.S. – Mubarak of Egypt and Abdullah of Jordan and others as well – or do we simply support those mouthing the chants of democracy and take our chances, knowing that many in those mobs would, if given the chance, slit the throats of every Christian and Jew who won’t willingly convert to Islam.  I urge everyone not to forget the coldblooded killing of Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, by Pakistani terrorists who literally severed his head from his body back in 2002, on video for all to see.

World peace is on the line.  Egypt, with 80 million people, is the same size as Germany, but with a much younger population.  I believe (and I confess I am no expert, but there are apparently few experts who predicted the current state of affairs) that it is folly to desert our friends and allies, e.g., Mubarak and King Abdullah and Saudi Arabia when they need us.  Did we make the right choice when we deserted the Shah of Iran and stood by when Khomeini was lifted to power by the violence in the streets of Tehran?  I don’t think so and believe the repression and torture became worse.

Islamic terrorists undoubtedly believe that time is on their side; that Western civilization is ripe for overthrow and its adherents weak and interested only in the good life which they see as deviant with its pursuit of protection of women’s rights, gay rights and religious liberty.  Our Declaration of Independence with its call for the pursuit of happiness is anathema for them.

Will we stand up for our friends in the Muslim world or will we stand by and let them be crushed and literally killed or expelled?  As the U.S. chooses sides, let’s remember our fateful abandonment of our ally, the Shah of Iran, a decision for which we are still paying a heavy price.

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