Are We Leaving America’s ‘Jilbab?’

Last week, two important reports were issued. As with others, they came and went without the world stopping to appreciate the identity of the real supporter of terrorism. Both reports exposed the immensity of the Iranian role in the development and support of terrorism, along with the means by which the Iranian state has been the cause of conflict and disaster in the Middle East.

The more prominent of the two was issued by the United States, “self-described” as terrorism’s foremost enemy, and confirmed that Iran continued its sponsorship of terrorist attacks in 2014. Iran also continued to provide the Syrian regime with weapons, notwithstanding Syria’s involvement in talks pertaining to its nuclear program. It was established, as well that Iran supported terrorist groups, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as Shia militias, in order “to claim credit” for successes against armed Islamic State militants in Iraq “and to belittle coalition airstrikes.”

The other report was the documented article published by the al-Hayat newspaper last Tuesday evening about the Safavid Daishs. Supported by scholars of Shiism and international experts, the report confirmed that the Shias have their own Daishs, which are no less deadly and destructive than the true proprietors of the name.

Even more striking was Shia authority Hussein al-Moayyed’s declaration that “there are shades and flavors of terrorism coming out of Safavid groups and gangs. Linked oftentimes to the Iranian regime, they follow a bigoted approach that exaggerates sectarianism, is condoned by the international community, and is not seriously or effectively dealt with in political, media, or even cultural contexts, in spite of their magnitude.” In addition to these, two American experts, Michael Knights and Phillip Smyth, have highlighted in two separate talks in political forums the size and dimensions of the game Tehran is playing with the stability of the region.

Today, the Islamic State group is one faction that is hostile to all sects and nationalities. Accordingly, it was natural for all to fight against it. As for the groups and organizations supported by Iran, they are an assortment of factions, targeting Sunnis only with the objective of extending Iranian influence. Thus, the entire world is mindful of the fact that Iran is dangerous, that there is no greater threat, and that it is critical that America and its allies endeavor to stop it. We are surprised then by America’s having become a voice-only phenomenon: all bark and no bite. What’s worse is that it recognizes Iran’s malevolence and its threat while indulging and negotiating with it on nuclear weapons. Not only that, but the U.S. supported Iran’s having a seat at the table for negotiations on Syria.

This seems to be an American puzzle that would be difficult to solve, especially with the knowledge that Arab Sunni states are hostile to and at war with the Islamic State group. This is true while Iran, on the other hand, is in sync with and supportive of all who are stirring unrest, and who are combating and killing Sunnis, according to these two reports. The problem is that America, which spent so much of its young men and women’s precious blood to liberate Iraq from the Baath Party, is timidly acquiescing. It looks on as Iran ruins what it accomplished (efforts for which it paid a heavy price), and as the latter establishes parties inside Iraq that are considerably more dreadful than the Baath. Even the Iraqi army has become something of a Hezbollah-style militia under Iranian control.

U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been afflicted with weakness. It has become a voice without action, and its words no longer have an effect in our region. So, we hope it won’t be offended if the world turns away from it. This is especially true for the people of the Gulf whose vigorous new contracts and relations are headed toward Russia, France and China due to a lack of confidence in contemporary American thinking.

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