Daily Times: The west must rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia, have a more balanced approach towards Israel, and start afresh by befriending the people of the Muslim states if we are to have a safer world
The phenomenal rise of political expression of the so-called ideology wrongly referred to as Islamic fundamentalism has its roots in a number of factors, most revolving around the west’s appeasement of religious clergy in Muslim states. To appeal to public emotion, the pseudo-religious extremists wrongly labelled as fundamentalists present their actions as a reaction to the forces of unrest unleashed by the west, and in this context point to the behaviour of the US government on issues of interest to Muslims. They intentionally do not explain their inability to outdo the liberals in the 1950s and 1960s although these forces of unrest existed even in those times while the people of the Muslim world were aligned with the liberals.
Excluding Saudi Arabia, which is an exception, Turkey, Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, and even Pakistan were progressive nations. It is very unfortunate that at that point in time rather than embracing the liberals as partners, the west, perceiving the nationalist liberals as a threat being aligned with the then Soviet Union, made a wrong choice in choosing allies and embarked upon the policy of appeasement of the pseudo-religious forces. The west failed to realise that the nationalists sided with the Soviet Union by default as they were never offered a hand of friendship due to their opposition to the western tilt towards Israel. This was the prime cause for their anti-US sentiment and could have been easily neutralised had the west adopted a more balanced policy on Israel. The following historical events will explain this conclusion.
In 1951, the Iranian parliament had voted to nationalise the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Shortly afterwards, Mohammad Mosadeq, the main architect of nationalization, was elected prime minister. The US administration was suspicious of Mosadeq’s ties to Moscow. Thus he was overthrown in a coup with Ayotollah Kashani siding with the coup plotters.