Religious merchants!

Religious merchants!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

“The land of the Two Holy Mosques is falling in the arms of America and Israel,” commented a member of an Arab-Turkish group. “Explain to me why would Saudi intellectuals shake hands with Israeli officials in international conferences, if not to normalize relationship? And how could Saudi Arabia bow to US president’s demands? Why your king did not respond to Trump when he attacked Hamas and called it a terrorist group?”

In my response, I told him: “I can tell from your accent that you are an Iraqi. And if so, please just look around you… wherever you may live! Israelis are all over the Middle East! They are in Kurdistan training its Peshmerga forces, and investing in its economy. They have peace accords with Egypt and Jordan. Their relationship with Turkey is prospering across the board and their investors, diplomats, tourists and even spies can be found anywhere you may happen to be.

“Since you approve so much of Qatar, may I remind you that it was the first state in the Arabian Gulf to establish diplomatic, educational and commercial relations with Israel. Israeli officials, including its president and foreign minister, were often hosted in Doha. Al Jazeera channel, known for it Arabist, Islamist, and anti-Israel slogans, has aired these visits live from its offices in Qatar and Israel.

“When Saudi Arabia asked the American Air Force to move out from its Kharj airbase, Qatar invited it in, even though, Al Jazeera had been broadcasting Osama Bin Laden’s speeches calling for foreigners to leave the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar exploited the event to offer America a whole base with full independence, and comprehensive facilities, including the Middle East largest US Central Command. The same base was used to invade and occupy your country, Iraq, by the way.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has always resisted US pressure to normalize relations with Israel, to sign a unilateral peace treaty, or even to play against Israeli sports teams in international tournaments. Our condition was, and still is, Israel must first accept and implement the Arab Peace Initiative.

Therefore, if you are really an Arabist and Islamist, you should start by criticizing those who openly and flagrantly dealt with the Zionist state, and went with their US alliance to the point of conspiracy against Arab countries.
Examples are many, but take, for example, inciting the so-called Arab Spring, supporting the invasion of Iraq and marketing the nuclear treaty with Iran. Instead you have saved your breath and ammunition to attack the one country that stood for Arab causes and sacrificed its own interests to defend Palestine,” I concluded my argument.

Other group members joined our discussion. They belonged to Islamist organizations, particularly Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, based in Doha and Istanbul. They found no contradiction in accusing us of secretly dealing with Israel and Iran, while their Turkish and Qatari benefactors are doing so, in open air.

Fortunately, the Brotherhood and Hamas do not deny the support they have received from the Kingdom since their inception. The former still remember that Saudi gave them shelter when Nasser’s Egypt was prosecuting them in the 1950s and 1960s. The latter acknowledge that they have enjoyed our political support until they chose the Persian path, and that Gaza still receives Saudi humanitarian and economic aid.

However, both organizations have no shame in siding with Qatar, and previously Saddam Hussein and his allies in Yemen, Jordan and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, during his Kuwait invasion. Today they are tirelessly looking for ways to destabilize the one country that gave them most sympathy, shelter and support!

The hypocrisy goes even further. When the Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, they never cared to sever relations with the US, Israel or Iran. They found all kinds of excuses, like “let’s appreciate the burden, challenges and circumstances under which President Morsi was operating!” However, such understanding was exclusive to their own (like Turkey and Qatar) and would never be extended to others!

Today, they blame Saudi Arabia (not neighboring Turkey) for not doing enough to protect the Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, while they praise the one country that provide Iranian militias with tons of cash — Qatar.

I had enough of these so-called intellectuals, politicians and religious elite. They mix dirty politics with pure Islam and use noble causes for power grabbing and worldly interests. Their cheating, bias and double standards are beyond shame and hypocrisy. They are disgrace to Islam, Arabs and humanity. We could do much better in our world without them!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah.
He can be reached at Follow him
at Twitter:@kbatarfi