To the Arab nation we belong

By Khalaf Habtoor

Conditions in the Arab world, and the Gulf region in particular, are deteriorating. The region is on the verge of uncertainty, with grave economic, political and social consequences. No one can be sure where this will take the whole region.

Day after day we see the beginnings of growing sectarian disturbances. Wedges are driven along social and sectarian lines in the body of the same society, the same country and the same faith. Efforts are intensified to deepen the schisms through sectarian and other controversial arguments.

The Islamic world is undergoing unprecedented crisis. This is especially true of the Arab world, which is suffering severe splits and witnessing the symptoms of a new, weird societal culture. Odd religious rhetoric and practices are unfolding under the disguise of Islam. But they are, in fact, far from its noble teachings or rules.

Ugly manifestations of sectarianism are being exported to us, leading to more fragmentation. Traditional, hateful nationalist attitude is reemerging to interfere in our unity, faith and beliefs through different repulsive and reprehensible ways. God forbid.

Central parts of the Arab world are currently on the verge of disintegration because of the sectarian finger-pointing wrapped in glittering slogans that are recycled for the purpose of contemptible and obscene public consumption. Other parts are gradually progressing to similar situation.

Abhorrent attacks are taking place in Iraq against its original Arab population. Being deeply concerned about unity of Muslims, I find it inescapable to indicate things by name: it is a war against Arabs.

This said, I do not mean or believe that the culprits are Iraq's Arab Shiites. Never. The sectarian strife is a catastrophe exported to Iraq from outside its territories. The evolving drama is a recall of ancient vendetta, a retrospective representation of archaic legacy of antagonism when Muslims and Arabs were flagrantly targeted.

Unfortunately, Iraqis today are being slaughtered by the same sectarian propagandists. They have marginalised even the occupation problem into a minor priority and made Iraq's Arabs the focus of their efforts with the aim of spreading "culture imported from outside Iraq".

Thanks to the same interference, the Palestinians' dream of regaining occupied land and holy places has been destroyed. The situation deteriorated into clashes among Palestinians themselves. The "state" and "authority" were divided, threatening the destruction of not only what had been achieved till now but also the ones who achieved it.

Dark power

All this is being done with premeditated planning and interference by the same power on the borders of the Arab world, under the disguise of extending a helping hand to the Palestinians.

In Lebanon, many are using the pluralist society to run their regional and global proxy wars. Economic needs of the Lebanese are availed for political ends that have nothing to do with the Islam or any other faith.

Sectarian disturbance is being instigated through the same "grand" slogans, while the hidden agenda is the termination of historic Arab nationalist movement and its stronghold in the Mediterranean coast.

This grave intrusion, the gradual interference advancing through our Arab world and towards our resources, has so far resulted in 3 million Iraqi refugees in Syria and other countries. Moreover, it has been successful in opening the Lebanese and Palestinian wounds. The still, silent smoldering in some parts of the GCC countries is one of its attributes.

Not discriminatory

Let me restate something: being Arabs, our culture has never been discriminatory or divisive. We have been worshipping Almighty Allah, reciting that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is Allah's messenger to all people, and believing in the prophets and holy books of all monotheistic faiths.

The enmity is evident and the means are clear. The target is the Arab as a historic entity and nation with old and deep roots. The attacks are taking place on two fronts:

1. Economic resources, success and unity of the Arab world, in particular the Gulf.

2. Arab nationhood and future ambitions.

Using certain parts and strategic locations of the Arab world as battlefields for some outside enterprises has become a priority on the agenda of regional powers.

Faced with such existential threats now and in the past, Arabs as one nation have repeatedly restated that they have come of age and that their national belonging is not on offer in any bargain. Arabs, as they have always done, will face this divisive onslaught against their region. We must rescue our Arab brother from this cancerous sectarian malady.

No effort must be spared to defeat the sectarian plague advancing towards our shores. Our Arab nation will be better off without the current inward flow of money. Arab leaderships have been the main reason behind this loophole through which these maladies have been infiltrating to our societies.

This would have not happened if some Arab leaderships observed their responsibilities towards other Arab countries. To face the current situation, we need a detailed road plan. The following can be preliminary blueprint.

First, Arabs must reiterate that they belong to the Arab nation. Second, we need to get rid of past agonies and to deal with historic experiences through the perspective of modernity and civilisation.

Third, protecting any Arab country is a collective responsibility of the whole Arab nation. We must maintain our nation and its multitude of beliefs and faiths. Fourth, GCC countries, Egypt and Jordan must establish an integrated bloc with equal and balanced obligations and responsibilities.

This bloc must maintain the Arabhood of every Arab country and enjoin them to uphold the historic responsibility to protect it from nationalist intrusion of any foreign power.

Finally, Arab Muslims and Christians need to make clear that belonging to this nation is a matter of pride for them. Otherwise, no one in this world will respect us.

Respect and consideration in this world is only won by active nations. Belonging to religious or sectarian ethnicities is not the way to get respect or consideration.

The need for immediate action has never been more pressing than today. I do not have any doubt that our leaders are fully aware of the current grave situation. Nevertheless, I cannot but remind everybody that it is the time to act seriously.


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