The Arab reaction to the terrorist and sectarian attacks in Iraq last week was sorry and pitiful, with the exception of a visit by Egyptian religious figures, including Sheikh al Azhar and the mufti, to the Iraqi embassy in Cairo, who called for national unity and deplored the incidents as un-Islamic. Notwithstanding the activities of Shiaa and Sunni leaders in Kuwait and Lebanon and their calls for unity, the Arab public stood on the sidelines, unconcerned about what these incidents might lead to, if a sectarian civil war erupted.
Arabs are wrong to believe that the flames of warring Iraq will remain confined within the Iraqi borders. Those who believe that cursing the American occupier and gloating in their failure is patriotism are also wrong. Thos who call for the US military to withdraw have no alternate plan. They adopt slogans aimed at local consumption but never show any willingness to support this beleaguered Arab country.
“What is the least that Arabs can do for Iraq”, someone asked me once. “They can send Arab troops to Iraq”, I replied, and come to an agreement with the US military to evacuate American troops from cities and replace them with a multinational Arab force. This suggestion appears farfetched as Arab governments have yet to send their diplomats to Baghdad, let alone their armies! Some of Iraq’s neighbors seek to blight the Americans at the expense of Iraqi blood. Some dance with joy when car bomb explodes and kill innocents; they express joy when the formation of a new government is late, believing they are “angering” the Americans while in reality, they are guilty of adding fuel to the sectarian fire and killing innocent civilians.
Arabs should be ashamed of themselves. A lesson in geography will confirm that Iraq is at the heart of event and a history lesson will demonstrate that a fire erupting in a neighbor’s house is dangerous.