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Road of Defiance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In its first reaction to Iran’s announcement that it had succeeded in enriching uranium, the White House declared that Iran has chosen the “road of defiance.” Iran, indeed, has defied all scientific and technological restrictions to acquire nuclear energy, a prerequisite of modern development. According to European and American estimates, Iran will need a minimum of ten years, should it decide to build a nuclear bomb. The Western official statements, however, talk about 3 to 15 months.

The Iranian nuclear development comes after the Indian, Korean and Chinese. The commotion it induced in the West, however, is far much greater. Is it because Iran is a Muslim country? Were Iraqi top class scientist eliminated under American occupation to prevent another Muslim country from having a similar potential? A telling indicator could be the Western ban on Muslims studying advanced sciences and technologies. Let alone the Western scientific and technological import restrictions to Muslim and Arab countries.

Neither is Iran today, nor was Iraq before, posing threat to American national security. What both countries have demanded was liberating Al-Aqsa and calling for a sovereign Palestinian state. The United States, captive of the Israeli lobby, has been viewing both countries from an Israeli perspective. If the American stance were ever to get purified of Israeli influence, the United States might see Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Yemen in different light. The United States could then have less worries of Iran acquiring nuclear technology.

Being prisoner of Israeli interests, American concerns are quite understandable. However, one can only wonder about what worries other states. Israel already has hundreds of nuclear warheads. It daily kills Palestinian civilians, destroys Palestinian houses, displaces Palestinian families, and occupies more Palestinian lands. Yet, many Muslim countries are expressing grave concern over Iran and Pakistan’s nuclear development. The West, in contrast, who considers Israel a Western country, not only turns a blind eye on Israel’s nuclear arsenal, but has provided the necessary finance, technology and expertise. The United Kingdom for one provided heavy water through Norway, France and the United States provided nuclear reactors, and Germany submarines equipped for carrying nuclear weapons. This is of course not to mention the necessary international cover for the Israeli nuclear program.

Muslims around the world today should set aside their ideological differences and align in one front, as did the Western countries in their unity against Islam in all its forms. Otherwise, their stands will never have an influence on international politics. It is rather hard to imagine that the United States will be able, any time soon, to free its political processes, legislature and media of Israeli influence. It is a far-fetched dream to have it stop fighting Israeli battles against Arabs and Muslims.

Muslims around the world should acknowledge their common interests and unify their political stands on an international level. They should support and trust one another, instead of falling prey to suspicions echoing Western policies and political interests. Should Muslim countries abide by true Shariaa, they will be able to find uniformity in their interests. Muslims and Arabs are lagging behind Western technological and scientific advancement. This is one major reason why the West treats them and their sanctities with disrespect. This is why it is easy for the West to ban them from acquiring advanced technology under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Iranian “road of defiance,” to use White House terminology, should be an inspiration to all Muslims and Arabs, if they were to shed off their disunity.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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