Iran-US showdown accentuating Arab-American divisions
There are no Arabs in the United States, only Iraqi Shia and Sunni Muslims and Iraqi Christians; Lebanese Shia and Sunni Muslims and Christians; Egyptian Muslims and Copts; Sunni, Alawite and Druze Syrians; Jordanian Muslims and Christians, Jordanians of Palestinian origin; and Palestinian Muslims and Christians.
Each one of those communities is cosily living in its own neighbourhood with its own mosque and imam or its own church and charity, its own newspaper and radio station and its own clubs, shops, playgrounds and restaurants. Some of them are further divided into sub-communities and factions that profess their loyalty to the village or town where they originated rather than to their country of origin.
Only a minority among the members of these communities has rid itself of old loyalties, chauvinism and grudges it inherited from its ancestors’ religious, sectarian and ethnic squabbles, even though many of its members were born in the United States, went to American universities, worked in US institutions and had a taste of their secularism and democracy and have seen how the US democratic system did melt millions of people from the four corners of the world into the same pot, turning them into one nation imbued with a culture of tolerance and moderation.
The ones who really represent an exception to this portrait are the very few that have been able to integrate US society and they and their children have become true US citizens. They respect their origins and their roots but have freed themselves from the diseases that beset those roots.
As far as the Arabs and their causes are concerned, neither Republicans nor Democrats have historically demonstrated real interest.
However, in the context of the US presidential election campaign, the confrontation between the Iranian regime and the Trump administration has accentuated the divisions and reciprocal hostility among Arab-American communities and within Arab groups in America, as if the victory of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei over US President Donald Trump or the United States’ victory and its Arab and Muslim allies over Iran depended on the respective victory or defeat of this side of Arab-Americans over the other.
The pro-Trump camp says that the sitting president is working hard to bring Iran to its senses and remove its claws and canines that it had dug deep into the bodies of its Arab peaceful neighbours but the pro-Iran camp is enamoured with the Democratic contender Joe Biden. The reason is that the latter has described Trump’s Iran policy as “catastrophic” and has warned that “the last thing [Americans] needed is a new war in the Middle East.”
Whoever follows the newspapers of the Arab “tribes” in the United States, especially those of the Iraqis, Yemenis, Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians, will see that some of them pray day and night for a victory of “Brother Trump” while others are burning with religious and revolutionary fervour for the victory their newly found darling, Biden.
Oh, how quickly they’ve forgotten that Biden was, since 2009, the only soul in control of the Iraqi file until the advent of the Trump administration. He was by far the worst manager of the Iraq situation. He championed the sectarian quota system that has turned Iraq into a failed state.
He was the one who gave Iran the right to occupy Iraq and determine its destiny while providing Iran with the needed support and protection. He and his president, Barack Obama, take the biggest share of responsibility in igniting the fires of armed confrontations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. They had done that not out of love for Iran and hatred for Iraq and the other countries but rather out of a plan to implicate the Iranians and drown them in sectarian wars with their neighbours so that Shias and Sunnis get mired in endless strife and bloodshed.
Was it not Biden who had fully backed Nuri al-Maliki and closed his eyes to his vengeful actions, laws and reprisal measures that ignited resentment in the hearts of millions of Sunnis and prompted most of them to search for an ally to come to their aid against his militias, even if that ally happened to be the devil himself impersonated by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Isn’t the Iranian impasse today the result of the failed policies of this supposedly innocent US politician who is being cheered by some Arab Americans?