The Islamic world’s failure spawned ISIL
Israel’s operation against Gaza is nothing but brutal and indiscriminate collective punishment against the Palestinians and is deplorable. The pictures we see in the press of celebrating Israelis as bombs fall on the people of Gaza are reminiscent of another era when the Jews were on the receiving end, but this appears lost on Israelis today.
The Gaza operation has also provided the Islamic world in general another opportunity to rail against the West while conveniently overlooking the lack of sympathy of Egypt and Saudi Arabia for Hamas, for example.
The Israeli operation has also provided Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with an opportunity to use the Palestinian issue in his presidential campaign. It has also enabled him to drag attention away from the 49 Turkish citizens, including the consul general, kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul over a month ago, who remain in captivity.
Israel’s Gaza operation is a film we know. We know it will end with a large number of innocent Palestinians killed or maimed and with little gained by Israel in the end. We also know that the Arab world will do little for the Palestinians in the end.
The important thing today, however, is the fact that the Islamic world in general - and Arab countries in particular - conveniently overlook the Pandora’s Box opened for them in Iraq and Syria.
The brutal truth for the Arabs, and unfortunately for the Palestinians, is that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will appear of secondary importance when compared to the potential consequences of developments in those countries where thousands of Muslims are being killed by Muslims.
Many people in Islamic countries and in Turkey claim that ISIL is the product of the U.S. and Israel, who are out to destroy the Islamic world. While conspiracy theories appeal to smaller minds, it is incredible to listen to such accusations coming from supposedly more developed minds. This amounts to burying ones head in the sand.
ISIL is the ultimate expression of the Islamic world’s inability to move towards contemporary modes of governance based on respect for human rights, the provision social justice, and where religion is kept where it belongs, which is not in politics.
Even the Muslim Brotherhood, which was given a historic opportunity in Egypt to come to term with modernity, failed to do so. The result is groups like ISIL who are trying to turn the clock back centuries, even if they rely on their digital watches, smart phones and the Internet to do so.
These developments in the Middle East have also started to affect Turkey, where Erdoğan is on record as saying he “wants to see a religious youth emerge.” His inability to say he wants a socially aware and responsible youth in tune with the modern world, and which respects democracy and human rights without discrimination, continues to be a source of concern for many.
Turkey was supposed demonstrate to the world that being contemporaneous is compatible with being predominantly Islamic. Instead, it has landed in position where it could potentially be sucked into the whirlpool of the Middle East due to the Erdoğan government’s misguided policies.
Robert Kaplan, in his book “The Revenge of Geography,” reminds us that Napoleon said that to know a nation’s geography is to know its foreign policy. The policy of past Turkish government’s was based on this fact, given the instability surrounding Turkey.
Erdoğan, who presses on with his Islamist outlook and continues to revile past governments for their supposedly spineless foreign policies, has broken the mold based on this dictum and left Turkey facing threats that it managed to avoid for decades.
He has to realize, however - just like all responsible people in Islamic countries - that it is the Islamic world’s failure that has spawned the turmoil in the Middle East, and consequently ISIL. After accepting this basic fact, he has to return to the path of the founding fathers of our republic.