Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists’ anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.
Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration’s weak-kneed support for Iraq’s Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.
“This is not our war and we should not be taking part in it.”
That is how many Arabs and Muslims reacted to US President Barack Obama’s plan to form an international coalition to fight the Islamic State [IS] terrorist organization, which is operating in Iraq and Syria and threatening to invade more Arab countries.
Islamic State terrorists have killed and wounded tens of thousands of Arabs and Muslims, mostly over the past few months. By contrast, Islamic State has targeted only a few Westerners, three of whom were beheaded in recent weeks.
Islamic State terrorists are also responsible for the displacement of millions of Iraqis and Syrians, and for the murder of many others.
Still, the atrocities committed by Islamic State against Arabs and Muslims, in addition to the immediate threat it poses to many of their countries, do not seem to be sufficient reason for them to declare war on the group.
While some Arabs and Muslims would prefer to see the U.S. and its Western allies fight Islamic State, others have voiced strong opposition to the new U.S.-led coalition against the group, mainly because they identify with the terrorists’ anti-Western objectives and ideology.
Arab leaders last week told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that they would contribute “in many aspects” to the anti-Islamic State coalition. But most are not prepared to commit ground troops to the battle against its estimated 30,000 jihadis.
The Arab leaders who want the U.S. to wage war on Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war on a group that seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Their main fear is that their people would rise up against them once they were seen fighting alongside non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims.
The most these Arab leaders are prepared to do to help the emerging U.S.-led coalition is provide logistical and intelligence aid to the Americans and their Western allies in the war on Islamic State.
Jordan, for its part, has agreed to train members of Iraqi tribes to help them fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq. Jordan and most of the Gulf countries are also reported to be opposed to serving as launching pads for airstrikes on the terrorist bases in Iraq and Syria.
Although they have formally agreed to join the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, it appears that Arab leaders do not trust the Obama Administration when it comes to combating Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.
Some of these leaders, such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. Administration to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsi.