FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Syrian Arms issue proves need for better U.S. engagement
Presidential debate should focus on necessity of a coherent U.S. Middle East Strategy
PHOENIX (October 16, 2012) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith” issued the following statement on behalf of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy on the Syrian rebel arms scandal and the presidential debate:
“On October 15, the New York Times reported that arms shipped by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to Syrian rebel groups are largely being funneled to the worst factions– ‘hard-line Islamic jihadists’. While this news is alarming, it is hardly surprising since the U.S. has essentially outsourced its leadership role in the region since the start of the “Arab Spring” to countries like the Kingdom and Qatar who have no qualms over working with Islamists.
Make no mistake, this development is a direct result of the lack of U.S. leadership in the Middle East and an inability of the Obama administration to understand and articulate the importance of the Islamist ideological roots of extremism in the region. How can we expect the “right people” to get these weapons when the vetting of these rebel groups is being done by the very countries that have propagated and supported Islamist ideologies around the world?
This news is also bolstering the isolationist narrative that would rather see the U.S. entirely leave the region to its own devices. But at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, we see this news as a clarion call for the U.S. to assume the mantle of leadership not with troops but by empowering the emerging forces of freedom in the region. If we do nothing Islamists will win and the people in the streets will see the U.S. fleeing in the face of hard choices as they see their nations overtaken by new and even more dangerous fascists with a theocratic twist. If we take a stand for real liberty we may certainly still fail in the short term, but one thing is certain without any American input, the trajectory of the “Muslim World” will go from bad to worse and certainly not towards freedom. The only sure way for Islamists to dominate the future of the Middle East is for America to remain on the sidelines.
At tonight’s presidential debate it is imperative that we begin to see these candidates outline a vision for American leadership in Middle East policy not from behind but from the front. We can no longer wait for Russia and China on Syria. We can not sit idly by while Iran begins to dominate the region. We can no longer ask the Saudis, Turkey, or Qatar to tell us who our friends are in the region. We must also push back against the elected Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia by developing the liberty minded leaders in these countries in their emerging civil societies as we did in Eastern Europe after the Cold War.
We hope the candidates understand the opportunity and the threat that sits before them in the Middle East and North Africa. Any discussion on foreign policy, like tonight’s debate, should be focused on the need for a coherent and consistent strategy for a new emboldened Liberty Doctrine in the Middle East and North Africa and squarely against the ideology of Islamism.
Failure to confront these issues head on will lock the U.S. and the Middle East in confrontation for generations to come.”
About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.
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