The lightning successes of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, have given rise to two mysteries difficult to explain:
First, given the fact that IS is militantly anti-Sh'ia and has made no secret of its hatred for the Shiites and its intention to wipe them out wherever it rules, it is strange that the reaction of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been so lackadaisical. The commander of the Quds Force, international wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the famous (or infamous) General Suleimani, went to Baghdad immediately after IS swept across northern and western Iraq in June, giving rise to the expectation that the Revolutionary Guard would intervene in massive fashion to break the IS momentum and drive it back. But nothing much has happened since, except for the dispatch of some military advisors. This is particularly curious because having IS sprawled across a vast territory in Iraq and Syria destroys the Iranian grand strategy of a Sh'ia arc across the Middle and Near East from Iran to Lebanon, incorporating Iraq and Syria.
Equally puzzling is the less than tepid response to the slaughter, injuries, rape, theft of property of Christians and destruction and desecration of churches in the entire region. Leave aside for the moment the hundreds of thousands of Muslims of all types that have been massacred from Libya to Iraq, or fate of the Yazidis, Circassians, Assyrians and other groups. The destruction of millennia-old Christian communities in the region is unprecedented in its ferocity and grotesque barbarism, and yet governments, the media and the public in the West simply don't seem to care, despite being supposedly "Christian" countries. Only the Vatican expresses grave concern, and there isn't much the Swiss Guard can do about the situation. Massive demonstrations are held and fiery editorials written supporting the Palestinian cause in Gaza, where civilian casualties on the Gazan side are in the dozens. There are only polite editorials condemning the treatment of Christians (and others) throughout the Middle East and North Africa. There are no demonstrations denouncing IS. Only Israel.
The conclusions are inescapable. The countries of the West are no longer Christian in any meaningful sense and for a multitude of reasons, including a huge increase in their Islamic populations along with a general breakdown of traditional Judeo-Christian civilizational values of morality and ethics, and a weakening dedication to the principles underlying political democracy. For all the same reasons there is a frightening upsurge of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. In the Middle East, only Israel represents traditional Western political, social, economic and moral values.
And it is for that very reason that it is attacked and condemned.
Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and teaches at the Center for National Security Studies and Geostrategy, University of Haifa.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 14, 2014
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