OUR PRINCIPLES & INTERESTS MUST ALIGN IN THE MIDDLE EAST By (MPAC)


Historically, Washington’s rhetoric has been to support democracy, yet turn a blind eye to the dictators and monarchs in the Middle East and South Asia. As the “Arab Spring” continues to blossom despite brutal crackdowns by decades-old regimes, the United States must also turn a new page to support the people in the region in their quest for justice, equality, and democracy in order to uphold our national and our long-term national interests.

The opportunity exists for us to be on the right side of history, which means we must side with the majority. The majority in this case is made up of the people, and not the ruling elites. For way too long, many policy makers have stood with the ruling elite, only leading to further corruption and erosion of trust between the people of the region and our country. Based on the changing circumstances on the ground, our long term values and interests must be aligned with the aspirations of the people of the Middle East crying out for freedom.

SEE: The Arab Spring Is 2011, Not 1989

Whether it is Syria, BahrainLibya or Yemen, it is a well-known fact that these countries and the region as a whole are rich in resources both natural and human. In the past, the revenue from these resources have not been directed to the people, but rather to their corrupt dictators, large international companies and foreign banks.

Over the past decade, we have based our relationship with the region on security and have made unholy alliances with security services that have suppressed and even killed legitimate voices of democracy. Our relationship with the region can no longer be based on fear and directed by a small minority of Washington insiders who want to use fear to preserve the status quo. Instead, we must invest in the establishment of a vibrant civil society in many of these countries.

The United States, Europe, Israel, and Arab countries must stop for a moment and reassess and revive their approach to one another and the revolutions. The status quo both in how we deal with the region and how the players within deal with each other is no longer sustainable. It is high time to support the will of the people and help them win back their countries, which they have been robbed of for far too long.

[CONTACT: Haris Tarin, DC Office Director, (202) 547-7701,haris@mpac.org]

Created in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is a public policy institution that focuses on fostering a vibrant Muslim American community that is a vital and contributing element of America’s pluralism. MPAC has built a reputation as a consistent and reliable resource for government and media, and is trusted by Muslim Americans as an authentic, experienced voice. The Mission of MPAC encompasses promoting a Muslim American identity, building constructive relationships between Muslim Americans and their representatives, and training a future generation of men and women to share our vision.

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