By Sami Zaatari
The Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) has recently published their preliminary report on a major survey they conducted on Arab opinion, over the course of their project they covered 12 Arab countries, and interviewed over 16,000 Arabs on a wide range of subjects to try and gauge the Arab opinion.
The results of the survey were very interesting to say the least, particularly when it came to the question of whom they viewed to be the major threat to the region, America, Israel, or Iran? A total of 73% viewed America and Israel as the major threat to the region, 51% in regards to Israel, 22% in regards to America, and when it came to Iran a mere meager 5% viewed Iran as the major threat to the region. On any given day of the week, one would not be too surprised by these statistics, but context is important here which is why these results are very important.
For the past few years the American establishment has been creating a massive propaganda effort against Iran, warning that Iran poses a major threat to everyone in the Middle East, especially with their supposed intentions of having a nuclear weapon. America has been doing everything possible to sway Arab opinion, to try and build a joint Arab-American coalition united in combating Iran. This off course perfectly aligns with Israel’s agenda who has been on a war path with Iran, Israeli leaders have constantly likened the current Iranian regime to that of Nazi Germany, calling Iran a major threat to the world, and a major threat to both Arabs and Israelis. Within the media itself there has been a lot of talk about an unthinkable alliance between the Arabs and Israel, two major foes who are now united in the face of an Iranian threat, and this is precisely what the American establishment has been trying to set up. So therefore within this context, the results of this survey are a major blow to the American establishments plan of trying to sway Arab opinion towards their own anti-Iranian agenda.
The Arab perception of Israel and America being the major threat to the Middle East is also purely logical and rational, one must only look at the ground facts, and look at events through the eyes of the Arabs themselves. Currently it is Israel that occupies Arab lands, Israel occupies Palestinian land, occupies Lebanese land, occupies Syrian land, and for a while even occupied Egyptian land. In the case of the Palestinian occupation, the Israelis not only occupy a land that does not belong to them, they also occupy the inhabitants of the land, Palestinians live under very tight Israeli restrictions, and are virtually a people with no rights thanks to Israel. Israel has also routinely attacked Arab states such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and their almost routine attacks on the Palestinians. And then just to top it off, it is Israel that actually possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons, as well as other deadly chemical and biological weapons within its arsenal. So based on all of these facts, why would the Arabs view Iran as a bigger threat to Israel? The irony is that all the claims that America makes against Iran are actual realities for Israel.
Then when it comes to America itself, is it any wonder that the Arabs view them as the second major threat to the region? America is the country that is firmly behind Israel, and as Obama recently said, America will always have Israel’s back no matter what. On top of this America has also been heavily involved in meddling into Arab affairs for their own interest, and this meddling includes military action as well, such as the invasion of Iraq which tore the country apart and led to major instability throughout the entire Middle East region. So with all the actual ground realities of what both Israel and America have done in the Middle East, is it any actual surprise or wonder that the Arabs view Israel and America as the major threat to the region, and not Iran?
America and Israel’s effort in trying to build an Arab coalition against Iran is all part of a divide and conquer strategy, and many Arabs are fully aware of this. An Arab-Iranian, Sunni-Shia sectarian war would be the greatest calamity for both Arabs and Iranians, and such a conflict would simply benefit both Israel and America. But as this recent report has found, if it is up to the Arab people, no such conflict will ever take place.
– Sami Zaatari is an American of Palestinian-Iranian descent, Zaatari is a writer, and a public speaker who has taken part in public events of inter-faith and inter-community discussions. Zaatari also holds an MSc in the field of Middle East Politics. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.