Muslim Governments’ Apathy toward the Plight of the Uighurs Suggests That Their Supposed Solidarity with Palestinians Ought Not Be Taken Seriously

In 2018, there was already evidence that the Chinese Communist Party was holding one million Uighurs in internment camps. Since then, Beijing’s persecution of this Muslim ethnic group, who mostly live in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province, has become both harsher and more extensive. Yet, as Elliott Abrams notes, a recent report from the Council of Foreign Relations states:

In July 2019, after a group of mostly European countries—and no Muslim-majority countries—signed a letter to the UN human rights chief condemning China’s actions, . . . more than three dozen states, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, signed their own letter praising China’s “remarkable achievements” in human rights and its “counterterrorism” efforts in Xinjiang.”

Moreover, very few Muslim countries have refrained from engaging in such apologetics. Abrams explains:

Realpolitik is perhaps the main explanation—but it is not the only one. It may be that for the Arab world, Uighurs do not evoke solidarity because they are not Arabs and perhaps because they are somehow regarded as less than authentic Muslims. They do not look like Arabs, the original Muslims; they do not speak Arabic. The treatment of non-Arabians in early Islam is a complex subject; after all, the non-Arabians were conquered peoples. . . . It should be unsurprising that there are today various forms of Arab collective consciousness and cultural identity, and that these affect national policy. It should be unsurprising that there is more solidarity among Arabs than among Muslims more broadly (though one can of course also question the degree of pan-Arab solidarity), even if Islam suggests the absolute equality of all believers.

But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that that solidarity is today mostly employed when raisons d’etat make it useful, and otherwise ignored. The losers are people like the Uighurs, who so badly need solidarity and support from fellow Muslims. And for others, the lesson is perhaps to dismiss statements that are called principled expressions of solidarity—with Palestinians, for example—when it does seem that solidarity is expressed in accord with no principles at all.

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Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Arab World, China, Islam, Uighurs

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy