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.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Arab World, China, Islam, Uighurs

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy