The Simple Wisdom of Arab Dictators

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 


assadAfter my recent articles documenting how the U.S. is the chief facilitator of Christian persecution in the Muslim world, I received an email from John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity International, in which he made the following observation:

The sad fact is that the ruthless Assad dictatorship has a better record than the United States or its Sunni allies of protecting religious minorities in the Middle East. What Syrian Christian, Alawite or Druze in their right mind would trade the Assad’s time-tested protection for the smooth words of a John Kerry, especially when they can see Sunni supremacist Saudis, Qataris, Turks and a motley array of jihadis over his shoulder?

A sad fact indeed.

Still, one of the most nagging questions for Western observers must be: Why would ruthless dictators, most of whom are at least nominally Muslim, care about Christians and bother to protect them?

The answer is related to the popular adage (possibly of Arab origin), “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  This has long meant that, whoever is at odds with my enemy becomes my natural friend and ally.

In the context of Arab dictators protecting Christian minorities, however, the adage changes slightly to, “The enemy of ‘infidels’ is my enemy.”

Put differently, a secular Bashar Assad—ruthless as he may be—knows that, those Islamic rebels that attack Christians because the latter are “infidels” also see him as an infidel and are thus his natural enemies.

And so, if anything, finding and neutralizing those “elements” that persecute Christians is tantamount to finding and neutralizing those elements that would overthrow his rule.

It was the same in Saddam’s Iraq, Mubarak’s Egypt, Qaddafi’s Libya, and the rest.

The point is not that these dictators had any special love for their Christian subjects, but rather that they knew they had little to worry about from them, while those who attack Christians are the ones to worry about.

A simple deduction: those who scream “infidels” while burning churches are the same who scream “apostate” while attacking state targets.

Even al-Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri recently demonstrated this correlation, when he called on Egypt’s jihadis to stop targeting Christians and their churches and focus instead on fighting the current rulers.  In both cases, the jihadis see the “infidel”—whether the born Coptic Christian infidel or the “apostate” military—as the enemy.

Due to Egypt’s significant Christian population which numbers at least ten million (if not much more), the adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” takes on complete meaning: the Copts and their church did play an important role in the June revolution that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, even as Pope Tawadros stood side-by-side with Gen. Sisi and Al Azhar’s Grand Sheikh, Ahmed al-Tayab—to the wrath of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including al-Qaeda, everywhere.

At any rate, such is the simple wisdom and instinct for survival of the Arab autocrats of the Middle East—a wisdom that concludes that, “he who targets Christians because they are ‘infidels’ will clearly target me, if given the chance.”

Meanwhile, far from exhibiting such simple common sense, Western governments in general, the U.S. government in particular, continue to aid and abet those who, by targeting and killing Christians simply because they are “infidels,” are continually exposing their ingrained hostility for the West and everything it once stood for.

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  • truebearing

    In the US we have a reversal of the demographics and the leadership. There is a majority of Christians here, but our president is a closet Muslim. He can’t get too hostile to Christians here, yet, though he has worked every opportunity to insult and politically weaken Christians, but he has done everything he can to enable Christian persecuting jihadists overseas. Even the crucifixion of Coptic Christians in Egypt didn’t alter Obama plan to arm the Muslim Brotherhood with sophisticated tanks and F-16s.

    The friend of our enemy is Obama.

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      • gray_man

        up yours and your uncles.

        • Bandido

          touche!

    • Dallas25305

      You have absolutely nailed it. As many former allies of the U.S. such as Canada and Britain have found out if Obama is your friend, you don’t need any enemies.

  • The Facts

    This article and yesterday’s two on the same subject appear to address the cognitive dissonance in anti-Islamic propaganda, namely that Christians are not really oppressed in all or most of the countries on The Lobby’s hit list. Thus the article is an apologetic to clarify and expand the party line on why Christians are still really oppressed when they are not oppressed. It is a contortion.

    • defcon 4

      Christians “are not oppressed”. Your Al Taqiyya needs a lot more work Hamid.

      • The Facts

        You must have me confused with the Arabs you harass with you dog on the bus. Get a car yet?

        • Softly Bob

          You’ve been on the camel-p a bit too much, Ali Baba. You’re getting confused.

    • truebearing

      Your writing, much like your thinking, appears to be emanating from the cheeks you sit on.

    • Hass

      Change your username fool.

      • The Facts

        I don’t take advice from avocados.

        • Drakken

          Keep sucking up to the muslims there shortbus. They won’t spare you in the end, and Quislings like you who occupy our nation are going to have to learn that the hard way.

    • Dallas25305

      They may not be oppressed as you call it, however they are being tortured, raped, murdered and the villages destroyed even though they lived there hundreds of years before Mohammad invented his perverted, fascist religion. I call that oppression.

  • defcon 4

    I met some Syrian Jews in my Act for America chapter, their entire family left Syria due to the persecution they experienced under both Assads. Let’s not forget Wafa Sultan’s death fatwah was pronounced by a Syrian mullah/imam (whatever) while Assad was in power.

    • UCSPanther

      Choosing between Assad and Al Quada is like choosing between two slightly different, but still largely similar strains of evil.

      • Dallas25305

        We should have found out by now, that a Dictator in the middle East is about as good as it’s going to get.

        • UCSPanther

          Better the Devil we know than the one we don’t.

    • A Z

      ” The problem with Christians is they aren’t as good as Jesus. But thank God most Muslims are better than Muhammad.” – Wafa Sultan

    • A Z

      Wikipedia makes no mention of a fat’wa. I wonder why?

      “She says that she was shocked into secularism by the 1979 atrocities committed by Islamic extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood against innocent Syrians. She states that while she was a medical student, she witnessed the machine-gun assassination of her professor, Yusef al Yusef, an ophthalmologist from the university who was renowned outside Syria. “They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ ” she said.”

      Because ophthalmologist are like, ya know, a dime a dozen.
      The Muslim Brotherhood are such great idiots.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafa_Sultan

      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/11/international/middleeast/11sultan.html?pagewanted=all

  • chuckie2u

    President Obama was elected and approved by more whites than blacks and by those who want a socialist economy run as an autocracy . If he is a Muslim I dare say the Democrat and Republican Elites all know everything about the man and are using him as a focal point to transform the U.S. into a Nation State under the watchful eye of a centrally controlled governing body. I am sure the wealthy haves will continue to have while those of us with less will have what little we have shared with the have nots so the have nots can feel equal.

  • Hass

    No one is mentioning Turkeys eventual backlash, the facilitator of terrorists flooding into Syria.
    As what happens with all Muslimes who wage war on each other, it won’t be long before they start to cop what’s coming to them.

    • Drakken

      Grab a good bourbon, and cigar and pull up a chair and watch the show, muzzys killing muzzys is always a good thing and the more the merrier. If we were smart, we would arm the Kurds and really make it interesting.

  • tea drinker

    All dictators should be removed immediately, ours first.