I wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, the attacks by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq. Christian friends who migrated a long time ago from Iraq to the United States called my family, and were informed that our hearts were bleeding to see how the situation was worsening in Iraq.
That was confirmed by both families that Muslims, Christians and other religious groups lived in harmony in Iraq for more than 1,000 years. The Christian friends said that, "Those who committed those atrocities do not represent the true Iraqi Muslims."
In the meantime, there are deep concerns and worry, not only in the Middle East but all over the world, that the decision of the Obama administration to become unilaterally involved in Iraq by air attacks and drones will complicate the problem.
There is a fear that such operations will expand to involve ground troops. While the administration is stating that the deteriorating situation in Iraq is political and requires a political solution, it is using a military force in favor of the Kurds and the Shiites in Iraq. The administration is accused of being ready to use military force against, or to ignore the tragedies involving, Sunni Arabs.
A few weeks ago, the Kurdish militia called the Pesh Marga occupied, by force, the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, which is composed of Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmens, and the administration even did not issue a statement condemning the use of force to occupy an Iraqi city.
Therefore, the Kurdish authorities will take advantage of the U.S. attacks and occupy Mosul, a major Arab city in northern Iraq. Sunni Arab friends and relatives are living under fear in Baghdad because Shiite militias and government security forces are kidnapping Iraqi Sunni Arabs, and I did not see any statement by the administration condemning these actions.
The Iraqi government used force against Sunni Arabs in Faluja, Ramadi, Haweeja and other towns that were peacefully protesting its sectarian policies.
Instead of condemning these actions and imposing an arms embargo against the Iraqi government, the administration decided to supply it with weapons. More than 100,000 Syrians were killed, many of them by chemical weapons used by the Syrian government.
The administration set a red line for using chemical weapons and promised to take action, but ultimately it seemed that the red line was set in sand, and it disappeared later on. There was a military coup in Egypt, which resulted, as revealed by a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, in the death of more than 1,000 Egyptian protesters, which it described as "a planned massacre."
In accordance with American law, the United States government should impose an arms embargo in this case, but the administration reversed its earlier position, and is ready to supply Egypt with weapons, thus enabling the military dictatorship to kill more Egyptians protesting against the military coup.
About 2,000 Palestinians and 60 Israelis were killed in the latest Gaza war. The United Nations Security Council was prevented by the administration from assuming its responsibility to maintain international peace and security by effectively dealing with that conflict.
In the meantime, the administration has not demonstrated the leadership to resolve this longest conflict in the history of the United Nations by establishing peace and justice in the Holy Land.
Is it time for the administration to have a genuine review of its entire policy in the Middle East in favor of peace, justice and true democracy? That lofty goal will not be achieved until many Americans voice their concerns in favor of new direction in the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East, as stated above.
My sincere hope is that our foreign policy will reflect the aspirations of the American people for peace, justice and respect for human rights everywhere in the world.
Amer Araim is an adjunct professor of political science at Diablo Valley College. He is a resident of Walnut Creek.