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Be wary of Saudis and Emirates dangling poisonous carrots.

“Servants of the Haramain” is a self-designated religious title that shelters the Saudi Arabian regime from censure for its debauched and immoral conduct since its installation by the British in 1932. The 2 billion Muslims regard the birthplace of Islam, Makkah, and the Prophet’s city Medina, and the Masjid al-Aqsa in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), as the most venerated cities in the world.

The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), has shamefully violated the basic tenets of Islam.  The brutal dismemberment of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi  at its embassy in Istanbul, sawing his body into pieces and dissolving it in acid, shocked the world. Furthermore, the unwarranted and indiscriminate bombing of Yemen for over seven years has killed thousands, impoverished and decimated this country, with 13 million people facing starvation.

MBS has entrenched his rule, imprisoning and killing a number of leading religious leaders, royal family members opposed to his rule, and Palestinian activists. He is on record as saying that “ Israel is not an enemy, but a potential ally”.

Whilst the Saudis have covert relations with the Zionist entity, the strategically important American and British tool, United Arab Emirates (UAE) have openly normalised its relations with  Israel, thereby legitimising the Zionist occupation of Palestinians. With their Saudi allies, they too have pummelled the Yemenis and the Syrians, inflicting untold carnage on the innocent.

Under Dubai’s ruler, Muhammad bin Zayed (MBZ), the Sheikhdom has spearheaded the secularization of Islam and Muslim societies, becoming part of the global profiteering economic system in entrenching Dubai’s role facilitating corruption and global illicit financial flows.

A Carnegie Endowment study in 2020 revealed how Dubai has become a shopper’s paradise, and an oasis for the world’s well-to-do. While the vast majority of financial, business, and real estate transactions in Dubai are not associated with illegal activity, part of what underpins Dubai’s prosperity is a steady stream of illicit proceeds borne from corruption and crime.

Corrupt and criminal actors from around the world operate through or from Dubai. Corrupt rulers ranging from Afghan warlords, Asian dictators,  Russian mobsters, African kleptocrats, European money launderers and gold smugglers, all find Dubai a conducive place to operate.

Many migrant workers are also treated as commodities in Dubai through the kafala system, an exploitative migrant labor scheme that shares some characteristics with human trafficking.

The UAE hosted the foreign ministers of four Arabian regimes who met with Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid under the watchful eye of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 28. Dubbed the ‘summit of shamelessness’, three other treacherous Arabian rulers, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt, embrace zionist Israel. These Arabian regimes, all dictatorships that brutalize their hapless people, do not represent the sentiments or interests of their Muslim populations.

But perhaps the most perfidious of the lot is the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose octogenarian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, openly connives with the Zionist Israeli entity to oppress his own people. He unashamedly declared that the PA’s association with Israeli intelligence is “sacred”. Millions of dollars are poured into the PA’s coffers by Israel, the West and the Arab regimes, to stifle the legitimate Palestinian resistance against Israeli apartheid and colonisation.

The shameful collaboration of the PA with Israel in re-arresting Palestinian prisoners that escaped from a highly fortified Israeli facility exemplifies its double-dealing. The escape galvanised the support entire Palestinian peoples. However, it simply demonstrates that, just as the illegitimate Arab regimes are in the service and totally dependent on the West, the PA serves only Israel.

What, then, should be the role of ordinary Muslims, and those seeking justice, do to counter this treachery? Be wary of the ‘gifts’ brought by the Saudis and Emirates. The carrots that they dangle can be poisonous and harmful to the soul.

The spiritual and emotional bond that Muslims share with Makkah, Medinah and al-Aqsa, the three harams, is natural and strong. Meeting their representatives evokes natural sympathy. It is, however, critical for Muslims to distinguish between the regime propagandists who exploit these sentiments to obscure its heinous crimes against humanity.

Sharing public platforms with them lends them unwarranted legitimacy.

The Emirates and Saudis entice gullible Muslim organisations and individuals with funds and pilgrimage privileges under the guise of dispensing charity,  or tug at the emotional attachment for al-Aqsa, to cover up the regimes’ injustices. Normalisation with these regimes is a malicious and subversive process.

Any meeting with them must be within the framework of support for the resistance movements to achieve justice for the oppressed, to end the illegitimate rule and establish fundamental human rights. Otherwise it will be a futile exercise to inflate one’s self-importance and ego.

FIROZ OSMAN: Dr Osman is the co-author of Why Israel? The Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid: An SA Perspective, Shattering Zionist Myths 100 Distortions Identified and an executive member of the Media Review Network, an advocacy group based in Gauteng.