Why Turks/Pakistanis/Malaysians are anti-American; and Saudis/Iranians are not?


 Why Turks/Pakistanis/Malaysians are anti-American; and Saudis/Iranians are not?
by Iqbal Latif

Are you surprised that why the most fundamentalist Islamic nations on the face of this earth like Iran and Saudi Arabia don't even figure on this list of Islamic nation unbridled with anti- Americanism; whereas secular Turkey and 'political moderate leadership' of Pakistan, the two alongside Malaysia top the hate list! The question is Why Pakistanis/Malaysians are so anti-American whereas rank and file of puritanical Wahabbi Saudis/Iranians are not?


The researchers Lisa Blaydes of Stanford and Drew A. Linzer of Emory University tender a fascinating novel study to address the entrenched rationale behind 'Why do some Muslims loathe America?' In an innovative study in the American Political Science Review Lisa Blaydes of Stanford and Drew A. Linzer of Emory University examined the views of 13,000 Muslims in 21 countries from one corner to the other corner of the Islamic world on American customs and American foreign policy. In US the two customary answers generally for “why the Muslim world hates us” are “US policy pisses them off” in other words what US stands for and does is wrong. “Her culture pisses them off.'' This is most likely a superficial explanation, the problem is duplicitous behaviour of the elite in relation to US.

Anti-American sentiment is a very real factor in the Islamic world, fewer than one-in-five Turks, Pakistanis, Jordanians, or Egyptians offered a favourable opinion of the US in Pew's 2012 Global Attitudes poll. The substance and essence of their paper, 'Elite Competition, Religiosity, and Anti-Americanism in the Islamic World' has concluded that policy-makers and the public assumption that the most religious and fundamentalist Islamic societies are most anti-American is wrong really anti-American Muslim societies tend to have strong moderate/secular groups.

It is readily assumed that, within Muslim countries, fundamentalists will most oppose American influence and policies, but Lisa Blaydes and Drew A. Linzer find a striking and perhaps surprising regularity: Anti-Americanism is most pronounced in the least observant Islamic countries. Some 90% of the citizens of Turkey, for instance, an American ally, have anti-American views, by one measure, and secularists and fundamentalists in that nation have long contested for power. Meanwhile, such staunchly Muslim nations as Ghana, Senegal, Mali, and Ivory Coast have levels of anti-Americanism down in the 20-30% range.

It is actually hypocrisy and two-facedness of the moderate and secular elite that spices and sprouts the venom of hate. The researchers conclude "When the struggle for political control between two factions escalates, they both tend to ramp up anti-American appeals to boost their own mass support with the result that political debate in certain countries is more or less saturated with anti-American messages. This means that larger numbers of Muslims hear, consider, and are led to adopt anti-American attitudes.''

Blaydes and Linzer concluded that these battling political forces are prone to exploit grievances against the United States for political gain and, in the process, create a heightened sense of anti-American feeling among their citizens.

Case example Pakistan: His mentor is Malaysia's ex-PM Mathahir. Imran Khan’s endorsement of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has been a PR disaster for him even within Pakistan. On APRIL 2012, the United States announced a bounty of $10 million for information leading to the prosecution of Hafiz Saeed, head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and believed to be the mastermind of the 26 November 2008 Mumbai terror strike. Saeed, a hero of the Islamist right in Pakistan, claimed he was being victimised due to his anti-American politics. Soon enough, he was adopted by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party. The PTI president, Javed Hashmi, called Saeed “a preacher of peace in the world”. Hashmi didn’t stop there. Participating in a rally organised in Multan by the Difae-Pakistan Council — an umbrella body of quasi-political religious parties opposing the opening of NATO supply lines to Afghanistan and the Most-Favoured Nation trade status to India — Hashmi vouched for the “piousness” of Saeed. “A social worker,” he said, “can never be a terrorist but all those declaring him a terrorist are the real threat to the peace of the world.” Imran’s warming up to radical elements is only a way of reaching out. Imran Khan has to bridge the gap and create a party for all. A politician who has been around for 15 years with minimal impact in desperation to make a mark crosses the line of proprietary of intellect.

The results of study suggests that Muslim public is highly responsive to clarity of message from their own domestic political and the media. It is toxic media and two-faced social, political elite and what they say about America that impacts public opinion the most. Anti-Americanism rhetoric on Nato supplies is no short supply from Zardari, Shariff even if we leave Imran Khan aside. It is the moderate/secular leadership that sends absolutely erroneous message to the public.

Kim Barker, an American reporter who covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for Chicago Tribune starting in 2003, claims that she was 'propositioned' by Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif when she met him for interviews for her newspaper. In "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan", Barker recounts how Nawaz Sharif gave her an Apple iphone as a gift and asked her to be his "special friend". When she declined Nawaz Sharif's sexual advance, Foreign Policy Magazine reports that he offered to set her up with President Asif Ali Zardari. This report added Sharif's name to the "illustrious" list of senior Pakistani political leaders who have made news for their dalliances with women. President Asif Ali Zardari was shown salivating and drooling around US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and requesting to "hug" her during a meeting in New York.

Efforts to transform the narrative in the most anti-American countries will have to find a new way to counter the effects on minds of local Muslims the message emanating from the media and social, political leadership. When leaders score points and play for the balconies, spewing out anti-US rhetoric to boost their own positions to win supporters, the die is cast.

Lisa Blaydes of Stanford and Drew A. Linzer of Emory University further determined that "Conversely we found that in Islamic countries where the battle for local supremacy has already been won by those who are more religious, neither side of the political divide had strong incentives to invoke grievances against the US to recruit supporters and hence the level of anti-Americanism among citizens was lower."

Example Saudi Arabia: Saudi and Iran do not suffer from dichotomy and contradiction of ideological purity. They have their revolution in their pockets and they don't have to play for the hearts and minds anymore. The masses do not posses that widespread anti-Americanism due to lack of such a dose on daily basis from the political leadership of the country. Though it can be argued that in Iran death to Amerika is Friday sermon top wish list slogan but the populace does not perpetuate such hatred.

To this day these historical alliances rule puritanical Saudi Arabia, their relationship with their religion and political security is clearly defined therefore no room for hypocrisy like Pakistani leadership.

1.The religious-political alliance that al-Wahhab and Saud forge endures to this day in Saudi Arabia:

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of "Wahhabism," an austere form of Islam, arrives in the central Arabian state of Najd in 1744 preaching a return to "pure" Islam. He seeks protection from the local emir, Muhammad ibn Saud, head of the Al Saud tribal family, and they cut a deal. The Al Saud will endorse al-Wahhab's austere form of Islam and in return, the Al Saud will get political legitimacy and regular tithes from al-Wahhab's followers.

2. President Franklin Roosevelt - King Abd al-Aziz's pact and President Eisenhower- King Saud pact

In 1945, the U.S. urgently needed oil facilities to help supply forces fighting in the Second World War. President Franklin Roosevelt invites King Abd al-Aziz's to meet him aboard the U.S.S. Quincy, docked in the Suez Canal. The two leaders reinforce a secret oil-for-security pact: The king guaranteed to give the U.S. secure access to Saudi oil and in swap the U.S. would provide military assistance and training to Saudi Arabia and build the Dhahran military base. In 1952 the Middle East balance of power shifted after Gamal Abdel Nasser's overthrow of Egypt's king. Nasser proclaims himself a pan-Arabist, a secular, socialist, and allied himself with the Soviet Union against the West. Nasser wanted to annex Saudi oil, saying it belongs to all Arab people. The U.S. shored up its support for King Saud. President Eisenhower invited him for a state visit in Feb. 1957. To this day, the agreement that Faisal and Eisenhower sign constitutes the basis of U.S.-Saudi military cooperation.

The two examples illustrated above demonstrate that the examination of an enormous quantity of data collected from 13,000 Muslims in 21 countries by Lisa Blaydes of Stanford and Drew A. Linzer of Emory University is accurate that countries where people expressed the most anti-American views were also those where two influential political elites Islamist and moderate/secular were rivals; fiercely engaged with each other for followers. In countries where this did not apply, the amount of anti-Americanism articulated was appreciably lesser.



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