A masquerade party is a social event in which participants' faces are covered, allowing them to say and do all the things they would either be ashamed or afraid to say if they could be identified. A mask frees its wearer from limitations that derive from his status, identity, family situation, past, friends and even the ideas he ordinarily defends. It gives him a new identity, a different one, untouched and free of constraints.
Some participants even change masks during a ball, giving themselves another identity and further liberties that differ from the first false image created by the previous costume they wore earlier in the evening. Masks allow their wearers to lie to others present at the party without anyone being able to notice them blush and blink their eyes. The only way to know the true identity of participants is to tear the masks from their faces. And that is what academic research is supposed to do.
The Middle East is one big masquerade party, and all those taking part in it wear masks that are intended to project a false image to the outside world. Each participant changes his mask in accordance with the masks worn by the others around him, acts and speaks as the others do, even if he said and did entirely different things a day earlier – because today he is wearing a new mask. The truth remains hidden, and can only be exposed by expending much effort on research. There are some participants who wear multiple masks, one on top of the other, until they fall off and reveal the true face hiding beneath them.
The most striking example and largest mask of all is that of the "Pan-Arab Nation". Every Arab will tell you that there is a vast Pan-Arab Nation, characterized by a deep feeling of togetherness, based on a common language, a glorious past and joint aspirations. This is the premise behind the founding of the Arab League and its activities.
Except that the reality is very different. The idea of the Pan-Arab Nation never succeeded in replacing the loyalties of many Arabs to traditional, secondary frameworks such as the tribe, religion (Muslim, Christian, Yazidi, etc.) or sect (Sunni, Shiite, etc.). Outwardly, they claim "we are all Arabs", but within, behind the masks, Arabs battle one another, murder one another due to tribal, sectarian and religious differences as well as for reasons of self-interest. The Arab League's weakness derives from the shallowness of the Pan-Arab idea, from the fact that it is nothing but a thin, transparent and easily cracked mask.
Qatar has been among the main supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots for years, including the funding of terror organizations such as al Qaeda and its "daughter" organizations. Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and militant Islamic organizations stems from the deep-seated belief that they represent the real Islam and that their final goal – to establish Islamic rule over the entire world – is a fitting and just one that it is important to support. That is how Qatar has become the main funder of the many Jihadist organizations working in Syria, Iraq, Libya and the Palestinian Authority.
The above has not prevented the Qatari's from wearing a pro-Western mask and being home to the main US airbase in the Gulf, Idid Base. This provides them with American defense for their territory and for the gas wells from whose profits they fund the Jihad media channel, Al Jazeera and the Sunni terror organizations – those that butcher their victims, even if they are American.
Qatar also funds American think tanks, like the Brookings Institute, so that these will purchase an objective academic mask and cover the real faces of those participating in "research" studies.
In order to affix its modern, liberal and moderate mask, and cover up its Wahhabi fundamentalist, terror funding, Qatar has been organizing annual scientific conferences for years in its capital of Doha. Qatari money allows those who attend these conferences to wear smiley masks and join the masquerade, abiding by the rules laid down by Qatar.
The last few weeks have seen the start of an American attack on the "Islamic State" and Qatar has been forced to don the mask of a country that has joined the war against the terrorist organization that it actually funds. Even the Americans have proclaimed that Qatar is taking part in the war, but this, too, is a mask, because no one has any idea of Qatar's role in the US-Arab "coalition" formed against the "Islamic State".
And while we are at it, what exactly have the other Arab states in the "coalition" done– Saudi Arabia, the United Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan? Do they have a part to play beyond wearing a mask whose intention is to keep them from criticizing the Christian, Western infidels that are attacking the true Islamic faithful carrying out the Prophet Mohammed's wishes and following his teachings and example?
Another mask is the Saudi one. The monarchy's founder, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdul-Rahman al Faisal al Saud, for whom it is named, used exactly the same procedures that today's self-appointed Caliph Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi, the head of "Islamic State", uses. Eighty two years ago, Ibn Saud established his monarchy, and his army, called "al-Ikhwān" (the Brothers) consisted of cruel camel riders who decimated any tribe that refused to join the Ibn Saud coalition, doing the same things to their unfortunate sons and daughters that we see happening in Iraq and Syria.
Has anyone in Saudi Arabia ever condemned Ibn Saud, his militia or his methods? Of course not, but that doesn't prevent the Saudis from wearing a mask of condemnation against the "Islamic State."
For decades, the Saudis have been spreading the Wahhabi, fundamentalist Salafist version of Sunni Islam throughout the world, using oil monies that they are paid by the West. In other words, they use Western funds to spread an ideology that sees the West as heretic, materialist and permissive, one that predicts that it will collapse and fall.
Behind a "charity" mask, they fund mosques, schools and Islamic charitable organizations all over the Western world, in order to encourage Muslim immigration to the West, intending to gain control over it with time, just exactly as Mohammed, the founder of Islam, did in the city of Medina, the place to which he fled in 622 C.E. from his birthplace, Mecca. He moved to Medina, gained control over it and built an empire. This is the method the Saudis have been bankrolling for years, hiding behind the mask of "economic cooperation with the West".
The Saudi peace initiative of 2002, adopted by the Arab League, is another mask that the Saudis used to try to hide behind after it turned out that 15 of the 19 perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudi Arabian.
The "Palestinians" are another mask created by several Arab tribes who live west of the Jordan, after Israel liberated them from the illegal occupation of Jordan in Judea and Samaria and of Egypt in Gaza.
Today it is clear that the "Palestinian nation" is no less a mask than the "Syrian nation", the "Iraqi nation", the "Sudanese nation" or the "Libyan nation". They are all covers for a tribal, ethnic, religious, sectarian reality – divided, feuding and flowing with rivers of blood that only dictators – with strong security forces under a "nationalistic" or "socialist" mask - can possibly control.
Netanyahu had to wear a mask supporting the establishment of a "demilitarized Palestinian state", although he knew that there is no such thing as a demilitarized Arab state.
Erdogan's Turkey wears the mask of a respected NATO member, but does not take part in the organization's operations in Islamic or Arab countries. Erdogan the Islamist once wore a mask portraying him as the Alawite heretic Assad's best friend, but showed his real face from the day Assad began publicly murdering Sunni Muslims. He is now a known enemy of Assad who provides aid to the forces rebelling against the Syrian dictator and facilitates the transfer into Syria and Iraq of the Jihadist butchers of Americans who arrive in Turkey from all over the world.
The "democratic" mask allows Erdogan to be accepted internationally, barring in Egypt, where President Sisi takes pains to look behind the mask and see the dark Islamist hiding behind it.
Israel, to its regret, is also forced to attend the masquerade ball. After US President Obama's Cairo speech in June of 2009, Binyamin Netanyahu had to wear a mask supporting the establishment of a "demilitarized Palestinian state", although he knew that there is no such thing as a demilitarized Arab state.
He talks to Mahmoud Abbas while both their faces are masked: Abbas wants a Palestinian state from the sea to the Jordan River, built on the ruins of the Jewish state of Israel, and Netanyahu knows what everyone knows – that a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will become another Hamastan, by way of elections like the ones in January 2006, or by the violent means employed in Gaza in June 2007.
America created a mask that portrays it as leading a "coalition" against the "Islamic State". This mask was born after two American citizens and one Briton were beheaded. The thousands of Syrians and Iraqis beheaded by the knives of the "Islamic State" did not cause the Americans go out to war against this terror state. Two hundred thousand Syrian dead did not affect American tranquility, and the US did not fire a single bullet at Bashar Assad, the mass murderer. Thousands killed by chemical weapons in Syria did not result in one warning rocket launched against the Syrian Dracula, despite repeated warnings, because Putin gave America the mask of "Syrian abstention from chemical weapons". But when two Americans and one Briton were slaughtered on camera, a war against the "Islamic State" was suddenly justified. What a lovely mask!
The worst mask of all is the one worn by all those soul-weary people whose red faces are hidden when they say: "Israel is the root cause of all the Middle East's problems. If Israel would only relinquish the 'territories', then the wolf would lie down with the lamb, the Shiites would love the Sunnis, the Arabs would embrace the Kurds, the Libyan tribes would kiss one another, the Iraqis would cease to kill each other and the Afghans would sit around the campfire singing Kumbaya in perfect harmony."
The Middle East's masquerade ball is still going strong, and there are Israelis who believe that the Jewish state can build its future relying on the temporary masks hiding the faces of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates and Egypt.
Unfortunately for all of us, Israel must relate to the Middle East as it really is. Peace in this neighborhood is not granted to those who wish for it or to a nation that truly seeks peace, but to those who seem invincible - and to them only – that is, to those, who, without donning any mask, succeed in convincing the other participants, including those wearing smiley masks, that they had better be left alone for the smilers' own good.
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky