The conflict in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza are in reality different fronts in one and the same war: a war that is being fought in a desperate attempt to maintain the supremacy of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world. This is in order to preserve the hegemony of the Euro/American domination of the world that has been a given for the past four centuries and is now, for the first time, in imminent danger of being superseded. For when Putin’s army crossed the border into Ukraine in February 2022, it became immediately clear that Western domination of the world was no longer paramount. Until then the fiction of American superpower with its European adjunct could be upheld as a believable reality. Putin’s move revealed it to be the sham that it had actually become. The deterrent power that it had presumed itself to possess proved, in real terms, to be null and void. It found itself impotent, unable to protect its interests in a country it flaunted as a flagship exponent of the Western economic and political model. This has been exacerbated by the present strong alliance between Russia and China, which certainly looks like becoming the dominant economic and political power in today’s world. 

Behind all this, bubbling away in the background, various moves to dislodge the dollar as the indispensable reserve currency of international trade have been taking place. This is not a new phenomenon. A number of past attempts have been made to do this, notably by President De Gaulle, Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi. These were, however, fairly quixotic and easily shrugged aside at the time by the dominant economic order. Putin’s invasion, however, revealing as it did the fragility of American dominance, has made the replacement of the dollar as the global medium of exchange a really feasible possibility. Ironically it is the very weakness of the dollar that is, at the moment, its greatest strength. A significant amount of the almost unimaginably colossal American national debt – now well over thirty trillion dollars – is in the hands of foreign governments. They cannot afford to allow the dollar to collapse in value because that would result in huge losses for themselves. Therefore they are forced to continue to uphold the financial status quo. It is, however, worth noting in this context that Russia holds very little of the American debt and that China, which holds a lot of it, has recently sold forty percent of the American bonds in its possession. And this brings us to the war’s Palestinian front. 

From its inception the state of Israel has acted as a major bastion of Western imperialism. It has been described as being an aircraft carrier for US and Western interests in the Middle East, a citadel of the very system of banking capitalism on which Western power is based, the fragility of whose hold on world power has now been definitively revealed by the invasion of Ukraine and the refusal of China to condemn it. And it is above all China that represents the greatest threat to the Euro/American hegemony that has for so long controlled the world, particularly in the Middle East. For a decade, China has been the largest importer of oil and gas from the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, through its global infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, China is moving the centre of world trade back to Asia. 

The Middle East is, therefore, absolutely crucial to China’s Belt and Road Initiative because it connects Asia to Europe and China has been making considerable headway in gaining a foothold in the region. This explains why the United States, in defence of its own position, has been so desperate to try to challenge the Belt and Road with its own attempts to build new trade routes, in particular a trade route going from India to the Persian Gulf and then up through Israel. So Israel plays a crucial role as an extension of U.S. imperial power in one of the most important regions of the world. Therefore when Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on 22 September mentioning “visionary plans” to connect India to Europe with maritime links, rail links and energy pipelines and said that Israel could become a “bridge of peace and prosperity paving the way for a new Middle East”, he was simply endorsing American imperialism. As he spoke these words, he held up a map of this prospective new Middle East and on that map Palestine had no place whatsoever. Palestine had completely disappeared. The Israeli onslaught on Gaza that followed the Hamas incursion into Israel on 7 October must, therefore, be viewed as part of a systematic, ongoing programme to displace the Palestinian population that has been continuing unremittingly since the very foundation of the Israeli state.

It began in earnest with the Nakba of 1948 with the expulsion of three quarters of a million Palestinians from their ancestral homes in the territory now known as Israel. Step by step, with varying degrees of intensity, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – the removal of its original inhabitants from their homeland – has gone on without any let-up for the last seventy-five years. For most of this period there was at least a pretence on the part of the various Israeli governments concerned that this was not what was taking place. With this present annihilation of Gaza, however, as numerous explicit statements by Israeli officials have made clear, the mask is off and the elimination of the Palestinian presence in the area under their occupation is openly underway. The “final solution” of the intractable “Palestinian problem” is being implemented. 

In his UN speech Netanyahu also spoke of an “amazing breakthrough” by his country in bringing about four peace treaties with four Arab states. This was a reference to the so-called “Abraham Accords” which were in reality simply a sordid strategy whereby four weak links in the Arab world were sought out and paid to abandon their support of the Palestinian cause. They were The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. In the case of the UAE and Bahrain the price was simply greatly enhanced business opportunities particularly in the area of defence; with Sudan the deal was $1.2 billion dollars from the US to help clear its debt to the World Bank and agreement by the US to abolish its status as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism”; and Morocco’s price was no more than a “joint security agreement” and recognition by the US of the Moroccan claim over the Western Sahara. 

The hope was that, on the back of this, more Arab states would follow suit and, indeed, talks with other nations about the “normalisation” of their relationship with Israel in the aftermath of these agreements – with Saudi Arabia at the forefront – suggested that the venal Israeli stratagem was working quite well. One thing it clearly did succeed in doing, apparently, was emasculating the Arab world and thus opening the way to the present obliteration of Gaza and its inhabitants. This is conclusively demonstrated by the deafening silence emanating from all the surrounding countries in the face of the indiscriminate slaughter and desperate plight of the Palestinian people that is now being witnessed by the whole world. Forget about military support, the close Arab Muslim neighbours of the suffering Palestinians have, shamefully, not even been able to ensure the delivery to them of any ordinary humanitarian aid, of simple health care, food and shelter. 

The compliant passivity in the face of this genocide of virtually all the governments of the lands of Islam makes them, in fact, actively complicit in the plan of the Western imperialists to solve what they view as the intractable Palestinian problem by simply wiping them off the map. The Palestinians will then no longer be an obstacle obstructing the implementation of the intended new trade route which the Western imperialists are desperately hoping will help them restore their failing authority in the world. The Muslim governments in the region seem to be colluding with this flagrant injustice in order to foolishly try to secure for themselves a measure respect and of approval from people who are, in any case, rapidly losing their hold on world power. 

Allah says in the Qur’an: “The Jews and Christians will never be happy with you until you follow their millah.” (2:120) It is commonly recognised that the millah of the present world order is entirely founded on and underpinned by the usurious system of banking capitalism, a system based on something that Allah has declared to be more hateful to Him than virtually anything else in existence. The whole world, including the Muslims, has been immersed in this iniquitous system for more than two centuries. The present war, with its two fronts in Ukraine and Palestine, is not about changing the system but about who is going to control it. The “Abraham Accords” and their follow-up show that Muslim governments, far from trying to escape from the system, are determined to embed themselves further into it and, what is more, for the most part to ally themselves with the empire that is almost certainly on the losing side in the war. 

So the peoples of Islam find themselves positioned between an empire in the West that is definitely on a steep decline and an empire in the East that is definitely very much on the rise. The way forward for them is, in fact, blindingly obvious. Allah says in the Qur’an: “In this way We have made you a middlemost community…”. (2:143) And that is the truth. The lands of Islam do constitute the very middle of the world. They are between the East and the West and the North and the South. Stretching from Kyrgystan in the east to Senegal in the west, they form a contiguous, unbroken chain of countries, all of whose populations are still between 90 and100% Muslim. All they need to do to regain their integrity and ensure their meaningful and powerful presence in the today’s world is to realise this and set up a Federation of Muslim Nations which is, in actual fact, already a geographical reality. 

As a first step towards that it will be necessary to reinforce the heartlands of Islam and, to that end, a binding alliance must be formed between Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Key to this is the inclusion of Iran, because it is by the tactic of fomenting and exacerbating the division between Sunni and Shi’a that Western control of the Middle East has been established and maintained over the last hundred years. So for this project to be successful it is essential that Iran be re-integrated into the main body of the Muslims. Doing that will also resolve in one blow most of the conflicts that are at present dividing the region. It will not be easy but moves towards it have already begun and, in that context, it should be remembered that deep and ancient antagonisms were overcome to bring about the formation of the European Union which has now remained resolutely united for the last more than seventy years. On the back of that strong central core it should be reasonably easy to enlist the engagement with the Federation of the rest of the Muslim world because the advantage of doing that will immediately make itself felt. 

The Federation will, of course, be bound together, first and foremost, by the belief and affirmation of the shahadatayn common to all Muslims. It will be necessary for this to be accompanied by the broadest possible normative interpretation of the Book and Sunna so that all authentic doctrines and shades of opinion will be able to find their place within it. The gold dinar and silver dirham should act as the Federation’s common currency, as it has throughout the history of Islam and, indeed, as has been advocated in recent times by several of the countries who will be members of it. The laws of Islamic trading must be re-established as normal trading practice between its members and also for trade beyond its borders. This will demonstrate to the world that usury capitalism is not the only viable way to conduct business transactions. 

None of this is impossible or even, in reality, difficult to achieve but it will require a complete change of perspective on the part of the Muslims concerned and a rejection of the false divisions inculcated by two centuries of colonial conditioning. And it will also certainly require strong and sincere intention, clear vision and enormous political will. But the advantages of such a Federation are beyond counting. At present the Muslim voice in international affairs carries no weight whatsoever. The Federation would make it once again extremely influential and would give the Muslim world a geopolitical significance it has not had for centuries. Forming the Federation will enable the Muslims to escape the morass of the godless system that has been dominating the world for so long and allow the light and true justice of Divine guidance to find its place in human affairs once more. 

Abdalhaqq Bewley