Thursday, August 3, 2017

What Saudi Arabia can contribute to deescalating tensions

Sar Shalom

Jonathan Tobin has an excellent article this week in Israel Hayom on why the moderate Muslim states are more beholden to the radicals on the street than they have influence over them. However, there is one thing that they could do that would counter the narrative that drives the street radicals. That would be to promote the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya regarding Jerusalem.

This should be natural for Saudi Arabia because Ibn Taymiyya is the unassailable authority for Saudi Arabia on everything else. However, politically, the Saudi government might not be able to promote Ibn Taymiyya's views on Jerusalem at this point. However, if individual Saudi clerics were to do so, the government could plausibly deny any role in calling for yielding on Jerusalem. Would it be worth asking those who conduct discreet talks with the Saudis to ask them to green light imams to write about Ibn Taymiyya's views of Jerusalem, using the same language that Ibn Taymiyya used for today's Muslim visitors to Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock?


  1. I don't see how it could hurt.

    But as you may know, I am exceedingly wary of any resolution of hostilities that requires a negotiated agreement at this point.

    That is sad to say, isn't it?

    Nevertheless, given the history of the last 80 years since the Peel Commission, I fail to see the likelihood of a standing negotiated agreement.

    Daniel Pipes may have the right idea.


    1. I'm not suggesting resolution, just incremental improvement. Create some license to question Jerusalem's importance to Islam.

  2. I believe Saudi Arabia finds itself in the position of Ancien Regime whereas ISIS, al Shabab, Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO are seen as populist movements 'draining the swamp' as it were. I doubt very much the Saudis can effect any change in that regardless of their academic and political history. At best, the Arab mind doesn't negotiate - it appeases temporarily until the situation again falls in their favor. Paperwork, treaties, etc are worthless. Moreover the Saudis I suspect value their own ownership and preeminence with Mecca and Medina to every give more than a tacit nod to this imaginary '3rd most holy site...'. That would only be at their own expense.

    1. "Moreover the Saudis I suspect value their own ownership and preeminence with Mecca and Medina ..."

      Wouldn't that only provide more reason for them to promote questioning of Jerusalem having any sanctity to Islam?