Facade of fairness: How the Iran-Israel conflict exposed Western leaders’ hypocrisy

Ayesha Naseem, UK
President Joe Biden meets with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room 2024 04 13 scaled
President Joe Biden meets with members of the National Security Council regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the White House Situation Room. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

In normal circumstances, any discussion or mention of international law and its obligations to all countries would be taken very seriously. Since October 2023, however, this whole idea of international law has seemed like a farce. A reality from afar that only matters when the mighty ones choose it should. 

In these past six months, we have seen one military force bomb hospitals, schools, universities, archives, libraries, refugee camps, residential blocks and every possible civilian infrastructure that one could name here. It has shot and run military tanks over kids and pregnant women. It has stripped men of their dignity in the open and has tortured them while their cameras record it for the world to see. Even in an attempt to list every possible thing the IDF has committed in these past six months, I am bound to still miss some. The absolute horrors of this aggression have had no bounds. Every day, one is left to wonder: At what point will the gravity of these inhumane crimes decrease?

Yet, because the military responsible for these indiscriminate bombings is backed and supported by the West, all of these actions are termed as “self-defence”. These acts are justified and blatantly endorsed as if they were normal. Israel, however, has not stopped here. While raging their extreme oppression against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, they have provoked war on several other fronts in the Middle East. They are actively bombing civilian areas in Lebanon and Syria, and most recently, they have bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

The impunity that Israel has enjoyed and continues to enjoy is unprecedented. The world has perhaps never seen it like this before and we may never see another such example either, or at least we hope, we don’t. 

By bombing civilians, and civilian infrastructure and then bombing sovereign territories and their civilian areas and getting away with it all consistently meant that Israel was also able to freely bomb a sovereign state’s diplomatic facility in another sovereign state’s territory and not one Western nation said a word of condemnation. And now that Iran has retaliated by launching a missile and drone attack directly on Israeli soil, all we see on the news is condemnation against Iran yet there is still not a single acknowledgement of the context that led to such an escalation. The double standards are comical, but the situation is so bleak that no one knows where this will stop. The catastrophic consequences that the whole of the Middle East and the wider world will have to endure because of one state’s actions and its wholehearted support by the so-called civilised West is a tale for the history books.

The Vienna Convention 1961

For the Israeli bombing of the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, it must be said that Article 22, Paragraph 1 of the Vienna Convention of 1961 states:

“The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.” (“Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961”, p. 7, https://legal.un.org/)

At its simplest, this means that Israel breached International law. Yet the UN Security Council failed to issue a condemnation. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the wider West did not say a single word to condemn it. Leading up to the anticipation of Iran’s retaliation, all these countries and beyond urged Iran to de-escalate and show restraint. Iran, however, maintained that they had the right to retaliate in self-defence and that they would respond the way they deemed necessary. After the missile attack in the early hours of Sunday morning, Iran emphasised that the matter was now even from their end but should Israel respond further, Iran too, would retaliate again. 

Even if the US President and the British Prime Minister consider Iran’s actions to be threatening or escalatory, there is no one to blame for this but the West and its continued and blind support for Israel. Any response from Iran is per the UN Charter because Israel was the provoker in this case and responding to an attack on a state’s diplomatic facility is equivalent to an attack on the concerned state itself.

Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations states:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.” (Article 51, Charter of the United Nations, https://legal.un.org)

The clause “measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council” has already been adhered to by Iran. Not only was the Security Council encouraged to condemn immediately after Israel’s attack was reported but Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on 11 April 2024 that the “imperative for Iran” to retaliate for the attack on its embassy in Damascus may have been avoided had the UN Security Council condemned Israel’s airstrike.

The mission said: “Had the UN Security Council condemned the Zionist regime’s reprehensible act of aggression on our diplomatic premises in Damascus and subsequently brought to justice its perpetrators, the imperative for Iran to punish this rogue regime might have been obviated.” (“UN Security Council should have condemned Iran embassy attack in Syria – Iran’s UN mission”, www.reuters.com)

In an arena of Western double standards, blatant demonstration of imperialism and support for colonial oppression, the failure of the United Nations and the consistent violation of international treaties otherwise considered sacred, it is important to appreciate and highlight the invaluable Islamic principles on conflict resolution. Essentially, the answer to everything wrong in this world with international relations is in the Holy Quran. Only if the world paid heed. 

Solidarity and conflict resolution in Islam

The Holy Quran states: 

“And if two parties of believers fight each other, make peace between them; […]” (Surah al-Hujurat, Ch.49: V.10)

It has been explained in the Five Volume English Commentary of the Holy Quran: 

“The central theme of the Surah is the solidarity of Islam. Directions and rules of conduct which are calculated to achieve and maintain this solidarity have been laid down in it in some detail. Some of these rules have been mentioned in the preceding verses, others follow in the verses that come later. A great danger to the security and solidarity of the Muslim State or Community are the disputes and quarrels that haply might arise between different Muslim groups or parties. The verse under comment provides a most effective remedy to compose these quarrels. Primarily, the verse deals with the settlement of disputes between Muslim parties, but it equally embodies a sound basis on which a really effective ‘League of Nations’ or a ‘United Nations Organisation’ can be built. The verse lays down the following principles for the maintenance of international peace.

“As soon as there are indications of disagreement between two nations, the other nations, instead of taking sides with one or the other, should at once serve notice upon them, calling upon them to submit their differences for settlement to a ‘League of Nations’ or ‘United Nations Organisation’, as the case may be. If they agree, the dispute will be amicably settled. But if one of them refuses to submit to the ‘League’ or, having submitted, refuses to accept the award of the ‘League’ and prepares to make war, the other nations should all fight it. 

“It is evident that one nation, however strong, cannot withstand the united might of all other nations and is bound to make a speedy submission. In that event, terms of peace should be settled between the two original parties to the dispute. The other nations should act merely as mediators and not as parties to the dispute and should not put forward new claims arising out of the conflict with the refractory nation, for that would lay the foundation of fresh disputes and quarrels. The terms of peace should be just and equitable with reference to the merits of the dispute; they should be confined to the original dispute between the parties and should not be allowed to travel beyond it.

“It is only such a ‘League’ or ‘Organisation’ which can safely be entrusted with the maintenance of international peace, not a League or Organisation whose very existence is dependent upon the goodwill of others.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. V, pp. 2961-2962)

Then, in verse 11 of the same chapter, it is said: 

“Surely all believers are brothers. So, make peace between your brothers.” (Surah al-Hujurat, Ch.49: V.11)

“The verse lays special stress on Islamic brotherhood. Islam tolerates no discord or dissensions between brothers. If there happens to arise a quarrel or dispute between two Muslim individuals or groups, other Muslims are bound at once to bring about reconciliation between the quarrelling parties. Islam’s real strength lies in this ideal of brotherhood which transcends all barriers of caste, colour, or clime.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. V, p. 2962)

At this year’s National Peace Symposium, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa elaborated on the failures of the United Nations and the vulnerability of the Security Council. Huzooraa said:

“For example, the United Nations has become a weak and almost powerless body where a few dominant nations wield all the power and easily override the views of the majority. Instead of deciding each issue based on its facts and merits, nations have formed alliances and vote according to their self-interests. Ultimately, critical decisions are made by a few privileged nations in whose hands rests the veto power. Instead of faithfully serving the cause of peace and justice, they wield their veto like a trump card wherever their narrow interests are threatened, irrespective of whether their decision shatters the peace and prosperity of other nations and leads to the death and destruction of scores of innocent people. Let it be clear, therefore, that where a veto power exists, the scales of justice can never be balanced.” (“The Critical State of the World – What is the Blue Print for Peace”, 13 March 2024, www.reviewofreligions.org)

Western scramble for de-escalation

Before Iran’s retaliation, the United States had asked its allies and, even its non-allies alike, to urge Iran for de-escalation in the hope that an attack on Israel could be stopped. Foreign Ministers of Germany, Britain, Australia, Turkey, France, and beyond, who were nowhere to be seen to urge de-escalation from Israel, were then calling the Iranian Foreign Minister, urging restraint. The United States also asked the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to urge Iran not to retaliate. None of these efforts received any assurance. Iran maintained and indeed fulfilled its intention of retaliation, for it believes that no response at this stage would have settled Israel’s impunity even more.  

It takes very little to understand that the West is currently in a state of panic. Israel wants to respond to the Iranian missile and drone attack but faces little to no backing from the West to do so, as any such attempt carries the inevitable risk of the US and allies being drawn into a conflict carrying catastrophic consequences not just for the Middle East but also the whole world. However, there should be no illusion that the US is trying to avoid a regional war for the sake of humanity. If anything is deterring and dissuading the US from finding itself fighting a war, it is the presidential election in November. Ultimately, the American interest is of concern; the American soldier cannot be hurt nor can an American base, and nor can an American voter be made more upset.

A war in the Middle East is in the American interest, though – it means billions of dollars’ worth of weapons are sold to the fighting sides, which brings revenue for the American economy and whether the American troops directly fight or not, the American land, air and sea are safe because they are thousands of miles away from the war zone. But an election year changes everything. Especially when President Biden is losing in polls and his predecessor, Donald Trump, is leading. 

Hypocrisy and mischief

It is stated in the Holy Quran: 

“And when it is said to them: ‘Create not disorder on the earth,’ they say: ‘We are only promoters of peace.’” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.12)

In its commentary, it has been explained:

“In the present verse, reference is made to the double-dealing of the hypocrites. Confronted with this, the hypocrites invariably pleaded that they were prompted by nothing but sincerity of purpose and that their intention was not to create ill-will but to establish mutual cordiality and peace. This is the typical defence of all mischief-makers.

“The presence of hypocrites and malcontents is inevitable in every organised society. In a society, not properly organised, it is easy for disaffected members to leave. But in a well-organised community, the malcontents find it difficult to leave. So, they remain within and carry on their nefarious activities secretly. The presence of hypocrites is not a sign of weakness but rather of strength in a community. But this should not make a community neglectful about them. On the contrary, it is imperative that malcontents and hypocrites should be closely watched and properly dealt with, as and when circumstances require. The Holy Prophetsa was ever watchful of this class.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. I, p. 50)

Justice is a prerequisite for achieving peace

In the current state of the world, if only justice was encouraged and exercised with no ulterior interest or motive, then the deteriorating chain of events we have seen unfold specifically in the last six months would be different today.

If the caution, de-escalation, restraint and calm that the US and allies are urging now that Iran has retaliated, had they used the same diplomatic means with Israel at the start of its aggression in Gaza, we could only imagine the world we would be living in today. If Israel were stopped from disproportionately and indiscriminately destroying Gaza and the Palestinian life there with the very means of diplomacy that is being used now with Iran and Israel, Gaza would be liveable, thousands and thousands of lives would be saved, and the precipice of catastrophe that the world stands at could have been averted. 

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has repeatedly emphasised the importance of shunning injustice and instead, directing efforts towards establishing justice for any hope of achieving world peace. 

During his address at the National Peace Symposium UK 2024, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said: 

“As for Islam, it literally means peace, and every aspect of its teachings reflects this name. For instance, in chapter 42, verse 41 of the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty commands that where a person or nation has been wronged, they must never respond disproportionately or stray into the realm of seeking revenge. Furthermore, Allah says that it is better to forgive if it can lead to reformation. Chapter 49, verse 10 of the Holy Quran, says that if two nations are at war, neutral parties should mediate between them and strive to establish peace based on the principles of justice and equity. If having reconciled, one party violates the terms of the agreement and again resorts to warfare, other nations should forcefully unite against the aggressor until it desists from its aggressive conduct. Once it stops, the other nations must also cease using force.” (“The Critical State of the World – What is the Blue Print for Peace”, 13 March 2024, www.reviewofreligions.org)

Further, Huzooraa stated:

“Contrary to these man-made laws, Islam’s teachings emphasise justice to such a degree that chapter 5, verse 9 of the Holy Quran states that the enmity of any nation or people must never incite one to deviate from the path of justice and fairness. Manifesting such integrity is nearer to righteousness. Even non-religious people will surely recognise the wisdom and benefit of adopting this preeminent standard of justice.” (Ibid.)


Each day comes with a new development. Only time will tell where and how this will end. From where the world stands, things look very concerning and for many of us feeling helpless, the one and only powerful weapon we have is prayer. 

In his Friday Sermon on 5 April 2024, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa warned about the state of the world and reminded us to turn towards intense prayer. Huzooraa said: 

“Now, it seems as though war is imminent, and not just imminent; it has already begun; in fact, a world war has commenced. However, the rulers of the world seem unconcerned. […] In such times, Ahmadis need to draw closer to Allah Almighty and intensify the iztirar in their prayers to escape the evil of these people. Pray for the good-natured among them as well, that they too may be saved from evil. […] In any case, we should pray that Allah Almighty saves humanity and grants us the ability to fulfil our duty toward supplications. [Amin]” (Al Hakam, Issue 317, p. 3)

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here