An open letter to US leadership and its allies regarding the genocide in Gaza and Palestine

Ali Muhammad Al-Sallabi

I address this open letter to American leaders, their allies, and their people, hoping that it will be borne in mind that its writer is a Muslim who believes in Allah as God, Islam as religion, and Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as Prophet and Messenger, and has convictions and spiritual human values whose foundation is enjoining good and forbidding evil, averting injustice and to achieve justice, peace, equality, and fairness among the people of humanity. Before reading this letter, do not look at the religion of the writer, the color of his skin, and his position in your classifications of places, cultures, colors, peoples, and ethnicities.

I write this letter in a clear and directed manner, as a Muslim human being, who follows the path of the Holy Qur’an, which is the reliable source in which Allah Almighty preserved the history of humanity, and clarified the lives of the prophets and messengers with up to 100% accuracy and historical validity, starting with our father Adam (peace be upon him) and after him Noah, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, Hud, Salih, Jesus (and others, peace be upon them all)… and the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and they are the role model, the good example, and the ideal for humanity throughout the entire earth.

The messengers and prophets have taught us to address people with the facts on earth, so that they may remember, ponder, or fear Allah, Lord of the worlds, so they may be reconciled and reformed. This was the speech of Moses (peace be upon him) to Pharaoh Haman and Qarun, the speech of Jesus (peace be upon him) to the ruler of the Romans, and the speech of the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (May Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him) to Abu Jahl in Mecca, Heraclius in Rome, and Chosroes in Persia. It is not a condition for that that the addressee responds or listens, but it is a conveyance of Allah’s message and an excuse for him.

The American leadership and its allies are partners in the genocide taking place in Palestine

The people’s shock with the statements of the American leadership and its allies, which coincided with the current events in Palestine (Gaza), was more shocking than the event itself, as it included duplicity between the West and its historical calls for the values of freedom, justice, and noble humanitarian meanings, and it was a clear and clear denial of the teachings of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). Between the strong threat of revenge, and your continued words and actions in the same manner, every possibility of doubt, retreat, or displaying the quality of justice in the crisis has been cut off.

What is astonishing is that your participation in the aggression coincided with your disgraceful statements, which confirms that you are not a neutral party with premeditation and stubbornness, as the aircraft carrier “Ford” is anchored, and the naval aircraft carrier “Eisenhower” recently arrived on the shores of Palestine to supply Israel with everything necessary to kill and torture defenceless Palestinians. Britain annexed it with two warships, Germany with very advanced aircraft, and France with political and security support and blatant and absolute bias towards them. This means a devastating war against innocent children, women, and the defenceless and poor elderly in Gaza and Palestine. Rather, it is a new massacre in the record of American and European positions on the issues of the oppressed in Palestine and the world.

Everyone followed the contradiction of the statements and reluctance of the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, who from a global perspective is the greatest supporter of Israel and the leader of Western policy, that he saw pictures and atrocities committed by Hamas by beheading, raping, torturing, kidnapping, and intimidating civilians residing in Israeli settlements. But it was revealed by the American channel CNN and the Washington Post, which officially quoted the White House: “Neither Biden nor any official saw pictures or confirmed the accuracy of reports about terrorists beheading children.” This confirms that you are making blind decisions based on misleading information, as happened with you in the lie about Iraqi nuclear weapons because of which you destroyed Baghdad, and you are abandoning all oaths when it comes to the entity of Israel and the safety of its settlers without caring about the Palestinian people who have suffered from the injustice of the Zionists for more than seventy years.

American leadership, its allies, and the policy of double standards

Despite the fact that more than two million of the country’s indigenous Palestinians have been suffering in your sights under the weight of a stifling, inhumane, and illegal siege for two decades, and despite the fact that the extreme right-wing government of Tel Aviv has deepened its complicity with the attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque, until her involvement in the process of dividing time for prayer was exposed, despite the escalation of settlers’ attacks on the Palestinians and their property in the West Bank, and their government’s intentions to annex parts of the West Bank. There has been nothing from you, gentlemen, that indicates, even if only a timidity, that you care about the human, cultural, and religious rights of the Palestinian people. Do you expect the Palestinians to stand by and watch in the face of all these violations, and the policy of double standards, and the policy of dividing the principles that you practice without shame!?

History will write that the president of the largest country, Joe Biden, and Western and Eastern leaders bragged so much about protecting democracy, promoting human beings, and supporting global peace and stability, and they ran to save Ukraine, considering that it had been subjected to brutal and unjust aggression from Russia. Today we see them leaving civilians in Gaza, including children and elderly people, cut off from the means of life, under the flames of the Israeli killing machine.

The Western position on Israel’s crimes is a violation and distortion of the values of Western civilization and the principles of international law

History will write that the charters establishing Western monarchies and republics based on human rights principles were absent from the minds of Western leaders, and even from some of their political and media elites, who were convinced by media propaganda and the influence of the Zionist lobby in those countries. Everyone who stood with Palestine in America, France, Italy, Germany, Britain and Austria was subjected to arrest and beatings under the pretext of anti-Semitism. So where do they stand regarding the Charter of Human Rights that they signed in Geneva at the forefront of countries in August 1949, which stated in its article (15):

“Any Party to the conflict may, either direct or through a neutral State or some humanitarian organization, propose to the adverse Party to establish, in the regions where fighting is taking place, neutralized zones intended to shelter from the effects of war the following persons, without distinction: (a) wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants; (b) civilian persons who take no part in hostilities, and who, while they reside in the zones, perform no work of a military character”. In Article 16: The wounded and sick, as well as the infirm, and expectant mothers, shall be the object of particular protection and respect. In Article 18: Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.

In Article (51) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions “The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations shall not be the object of attack”. Article 52, which prohibits attacking, deterring, or harassing civilian objects “Civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals to deter and restrict attacks on military objectives only”. Article 53 stipulates that “it is prohibited to commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples”. Did Western leaders and governments, before issuing their statements and mobilizing their forces behind Israel, commit to those founding charters for the post-World War II world? Or does this only depend on the situation inside their countries?

The statements made by US President Joe Biden, the leaders of his administration (the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon), Western leaders, and the media as a whole were all disappointing and favoured the executioner over the victim, in light of a devastating war that annihilated the cities and camps of the Gaza Strip, which can be described as the most densely populated area in the world, the largest refugee camp, and the largest concentration camp, in which about two million Palestinians suffer from fear, hunger, killing and massacres, which is what was encouraged by the American and European green light and even from some Arab governments for Israel to proceed with its settlement and expansion project without fear or reckoning.

What does Israel want in Palestine…!?

Israel launched this unjust war. What is happening is not just a military operation. Israel publicly declares that it is committing crimes against humanity, and that it will continue to do so vehemently and on a larger scale. Dealing with the Palestinians as “human animals,” as described by Israeli Security Minister Yoav Gallant, and threatening to deprive them of the most basic rights of life, “food, water, and medicine,” reflects blatant racism and a belief on the part of the Israeli entity in these descriptions, which were demonstrated by shock, anger, and unconditional Western solidarity with Israel.

The racist and Zionist settlement tendency adopted by the extremist ruling elite in urging the perpetration of a decisive campaign against the Palestinian people stems from the interpretations and theories of the Israeli historian Benny Morris in his interview with Haaretz newspaper on January 11, 2019. He titled the episode: “This place will sink.”

In the interview, Benny Morris painted a brutal picture of the Palestinians without daring to describe them as people at all, and this is appropriate to justify killing them while blaming them for their fate. He most likely realizes, with the historian’s sense, that the survival of indigenous peoples in their countries without completely annihilating them or displacing them all led to an end to the experiences of colonial occupation that the world had known before, because the attempt to absolutely control another people, oppress them, and subject them to the authority of military occupation forever was not a rational choice in the past, so how can it be preserved in the third millennium!?

Based on such an aggressive vision, the Israeli occupation governments continue their policy of slow and quiet forced displacement, which is based on settlement expansion, restricting Palestinians’ opportunities to live, confiscating their lands, controlling their water, economic and productive resources, intensifying oppressive conditions such as imposing restrictions on construction and housing, daily arrest campaigns, apartheid, and an increase in the number of checkpoints separating cities and villages from each other. This situation is followed by Israeli Knesset member Smotrich, who says: 20,000 Palestinians are forced to leave the West Bank annually.

Enthusiasm has reached such a point in some obsessive Zionist circles that they issued a commemorative coin featuring Cyrus the Persian and Trump the American in a way that suggests historical greatness. If Cyrus is credited with saving the Jews from Babylonian captivity, then what they specifically want from the master of the White House is to decide the end of history with a final blow that will destroy the Palestinian cause forever, even if that requires creating a new Nakba.

The intention is deep within the Zionist circles and their Western allies to expel the Arabs from Palestine as a first step and then establish their entity from the Euphrates to the Nile. Here we see America and Britain actively participating in planning and supporting Israel’s crimes under laws criminalizing anti-Semitism, turning a blind eye to recognizing that Arabs are of Semitic origin.

The alleged Solomon’s Temple and the Promised Land

One of the biggest claims made by the Zionists in Palestine to prove their “ancient” historical origin there is “the lie of the Temple and the Promised Land.” If we start the conversation from the end, saying that Al-Aqsa Mosque was built long times before the reign of Solomon (peace be upon him), then how could the “alleged” Temple of Solomon be under Al-Aqsa Mosque? as they claim, when most of the excavations carried out by the Zionists under the Holy Mosque since their occupation of al-Quds have not proven any of their claims regarding the existence of the Temple, and that Jewish archaeologists and others have denied the claims of the Zionists (we do not mean all the Jews because a percentage of them opposed the Zionist entity’s project in the first place) about the existence of the Temple under the Holy Mosque.

When an international committee was formed in 1930 under the auspices of the League of Nations at that time, it conducted its examinations for a month, and listened to a large number of Arab and Jewish witnesses. It also reviewed all the documents submitted to it by the two groups, and listened to the pleadings of the lawyers who were brought by both parties, and then wrote what contained its report: The ownership of the Western Wall belongs to the Muslims alone, and they alone have the real right to it, since it constitutes an integral part of the area of the Holy Mosque, which is the property of the endowment property of King Al-Afdal, the nephew of Saladin Al-Ayyubi, and to the Muslims, as well as the ownership of the sidewalk located in front of the wall and in front of the area known as Al-Magharibi Quarter, because it is an endowment according to the provisions of Islamic law. This international report attests to the historical, religious and legal right of Muslims to the Buraq Wall. The Encyclopaedia Britannica confirmed this by saying: “It is not certain that the temple was in the precincts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially since when Titus demolished it in 70 AD, he did not leave anything standing there and obliterated all of its features, so searching for it is futile.”

When the Muslims conquered Palestine, the Commander of the Faithful, Caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), announced the Charter of the Omar Covenant to secure and protect the residents of al-Quds and Palestine, and then declared that Palestine, with all its lands and even the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was an endowment for the Muslims forever so that it would not be lost and people would covet its good things and spoils, and so that people would be safe. That pledge and the humanitarian message of peace are present in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in al-Quds to this day.

Hence, Western leaders must speak the language of reason, human logic, and give priority to the legal evidence regarding the issue of the land of Palestine and the historical right of Muslim Arabs to it, and try to answer fundamental questions: Whose land is this? Who is the newcomer to it? Why do they support the Jews and not the Palestinian people? Why are they blind to the Judaization of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the expansion of settlements, and the violation of humanitarian rules?

The steadfastness of the Palestinian people against an invading occupier and an artificial entity is a liberation struggle and a legitimate struggle, derived from their faith in Allah Almighty, and from the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, which makes clear to them in its decisive verses that death for the sake of Allah Almighty, repelling aggressors and unjust invaders, is one of the greatest approaches by one who accepted Allah Almighty as the only God, Islam as religion, and Muhammad as Prophet and Messenger to his great Creator, with no fear of the blame of anyone. Allah Almighty said: “And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters”. [Al-Hajj: 40, 41].

When we try to answer these questions, we find no answer except to say that Western civilization was truly penetrated by the Zionist agencies specialized in intellectual issues and religious propaganda, and they distorted many historical facts, including the issue of the “Promised Land” and the “Temple of Solomon”, and with the support of some Western governments, it succeeded in penetrating and distorting the Western moral and legal system. These ideas played a role in the absence of values that address common sense. It made many Western leaders, regardless of their positions, fall into the trenches of arrogance and injustice at the expense of the values of their people, their institutions, and their humanitarian and civilizational slogans, which they have long called for.

As for us Muslims, we have a clear vision, derived from the Holy Book, our faith and our history. The truth about David, Solomon, and the prophets of the children of Israel. We have inherited in our Wise Qur’an their approach to peace, justice, and reform, and the call to worship Allah and refrain from injustice and aggression against others.

Therefore, when we speak in the language of reason and logic, we hope that you will listen to the facts that Allah mentioned in the story of humanity, the movement of the flow of prophets and messengers, and the succession of civilizations. And whoever wants to understand the truth about the struggle between good and evil, truth and falsehood, can read my book The Prophets of Kings; David and Solomon (peace be upon them) and the alleged Temple of Solomon, which is available on the official website, and contains satisfactory answers to all the confusing questions you have about the truth about Palestine and its history.

The fate of the Israeli occupation of Palestine is the same as the fate of the French occupation of Algeria

Western leaders, who are experienced in colonialism, must take into account that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is destined to disappear, just as the British occupation of many countries, led by America, and the fate of the French occupation of other countries, led by Algeria.

The Algerian people have adhered to Islam, its tolerant faith, and its work and principles. In this way, he responded to the policy of Francization, Christianization, and Christianization that colonial France implemented over a century and a third of a century within the framework of the Crusade war that it waged against the Algerian people from 1830 AD until the beginning of 1954 AD, the date of the outbreak of the blessed November 1 Revolution. It worked with all its means and material, military, security, and cultural capabilities in order to obliterate The identity and culture of the Algerian Arab and Islamic society and the transformation of Algeria into a French territory, but to no avail in any case, because the Algerian people are a people of faith, and they strongly adhere to their Islamic faith, their Qur’an and their Arabic language, and thanks to that firm faith and stubborn resistance, they have stood firm like solid mountains, and thwarted all of France’s criminal attempts to penetrate them and separate them from their religion, language, and cultural affiliation to their nation.

The Algerian liberation revolution ended with the declaration of independence from France on July 5, 1962 AD after decades of armed struggle in which more than a million Algerians were martyred (may Allah have mercy on them), and they were liberated from the most powerful colonial powers at the time, despite the fact that the largest global powers at that time were the United States of America, the European Union and The Soviet Union supported the French in their colonization of Algeria and their war against the Algerian people. This is the same case in the case of Palestine, as its people are free, have rights, and are steadfast in their rights, and they will attain what the peoples that were independent and liberated attained (God willing).

Advice for American and European leaders to read American history and the positions of the Founding Fathers

Read what the leader of the resistance and liberation against the British, the first founder of the United States of America, George Washington, wrote when he said: “When the roots of freedom are deeply rooted, they grow rapidly.”

The book “An Interview with George Washington” talked about how Washington was drawn into the resistance for his country’s independence. It is a book that takes readers on a tour overlooking Washington’s revolutionary vision. He is the celebrated war hero who earned the title “Father of the Country.” In this journey, readers are inspired by the meaning of heroism that made America the best place after it got rid of English colonialism.

Injustice and arrogance destroy civilizations and empires

Advice in Islamic law has the highest value, and is obligatory for a Muslim to advice both a Muslim and a non-Muslim, considering that the world is riding in the same boat, and what happens in any place of this world is reflected negatively and positively in any place in it.

In this time, the Islamic nation faces aggression and terrorism in a similar situation that Jesus (peace be upon him) was in when he was exposed to aggression from the Romans. The Romans persecuted Christ (peace be upon him) …

Rome saw itself as a symbol of civilizational values, the superpower in the world, and the heir to Greek civilization at the time. It had a Senate and democracy in the sense of that time. The Roman individual was free in his belief and personal behavior, and this is what made it better than the tyrannical empires in other regions at the time. But human history does not remember that country well because of the heinous crime that stained it, which was the persecution of Christians. That superpower lost every valuable advantage when it weakened a group that believed in God, who has absolute power, absolute glory, and absolute justice, and He is severe in punishment and gives respite to the oppressor, but one day takes revenge on him.

Thus, Allah Almighty gave power to the northern “Germanic” peoples over the Empire of Rome, the Germans invaded Rome, burned its cultural monuments and destroyed its pride in the late fifth century AD, and two centuries later Allah bequeathed the Holy Land in which Christ (peace be upon him) lived to the followers of the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad (peace be upon him). And here Christ won a great victory. This Islamic nation, which conquered many regions of the world and liberated it from persecution and tyranny, and filled it with mercy and justice, demonstrated to the people the greatness of Christ (peace be upon him), the truth of his message, and the virtue of the disciples and those who followed them, as stated in detail in The Holy Qur’an, and considered itself the last link in the same long chain of followers of the prophets, starting with Ibrahim (peace be upon him), and passing through Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them), and showed the whole world that the enemies of Christ (peace be upon him) were enemies of freedom and human values, and they were those who did not believe Christ, incited against him (the Romans), or those who falsely affiliated with him and distorted his message, such as Paul and his followers.

I fear that countries like the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and some Western countries, which were founded by immigrants and those fleeing injustice and persecution, have replaced themselves with the arrogant tyrants who persecuted and tortured the oppressed. This foretells a dire consequence and Allah’s punishment, sooner or later, in destroying those forces that supported injustice. Allah Almighty said: “Have they not traveled through the land and observed how was the end of those who were before them? They were greater than them in strength and in impression on the land, but Allah seized them for their sins. And they had not from Allah any protector.” [Ghafir: 21].

There is no doubt that Allah’s decree, destiny, and law will continue among nations, peoples, and civilizations, and perhaps the end of oppression and arrogance will be followed by divine empowerment for Allah’s servants and a terrible defeat for the arrogant, tyrants, and oppressors. This divine secret reminds us of what happened to Pharaoh (the arrogant one) at the hands of the children of Israel (the oppressed). Allah Almighty said: “Ta, Seen, Meem… These are the verses of the clear Book… We narrate to you ˹O Prophet˺ part of the story of Moses and Pharaoh in truth for people who believe… Indeed, Pharaoh ˹arrogantly˺ elevated himself in the land and divided its people into ˹subservient˺ groups, one of which he persecuted, slaughtering their sons and keeping their women. He was truly one of the corruptors… and it was Our Will to favour those who were oppressed in the land, making them models ˹of faith˺ as well as successors… And establish them in the land and show Pharaoh and [his minister] Haman and their soldiers through them that which they had feared”. [Al-Qasas: 1-6].

Allah Almighty has spoken to us in His Mighty Book about the civilization of the people of Aad, who were oppressive and arrogant in this earth, and they said to their Prophet Hud (peace be upon him): “As for ‘Aad, they were arrogant upon the earth without right and said, “Who is greater than us in strength?” Did they not consider that Allah who created them was greater than them in strength? But they were rejecting Our signs… So we sent upon them a screaming wind during days of misfortune to make them taste the punishment of disgrace in the worldly life; but the punishment of the Hereafter is more disgracing, and they will not be helped”. [Fussilat: 15-16].

This story contains lessons for civilizations, kingdoms, and governments that are based on arrogance, injustice and oppression, and do not care about human rights, nor the lives of women, children, and the defenceless elderly. And the language of their behavior with their destructive tools is: Who is stronger than us? For these people, the established way of Allah passes through them, and its deadlines and times are with the Great Creator, and they enter into the established way of the circulation of civilizations and their change in the Allah Almighty’s saying: “And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs, and Allah does not like the wrongdoers” [Al Imran: 140].

The Nation of Islam’s motto is peace, rejection of injustice, and repelling aggressors

Muslims are a nation of justice, peace and goodness, and at the same time their morals refuse to gloat over an afflicted person, and they hope in every situation that the Western circles and their leaders, led by America, will review their policy and be closer to justice, and some of their leaders have precedents in that, and it becomes clear how the people of Islam reciprocate the Western step in steps:

When American President Wilson announced his fourteen points at the end of World War I, the most important of which was: “the right of peoples to self-determination,” the Islamic nation translated it as a just stance toward European colonialism that was perched on the chests of its peoples. Yes, Muslims were happy with a voice from Western nations, and from A rising and prominent force that rejects the injustice of the oppressed, discrimination between peoples, and attempts to persecute them.

But confidence in America and its human rights project was soon shaken, then fell to the bottom due to America’s own actions, which were in the form of evidence that removed good faith. Perhaps the first of these proofs was what President Nixon and his Secretary Kissinger presented in the October 1973 War and its subsequent support for the occupation in Palestine. Then came George Bush, father and son, and they made the double standards visible to every eye and touchable to every hand. They violated Afghanistan and Iraq, destroyed, killed, and displaced.

Despite everything that happened in Palestine after the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque dozens of times at the hands of major rebels and criminals, and the continuation of the American strategic alliance with the entity, the emphasis has increased on the deviation of the American and Western position from the compass of values. Today’s Western leaders do not forget the tragedy of the American war in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, whose peoples bravely defended their land and repulsed their enemy. The Arabs and Muslims in Palestine will not be less courageous and sacrificial than the Afghan, Vietnamese and Korean people.

Muslims in the West, especially in America and Britain, have drawn the most wonderful moral images of compliance with laws, free participation in elections, the practice of democracy, fair competition, coexistence with cultures, and calling for goodness. This is what western people must think about for a long time, and Muslims are convinced that Western peoples have a number of… Characteristics of goodness, and foremost among them are the American people, as they are a people, the majority of whom believe in the existence of God, and they spend more on charitable works than any other people in the world. It is one of the people in the world that most accepts Islam and the fastest to embrace it, in addition to the spread of Islam and its acceptance in Western Europe in an amazing way. Praise be to Allah, these peoples are more alert than their rulers if we compare them to previous decades. These people, with their peaceful nature, must get rid of false advertising and distortion of facts by the media and political lobbies, and adopt values ​​related to human rights, and support them anywhere in the world.

The bottom line: To the American leadership, its allies, and its people

I advise you, reminding you of Allah’s severe punishment, to stop and desist from aggression, and to deal with this great human and moral issue, with justice, mercy, and conscience. Human beings, as the Qur’an states, are brothers and children of one father and one mother: “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed, Allah is ever, over you, an Observer”. (NISA; 1)

Human is Allah’s successor on earth, and he is the most honourable of His creatures. All worlds were created and subjected to Allah’s will to be in the service of man. Islamic justice rejects any discrimination of people on the basis of color, gender, or place. Not a single Muslim said what the “philosopher of lights!” said In France, Montesquieu about the black race (Africans): “God is too wise to put a soul into a black body.”

Rather, I fear that this injustice will lead to the consolidation of hatred between peoples, the undermining of social peace and world peace, and to uncontrolled reactions from governments and peoples.

We are a nation whose religion commands peace based on justice, and we seek coexistence. We have an ancient civilization that establishes the human concept, the right of peoples to self-determination, forgiveness, pardon, benevolence, and peace and peaceful coexistence with others. What we need is for Western leaders to possess these qualities, to return to the teachings of their religion and their civilizational values, and not to join the occupiers in chaos, destruction and aggression against children, women and civilians, and to be advocates of goodness and peace in Palestine and other regions of the world.