It is important to understand this history in order to understand what we are up against; our enemy has a long memory and seeks to avenge this defeat of its ancestors. The radical Islamists are not upset about our presence in their lands, nor are they especially upset about Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, nor about our “exploitation” of their oil fields, nor our invasion of Iraq. They are taking a much longer view, a view with vengeance in mind! They want vengeance for Tours, vengeance for Granada, vengeance for Vienna. They want to reinvigorate Islam, return to the days of pride and victory and submission by their foes. They want to establish the Caliphate and place the entire world under Sharia law. 9/11 was the first step in this process of re-establishing Jihad as a divine force of conversion and conquest but it will not be the last. If America, Europe and Israel fail to understand this, then they have made a fatal mistake in warfare in that they have failed to understand their enemy and even worse; they have failed to identify who their real enemy is.
Update From the Awesome Conversation – June 29, 2015
Obama’s bought time to let education and this web-thingy update a generation of Persian professionals away from the medieval regime; he’s also demonstrated some U.S. – Saudi ability to degrade oil revenues, control the offsets in new revenue, and insult the regime (also Putin’s regime) using U.S. controls. Will the lesson take or has it worked? I guess we’re staying tuned and will find out.
I put up an Allen West post on Back-Channels — https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/the-united-states…/ — there’s the chance that the staunch conservative voice may overplay its hand, which relies here heavily on fear of the first delivery of a nuclear attack (could be dirty bombs delivered by rockets fired by Gaza; could be a one-off delivered by Hezbollah, which has got the full store of rockets already).
Money is funny for Khamenei’s regime. He and his brother are reputed to control a conservatively estimated $57 billion in personal assets. Basically, “state sponsorship” – personal, criminal, or actually from state coffers — of terrorism is not a financial problem — and its comes cheap in any case: what happens if others become more enriched, more dependent on the possession of their assets, more greedy for new business themselves?
So the nuclear deal seems a bad deal on old terms, but Obama’s ship of state and all attached to it left that harbor a while ago, and we’re sailing with these new variables in play. Ultimately, America is indigestible to the forces perceived by conservatives as enemy: we’re not going to be conquered, as much as we obsess about that, but the kind of evil posed, proposed, and sustained by Putin-Khamenei needs to be met by altering their native political demographics to come to more accommodating, more productive global standards. The two mentioned are playing or pushing for a more deeply medieval world steeped in greater chaos and conflict: we’re building a more modern world interlaced and held together by open communications, democratized business and personal relationships, and the embrace of anti-piratical and perhaps humanist overarching shared values.
The “nuclear deal” might be a bad deal — but it also might be a good move.
A rabbi said to me one day with regard to the Islamic Small Wars, “Everyone’s in too much of a hurry to get to the end of the story.”
Well then, as regards global conflict and threat: let’s hasten slowly and be not so much in a hurry to see how it all ends.
Time may work in the favor of our humanity against the ravages brought to it by those “malignant narcissists” we call “presidents for life” and “supreme leaders”, the human containers and projectors of absolute personal (also often infantile and sadistic) power.
By labeling the acts of radical Islamists as mere “terrorism” we imply that there is an Achilles heel to expose — a political demand or a territorial gain with which they might barter, with which we might naively appease.
The reality is completely different. Their goals are nihilistic and non-negotiable: they want the total elimination of all who are not with them. Nairobi was possibly the most explicit demonstration of such.
Someone raised expectations, perhaps; someone provided explicit instruction; someone’s words were received amplified, heightened, deified, perhaps; and someone challenged The Wisdom, saying in effect, “Prove it – it is either of the stars or not.”
Along the line of the Christian anti-Jihad, there is no way away from elements of scripture delivered in practical and literal terms. Their experience of what on this blog I call “shimmer” starts with their examination of the Quran plus impression from history plus, finally, an acquaintance with Hadith. None of that ends well, and less for Christian pride than its basis in Jewish thought after Hillel.
For the Jews, the noise starts somewhere beyond the arguments and themes inspired by — but seldom stated explicitly in — the Torah. Even with something as simple as “The Binding of Isaac”, the reader is never told whether the test is of Abraham’s obedience, which is the common interpretation, or one given to children by their parents, or of conscience, which is a little bit more incisive and likely to arrive as epiphany with sufficient fascination and reflection.
The Jews long ago formed a culture apart and have learned a great deal about themselves and others. Credit the Torah for that. Or credit the necessity of separation given the humanity that must have gathered in the ancient desert appalled with the world, and, later, with Pharaoh. Muslims, by comparison, have formed of the seduced or the conquered of the world, and whatever spirit predated Muhammad would seem to persist in expression now conflated with Islam.
Whether what is in Qanta Ahmed to grasp as a modern Muslim woman a progressive and humanist Islam is actually in Islam, I don’t know, for there are many forces in the Ummah — the “Islamists” but a facet, the “sword verses” another, the conflations with child marriages and honor killings producing yet additional self-slander and fuel for critics, and the history of conquest (start with the wholesale slaughter of the men and rape of daughters and wives of the Banu Qurayza) — that would belie the assertion.
For the Kurds fighting Al Qaeda today in northern Syria, nothing has changed: they know their old enemy.
Concerns with terrorist atrocities in Christian or western states may overlook the inkblot spread of Al Qaeda-defined conflict in ungoverned or autonomously governed spaces. That context tells of a format in warfare as familiar to the 7th Century as it is to the morning news sifted by foreign affairs wonks.
The Kurdish community in northern Syria hasn’t to care about the modern humanist assertion, reformation, or survival of Islam: a Muslim army, self-appointed, self-defined, has arrived on their doorstep to convert or annihilate them, and they know it and have taken up defensive positions and initiated diplomatic efforts congruent with that.
Abdul Hakim Quick – a preacher from the Islamic Education and Research Academy, who has called upon God to “clean and purify Al-Aqsa from the ﬁlth of the Yahood [Jews]” and to “clean all of the lands from the ﬁlth of the Kaﬁrun [non-believers].” He has also stated: “They said ‘what is the Islamic position [on homosexuality]?’ And I told them. Put my name in the paper. The punishment is death. And I’m not going to change this religion.”
From the following compilation alone, I tallied reports to 246 dead (rebels included) by way of Islamist violence in recent days. I’m sure if I have miscounted, the figure is on the low side.
Let’s round up: should “250 dead” in recent days prove high, somehow, we may wait half a day or a day, seldom more than two, and reality will catch up with it and overtake it.
AL SHABAAB HITS KENYA, HOLDS HOSTAGES
From a report on the heavily armed assault on the very dangerous civilians shopping (like the one in the above video) at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya:
Gunmen stormed the mall about noon local time armed with grenades and assault rifles. They asked cornered victims if they were Muslim or non-Muslim, witnesses told the Associated Press. Non-Muslims were held, while Muslims were allowed to go free.
The al-Shabab group said the attacks were in response to a Kenyan military push into Somalia in 2011.
KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan wearing a security forces uniform turned his weapon against foreign troops Saturday, killing three in eastern Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan officials said, in another apparent attack by a member of the Afghan forces against their international allies.
The death toll figure has risen to 78 in many reports:
(Reuters) – A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a 130-year-old church in Pakistan after Sunday Mass, killing at least 78 people in the deadliest attack on Christians in the predominantly Muslim South Asian country.
Five rebels and a 71-year-old woman were killed Saturday as fighting dragged on in a southern Philippine city between government troops and Muslim insurgents holding out with about 20 civilian hostages, officials said.
Hundreds of fighters under the command of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) have reportedly switched allegiance to al-Qaeda-aligned groups, in a move described as a huge blow to moderate rebel forces.
Activists and military sources have told Al Jazeera that the 11th Division – one of the biggest FSA brigades – has switched allegiance to the al-Nusra Front in Raqqah province, a border province with Turkey.
Two suicide bombers, one in an explosives-laden car and the other on foot, struck a cluster of funeral tents packed with mourning families in a Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad, the deadliest in a string of attacks around Iraq that killed at least 96 people on Saturday.
Only a few years ago, conservative “Islamophobes” would raise the call for “moderate Muslims”: where are you? why do you not protest? why are you silent on Osama Bin Laden and so many, too many, murderous acts against unarmed others whom you do not know?
Islamic humanism and pluralism, or perhaps I should put the “humanism and pluralism” first, restating all of a contemporary and thoughtful cast as “Humanist and Pluralist” (to be followed by cultural-ethnic-religious affiliation from “Atheist” to “Polytheist”).
One way or the other, we’re stuck with “us” — all of us — and we know that in the main “humanity of humanity” that we are not murderers and should not be so beset by those whom we know are exactly that and nothing much beyond.
He was given a ten-month prison sentence (of which he served less than four months, from 24 March 1999 to 27 July 1999) for reciting a poem in Siirt in December 1997, which, under article 312/2 of the Turkish penal code was regarded as an incitement to commit an offense and incitement to religious or racial hatred. It included verses translated as “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….” The aforementioned verses, however, are not in the original version of the poem. The poem was from a work written by Ziya Gökalp, a pan-Turkish activist of the early 20th century. Erdoğan claimed the poem had been approved by the education ministry to be published in textbooks. With the conviction, Erdoğan was forced to give up his mayoral position. The conviction also stipulated a political ban, which prevented him from participating in parliamentary elections. He completed his sentence on 24 July 1999.
Note: Turkey’s current President is Abdullah Gül; Erdoğan serves as Prime Minister.
However, I say in full confidence and pride that the secular democracy and civic society that the U.S.A. has produced so far are still the healthiest on earth and the best available attempt to understand God’s pluralistic creation of humanity.
Some people mistakenly think that the post-Arab Spring terrorism and murder plaguing the Middle East are somehow confined to the Arab world. That is a commonly held belief in Europe, which closes its eyes to the catastrophe lurking at its door and repeats to itself the mantra that the threat of radical Islam’s taking over the Middle East is a matter for Israel and America only.