The NY Times has a long must-read article about a Jordanian on trial for waging jihad that you should read, but this part, in particular, just struck me as chilling:
Mr. Horani’s mother, Hesmat Abdul Rahman, recalled that her son had become angrier and angrier as he watched television images of the American invasion. Under such circumstances, “it is almost a must to do jihad,” his mother said, defending her son. “This is our religion.”
Those images showed the toppling of a Sunni Arab-led government, ultimately in favor of the majority Shiites. Like nearly all Jordanian Arabs, Mr. Horani and his family are Sunni. “He hates the Shiites,” Mrs. Rahman said.
But unlike so many other young men who may also be angered by such television images, Mr. Horani and his friends chose to join the fight in April 2003. It was a decision that appears to have been quickly made.
“We were in the mosque and we all said, ‘Lets go do jihad,’ “ recalled Abdul Kareem Saraqoush, 39, who was part of the group along with his younger brother Khalid, who remains in jail among those accused.
“Let’s go Jihad now, everybody’s learning how. Come on and jihad with me.”
One point that this sort of brings home is that we are fighting to create a government over a country that really has no historical or political reason to be a single country, much like the former Yugoslavia. It’s not our fault that the Sunni and Shiites hate each other; but because we installed a democratic government, which is majority Shia because the country is majority Shia, suddenly the Sunnis hate us for letting the Shia rule over them. It’s a no-win situation and probably exemplifies why conservatives used to deride the concept of nation-building back in the day.
It’s fortunate that the Kurds are such good sports. There’s no question they’d like to form their own state, but they seem to grasp the concept that no one is going to let that happen, for oil-related reasons you might say. They’re at least willing to give the new government a shot and play ball as long as it ends up being fair. The Sunnis are a more difficult nut to crack.
‘If you have a problem with it, I’ll call jihad on you too.’
I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think of Team America when I read that article.
In the West, those boys would probably have just gone out and gotten blitzed.
“One point that this sort of brings home is that we are fighting to create a government over a country that really has no historical or political reason to be a single country, much like the former Yugoslavia. It’s not our fault that the Sunni and Shiites hate each other; but because we installed a democratic government, which is majority Shia because the country is majority Shia, suddenly the Sunnis hate us for letting the Shia rule over them. It’s a no-win situation and probably exemplifies why conservatives used to deride the concept of nation-building back in the day.
It’s fortunate that the Kurds are such good sports. There’s no question they’d like to form their own state, but they seem to grasp the concept that no one is going to let that happen, for oil-related reasons you might say. They’re at least willing to give the new government a shot and play ball as long as it ends up being fair. The Sunnis are a more difficult nut to crack.”
But what about the fact that the Sunnis have now engaged with the new government and decided to play ball? If the Sunnis are part of the new government (elected officials, etc.) which it appears they will be, then who is it exactly that the “insurgents” are fighting against and what exactly do they hope to acheive? Ask yourself this: If this government goes through and Sunnis are a part of it, and then we remove ALL American troops the next day, do you actually think the terrorists will stop? There are some on the left (not accusing you of this mind you) that feel the terrorists are “patriots” that just want freedom and justice for their people. (For example, Michael Moore’s “Minutemen” comment). Does anyone here actually take that position?
I would have to say that the entire article has been made up by the liberal media. The quotes are fake, and there probably isn’t a trial. Because, there is no way that our invading and occupying a nation in the Middle East could have possibly turned young Arab and Muslim men into insurgents and terrorists. To even imply that it is possible is traitorous.
And when the New Iraq turns to Iran for help defending the new Shiite government (after we have won the war and come home), and the Sunnis of the region flock to Iraq to defend the Sunnis against the Shia…..well, obviously that will have nothing to do with the US invading and toppling a regime, and leaving a power vacuum in its place. To suggest such, would be traitorous.
Our image in the Muslim world improves every day. They don’t see us as occupiers, they know we liberated Iraq. When we enter Iran and Syria, we will be met with flowers and candy, and Saudi Arabians will plead for us to come there next. They will even send envoys to Iraq to get our attention (they will get our attention with large explosions, but they will really be crying out for our help).
Mike, I guess the answer is that some Sunni groups are playing ball, while others aren’t happy with the deal they’re getting. (Sunnis are a minority in Iraq, so they’re liable to be a minority in the government – shocking!) It’s not that strange a concept – recall that when we got this government business underway, most of the Shia were on board, but militants like Sadr took longer to convince.
I think it’s uncontestable that the vast majority of the insurgency consists of dissatisfied, homegrown Sunnis. Some of these people hate the US presence and would probably calm down if we left and they no longer felt like they were under a puppet government or whatever; some will clearly continue fighting. And the al-Qaeda presence, however small it may be in reality, is clearly going to keep working to destabilize the government.
I don’t think anyone is going to call the insurgents “patriots,” but I think the point of such comments is to illustrate that some of the insurgents are not simply religious nuts, but people following human nature and resisting occupation. Again, any time you paint with too broad a brush in either direction, you end up muddling the issues. No one denies that suicide bombers who kill crowds of Iraqi children are the lowest form of subhuman scum; but not all the insurgents fit that profile, either.
Interesting case – numbnuts sees the U.S. invasion, and decides to go fight.
Unlike all the other numbnuts, who decided to go fight when Osama blew up the WTC. Or when we invaded Afghanistan. Or when Osama blew up the Cole. Or the Embassies. Or tried to blow up the WTC the first time. Or after the first time they bonked their head on the floor in a Salafist madrassa in Pakistan. Or saw Baywatch.
I guess that’s just our life in infidel dhimmitude: damned (as a doctrinal matter) if we do; damned (as a doctrinal matter) if we dont.
Al has a very good point. It’s silly to act like anything we do affects the willingness of crazies to commit acts of terrorism, unless of course the thing at issue is a Newsweek story or a Dick Durbin comment.
Well, if the Sunni factions that decide to rebel do so, the US probably won’t have the stomach to go annihilate the lot of them. The chances are much better that the Shiite government there with Kurd backing will be more ruthless when dealing with insurgents and since it won’t be American soldiers dying, the deaths will be out of our national conscience and we won’t have to bother with it much. On the plus side, since America won’t be doing the brutal rebel annihilation, we can avoid the international hand wringing that goes with it as well.
Unless the new government follows Islamic law (however that is defined), there will be lots of reasons for at least some of the insurgents to continue fighting.
The big losers in all of this will be the women. What tends to be forgotten is that the average woman in Iraq had a lot more freedom than in many other middle eastern countries. No, I’m not defending Hussein and his rape rooms, so don’t even go there but Iraq was a relatively secular country, which was clearly to the benefit of its women.
I’m not hearing much about efforts to ensure that women don’t lose big time in all of this.
Well, actually, I believe it was Bremer who kept the sharia restrictions out of the interim constitution, and in recent days, I’ve been hearing reports of some polite pressure we’re putting on the constitutional committee to encourage them to keep some of the restrictions on marriage, divorce, etc. out of the constitution. So I do think we’ve been fighting the good fight on this one.
The problem is that two fundamental principles are butting heads: we fought for the Iraqis’ right to self-determination; yet if that self-determination results in an Islamic state that is ideologically closer to al-Qaeda than Saddam’s brutal yet secular state, I don’t know that we can count it as a win.
Andrew Ian Dodge
Well as we can see from the UK bombers they too believed they must do jihad. I hope the home-grown bombers in the UK make the West wake up to the threat that really exists here.
As Fareed Zakaria recently pointed out, the situation in Europe is vastly different than here with respect to the Muslim populations. Most large European cities have huge numbers of immigrant Muslims that mostly live in the same neighborhood and represent a genuine underclass. Muslim immigrants to America, however, have mostly succeeded in assimilating into the general populace and “living the American dream.” There is no poor, roiling Arabic underclass in America, and contrary to popular opinion, lack of life options and basic poverty are key components in fostering extreme fundamentalism.
Yes and no. There are poor muslims here who are not interested in violence to spread the religion and there are wealthy and middle-class muslims in the ME who love the violence. I think the biggest difference is the avalibility to dissenting opinions. If all you are given access to is one side of the story, it becomes easier to accept.
I agree it makes a big difference, although I’d say that the recent attacks in London and Madrid have demonstrated that a free (and in many cases, anti-American) press, is maybe less important than economic factors.
There are, indeed, wealthy Arabs in the ME who support and sponsor violence (OBL, anyone?), but they seem to be of a more idealogical bent than their fellow travelers in the Western world. I doubt that the London bombers were Wahhabists attempting to reinstall a pan-Arabic caliphate.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Europe, but the size of some of the poor Arabic neighborhoods is startling as an American. They’re comparable to a lot of the largely black neighborhoods in urban America. We just don’t have that here, with the possible exception of Little Iran in Los Angeles, but it’s mostly a rich neighborhood.
One of the British bombers was driving around in the brand new red Mercedes his father bought him. They talked about these bombers as being solidly middle class, not poor. The 9/11 terrorists were not poor, either. I think poverty is an excuse. It is a death cult-like perversion of their religion that is the culprit here, not poverty.
Oh, for Christ’s sake, do we have to argue about this? Do you really think there’s absolutely no socio-economic factor involved with, say, the suicide bombers in Iraq? How about the Tamil Tigers? You don’t think having nothing to lose might play a role?
I am not saying it’s the only factor, just an important one. And that America is in a better situation than Europe in this regard, because our Arab immigrant population has had much greater success at assimilating and making money.
I agree with this part of your point.