Skip to comments.The Man with No Name
Posted on 07/17/2004 7:13:16 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4
David Warren is all for naming a certain branch of Islam as the enemy. He argues that common journalistic and policy references to "Al Qaeda" have misidentified the true enemy.
In the course of three years' intense study of the issue, I've become convinced that there is -- well, this is a slight exaggeration -- no such thing as "Al Qaeda". It is, more precisely, only a name applied vaguely to one of several financing and logistical arms of the Wahabi branch of what could more accurately be called the "Islamic Jihad".
And the reason this is so important, he argues, is that it allows Homeland Security to use the appropriate kind of filter in rooting out the enemy. Looking for the Jihadi enemy recalls the scene played out in B-movie science fiction plots where the deadly aliens remain invisible until the sensors are tuned to the right frequency. And then they stand out everywhere.
This may sound a very abstract analysis, but it has practical consequences for "homeland security". For starters, it means we cannot draw neat, legalistic lines between who's in and who's out of the cabal. For instance, a journalist working for Al-Jazeera may be every bit as committed to the struggle as a man rehearsing the assembly of a mid-flight bomb. Each is advancing the Jihad by the means most available to him. And, exempting the one from prosecution while arresting the other is entirely obtuse.
Indications especially from the FBI are to expect a major terrorist hit on North America, sometime between now and the U.S. election in November. I think they are right to expect this. The political, economic, and social fallout from such a hit is unpredictably huge. But I am less and less confident that it can be prevented by anything resembling normal police methods. This is because, thanks chiefly to "political correction", we cannot look at the whole Jihad, and are in fact only looking for the pointy bits.
The idea of grappling with the unnameable threat pervades the writing of Bat Y'eor who recently gave an address to French Senators. What, she asked, was the meaning of all the internal security preparation she had encountered.
One need only look at our cities, airports, and streets, at the schools with their security guards, even the systems of public transportation, not to mention the embassies, and the synagogues to see the whole astonishing array of police and security services. The fact that the authorities everywhere refuse to name the evil does not negate that evil. Yet we know perfectly well that we have been under threat for a long time; one has only to open ones eyes and our authorities know it better than any of us, because it is they who have ordered these very security measures. ... Today the war is everywhere. And yet the European Union and the states which comprise it, have denied that wars reality, right up to the terrorist attack in Madrid of March 11, 2004.
But the problem with conceding the point to David Warren and Bat Y'eor is that it would cause a revolution in domestic and international politics, something neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties are prepared to do. Domestically it would mean that for the first time in American history, a major branch of a world religion would be declare[d] a de facto enemy of the state. Not people, not a country; nothing with a capital unless it be Mecca, but a system of religious belief. It would strike at the very root of the American Constitutional system, the separation of Church and State. Internationally it would signify that the principal enemy host, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose ruling house is intimately connected [with] and support[s] this ideology, must be overthrown or changed. It would indicate that the Iraq campaign, which cost the Bush administration so much political capital, is not the end but the mere beginning.
One the most most important lessons of the Global War on Terror is how closely linked it is with Western domestic politics. The Madrid bombing of March 11, 2004 and the American Presidential elections are perfect examples. The reason for this is simple. Fighting the Jihadi enemy would mean overturning the 20th century political and economic foundations to their roots. It would mean disrupting the Big Tent of political correctness; putting a prosperity heavily dependent on oil supplies at risk; and replacing an entire paradigm of international relations. For that reason the act of naming Wahabi Islam as the principal enemy will [be] evaded until it is absolutely unavoidable; until after a mushroom or biological cloud puts a period after the debate. The only exit from the madhouse that Warren and Y'eor describe is through the door we fear the most, the one which compels us to recognize the foe with no name.
I'm not at all sure that Bush and his advisers don't understand this. They just can't say it. Bush is limited by the political situation in which we find ourselves, after several decades of leftist brainwashing in our schools, colleges, and media. Maybe only a third of the country is really rotten, as they showed by voting twice for clinton. But there is a limit to how openly Bush can pursue this war. As it is, he is under continuous attack even for the little that he has openly said.
If he is re-elected I think he will deal next with Iran and Syria. Everyone who has followed the situation knows that the Saudis are at the bottom of the whole mess, but we cannot deal with them until we have taken care of these other tasks first.
The Iraqi people are no dummies: their name for those our PC press calls "insurgents" is..."Wahabis".
I don't quite see it that way, actually - there is no Constitutional prohibition against naming any organization as an enemy, especially one so overtly hostile so as the Wahhabis. And it is an organization of men that is being so named, not any system of religious belief. The Nazis had a very peculiar paganistic theology that was equally hostile, but it was not the religion that was the issue, it was the men with the guns, and it was not on the religion that war was waged, but on the ones using those guns to kill us.
That quibble aside, I am broadly in agreement with Mr. Warren on this issue. The Wahhabis are in a rather odd position with respect to their own state - they backed the House of Saud from the beginning, quite contrary to al-Wahhab's dicta that the doctors of Islam be the government. For that effort they became the beneficiaries of the regular charity that is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, only their benefactor was wealthy beyond anything in historical experience. With wealth came corruption, and lust for a secular power guaranteed them by doctrine but denied them by circumstance.
It would have been very difficult in the past to make this declaration given the traditional close relationship between the Saudi government and that of the United States, but now that the Wahhabis have decided to participate actively in destabilizing that country in an attempt to control the royal succession, all bets are off. They have flattered themselves that with money and covert military resources they can take on the largest State in the world; in fact, it may well turn out that they are incapable of utilizing it to subvert their own host state.
Certainly the recent public statements against terror by several prominent members of the ulema in Saudi Arabia were influenced by members of the royal family who are responding to the change in rules of engagement precipitated by the bombings in and about Riyadh. The question is whether those doctors of Islam are as much in control of "active measures" as they are of theological doctrine. If they are not then the declaration of the Wahhabi as formal state enemies is relatively useless; if they are, and if the Saudi royal family is really put to it, then "the bombing starts in five minutes."
And we must give the Saudis every chance to reform themselves. Failing that, we must see to their overthrow by indirect means.
We shouldn't be anxious to assume the role of "Protectors of the Holy Cities" ourselves...
How does one go about stamping out an entire religious sect or belief system, and why would we want to anyway? It would still exist even if just as an idea in peoples' heads. If they want to enforce the tenets of their religion amongst their own followers, fine. If they try to impose their ideals on others through violence, or Jihad, you simply make the price for it so awful it could never be countenanced. One doesn't have to "name" Wahabi Islam as the enemy. We know its members and which of those are promoting the violence. Take enough of them out, and the others will eventually get the message.
Thank you for the ping. This is an excellent article.
But if they lay out the real case, an elegant bank shot that plays off of Middle East psychology and neutralizes four threats with one military operation the operation itself becomes undone because shame and pride will force the players to act against their own (and the US') best interests. So we end up stuck playing at justifying shadow motivations and political opportunists who either don't see the real strategy or don't care about the national interest ankle biting in order to gain power.
I agree that the Wahabis are dangerous, but they are just part of the Islamic Jihad. If every last Wahabi cleric in the world answered his cell phone tomorrow morning and had his head blown off, the Wahabis would be out of business but the Palestinians, Iranians, Baathists and other Islamofascists would remain to be dealt with.
They're all in it together. There are Chechens and Somalis in Iraq. America, Britain, Australia, Poland, the Coalition in Iraq, NATO in Afghanistan, Israel, Russia, India and the Philippines (still, whether they want to be or not)are allies or belligerents in WWIV. Gaza, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Mindanao are theaters of operation.
Take enough of them out, and the others will eventually get the message.
I think you answered your own question.
What do we do with Wahabis who are American citizens?
The Constitution is not a suicide pact, but whatever precedents are set in dealing with American Wahabis can be applied to American Baptists later.
What do we do with Wahabis who are American citizens?
American citizens are executed all the time.
Is being a Wahabi to be declared a capital offense?
Wahhabis are a major problem. So are the Khomeinists in Iran. And a couple of smaller jihadist sects. That's the reason you can't single out wahhabis.
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