Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Allahu Akbar, the Ghost Dance and Magic Bullets Part V

From my friend, Tonecluster, he points out an excellent read by Andrew C. McCarthy at NRO, A Smug Delusion of Base Expectations:

The outpouring of righteous indignation against Newsweek glides past a far more important point. Yes, we're all sick of media bias.[snip]

What are we saying here? That the problem lies in the falsity of Newsweek's reporting? What if the report had been true? And, if you're being honest with yourself, you cannot say — based on common sense and even ignoring what we know happened at Abu Ghraib — that you didn't think it was conceivably possible the report could have been true.

I'll pause for a moment and say, based on my earlier analysis of the info, I don't think it's true that a US military person flushed a Koran down the toilet to get a rise out of a prisoner. But, he adds an important perspective:

Flushing the Koran down a toilet (assuming for argument's sake that our environmentally correct, 3.6-liters-per-flush toilets are capable of such a feat) is a bad thing. But rioting? Seventeen people killed? That's a rational response?

Aye, there's the rub. Yes, I'm irritated about our media continuing to act like a propaganda machine for the enemy, inadvertantly or otherwise, but his point is the most valid. If I had to list, in order, the people I would blame for this whole fiasco, it would definitely be:

1) Exremist Islamists. This was an over the top response, so yeah, I think that it was waiting to happen and it didn't matter what it was. I mean, they threaten people for not giving Mohammed "due deference", want to kill people who want to leave their religion and stone women for alleged "adultery". They certainly haven't given up on recruiting young men for suicide missions in order to go to paradise and have 72 virgins.

2) The nitwit (for lack of a better word that isn't spelled with four letters) who think they should wage their ideological political wars from within the American government in the middle of a war by "leaking" information that they can't recall all the details of and cannot be substantiated but by wishful thinking. Who are these punks anyway?

3) Newsweek still. I agree with Mr. McCarthy that the rioters are responsible for their own behavior and causing the deaths of fellow citizens. I am a "personal responsibility" person, after all. But that means that I believe each person should take responsibility for their part in the situation. Newsweek failed to meet it's own purported journalistic standards and did not apply critical thinking and analysis to the story, creating propaganda for the enemy. For that, they must take responsibility.

None of these folks get off in my book.

Speaking of people that have been getting off the hook for things that are their responsibility, I think it is time once again to look at our alleged allies in the ME, Saudi Arabia. I must say that I am pretty tired of hearing their platitudes and double speak, trying to present a modern and moderate face to the world while their educational system and state religion continue to exhort young men to go to Iraq or attack westerners via "jihad".

I know I've been one of those folks that says, "we can't just go to war with KSA because they are the lynchpin of oil producers in the ME and would create great problems with WORLD access to resources and possibly instigate the next world war". I still believe it, but I think I'm getting heartily sick the baloney that passes for their internal "vigilance" against this kind of behavior when they CONDONE it in their very institutions.

According to this article in the Washington Post, "Martyrs" in Iraq Mostly Saudi:

[snip]On April 11, he died as a suicide bomber, part of a coordinated insurgent attack on a U.S. Marine base in the western Iraq city of Qaim. Just two days later, "the Martyrdom" of Hadi bin Mubarak Qahtani was announced on the Internet, the latest requiem for a young Saudi man who had clamored to follow "those 19 heroes" of Sept. 11 and had found in Iraq an accessible way to die.

Hundreds of similar accounts of suicide bombers are featured on the rapidly proliferating array of Web sites run by radical Islamists, online celebrations of death that offer a wealth of information about an otherwise shadowy foe at a time when U.S. military officials say that foreign fighters constitute a growing and particularly deadly percentage of the Iraqi insurgency.[snip]

Who are the suicide bombers of Iraq? By the radicals' account, they are an internationalist brigade of Arabs, with the largest share in the online lists from Saudi Arabia and a significant minority from other countries on Iraq's borders, such as Syria and Kuwait. [snip]

Some counterterrorism officials are skeptical about relying on information from publicly available Web sites, which they say may be used for disinformation. But other observers of the jihadist Web sites view the lists of the dead "for internal purposes" more than for propaganda, as British researcher Paul Eedle put it. "These are efforts on the part of jihadis to collate deaths.[snip]

Or, as Col. Thomas X. Hammes, an expert on insurgency with the National Defense University, said, "they are targeted marketing. They are not aimed at the West."[snip]

Frankly, there are some websites that are ludicrous and nearly satirical in their outrageous claims (I mean, purely Baghdad Bob bull) and some that take a more serioius note and are actively, emphatically the jihadists communications to the outside world and would be recruits. Considering they glorify death and destruction, why would they hide what they believe is their crowning glory?

A lot of folks are keeping track of this phenomenon:

In a paper published in March, Reuven Paz, an Israeli expert on terrorism, analyzed the lists of jihadi dead. He found 154 Arabs killed over the previous six months in Iraq, 61 percent of them from Saudi Arabia, with Syrians, Iraqis and Kuwaitis together accounting for another 25 percent. He also found that 70 percent of the suicide bombers named by the Web sites were Saudi. In three cases, Paz found two brothers who carried out suicide attacks. Many of the bombers were married, well educated and in their late twenties, according to postings.

Well educated were the key words for me. As I point out here and several other posts, education in these countries often include large doses of religious classes. Even friendly bloggers like Nadz talks about having to take religious "school" on weekends. This points to an inherent problem in the Saudi system, one they have not fixed by any means.

The apparent predominance of Saudi fighters on the Internet lists has caused an alarmed reaction by Saudi officials, who fear a backlash from the Americans at the same time they are trying to convince the United States that they are working as allies against terrorism.[snip]

The Internet sites try to recruit people -- it's the best recruitment tool," said Saudi security analyst Nawaf Obaid. Obaid, who has worked closely with the government, said he found 47 cases of Saudis who were dead or injured reported in the kingdom's newspapers, far lower than Internet totals, and had concluded the overall number of Saudi jihadis in Iraq was in the hundreds. "But young guys, they read [on the Internet] we have thousands of Saudis there and think, 'I have to go, too.' "

Well, while I've gone on about the "free" press of the US continuing to badger and inflate stories on the US government, I really think that the Saudi press has the opposite concept, considering they could go to jail for impugning Saudi honor, so, I tend to take this little report with a grain or two or three of salt.

The report also quotes someone that I've read recently:

Evan F. Kohlmann, a researcher who monitors Islamic extremist Web sites, has compiled a list of more than 235 names of Iraqi dead gleaned from the Internet since last summer, with more than 50 percent on his tally from Saudi Arabia as well. In some cases, he found photos or videos of dead foreign fighters posted online.

You can see his report and findings from earlier this year in PDF format here. Very interesting reading.

Kohlman discusses confirmation of his numbers via real sources, not just the websites:

Some of the Web postings also include phone numbers so fellow Islamists can call a dead fighter's family and congratulate them. Kohlmann called several of the numbers. "I have lists and lists of foreign fighters, and it's no joke. Their sons went and blew themselves up in Iraq," he said.

A last interesting note about "Qahtani" who blew himself up at the Marine base in Qaim:

It gives no more identifying details than his name -- indicating he was part of a well-known Saudi tribe that also produced the al Qaeda member known as the so-called 20th hijacker, Mohamed Qahtani, who was turned away from entering the country by suspicious U.S. airport officials in August 2001.

This would be the notorious Al-Ghamdi tribe from whence many of the 19 hijackers came and who have been at odds with the Saudi government since probably the advent of Saudi Arabia itself. They never did take too kindly to being subjegated by Al-Saud and have been on the fore-front of smuggling people and weapons between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Further, it is a poor area of the country with little industry that also sees very little in the way of money or other infrastructural support from oil revenue and other funds of the KSA.

This may be where many of the Saudi "terrorists" come from. However, it is important to note that these folks get a free education from KSA and that includes University at places like King Fahd University, where career paths are limited to technical or religious and every student has to take a certain amount of "Islamic" classes to get their degree. This is true for all students and seems to be able to instill religious fervor in the minds of young men.

Interestingly, an article from Ain-Al-Yaqeen has this ironic information talking about terrorists in Saudi:

Addressing the audience, representatives of the groups denounced the acts perpetrated by the deviating group in the country. On his part, Crown Prince Abdullah thanked them for their noble feelings and support and stressed that this deviant group has harmed Islam and the Muslim faith. [snip]

On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, Prince Abdel Majeed Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Makkah region, patronized the final ceremony of King Abdul Aziz International Contest for the Holy Quran Memorization, Recitation and Interpretation, organized by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance

Of course, it's not long before we find out why he is so concerned about "deviants":

the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, reiterated the adherence of the Kingdom to the Holy Quran and to its teachings, and said the Holy Quran is the constitution of the Kingdom.

'Those who attack the Kingdom and launch vicious campaigns against it, engage in such kind of slurs because the Kingdom adheres to the Holy Quran," he said. "However, the Kingdom is determined to go ahead on the path of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah (the Prophet's teachings)," he noted.

It is so ironic because it reminds me of the original Al-Saud having to go stomp out the muwahhidin (or ikhwan) after using them in the 1920's to establish the kingdom because, after everything, they decided that he, Al Saud, was not Islamic enough. Ironic.

Al Al-Sheikh made it clear that the people of the Holy Quran are moderates who keep away from all forms of extremism which have paved the way for terrorism.

"The terrorists are actually violating teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah," he added.

Really? How about the Saudi government looking into what their state funded universities and mosques are preaching? How about disbanding the "vice and morality" squad?

I really do appreciate these comments by these nice Arabic gentleman and understand that, even under a comfortable despotic rule, you can't control all the people all the time, but something tells me the government has the power to insure they themselves are not contributing to the disease.

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