Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Terrorist Franchise

We've all heard heard of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). How about Iraqi Hamas? In asking ourselves why every major terrorist group is drawn to Iraq we may come to understand what the fight in Iraq is all about.

A new group in the Iraqi insurgency, calling itself "Iraqi Hamas" has claimed responsibility for the downing of a US helicopter on Tuesday morning in Baghdad. The aircraft crashed in a central area of Baghdad, after reportedly being struck by light arms fire, interior ministry sources said. In a statement posted to the Internet, the insurgents said that "one of the brigades of Hamas in Iraq shot down a US Apache helicopter and struck a second one in the al-Fadl district of Baghdad." The statement said that further details would be provided subsequently.

When pundits say that Iraq is in the throes of a civil war, perhaps the correct conflict to which it should be compared is the Spanish Civil War. Although many of the elements of that conflict were driven by peculiarly Iberian causes, it was far more importantly the focal point of a world struggle between democracy and fascism. It is impossible to understand the events in Iraq today as simply the result of the mindless bungling of George Bush. It is above all the locus of the major clash between two contending trends in the 21st century. And like the Spanish Civil War, Iraq may be the most unavoidable event of the age.


Blogger wretchard said...

Panic in Washington, cautious optimism in Baghdad, says Fouad Ajami. Read Ajami for a small glimpse of what is at stake.

4/11/2007 01:08:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Ajami sees events Iraq through the narrow prism of Sunni versus Shi'a. In other words, Arab history. It is that, and fully momentous in that respect alone. But the issues at stake are larger than that.

4/11/2007 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

And like the Spanish Civil War....

1) the left in the West has romanticized the conflict and missed the true nature of the insurgency (e.g. Moore's "founding fathers", etc.). Read Orwell. We all know Hitler backed Franco, but Father Joe (Stalin) and his ruthles cadres used and killed the naive romantics who flocked from the West.

2) Iraq is likely the prelude to a much larger conflict between fascism and freedom.

4/11/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger RAB said...

But the issues at stake are larger than that.

I see it as the 7th century life vs. 21st century life, man against woman, living vs. glorifiction of death, barbarianism vs cililization.

4/11/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Good call on the Spanish Civil War analogy. That fits so much better than the generalization of the 1930s.

4/11/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

UNCLE Joe...hadn't had a cup of coffee yet

4/11/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

" was far more importantly the focal point of a world struggle between democracy and fascism."

But how many knew that at the time? It took the event of W.W. II and the benefit of hindsight to put the Spanish Civil War in its proper perspective. As already noted, neither side was ideologically pure, a point that Orwell discovered during the course of his enlistment/disillusionment with the Loyalists and detailed in his book, Homage to Catalonia.

The stakes for the future seem so much easier to discern at a so much earlier stage in this struggle that it amazes me people aren't able to see it. Of course those who don't now see it eventually will, when it's too late. And then our defeat will be anyone's fault but their own.

4/11/2007 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

I should clarify "ideologically pure" in the context of defending democratic principles and ideals. As we know now, that is the last thing in the world that Uncle Joe was committed to upholding.

4/11/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

It would be interesting to have a really full, sustained treatment of the mindsets of individual people from these Arab parts. The order there seems to be unravelling generally, and the al Qaeda revolutionaries of the Islamintern we know of; the fact of their reasonable basis in the core of Islamic doctrine we know of; the analysis of dying totalitarian/tribal regimes we are aware of. Yet for some reason I feel as though these people, in general, are curiously silent. I used to like to read a guy Victor Davis Hanson had post to his site occasionally, a certain American ex-pat working in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf generally, who would post vignettes about, for example, his trip to Dubai, or just some particularly poignant event at the office, or in his neighborhood near the US compound. Those were interesting. If this is the Spanish Civil War variety of civil war, and that sounds like a perfectly reasonable analogy to me, I wish we could be more certain about the general way in which sympathies break down there, though in more detail than merely Sunni and Shia. Ajami in that article makes the point that I've heard elsewhere, for example, that Sunni and Shia are so intermarried that, although that conflict animates the scene generally, it really can't provide a final answer if the families and tribes are themselves so mixed. If anyone has another VDH type correspondant to point out, I'd appreciate it.

4/11/2007 05:40:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger