Saturday, June 30, 2007


Perry de Havilland at Samizdata wonders at the motivation behind the recent spate of attacks in the UK. A number of theories have been advanced. Some I have added Which is the most likely and why?

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Iraq
  3. Palestine
  4. The Salman Rushdie Knighthood
  5. Bosnia
  6. The defilement of the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm
  7. the Spanish expulsion of the Moors from Spain
  8. Richard the Lionheart's actions during the Crusades
  9. immoral Western behavior

Multiple choice selections are allowed. Imagine that this is a serious question and you are an earnest policy analyst, eager to remove the principal sources of discontent and hatred which you believe underly these attacks. You are averse to the idea that the world is gripped by an irreconcilable clash of civilizations and believe that a negotiated solution to these "fundamental" problems is possible. How would you go about approaching the problem?

It is interesting as a mental exercise because it forces one to examine the forces that actually drive the current wave of Islamic terrorism. There are a number of causes which are implicit in the rage directed against the West which are not obviously stated. The first is the existence of Israel. The second is Kashmir. The third, which hardly figures in any list, is the current rivalry between the Sunni and Shi'a confessions of the Muslim world. To what extent are the attacks on the West driven by the groups spawned by this sectarian rivalry? I would argue that even if the West were to agree tomorrow to convert, en masse to Islam, the "underlying causes" would not be completely eliminated. First of all, which type of Islam would they convert to?


Blogger RWE said...

The reason to get really worried about is:

10. Just for the hell of it.

i.e., the most common pre-death phrase in the southeast U.S is "One of y'all hold my beer and watch this."

In other regions of the world the most often pre-death phrase is "Alla Akhabar!" And they don't even have the excuse of two sixpacks of Bud.

6/30/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Just in, two more arrested in connection with the UK attacks.

6/30/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Counterterrorism Blog describes how complex the calculus of "underlying causes" is, even with respect to Palestine and how little the experts understood them even in so small an area as Gaza.

A Taliban-like power has taken shape in Gaza with a full Hamas control, and across the 40 km of Israeli territory, a beleaguered Palestinian authority struggles to maintain the West Bank's enclaves under its wings. A thorough reading in geopolitics leaves us with little doubt: a Jihadi regime has emerged between the Mediterranean Sea and the Negev desert. Indeed Hamas is an Islamic Fundamentalist movement, which believes in Jihadism as an ideology and employs terror as its means of accomplishing its objectives. Not only will it use extreme violence against the civilians of its declared enemy, Israel, but it has recently committed – according to Palestinian civilians in Gaza – "war crimes."

Was Hamas's military takeover of the Palestinian authority's agencies and institutions across Gaza predictable? Many in the media and some in academia expressed their surprise at the rapid developments that took place in that enclave. They were among those who advocated the peaceful and "democratic" choices of Hamas within Palestinian politics. Scores of intellectuals and commentators in the West were singing the praises of Hamas' "transformation" into a politically democratic body, which – as they argued – obtained "a legislative majority." Many European legislators and commissioners were attempting to convince their electorates that Hamas – like Hezbollah – is neither terrorist nor fascist. This advocacy logically ended last week with the bloody coup organized by the thought-to-be-civil organization. But aside from the failed expertise and myopic political statements in the West, was Hamas' leap into full military power in Gaza foreseeable? Absolutely yes, if we had perceived the group into what it was and continue to be: Jihadist. For, in comparative politics, a sound projection comes from an accurate description. Because many in the West, particularly Europe defined Hamas as a democracy-leaning "political" movement, all subsequent analytical predictions collapsed. For Hamas, as we understood it –based on its own literature and history – is a Jihadi Salafi organization, formerly financed by the Wahabis and currently funded by the Iranian regime. Hence the ballistics of its planning couldn't be clearer: First, infiltrate. Second, penetrate. Third, takeover and form a Jihadi regime.

Walid Phares makes many points which don't bear on this post directly, but one of the most interesting is this: assuming you want make concessions on underlying causes, to whom do you concede?

6/30/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Knapsack said...

How's 'bout the same reason the drunk looks for his keys under the lamppost? "Cuz the light is better there . . .

The (blessedly inept) attempts in Great Britain are because the mix of opportunity, means, and motive come together best, re: Londonistan. US concentrations of Muslims like Dearborn MI have a very different mix, and other than Imam SantaHat in New Jersey, mentor to WTC#1 bombers, there aren't so many clusters to allow critical mass to build up as in England's cities.


6/30/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

1. Visit my proctologist in order to rectify my cranial mislocation. (couldn't resist choice of verb...sorry)

2. Open negotiations thusly.

6/30/2007 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

The explanation I heard for the original Fatah defeat in the election was that once Arafat was gone there was no real leadership in the organization, but just a bunch of thugs each scrambling for his piece of the action. So they opposed one another rather than combining to defeat the intrisically far weaker Hamas.

If that were true you would expect Fatah to reassert its control fairly quickly, through both "legal" and extralegal methods. Instead the reverse happened. Not sure what that says - either the explanation for the Fatah election defeat was wrong or else Fatha was even more screwed up than was thought.

I think it will be very interesting seeing how the man in the street in Gaza reacts to the Islamic radical control. I get the strong impression that while Arafat and his thugocracy used the Islamic Jihadist trappings to foll the gullible, in reality they were about as observant as the patrons of a redneck bar on a Saturday night. The people there supported the Infatia but many more of them worked in Israel and depended on the hated Jews for things like medical care. Now, the people there wake up and find The Real Thing in charge. Halloween is over and now its the Dawn of the Dead.

6/30/2007 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard -- how long until the UKIP or BNP openly campaigns on "deport all Muslims" and finds many takers?

After all, they can't hurt you if they are not with you. A corollary to the Silverado Moment.

I expect there will be a self-organized anti-Muslim march, with people in masks holding up signs of the bombings etc. with "Muslims Out!" or somesuch.

The problem with a war of the peoples, is that it degenerates very quickly into ... a war of the peoples.

Blow up our airport, we'll see you a mosque. And on and on. Until the weaker side gives.

Brown said as little as possible because he knows he's weak, and unable to handle the threat. The more he speaks, the bigger his weakness shows. And the more people will solve the problem themselves. Power abhors a vacuum.

6/30/2007 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger brough said...

Fox News bimbo Jamie Colby thinks it's 9.

Live on air earlier:

"I learned I new word today!: 'Slag.'"

which would have been pretty damn funny... but in an attempt to explain why one of the carbombs was parked outside a nightclub on 'ladies night', she went on to ask the London Features editor:

"can you explain to our viewers who a 'slag' is?"

some background on terrorist ambitions for a fuel-air device:

" Simply sticking some explosives around a propane tank might get you an impressive fireball but it would not necessarily generate much of a blast –- this requires the gas and air to be thoroughly mixed in exactly the correct ratio over a large volume and then ignited correctly. "

6/30/2007 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

All of the above and none of the above.

6/30/2007 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Scotsman reports that the London attackers had some experience and hence adopted the SOP of attacking the rescuers by preparing a second bomb to catch them:

The terrorists who attempted to bomb central London last week deliberately placed the second vehicle to catch rescuers attending the injured from the first explosion, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

The senior security source also said the primitive gas and petrol devices were most likely the work of determined terrorists struggling because of the security crackdown to get their hands on the ingredients needed to create high explosives.

I think many people assume they know what the root causes are. In reality things we may never completely understand why things happen. It's hard enough to anticipate tactical developments, as illustrated above. Harder still to know what shadows lurk in the hearts of men.

6/30/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard --

The "root cause" is simple:

One people will own, rule, and control the British Isles (and indeed all of Europe).

It will either be the Muslims or the Britons.

That's it. That's all that this is about.

Muslims with every car bomb, bus bomb, subway bomb, airliner plot, etc. say "this land belongs to us. You are our slaves and will do as we say or die."

Eventually the British people will have enough and simply start killing the Muslim people among them until the bombing, and other terror plots stop.

But I think the ability of the UK Government to do anything but dither as the New Lord Protector appears is pretty much on the order of "clap hard for fairies." At this point the bare, brutal, ugly war of the people has begun in Europe.

I had thought it would happen in Sweden first, but there you go. Events have a way of humbling anyone.

[Scots in Glasgow's airport said "let him burn" to rescuers trying to put out the on-fire jihadi. The next event will see bystanders beating the jihadis to death.]

6/30/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The real reason is the cultural equivalent of the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle. When a party recognizes that it is on the losing side of an argument, it recasts the terms of the argument into extreme interpretations. By analogy, a group which feels itself (rightly in this case) under attack by the prevailing culture, redefines the alternatives to make itself seem more noble in contrast with its extravagant characterization of its adversaries. This path, when chosen, begins a progressive disease. Any success leads to expanded recruitment and more grandly polarized views, and any failure leads to amputation of the moderate members. A similar process has ruined many marriages. It continues until the first party has damaged itself beyond effectiveness, or until the second party recognizes what is happening and takes appropriate action.

Grownups don't play by these rules, but in many societies the grownups are not in charge (or may be dead by now.)

6/30/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Odd that "Desire for World domination" escaped the list of reasons for their aggression. Of course, it lacks the necessary "blame the West" element inherent in all but the Sunni/Shi'a split theory.

We are watching your "mental exercise" in practice daily from the leftist twits who run the governments of the West, including the U.S. To some extent, the jihadis are doing the people of the West a favor by putting on display the illegitimacy of the governments of the Western nations. No government is legitimate which cannot, or will not, protect it's people.

6/30/2007 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Right now the war is with the British Left and people like Gordon and the media who for 25 years have glorified diversity and multiculti and "the freedom of violent radicals to peacefully dissent and recruit".

Much to their dismay, they are learning it was all a crock. And simply allowing "free opinion" by those out to destroy Britain "as long as they don't do a violent crime" only means that you allow hundreds of thousands to be propagandized, recruited and from that 1 in 100 or one in 70 primed for Jihadi butchery becomes inevitable.

You would think Lefty idiots would understand that the vast majority of Nazi Party members were peaceful, moderate, non-violent - just as with the radical Islamoids. Though they supported Hitler and thought him justified in many acts - they hoped that violence could be avoided.....

It was that "2-3%" in no way representative of the "National Socialist Peaceful Drive to Redress Grievances" that were the problem....
Yeah, right.

Unless you take a stand one way or the other, it will be assumed that you have taken a side, and possibly face collective punishment for "going along" - just as the Germans slaughtered in their millions found out..

UK Muslims are convinced that they have inviolable rights....if they stay neutral or just angry w/o violence, they believe Brits are powerless to do anything to them and have to, by law and EU lawyers - keep all the Muslims in the UK.

But if the people lose all faith in PC - the Muslims could get chucked just like England chucked out the Jews when they got a little too cosy with repressive rulers and a subsequent repressive ruler decided he and the citizens were better off being Jew-free.

As for the side talk on Hamas - Time to toss those neocon books Sharansky Democracy on the ash heap of history.

6/30/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

Great stuff. As you know, the Religion of Peace is only peaceful in that with the whole planet under Sharia there would be no one to be at war with. But obviously, the peaceful Muslims, just like other groups of all men, will find reasons to fight other groups or other perceived groups within the bounds of their own so-called group.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
Western culture must die

when the world is enslaved
then the world will be at peace

6/30/2007 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Anti-Jihadist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/30/2007 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Blair launches attack on absurd Islamists.

The absurdity is that Western political leaders have to be out of office to speak the simple and obvious truth.

Muhammad, speaking for Allah made himself perfectly clear. Qur'an 8:7 "Allah wished to confirm the truth by His words, 'Wipe the disbelieving infidels out to the last." Qur'an 8:39 "So fight them until all opposition to Islam ends and all are obedient to Allah."

Speaking for himself, he unsheathed the same sword. Muhammad has blessed us with countless Jihad Hadiths chronicled by the likes of Ishaq, Tabari, and Bukhari. Ishaq:618 "Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them. Lie in wait for them, ambush them, overwhelm them. I have ordered you to kill them." Tabari VIII:141 "The battle cry of Muhammad’s Companions was, 'Kill! Kill! Kill!'" Bukhari:V4B52N196 "Allah’s Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight people until they say, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah."

If the founding documents are to be believed than Islam itself is toxic. Any reason, or no reason at all, works just as well for the psychotic.

7/01/2007 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

It may come as a surprise to some, but the Ledger reports that the reason may be ...

a posting on an online forum monitored by the SITE Institute, which tracks jihadist Web sites, asked whether London had been “craving explosions from Al Qaeda” after authorities in June bestowed a knighthood on the author Salman Rushdie, reviled by some radical Muslims for his book “The Satanic Verses.”

No I don't believe this for one minute, personally. But it does show how hard to identify the "underlying reason" is.

7/01/2007 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Maybe the reason "why they hate us" is because the official culture has becoming so snivelingly yet self-righteously craven. From a certain point of view a really dignified foreigner would find this multi-culti fruitshake stuff absolutely insulting. It trivializes everything and the devout Muslims are probably the first to realize it. The multiculti smile is about as phoney as a three-dollar bill. The immortal verses "I'd like to buy the world a Coke and furnish it with love" is about as profoundly poetic as it gets. No wonder the fanatics have the irresitable urge to blow the whole carnival into oblivion. From the Ledger again we have this revealing tidbit of news and incidental social commentary.

The attack came as London — already worried by the rigged cars — braced for a weekend of high-profile events, including a concert to honor the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales; a Gay Pride March; and the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Maybe these are the things -- concerts, Gay Pride marches, sporting events, entertainment -- that have become important to us, and only if come at little inconvenience. But preservation of our liberties and sense of the sacred may elicit little interest, as if these were gone already.

7/01/2007 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

Study up on the writings of Eric Hoffer.

7/01/2007 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The "ring of steel" system, providing security for the Princess Diana celebrations, with fuzzy-wuzzy car bombs going off around the perimeters, is getting pretty wild, as mental pictures go.

7/01/2007 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

well said, C4.

7/01/2007 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger pst314 said...

Every Muslim I have met in person (and these were people in school and in the IT profession) were very open in their contempt for other religions. That this radical intolerance would manifest itself in violence is no more surprising than that the KKK would lynch blacks who they saw as getting "uppity".

7/01/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

I have a Sikh friend who says to me, periodically, that at social events with Muslims here in the States where there are no Christians or Jews, the Muslims talk very differently and much more ominously than when Christians or Jews are present. He worries. I tell him I know this is so and that he should not worry, that we (the Christians) know Jesus died for our sins, and that, some day, the Muslims will know the true magnitude of our Saviour's act.

Slaughter now or slaughter later.
Slaughter later = slaughter more.

7/01/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, the muslim AQs remind me of disaffected American radicals of the recent past, like the Minutemen, or the Symbionese Liberation Army. They're angry at "stuff", like immorality. They don't really know why they're angry and, unlike most Christians, they don't know what to do with their anger. They're overwhelmed by what the Christians call "blind" anger. So they come op with these stupid schemes. Or they feebly try to become atheists.

7/01/2007 09:59:00 PM  

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