Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chains around Zarqawi's Mind

Michael Totten reports from Iraq, transcribing conversations with Iraqis. He makes the interesting observation that it wasn't so much the killing and mayhem that al-Qaeda was engaged in that ultimately destroyed their legitimacy among the population -- it was the illicitness and alien character of it all. Money quote:

“Can you describe what Al Qaeda did here?” I said.

“The Al Qaeda organization is the enemy of Iraqis and of Americans,” Mahmoud said. “We are Muslims. Sunnis. Al Qaeda came through Islam and used it to enter Iraqi lands. They are killers, insurgents, they don't respect humanity. They don't belong to Islam or have religious beliefs. They have no kind of religious beliefs.”

Don’t assume Mahmoud is dissembling when he says this. It may appear that some Muslims are being overly defensive by saying Osama bin Laden is not a real Muslim, but there is a solid case to be made that radical Islamism is, in fact, a totalitarian cult unhinged from the religion as it is actually practiced by the majority. It is they, after all, who blow up mosques in Iraq. I know of at least one mosque in Ramadi that is considered “blackened” because insurgents used it as a base. No one will set foot in it now.

Nothing follows.

12 Comments:

Blogger Ari Tai said...

Interesting. I didn't expect UBL to be labeled a heretic for another decade or more. If this takes hold (and starts cauterizing the fascists out of Wahhabism) we'll be well on the way to seeing things settle down to an analog of the 50s in post WW2 Europe - i.e. relatively quiet but pensive watchful waiting, with occasional sorties out of local bases as a different sort of civil war excises the un-faithful.

Can't come to soon.

1/09/2008 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

The Koran and Mohammed's biography have a closer resemblance to what Zawahiri is saying and what Al Qaeda is doing than any story about Islam from Joe Iraqi.

When the locals were not showing up at the mosque Mohammad ordered his soldiers to burn them in their houses. Nice guy. Just the kind to emulate as the paragon of human behavior.

1/09/2008 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

A well funded criminal organization now?

Possibly, a morphed political organization without the support of the populace that it deigned to represent? Something like the Democrats in the '90s....

A warrior-monk clan? Fighting for the down-trodden masses that are being duped into a western way of life - debauchery and worship of "All Things Britney"?

A hopeful and interesting premise, but one thing we must not forget... These organizations like to go out with a bang. Iraq MAY be lost to them, but there are fertile fields in Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

A wounded pest, from a rabid squirrel to a "Stripey cat", is best handled with a 2nd shot to the brain before you poke the carcass.

1/09/2008 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger RKV said...

I have to disagree with Ari a bit. As long as UBL and co. are losing they are "heretics." When they win, we are kafir. Mahmoud and the rest of the ummah go which ever way the wind blows. What that means for us is we can't really trust them. Ever. Sad, but that's the way it is, and wishful thinking will get us killed. Wahhabism isn't going away and it isn't going to have a Reformation. It WAS the Reformation.

1/09/2008 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Wretchard,

It is my contention that "losing" for 4 years set the stage for victory.

No way it could have been planned.

However, now that we understand maybe it can be used.

1/09/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

rkv,

Wahabism was a response to a certain environment. The harsh desert.

If we can bring gardens the culture will change.

I have a plan:

Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion

1/09/2008 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

dan,

Insurgencies are recruited from the criminal class.

If the insurgency is defeated they revert. Or if the insurgency is successful but does not gain power.

See France 1945 - 1980.

1/09/2008 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

To bolster rkv's argument, a writeup on Wahhabism.

1/09/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

The "insurgency" had two different agendas. The Sunnis had been part of Saddams' ruling strata and didn't like being dethroned. They wanted to be back to being top dogs.

Al Qaeda and its allies wanted , needed, to drive the Americans out and establish a theocratic state (as in Iran, Waziristan, etc).

If the insurgency had driven us out, then the two sides would have been fighting each other, most likely aQ would have won, being supported by Iran.

Neither of them would care about turning Iraq into a garden.

But because Al Qaeda's strategy depended on propaganda victories, and attacking American bases would have resulted in disastrous defeats, they had to go after Iraqi targets, eventually including their own "allies". And they tried to establish local theocratic regimes as well.

The Sunnis experience with Al Qaeda have convinced them that we are the lesser evil, at the very least. And I think that they've now given up on the dream to returning to the old days of power.

Al Qaeda has given all of the Iraqis a true common enemy, forcing them to come together. Hopefully this will last long enough for a common Iraqi identity to take hold.

1/09/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger El Baboso said...

It's interesting to speculate what would have happened if the British, Americans and French had made a meaningful intervention in Russia after the October Revolution instead of the half-hearted effort that history records. Would we have been hunting Lenin in his Ural hideaway? Would the SRs and Mensheviks play us off against the Bolsheviks? Would we have to contend with the atrocities of German Freikorps in the Ukraine and Baltics? All the while supporting the bumbling Kadets and reactionary monarchists? Now that would make a good alt history novel.

1/09/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

The world has just changed.

WB-7 First Plasma

The world has just changed. Cheap fusion is on the way. About 5 years.

1/09/2008 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

rkv: As long as UBL and co. are losing they are "heretics." When they win, we are kafir. Mahmoud and the rest of the ummah go which ever way the wind blows. What that means for us is we can't really trust them. Ever. Sad, but that's the way it is, and wishful thinking will get us killed. Wahhabism isn't going away and it isn't going to have a Reformation. It WAS the Reformation.

Every word, letter and punctuation mark of what you said. Since we cannot trust Islam, ever, it must be destroyed, permanently. The West has no other choice.

TAQIYYA DAMNS ISLAM

This is not the West's fault in any way, shape or form. Islam has brought its own doom upon itself. We are merely the bullet that they have fired into their own head.

1/09/2008 11:15:00 PM  

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