SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

We DO Live in Interesting Times

Sometimes it's good to see hard-hitting, though disturbing report that sets you back on your heels. Naivete and idealism have brought down many, but these coupled with ignorance of the ways of Islam are surefire way for us to lose everything as many millions have done over the centuries.

Author Robert Dreyfuss offers us a disturbing view of what he believes 'staying the course' in Iraq really means: (emphases in blockquote are mine)

What President George W Bush has wrought in Iraq is just the latest in a long string of US efforts to make common cause with the Islamic right. But like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, whose naive and inexperienced use of magic blows up in his face, American efforts to play with the forces of political Islam have proved to be dangerous, volatile and often uncontrollable.

The problem goes far beyond the Shi'ites in Iraq. In the Sunni parts of the country, the power of Islamism is growing, too - and by this I do not mean the forces associated with al-Qaeda. but the radical-right Muslim Brotherhood, represented there by the Iraqi Islamic Party, and other manifestations of the Salafi and Wahhabi-style religious right.

In Egypt, Syria and elsewhere, the radical religious right is also gaining strength. Meanwhile; sometimes deliberately, sometimes by sheer ignorance and incompetence, the Bush administration is encouraging the spread of political Islam. Were the US to "stay the course," not only Iraq but much of the rest of the Middle East could fall to the Islamic right.

Does this mean that al-Qaeda-style fanatics will take power? No. Whether in the form of Iraq's Shi'ite theocrats or the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Egypt, the Islamic right cannot be compared to al-Qaeda. Yet, just as the US Christian right has its abortion clinic bombers, just as the Israeli Jewish right spawned the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin and settler-extremists who kill dozens at Muslim holy sites, the Islamic right provides ideological support and theological justification for more extreme (and, yes, terrorist) offspring.

Even the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization with a long history of violence, which once maintained a covert "secret apparatus" and a paramilitary arm, has not convincingly renounced its past, nor demonstrated that it sees democracy as anything more than a tool it can use to seize power.

Shi'ite "Islamofascists" rule Iraq

The case of Iraq could not be clearer. In 2002, as Vice President Dick Cheney pushed the White House and the Pentagon inexorably toward war, it was increasingly obvious to experienced Iraq hands that post-Saddam Hussein Iraq would be ruled by its restive Shi'ite majority. It was no less obvious that the dominant force within that Shi'ite majority would be the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, and a parallel force associated with al-Dawa (The Islamic Call), a 45-year-old Shi'ite underground terrorist party.

From the mid-1990s on, and especially after 2001, the US provided overt and covert assistance to these organizations as part of the effort to force regime change in Iraq. Like Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, with which both worked closely and which had offices in Tehran, SCIRI and Dawa were based in Iran. SCIRI, in fact, was founded in 1982 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and its paramilitary arm, the Badr Brigade, was trained and armed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Certainly, to the Bush administration, SCIRI and Dawa were known quantities.


The idealistic belief that the spread of democracy could solve all the world's ills has led us on this, perhaps, a fool's errand. Experienced Muslim 'hands', accustomed Islam's swallowing of cultures and whole civilizations were waiting in the wings for such an opening for to implement the practiced machinations that have been perfected for over a millennium.

The Islamic right uses judicious doses of violence to pave the way for a power struggle, but they also insinuate into the target culture other Islamic institutions that are there to stop the chaos and take over, to prove to the target population that "Islam is the answer": economics, outreach, education, Da'wa, etcetera are institutionalized strategies to help them with their ultimate goal, and usually denied goal -- Islamic triumphalism.

Read the rest for other examples. I weep for our collective future.

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