Our Man in Waziristan II

March 17, 2005 // by admin


Last January, I composed a post arguing that Mr. Brilliant Terror Master Himself, Osama bin Laden, might actually be serving the overall geo-political interests of Great Satan through his own megalomanical overestimation of his charisma, power and historic situation.  In other words, the God Complex, kicking in big time.

As one of my proofs, I noted ObL’s annointment of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as his “emir” in Iraq–an appointment destined to reduce the Wahhabi’s Q-rating in the Land Between the Rivers to less-than-zero.  Especially as the Iraqi civilians casualty figures mounted.  But of course, as Michael Scheuer reminds us over and over again, Osama is just so brilliant and pious andpatient and oh-so-able to run rings around the hapless U.S. that he couldn’t have made such a stupid, stuipd mistake–

Except he did.  And it hasn’t been lost for a moment on the Iraqi people.  I don’t have any hard evidence for this supposition–just an exemption from the CIA analysts’ equivalent of the Stockholm Syndrome to which Mr. Scheuer seemed to have succumbed after studying ObL for so many years–but now we see via Instapundit this short piece fromStrategypage.  (I direct you to Instapundit, where Mr. Reynolds also links to an e-mail from Iraq that is a must-read.)  Osama and his Z-Man proxy are undermining their own cause, and helping us win the war.  These are the all-mighty great terror strategists?



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March 16, 2005 // by admin

Obscene phone call

Your brother has been killed in a martyrdom operation.  Congratulations.

— an anonymous caller claiming to represent an anti-Iraqi group called “Brothers in the Gulf”

According to the NYT’s Dexter Filkins, the al-Banna family of Jordan received this call three days after the February 28 bombing at Hilla, Iraq, which killed more than 130 people.  When Iraqis heard reports that a Jordanian perpetrated the atrocity, hundreds protested in front of the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, burning a Jordanian flag.  (For more on this story, and some peculiarities of the flag, see Power Line.)

According to Mr. Filkins’s story, Mansur Banna, father of the suspected bomber,  Raad, claims that his son was a pro-American youth who enjoyed the 18 months he spent in southern California, from 2000-2002.  As for Mr. Mansur himself, he denied any hostility toward the U.S.  “The Americans are in Iraq, trying to make a new Iraq.  Please tell the Americans we support them.”

Nevertheless, the al-Banna family reportedly composed an obituary in a local newspaper for Raad, which described their son as a “martyr” who had died doing God’s work.

Update:  The inestimable Baghdad Dweller offers a translation of the Jordanian news article that incited the Iraqi rioting.  I have to admit, I did not know about the  phenomenon of “divine weddings,” but BD’s assessment of the moral repugnance of the practice seems precisely on-target.  This is perversity on a frighteningly profound level.

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Canadians against suicide bombing

March 16, 2005 // by admin

Canadians against suicide bombing.  I can’t tell how old this petition is, or vouch for the sponsoring organization, but it’s still nice to see that our northern neighbors are more than just self-righteous puck-brained, maple syrup-slurping anti-American moralizing ingrates.  Irshad Manji, of course, excepting.


Headline, Financial TimesTuesday, March 15, 2005:

White House quiet as Darfur killings go on

Debate is focusing on whether the U.S. is unable or unwilling to end the conflict

Not England, not the EU.  Not China, the number one importer of Sudanese oil; not Russia, Sudan’s premier weapons provider.  Not even France–well, of course not even France.  No, when trouble–serious, this-is-genocide trouble–erupts in the world, who do you call?  Not England, not the EU, not China…

That ol’ hegemonic, imperialistic, neo-colonial, Kyoto Protocol ignoring environment destroying war-mongering–did I say racist?–globalizing rogue nation, the United States of America.  Let’s hope the sheriff exerts some authority.


Back on the “babes of democracy” front, Michael Totten, by way of Instapundit (you don’t need a link there, do you?) has a nice round-up of Beirut rally photographs, both for and against Assad.  Check out the comments: I particularly like the Lord of the Rings reference.


At last, Saudi women–gaining their own identities!  Sort of.

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March 15, 2005 // by admin

World’s smallest violin

Why are our brothers the mujaheddin denounced?  Those who left their countries, their wives and children, and sacrificed their blood, all to protect your honor and expel the invaders from your land?

— From Zurwat al-Sanam (Top of the Camel’s Hump), the catchily-titled internet magazine published by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(Robert F. Worth, New York Times; reg. req.)

Admittedly, I don’t get out into the blogosphere as much as I used to, but it seems to me this story did not receive the play it merited.  We know that Al Qaeda maintains a steady propaganda effort in cyber-space–they evidently have a self-styled “media department”–but Mr. Worth notes how plaintive and defensive the terrorists’ tone has become.

In the above quote, for example, they complain about the bad press they receive for murdering Iraqi Army and police officers.  Mr. Worth also notes this monstrous example of Al Qaeda’s capacity for mendacity and rationalization:

One of the basic rules of our religion is not to spill a drop of Muslim blood unless it is justified, because the destruction of the world is no less an offense than that.

Thousands of bereaved Iraqis might beg to differ with the terrorist organization’s description of its actions.

Not content with simply parodying the West by establishing a “media department,” Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has even lodged some familiar complaints about the international press, and how it only reports “bad news” about the group.

Where are the media correspondents in Iraq, and where is the media coverage in Mosul, Anbar, Diyalia, Samarra, Basra and southern Baghdad?.

Seems they’ll have to wait for Michael Scheuer’s next book.

What’s going on here?  Mr. Worth quotes Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute, a nonprofit group that monitors Islamic web sites.

I think they feel they are losing the battle.  They realize there will be a new government soon, and they seem very nervous about the future.

One of Al Qaeda’s most potent weapons is the terror they instill in people’s imaginations. As with all fascist groups, however, an element of the ridiculous co-exists with this ability to intimidate.  The group is still lethal, and will no doubt wreak further havoc in Iraq, and elsewhere.  But the absurdity that lays at the core of Islamofascism–the overblown rhetoric, the monotonous street demonstrations and robot-like denunciations of America and Israel, the emotionally pinched and sexually repressed leadership and their rampant narcissism–is beginning to take center stage. Al Qaeda will continue to bring death.  But its doom is already being inscribed in the hearts and minds of its global audience, where, increasingly, the terrorists’ actions are inspiring anger, resistance and, most devastating of all–contempt.

And this, from the feminist front:

Web pundits are calling it the “babe theory of political movements.”  (Didn’t I read that most bloggers are male?).  Apparently lifted from P.J. O’Rourke, it postulates that in a fluid moment of democratic upsurge, street demonstrations and media coverage, the side with the most attractive women wins.  By that measure the Lebanese opposition is on the verge of sweeping pro-Syrian forces into the “40 years old and still living with mom” category of history.

Without putting too fine a point on matters here, the “babe theory” is actually a clever way of expressing a profound point.  The edifice of Middle Eastern autocracy and its particularly virulent outgrowth–terrorism–rests upon the repression of women.  Liberate female energies from political cage of tyranny and the religious prison of Islamic doctrine and the authority of the bearded mullahs and “pious” terrorists and sexually repressed holy men will crumble like the desiccated dust of the mummies they are.

We are releasing a genie into the Middle East–and the world–whose power is incalcuable.

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Nice post. Thanks for posting.

Posted by: Pr firm chester | July 26, 2009 at 11:59 AM

The Arab street turns another corner

March 14, 2005 // by admin


It was only a matter of time:  anti-jihadist protests breaking out in Baghdad.  If the Iraqis hold true to often-quoted Arab proverb–“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”–are we about to see a “street”-change in their attitudes toward the U.S.?

(Credit:  Instapundit)

And this looks like encouraging news from Egypt.

But just in case you were wondering what the real truth was behind today’s headlines, check out these, um, viewpointsherehere and here… (and in case you’re interested in the source of these exposés, here.)

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Without a prayer

March 12, 2005 // by admin


From the AP:  “Thirty Muslims walked off the job at a Dell Inc. plant after alleging the company refused to let them pray at sunset.”

Hopefully, this is one of those quarrels involving foreign cultural and religious traditions that American democracy somehow always works out in the end–like the minor dust-up in New York last year over a Sikh traffic cop who fought for, and won, his right to wear a turban on duty.

Still, the salat imbroglio brings a couple of questions to mind:  Muslims have been working in this nation–and presumably at Dell–for years without insisting on their right to pray five times a day.  Why now, all of a sudden?

Secondly, in my journeys through Iraq, Iran and Jordan–not to mention a quarter century spent in this multi-ethnic stew called New York–I’ve never seen Muslims suddenly cease their activities and set to praying.  I’ve seen stores in Muslim nations temporarily close (even as customers inside continued shopping) and restaurants respectfully turn down the house music as the muezzin called to believers–and I’ve witnessed worshipers enter mosques for mid-day devotions.  But see people on the street or at working stop what they’re doing in order to observe mandatory prayer time?  Never.  I’m sure it happens.  Maybe someone can enlighten me on this point, because I find it curious that Dell employees seem to want to behave with–shall we say–uncommon scrupulousness.  Converts, I wonder?


The Shias’ Christian virtues

He who did this is a criminal. He killed Muslims and wanted to ignite sectarian strife. But God willing, we’ll not allow that.

— Ibrahim Moussa, speaking from his hospital bed after being wounded by a recent suicide bombing of a Shiite funeral in Mosul.  The attack killed Mr. Moussa’s brother.

(Sindbad Ahmed, Associated Press)

According to press reports, fascist “insurgents” are targeting Shia funerals, increasingly preventing these Iraqis from assembling in large family groups to bid the departed final respects.  During Saddam’s reign, the Baathists would frequently execute people, and forbid surviving family members from ever visiting their graves.  Today, these same psycopaths are inflicting a similar form of evil that does not stop with murdering the innocent, but seeks to deny the living the ability to mourn their dead.

With this in mind, it is astonishing how few calls for vengeance–or actual reprisals–have arisen from the Shia community.  Many observers–myself included–perceived Arab culture as so sunk in traditions of honor and revenge that such restraint seemed unlikely, if not impossible.  So far, it seems, we have been wrong–and I, for one, am quite happy to be in error.   The steadying influence of Ayatollah Sistani has much to do with the Shias’ patience–one reason why I support his nomination for the Noble Peace Prize.

However, humans can only endure so much; Mr. Ahmed does quote a less conciliatory Iraqi, Sher Qassim Mohammed Ali.

I lost seven of my sons, brothers and cousins. I want to know who carried out this attack … we will avenge those who did it.

Such grief is incomprehensible.  As is the evil of the men who inflict it.  As is the Shias’ forbearance as they turn the other cheek to receive these blows again and again and again.


Seems not everyone agrees with my support for the “Old Scarecrow.”


Here’s some news from a different sort of Arab “street” you don’t often hear about.  Perhaps that’s the best reason for democratic reforms–they will make you rich.


It’s a few days old, but here’s a story on the Kuwaiti demonstration for women’s rights.  Scroll down for yet another example of the MSM passing up no opportunity to run a photo of some Middle Eastern “hottie.”  No complaints here.


Good news from Egypt:  politician Ayam Nour is free–until his trial, at least.  Not that American pressure had anything to do with this.  No, of course not.

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No turbans in government

March 12, 2005 // by admin


We neither want to establish a religious nor a secular state in Iraq, we want a state that respects the identity of the Iraqi people and the identities of others

— Shia political official Ali al-Dabagh, quoted by AP’s Rawya Rageh

Writes Mr. Rageh:

Kurds and alliance officials said both sides agreed that Iraq would not become an Islamic state, a desire also expressed by the country’s most powerful Shiite cleric – Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Sistani, as well?  This sounds like extremely good news.  Let’s hope this Shia-Kurdish comity holds.

It’s interesting to note how the AP structured this article.  Here’s the lede:

Ukraine withdrew 150 servicemen from Iraq on Saturday, beginning a gradual pullout, as Shiite and Kurdish politicians refined plans to form a coalition government that officials said includes an agreement not to turn the country into an Islamic state.

In other words, the AP placed the major positive news of an initial Iraqi agreement to separate mosque and state after noting the minor fact of Ukraine’s troop withdrawal.  Translation:  because good news helps justify the war effort, we better downplay it as much as possible.

Am I over-reading?  Mention of the Shia-Kurd agreement comes in the 16th graf of the story–after we are treated to a compendium of bad news from Iraq:  from suicide  bombings at Mosul, to the friendly-fire death of a Bulgarian soldier to a completely egregious mention that over 1,500 U.S. servicemen have died in the country.  And the MSM wonders why it has engendered so much recent criticism!  It’s not because of pajama-clad bloggers, but rather insufferably biased reporting.

Journalism follows–or used to, at any rate–the precepts of the “inverted pyramid,” where the most important facts of a news story received the biggest space and earlier placement in a column.  With the AP, however, the guiding technique seems more a “pyramid of denial.”


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March 12, 2005 // by admin

Stern rebuke

Here is a great story involving a German blogger and his successful effort to force Germany’s Der Stern magazine to correct its reporting on the Giuliana Sgrena incident.  Another victory for the Blogosphere.


What political ideology has killed over 100 million people worlwide, but the EU refuses to ban its symbol?  Hint:  it’s not National Socialism.

For a fascinating essay related to this subject, go here.


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No Sympathy for the Devil

March 11, 2005 // by admin


So you’re thinking of a career in magic?  Better read first what yesterday’s Gulf Times has to say about what it takes to sell your soul to Satan.

And if that didn’t persuade you, read the rest here.


“How cool would it be to gain ‘trusted user’ status on a CIA blog?”

Pretty cool, I’d say.  During the Cold War, American intelligence agencies subsidized works by writers, poets and artists that advanced for a world audience such democratic values as freedom of expression.  I’ve never understood the scandal this government funding caused when it came to light during the 1960s, and why the artists and periodicals which received it were so stigmatized.  What’s wrong with using art to help topple dictatorships?

Well, maybe the notion of the government enlisting the aid of creative types is beginning to revive, at least among certain internet-savvy segments of the public.  This essay from Wired makes a good pitch for “spy blogs.”  Not only that, but I never thought I’d see the post-COINTELPRO day when working for the CIA would once again be considered “cool.”  Times they certainly are a-changin’…

(Thanks to reader Ron G.)

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March 10, 2005 // by admin

Free to be illiberal

Iraqi society is tribal, Islamic and very conservative.  Most people don’t feel ownership to the existing secular famiily law, and we must change it to follow shari’a.  Forcing secularism on our society is also a form of dictatorship.

— Women’s rights activist Fatima Yaqoub, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal’s Farnaz Fassihi

First, a word of explication.  Iraq’s “existing secular family law” dates from 1959, and was–and in many ways still is–one of the most progressive, pro-feminist statutes promulgated by any Middle Eastern government.

Second, we should not be surprised by Ms. Yaqoub’s sentiments.  There are many feminists in Iraq who believe the Koran, and shari’a law, are the proper avenues for women’s liberation.  Some argue that Islam provides women distinct rights which counter the patriarchal customs of tribalism.  Others–Ms. Yaqoub apparently among them–believe that women must not contravene Islamic law and, by extension, Allah.  Western reporters have tended to ignore voices like these, because they don’t fit our concept of “feminism”:  how can a woman be both for women’s rights and affirm shari’a? But there are many Iraqi women who agree with Ms. Yaqoub, more than we think, or wish.

Third, Mr. Fassihi puts his reportorial finger on an important point when he writes

Shiite politicians are already seeking ways to dampen opposition to changing family laws.  Some politicial analysts say the Kurds may look the other way if the constitution guarantees them continued autonomy.  Shiites also have said they would support exemptions for religious minorities such as Christians.

In other words, the Shiites seem ready to bargain away many chits in return for their right to control the lives of Muslim women.  It is that important to them.  As I’ve argued before, we face a situation similar to the Reconstruction Era when, in order to assure nationwide stability and expedite the end of an unpopular occupation, the North abandoned the Abolitionist cause and allowed the South to re-enslave its black citizens.  No doubt Washington will look the other way again.  African-Americans were expendable over a century ago; today, in another time, and another land, it is women.  But the result is the same.  In the name of order and stability, freedom for an entire class of people will be deferred for an indefinite period of time–or until the next revolution occurs.

Let’s close with another quote from the redoubtable Ms. Yaqoub, as she explains the advice she gave a young Iraqi woman::

I told her that our country has had three wars and there are not enough men for every woman to marry.  So she should not be so selfish and share her husband like a good Muslim wife.  I reminded her that God had allowed men to take more than one wife and you don’t defy God’s orders.

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