August 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Hat tip to Power Line Blog for this What’s Going On In the Muslim World? | Power Line. Read the link as well, John Hinderaker has some good insights as well.
Michael Ledeen is an awesome observer, at least in my opinion. And I’m not a kid that uses that word twice in every three sentences. He’s been doing some observing and thinking about what going on. Let’s look over his shoulder a bit.
It’s hard to get our minds around the dimensions of the slaughter under way in the Middle East and Africa, and harder still to see that the battlefields of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria and Mali are pieces in a global war in which we are targeted. For the most part, the deep thinkers zero in on the single battlefields. What if anything should we do about the big fight in Egypt? Should we assist the Syrian opposition? What to do in Lebanon or Jordan? Should we respond positively to the Iraqi government’s request for security assistance? Is anyone thinking hard about Tunisia, likely to be the scene of the next explosions?
This is always a problem, for us and even more for the so-called professionals, we get buried in information. I mean for writing this blog, I have 200+ sources in my RSS feed, and I skim each of them at least once a day. How much worse would it be if I did this for a living and had that many sources in say Egypt. It’s hard to get out of the box. But we must.
Any serious attempt to understand what’s going on has to begin by banning the word “stability,” much beloved of diplomats and self-proclaimed strategists. If anything is fairly certain about our world, it’s that there is no stability, and there isn’t going to be any. Right now, the driving forces are those aimed at destroying the old order, and their targets (the old regimes, very much including the United States) have until recently showed little taste to engage as if their survival depended on it. But things are changing, as always.
The war is easily described: there is a global alliance of radical leftists and radical Islamists, supported by a group of countries that includes Russia, at least some Chinese leaders, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua). The radicals include the Sunni and Shi’ite terrorist organizations and leftist groups, and they all work seamlessly with the narcotics mafias. Their objective is the destruction of the West, above all, of the United States.
What if they win? Some of them want to create a (Sunni or Shi’ite) caliphate, others want Castro- or Kim-style communist dictatorships. Like the five Mafia families in The Godfather, they have made their war plan, but, as with the Corleones and the Barzinis, they are riven by disagreements, some of which are fundamental.
War is foggy, and alliances are often very unstable, especially at moments when the whole world is up for grabs. Look at Egypt, for example. At one level, it’s a sectarian fight: the “secular” military vs. the “Islamist” Muslim Brotherhood. So nobody should be surprised when the Brothers burn churches and murder Christians. But the top military dog, General Sissi, has some pretty impressive Islamist credentials. Indeed, his elevation at the time of the Brothers’ purge of Mubarak’s generals was frequently attributed to his close ties to the Brotherhood.
This makes sense to me, all of the Middle East, maybe the entire world is in flux at the moment, nearly anything is possible but nothing is foreordained. Except change, of course.
Does that picture give you mental cramps? Then move on to Syria. You’ve got Bashar Assad on top in a neighborhood of Damascus, supported by Iran and Russia, fighting against a variety of insurgents including Al Qaeda units, Salafists, former members of Assad’s military, and the usual mob of adventurous souls, including Americans and Europeans, who believe they are waging jihad in the name of Allah.
Assad is actually a figurehead, the real capital of Syria is in an office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. A leader of the Syrian opposition made this clear, saying that Hezbollah and Iran were the real powers in Syria, and there’s plenty of evidence for his assertion, including dead Hezbollahis and Quds Forcers.
So Al Qaeda’s fighting Iran in Syria, right? That fits nicely into the Sunni vs. Shi’ite meme, thereby relieving a mental cramp or two. But wait: our very own Treasury Department, which is as good as we’ve got when it comes to deciphering the crazy quilt network of global terrorism, told us in no uncertain terms a couple of years ago that there was a secret deal between AQ and the mullahs. Moreover, the tidal wave of terrorism that has crashed on Iraq is universally termed a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has been Iranian-sponsored since Day One (just ask the late unlamented Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, sent to paradise by US Special Forces). Which gives us a big mental cramp indeed: an Iranian (Shi’ite)-sponsored (Sunni) Al Qaeda assault against (Shi’ite) Iraq, and right next door an Iranian-assisted (Sunni) Al Qaeda, alongside other (mostly Sunni) foreign and domestic fighters against a (kinda Shi’ite) regime under the control of (totally Shi’ite) Tehran.
Who’s on first? Is Iran sponsoring AQ in Iraq and killing AQ next door in Syria? Is it some sort of trick (Iran using AQ to penetrate the opposition in order to have some control over whatever follows a defeat of the current Syrian regime, for example, or a deception, using AQ in Syria to subvert the opposition)?
Yes, I promise to ask Angleton if I can just get the ouija board repaired. It’s a wilderness of mirrors worthy of him at his most antic.
Got all that? Yeah, hurts my head too!
That’s the bad news. The good news is that they’re divided, and slaughtering each other. And it’s not always possible for us to sort out what “each other” even means. But one thing is quite clear, and I know it’s an unpopular idea, but it’s a true fact: they’re not an awesome force. The radical left has failed everywhere, and so have the radical Islamists. Both claim to have history (and/or the Almighty) on their side, but they go right on failing. The left is now pretty much in the garbage bin of history (you can hire Gorbachev for your next annual meeting if you can afford his speaking fee), and the “Muslim world”–sorry to be so blunt–is a fossilized remnant of a failed civilization. Look at the shambles in Iran, look at the colossal mess the Brothers unleashed on a once-great nation.
So we’ve got opportunities, lots of them. We’ve already passed up many: failing to support the Iranian people against the evil regime that is the central source of terror against us and our would-be friends, failing to support Mubarak against the Brothers, failing to quickly support the opposition to Assad at the outset, before the enterprise got buried under a heap of jihadi manure, and so forth. OK, we’re human, we’re led, if that’s the right verb, very badly, by ideologues who think we are the root cause of most of the world’s problems. Which is the same thing our enemies believe, as luck would have it. But this will pass, and even now we could transform the big global board by doing the strategically sound and morally correct thing, and support the Iranian people against the regime. Don’t bomb them, don’t invade them, just tell the regime we know who and what they are, and start talking to their most dangerous enemies, the overwhelming majority of the Iranian nation. We may not know exactly how to do it, but they do, and if we showed up, they would tell us.
Read it all: It’s War, You Idiots
And that I completely agree with, I don’t completely know if the young people in Iran are the key or not. But you know, Persia has been a major actor on the world stage for thousands of years, so why not. The last time we passed this way, we got a hostage drama, and Ronald Reagan.
And there’s this. You remember this morning I commented that much of the troubles in the Middle East, at least with the indigenous (in the broadest sense of the word) seem to be between the urban young who want the western lifestyle, and the older, rural folk who are afraid of modernisation? Looks to me like He’s looking in the same neighborhood I am, and he knows a lot more than I do.
Keep looking and thinking, and praying won’t hurt either. Cause
It’s a Mess
- What’s Going On In the Muslim World? (powerlineblog.com)
- #Syria #Iran Insight Iran’s Arab minority drawn into… (yallasouriya.wordpress.com)
- Egypt: Democracy and Christianity (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- MICHAEL LEDEEN ON EGYPT AND ELSEWHERE: It’s War, You Idiots! “A Saudi of my acquaintance showed up… (pjmedia.com)
- It’s War, You Idiots (pjmedia.com)
- One Of The People Who Actually Understands What Is Going On In The Middle East (rightwinggranny.com)