Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fitzgerald: Defeating the Jihad by Dividing the Jihadists

The way to divide the Camp of Islam and Jihad is to first identify those pre-existing fissures, large and small, that exist, and to figure out what should, or should not be done, to widen them.

I have written many times about what I think are the three main divisions or fissures:1) The sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shi'a that may not be of great significance worldwide, given that the Shi'a constitute only about 15% of the world's Muslims.

However, those 15% are concentrated, are to be found mostly around the Gulf: in Iran, a Shi'a state, and in Iraq (65-70% Shi'a, especially in the south where the major oilfields are located), and in the oil-bearing Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and in various Gulf sheikdoms -- Bahrain (70% of the population), Kuwait (25%), and in two places that do not possess oil but are significant for local stability. The first is Lebanon, where the overbreeding by Shi'a now makes them the largest group in that country, and in Yemen, which, though without oil wealth, is populous and a potential threat to stability in both Saudi Arabia and in the Horn of Africa -- and with a population that is almost evenly divided between Sunnis and Shi'a.

2) The ethnic divide between Arab Muslims and the non-Arab Muslims who constitute 80% of the world's Muslims is not imaginary, though it takes a while for non-Arab Muslims to think clearly about how the Arabs use Islam -- have always used Islam -- as a vehicle for Arab supremacism. The cultural and linguistic imperialism which the Berbers of North Africa (especially in the Kabyle) have endured, and which some of them are determined not to endure any longer, is not sufficiently discussed. The murderous attitude of Arabs toward the Kurds -- an attitude that Kanan Makiya noted, and puzzled over, but could not bring himself to connect to the very nature of Islam as that "vehicle for Arab supremacism" (thus vitiating the value of his work in "The Republic of Silence" as more than mere reportage) -- is another example. The Arab pressure, or the pressure from Islam itself, to make the Muslims of the subcontinent (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India itself) indifferent to their own pre-Islamic heritage, and the same kind of attitude toward the not-completely-extinguished pre-Islamic or non-Islamic heritage of Muslims in Malaysia and, still more obviously, in syncretistic Indonesia, is something that some Malay intellectuals have noticed, and written about. But the theme needs to be taken up by Infidels, and pointed out on every possible occasion.

3) The third great divide in the Camp of Islam is that between the oil-and-gas rich, thinly-populated states, such as the sheikdoms (Qatar, U.A.E., Kuwait) and even Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim states that do not have oil, and consequently are much poorer than their fellow, oil-rich members of the Umma. Unfortunately, Western Infidels have been inveigled or self-inveigled into believing that they have some kind of duty to supply large amounts of aid to these oil-poor Muslim countries, such as Egypt (nearly $70 billion from America alone), Jordan, Pakistan, and of course to what is optimistically called "the Palestinian Authority." They do not have any such duty, and they should cease all such aid, for it is received not as aid, with gratitude, but rather as Jizyah, that is owed, and that must be continued -- because the Muslims deserve what becomes, in the attitude of both donor and donee, a disguised Jizyah. Indeed, the classic form of Jizyah, paid by non-Muslims to Muslims in a Muslim-ruled domain, can be seen in Malaysia, with the Bumiputra system that requires Chinese and Indians to transfer wealth to Muslim Malays, simply because they are Muslims.

If the Infidels remove all of their misguided support for Muslims, and force the poorer Muslims to demand a sharing of the oil wealth by the rich members of the Umma, this will put those rich members uncomfortably on the spot. If they deny the poorer Arabs, that will increase mutual hostility. And if they agree to supply aid, that will increase mutual hostility, hostility felt by those Arabs or other Muslims receiving aid, and for whom such aid will never be enough, especially as those poorer Arabs already know something --- and the Infidel intelligence services can help them find out a great deal more -- about the unbelievable riches, the limitless luxury, and the nauseating decadence that characterize the lives of these Gulf Arabs.

There are other divisions that can be played upon, such as that division between the "primitive Arabs" of the Gulf and the more sophisticated and civilized -- as they see themselves, a kind of consolation prize for being much poorer -- Arabs of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt. (Egypt is a special case, because in Egypt there was formerly a sense -- it may be recoverable if deliberately encouraged -- that Egyptian Muslims were different from, superior to, mere "Arabs.")

One can find at MEMRI the odd Syrian who expresses his unease with Islam obliquely, as contempt for the "primitive Bedouin of Arabia." And who brought Islam to the world, or first spread it, if not those same "primitive Bedouin" whom the urban resident of Damascus, with his leather-bound volumes (oh yes, he's a great reader, he allows himself to believe, of Mutanabbi and Adonis and others in-between, and therefore so very different, he likes to think and make others think, from those Saudi plutocrats in Monte Carlo)? And this "northern urban Arab -- southern desert Arab" split can be usefully encouraged, and exploited, by those keen enough, and well-prepared enough, to understand the points of mental purchase.

The envy of the rich Arabs, and the gnawing recognition that Islam simply will not do (but cannot be directly attacked), comes out as this hostility from the presumably suave denizens of Damascus and Beirut and Cairo, those "Arab intellectuals" and journalists who are a poor substitute for the truth-telling of, say, Wafa Sultan, toward the Gulf Arabs and especially toward the Saudis. Those northern Arabs who lack the yachts, and have to forego the call-girl-and-gambling sprees of the Saudis, and the other Arabs from the Gulf sheikdoms, can offer themselves the consolation, in history-haunted Islam, that it is they, and not the rich "desert Arabs," who are the intellectual heirs of what is seen as High Islamic Civilization (roughly, 850-1250), and for which such exaggerated claims are made, and the achievements of the many non-Muslims under Muslim rule during that period claimed, quite misleadingly, for Islam.

Of these three major fissures, two present themselves in Iraq: the sectarian and the ethnic divides.

And it is the recognition, and then the exploitation, of these fissures that has been the constant theme of everything I have written about Iraq, since the first few months of 2004, by which time Saddam Hussein had been captured, his sons killed, his regime's major figures killed or captured, and -- most importantly -- the country had been scoured for weapons of mass destruction, and whatever programs to develop such programs that had existed, existed no longer, and the number of locals capable of putting back such a program greatly reduced in numbers.

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