Working for Jihad Inc

Posted in Broader Middle East | 12-Jul-07 | Author: Manuela Paraipan

For some time now, we have been in a state of full war with Iran and Syria, yet no one dares to say so publicly. It did not start with Hamas taking over Gaza, with Hezbollah monopolizing southern Lebanon, Baalbeck and Bekaa, with Iran’s quest to join the nuclear club or with President Assad’s desperate attempts to stay in power and escape the long arm of justice in Rafiq Hariri’s case.

It all started in 1979 when the democratic states, and there are few in the world that can stand up to close scrutiny in this respect, stood by as the Islamic fundamentalists gained power over Iran and ousted the Shah. That was the crucial moment when instead of opposing Ayatollah Khomeini and his velayet e fagih (the absolute power given by God to a Shiite jurist, in fact a cleverly designed version of dictatorship), we did nothing. To top it all off, the West continued to support dictators all over the region. Since then we have merely experienced the consequences of our ineptitude.

Islamic fundamentalists use inflammatory speech and do everything in their power to hide the internal problems by using Israel, the United States and everyone else as scapegoats. The doctrine used by Hamas, al Qaeda and the likes counts on ignorance and self-delusion. It says that it is better to die as an alleged martyr by killing oneself and killing as many Jews, Christians, Sunnis or Shiias (depending on the affiliation of the respective terrorist group) as possible and meet in heaven the 72 black-eyed virgins than to live life on Earth peacefully. Such an act is somehow supposed to bring honor and respect upon the individual, his/her family and the community. In reality, violence only brings more misery. And we see it in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.

Khaled Meshal and its sponsors give orders from Damascus and Hamas takes over Gaza from Fatah. It is not the Israelis that suffer in the first instance, though it is of great risk and consequence having a terrorist entity at the borders, but rather the Palestinian people as an entity.

Sheikh Nasrallah kidnaps Israeli soldiers and as a result Lebanon gets devastated. All Lebanese people suffer, yet Nasrallah builds up stockpiles of weapons to prepare for the next war with Israel. The conclusion is that Arab and Muslim leaders use any necessary means to consolidate their power. They rarely (if ever) truly care about their own kind.

Regardless of the daring talk that goes on in the West (this is all we do these days), Iran and Syria continue to arm all wars in the region. They prefer fighting proxy wars, while maintaining a high level of anti-Israel and anti-US rhetoric and keeping their countries safe. Sanctions alone will never be effective against them, or at the very least not the sanctions agreed upon by UNSCR. Often they are too diluted of context to even resemble a sanction.

Should we let anarchy prevail in Lebanon? Should we abandon Iraq? Should we ignore President Assad’s support of terrorism and the extremist theocracy of Iran? We did it so far and we have to deal now with extremists from both the political and religious spectrum.

The proof that we employed the wrong polices in the Middle East is the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the rapid spread of its ideology to Europe and the United States. For decades, we only cared about the price of oil while ignoring the rights and freedoms of the Saudis, and now we have the Wahhabis’ vitriolic message spread to Afghanistan, Pakistan, United Kingdom and elsewhere on the globe.

While we are busy chasing our tails and adopting a diplomatic, reconciliatory discourse towards countries that support direct or indirect terrorism, the terror groups and cells multiply. Simply put, we are running out of time. The war on terror is a war against militant Islamic groups. And if this is the real Islam then it is by all means a war against Islam.

We have to think of other channels to engage extremism since tanks on a battlefield, dialog and negotiations haven’t worked so well. If we pay attention to the likes of Anjem Choudary, founder and former leader of two militant Islamic groups - al Muhajiroun and al Ghurabaa scattered by the British authorities under ant-terror legislation, this is merely the beginning. Attacks will continue in Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq and in other places. Terrorists will attack both military and civilian personnel without distinction. I remember a saying I heard a few years ago that a good Jew is a dead Jew. This time there are not only Jews in the frontline. We all are. Something must be done and the sooner the better. Let everyone know that we are not willing to make any compromises when it comes to fighting terrorism in our midst or elsewhere.