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Old 04-27-2007   #1
JD
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Default A civil war in Islam?

There now appears to be growing acceptance that to characterise the world's ongoing conflict as a 'war on terror' is counter-productive. There also appears to be acceptance of the assertion that it is more useful to use the concept of a global counter-insurgency. Is it not reasonable to take this a step further and apply the concept of a civil war within Islam?

The reasoning is as follows: The presumed gaol of many radical organisations is the imposition of fundamentalist Islam as a cornerstone of a sovereign state covering a broad Islamic nation. Geographically, this is unlikely to include western nations so the ultimate goal appears to be domination of one element current Islamic civilisations by another element of the same civilisation or a civil war. Characterising the conflict as such would change the manner of prosecution and, perhaps more importantly, the dialog surrounding the conflict. Instead of the west being seen to demonise Islam, it becomes the supporter of moderate Islam in its conflict with radical Islam. Within Islam, it requires the dialog not be about East and West but about the ideas and goals of moderate and radical Islam.

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Old 04-27-2007   #2
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Default To Capitulate Or To Catapult......

Personally, I have never had a problem with the notion of waging war on terrorism. It hasn't been too long ago that we killed a terrorist named Timothy McVeigh and locked up his accomplice for life. Another guy by the name of David Koresh, whom I personally regarded as a terrorist, was burned up along with all of his followers. I regard spousal abuse as terrorism and street gangs that roam the streets and cause citizens to be fearful and stay in their homes at night are in my opinion terrorists. We deal with it in the name of the State, not the in the name of God. We wage war on people who burn crosses on Black people's lawns by incarcerating them. When Officials directly insert religious values into the discharge of their duties, they get removed from office rather quickly. War per se is not about just killing. We in the West already support any and all manner of religions that defer their power to the power of the State and are willing to keep themselves separate from the State in matters of commerce, war, governance and Law and remain subservient. Any religion that will act accordingly is moderate and not a threat to the collective will of the people (the State) and may function freely in its distinct and unique interpretation of the Divine.

Most in the West do not demonize any religion. We pretty much tend to ignore them, unless we are direct participants of a given religion. I resent the pacifism of the Amish and Quakers as much as I resent the idea that Quranic law should be applied in Muslim divorce cases in America. The Judaic and Islamic ban on eating pork is absurd in my opinion because canine teeth evolved for the purpose of eating anything we can kill. One could say that when I eat bacon, I am demonizing Jews and Muslims. That is hardly the case.

I think for the West to be seen as not demonizing Islam would require us to capitulate to a certain extent to Divine Will, as understood by Islam. That in turn would require us to catapult basic tenets of the Constitution out of our lives.
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Old 04-27-2007   #3
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Hi Goesh,

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I think for the West to be seen as not demonizing Islam would require us to capitulate to a certain extent to Divine Will, as understood by Islam. That in turn would require us to catapult basic tenets of the Constitution out of our lives.
I think you are certainly correct in your belief about he necessity of adoption of some Islamic tenets in order for the West to not be seen as "demonizing Islam". Still and all, this is not an issue of separation of Church and State, since the modern Western state is based, regardless of its form, on an underlying set of Christian principles. As for it requiring "us to catapult basic tenets of the Constitution out of our lives" let me just point out that the US is not the same as "the West". Indeed, I believe our two countries split honours on that issue.

Back to JW's question:
Quote:
There now appears to be growing acceptance that to characterise the world's ongoing conflict as a 'war on terror' is counter-productive. There also appears to be acceptance of the assertion that it is more useful to use the concept of a global counter-insurgency. Is it not reasonable to take this a step further and apply the concept of a civil war within Islam?
While I can understand the concept, I think it is fundamentally flawed. I think that Goesh hit the nail on the head at a philosophical level (despite my Canadian nationalist rejoinder ).

Goesh also, in my opinion, got it exactly right about what we are fighting - terrorist ideologies. As he noted, these are not restricted to Islam and, from some of the indications we have seen about AQ, drug cartels, et alii playing footsie, the networks cross religious and political boundaries. And, while I disagree with Goesh about religions "defer[ing] their power to the State" and being subservient to it, I do agree with the implied limits on religious and State power - "render unto Caesar....".

Shifting the rhetoric to one of an Islamic civil war will, in my opinion, hamstring us in our options while, at the same time, raising hysteria against all Muslims.

Marc
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Old 04-28-2007   #4
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Marc,

One last question while I think of it. Why does the concept of a civil war in Islam raise hysteria against all Muslims? I would have thought it would allow the general population to better differentiate the potential enemy from potential freinds and develop empahty for those opposed to radical Islam?

JD
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Old 04-28-2007   #5
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Marc,
Thanks for your reply.

You state theat characterising current conflicts limits options. I was hoping you could expand on this.

My personal beleif is that to characterise something as a war brings with it the connotation of how it is to be fought - there is 'us' and there is 'them' and kinetic effects are used until 'they' don't want to fight anymore. Alternatively, we call everthing a war which is confusing for the lay person who makes up a democratic society and devalues the word for the time we need it to mobilise the entire population.

The 'war on drugs' is a case in point that backs both your and goesh's point about adressing broader societal ills. The 'war on drugs' is a coordinated campaign utilising education, community support, infrastructure, intelligence, direct action, border security, international cooperation and a transparent and accountable justice system. If it is a war, it is war going on within a society amoung those that enjoy the benefits of the drag trade against those that bear the cost - if it is a war, it is a civil war. But how quickly would the war on drugs be over if our children had the support and self beleif to simply rejuect drugs? How quickly would the war on terror be over if potential Jihadist footsoldiers simply rejected radical idealogies?

Why not characterise global conflict as a struggle within Islam? The vast majority of violnce in the middle east would appear to back this assertion? Such a definition would allow potential protagonists to define themselves not in terms of East and West but instead as moderate or radical and having done so, they are likely to act accordingly. It presents the target audience with a palatable and culturrally accepatable choice that is also in the interests of the west. It also allows the west to diferentiate between Muslims as a group and identify potential freinds and potetial enemies. Having done so, the strategy then changes to supporting Muslim allies to the hilt in a culturally sensitive manner that builds trust and works toward an enduring peace. In a civil war, you tend to pci a side and help it win.

Your thoughts?
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Old 04-28-2007   #6
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"Supporting Muslims to the hilt in a culturally sensitive manner" would require reciprocity on the part of our new partners, the moderate Islamic entities, namely in expecting the new partners to treat our allies as we ourselves would be treated in the new partnership. That would involve acknowledging Israel's right to exist for starters, to boldly go where few Islamic entities have gone before. Are you sure you want to turn that kind of a new page in human history? Rather, I should ask, are you capable of this? Prepare your camp then to shake hands with little Israel so that we may all proceed to trample the graves of the Salafists togather as one.
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Old 04-28-2007   #7
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What I said was supporting Muslim allies to the hilt as we should support any allies to the hilt. Should Islamic cultures be sesitive to the west - certainly but the west must also be sensitive to Islamic cultures and in doing so foster understaning and engender cultural exchange to soften the appeal of fundamentalisim in any form from any religion. There are many aspects of any culture that are praisworthy just as there are usually many aspects that are repugnant.

We are better to win over support with acts of kindness than acts of violence. This is not to rule out kinetics where it is going t have a strategically advantageous effect but to quote Roman's from the Bible.

12:20. But if the enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. For, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.

12:21. Be not overcome by evil: but overcome evil by good.
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Old 04-28-2007   #8
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Hi JD,

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Originally Posted by JD View Post
One last question while I think of it. Why does the concept of a civil war in Islam raise hysteria against all Muslims? I would have thought it would allow the general population to better differentiate the potential enemy from potential freinds and develop empahty for those opposed to radical Islam?
Sorry about the delay - I started to answer this morning, but had to run out for a choir practice.

I think the reason why using the concept of a "civil war" is so dangerous is that, as with any civil war, it is hard to tell who the players are. It is even more difficult when we are speaking about a civil war inside a religion rather than amongst an ethnic group. Differentiation amongst populations is hard unless there are some prhotypical or linguistic characteristics that can be used to differentiate, and they just aren't in existence here.

This war inside Islam, and, yes, it is a civil war, is not really along hard and fast lines which have had time to differentiate as, for example, the Sunni Shia split. So, while we can name and identify the broad schools of thought, Wahabi, Safali, etc., there aren't recognizable orthopraxic differences that would allow us to say "a Safali would do X and will not do Y", where Y is part of any fundamentalist (in the non-pejorative sense) Muslim's belief.

My fear with labeling it a civil war is that 99.9% of the non-Muslim population will not be able to identify an allies from an opponent and will, as a result, say "a pox on all their houses".

Marc
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Old 04-28-2007   #9
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Marc,
I appreciate the response and I am going to keep asking you questions because I am looking to have any of my ideas challnged.

My follow up question is this: Isn't it very often the case that for internal conflict there is often few overt distinguisig characteristics between freinds and enemies and the dnager comes not when this is recognised but when this is ignored and people are treated as a homogenous group. I use the war in Vietnam as an example. I am concerned that the 'war on terror' is morphing in peoplels minds into the 'war on Islam', in both the west and east. This has a historical precendent in the cold war where 'communism' became byword not for all persons giving equally in a society but instead for totalitarianism and repression. By using the phrase civil war in Islam, it immediately recognises that there are at least two sides and Islam is not a homogenous enemy.

Your thoughts?
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Old 04-30-2007   #10
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Hi JD,

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Originally Posted by JD View Post
My follow up question is this: Isn't it very often the case that for internal conflict there is often few overt distinguisig characteristics between freinds and enemies and the dnager comes not when this is recognised but when this is ignored and people are treated as a homogenous group. I use the war in Vietnam as an example. I am concerned that the 'war on terror' is morphing in peoplels minds into the 'war on Islam', in both the west and east. This has a historical precendent in the cold war where 'communism' became byword not for all persons giving equally in a society but instead for totalitarianism and repression. By using the phrase civil war in Islam, it immediately recognises that there are at least two sides and Islam is not a homogenous enemy.
I suspect that the GWOT is, indeed, morphing into a War on Islam in many people's minds. Calling it a civil war may change some perceptions, and I think that it might be advantageous, but one of the problems I see with calling it that is identifying the players (back to my last post) and the basic propositions. Let me go off on what might seem a tangent.

WARNING: The following post contains many broad generalizations

Most Westerners tend to be "orthopraxic" (orthodoxy is determined by what you do, not what you believe, i.e. going to church is "good") if they are religious at all. With some notable exceptions, mainly in North America, we don't have much of an integrated "practice" with a tradition of study and experience (the major exceptions are the various evangelical and charismatic movements, plus the Eastern Orthodox churches in Christianity). Even worse, there is very little mysticism integrated into our practices. What this means is, that for most people, "religion" is a matter of choice not "reality". The same is not true for most Muslims: religion is "reality" and not "choice".

How this situation came about is worth a couple of dissertations in and of itself, but I would put the key to it in the shattering of the ecclesiam in the wars of religion which ended with the Peace of Westphalia and the rise of the modern nation state. The core theological position s one that goes something like this: no one can "know" the mind of God, therefore any interpretation of God's will will be inherently flawed and biased. As a result, "Good" may be found in any religious tradition. BTW, this position is actually held within Islam but in a radically different form - it's why it is quite possible to have competing and contradictory schools of sharia which recognize each other as valid. What is missing from most of them, however, is the devolution of responsibility for this position to the individual.

The second thing that is different is that Islam has not gone through the equivalent of the West's Wars of Religion. The Sunni - Shiite split is closer, in institutional terms, to Christianity's split between the Orthodox and Catholic branches of Christianity. What we are seeing now is, to my mind, closer to the opening shots of the reformation (for example, I tend to view AQ as an analog of the fraticelli - their positions, actions and tactics are quite similar). In effect, this is not so much a "civil war" with clearly defined sides as it is a religious fracturing and an attempt to reconstruct the ulama along variant lines. In Christianity, this was fought out using black powder weapons and cold steel in a limited geographic area. In Islam, it is being fought out using modern weapons globally.

So, here are the problems with labeling it a civil war as I see them:
  1. For some people, it will help but I suspect that the world view of most non-Muslims in the West is so radically different from most Muslims, that the issues involved will be incomprehensible.
  2. Calling it a civil war detracts isolates the "problem" as being solely within Islam. As I mentioned earlier, the mind set (actually, I should be using the term weltanscuung from phenomenology - think of it as a basic perceptual stance towards "reality) is actually shared by a number of non-Islamic groups. Calling it a civil war in Islam may well lead to an "Us good, Them bad" mentality in popular culture.
  3. Most of "our" religious practice / belief is radically different from "theirs". This means that our "experiential knowledge" of "reality" is radically different. By way of example, try explaining "red to someone who is colour blind.
At the same time, for the past 40+ years in the West, we have seen the rise of new religious movements and revitalization movements in Christianity, Judaism, etc. Indeed, before 9/11, Islam was the fastest growing religion in North America. Why? Because all of the movements fill a perceived need in giving people "meaning" in a life increasingly dominated by spiritual nihilism, shopping malls and consumerism. This sets up a situation where there are a lot of potential problems.

What I believe we have to do at the symbolic level is to reinforce groups and belief systems that will support the position of "religious doubt" and oppose groups that do not support this position.

Marc

ps. Sorry it's a bit rambling, but I'm trying to do three things at once
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Old 04-30-2007   #11
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A few quibbles.

Generally Christianity is identified as "orthodoxic" while Judaism and Islam are "orthopraxic" --- what one "believes" identifies one as a Catholic, or a Lutheran, or a Methodist, etc. Contrast with Judaic and Islamic focus on a set of religious "laws" or "rules" prescribing proper social behavior --- the focus is on how one practices the faith in daily life, not so much on whether or not one buys into the totality of what is preached at the masjid. Obviously there are a ton of shadings into one another --- every religion has basic proscriptions which must be followed in order to be regarded as a proper follower, while every religion also has certain core beliefs.

I also have difficulties finding much mysticism in Islam outside of Sufism. Indeed, mysticism has been a far greater part of the Christian tradition (especially Catholic and Orthodox varieties, and with certain "ecstatic" Protestant traditions) than ever in Islam.
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Old 04-30-2007   #12
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Hi Tequila,

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A few quibbles.
Always welcome .

Quote:
Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Generally Christianity is identified as "orthodoxic" while Judaism and Islam are "orthopraxic" --- what one "believes" identifies one as a Catholic, or a Lutheran, or a Methodist, etc.
I agree that Christianity is usually classified as orthodoxic. When I said that it was generally orthopraxic, I was referring to the social reality rather than the idealized form. Generally speaking, the number of people who truly examine the beliefs is about 10% of he total attendance - at least that's he rough figures from Canada (I believe it's about twice that in the US). This even shows up in certain absolutely core areas such as, for example, the difference between consubstantiation and transubstantiaton. As a case in point, one of my students considers himself to be a devout Roman Catholic, but has almost no concept f what that means other than basic practices.

You're absolutely right about the shadings, ad they happen in every religion.

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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Contrast with Judaic and Islamic focus on a set of religious "laws" or "rules" prescribing proper social behavior --- the focus is on how one practices the faith in daily life, not so much on whether or not one buys into the totality of what is preached at the masjid. Obviously there are a ton of shadings into one another --- every religion has basic proscriptions which must be followed in order to be regarded as a proper follower, while every religion also has certain core beliefs.
This is where it gets interesting in a lot of ways. Yes, both Judaism and Islam concentrate on the practice, but they also both have a very strong tradition of study and knowledge (and debate) built in - hence the lessened need to be blind followers. I do agree tha Islam is primarily orthopraxic as is Judaism - in both the idealized and the social sense. Where it gets interesting, for me, is in the goal of the practice, and that was why I brought up mysticism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tequila View Post
I also have difficulties finding much mysticism in Islam outside of Sufism. Indeed, mysticism has been a far greater part of the Christian tradition (especially Catholic and Orthodox varieties, and with certain "ecstatic" Protestant traditions) than ever in Islam.
In general, I would argue that the English term "mysticism" is somewhat inadequate, but it's the one we have . Within the Western Churches, "mystics" have tended to be isolated and controlled by the dominant institutions - the exceptions being the ecstatic protestant sects (praxic descendants of the 2nd century Marcionites). In the Orthodox Churches, however, "mysticism", in the sense of a stylized and routinized "path" for achieving a personal experience with the Divine, was integrated into the exoteric form of the religion. The same is true in both Judaism and Islam.

You mentioned Sufism, but have you looked at the works of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (12th century ce)? I would argue that his Ihya 'Ulum ad-Din served to integrate Sufism and orthopraxic Islam into a unified whole in part by providing the logic that links exoteric practice with mystical experience. At the minimum, it set up the legitimacy of such a linkage, something that is, in general lacking in the Western Churches.

The reason I said the term "mysticism" is inadequate is that, to many Westerners, it brings to mind people like Teresa of Avila or Meister Eckhardt. However, i would argue n(and this is just fairly accepted belief in comparative religion) that "mysticism" covers a whole variety of pathways to the Divine; some ecstatic, some trance / visioning, some "just ordinary".

Marc
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Old 04-30-2007   #13
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Marct,

Kudos to you for all the knowledge and trying to explain that problem from scientific side, but don’t you find just a little paradox in bunch of westerners (Christians I dare to say) talking about Islam and “civil war” in it when none of Islamic scholars mention such a thing!?

Reading this posts, and some others (sometimes riddle with small incorrect terms and assumptions), I am left with one (I think very important) question: When one talking about dividing Muslims on “friends” and “enemies”, how that one see “Muslim friends” in today’s surroundings?!

Meaning, when West talking about Muslims friends and allies-while they killing they innocent brothers and sisters on the streets and villages, raping, invading countries and imprisoning them-who are those friends!? And how honest and loyal they can be toward someone who is doing such acts against them?

How one can support those who are hating and killing his family and neighbors!? That’s questions that bothering me these days…
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Old 04-30-2007   #14
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Hi Sarajevo,

Sorry, it's tax day in Canada, so my reply issomewhat limited .

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Kudos to you for all the knowledge and trying to explain that problem from scientific side, but don’t you find just a little paradox in bunch of westerners (Christians I dare to say) talking about Islam and “civil war” in it when none of Islamic scholars mention such a thing!?
Hmmm, on he whole, yes, I do find it "piquant" (probably a better word than paradoxical) that this is happening. I would point out, however, that Sheik Hamed Al-Ali in his April 4 fatwah came very close to saying the same thing. While I don't read Arabic (yet - I'm just starting to learn it), memri has English translations available here. While he doesn't describe ISI as engaging in a civil war, he does state that they are perilously close to "doing the Devil's work".

On Westerners talking abot Islam, what do you expect ? Muslim's talk about the West, often when they have no idea about its background. This is a human universal - the creation of an "other".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarajevo071 View Post
Reading this posts, and some others (sometimes riddle with small incorrect terms and assumptions), I am left with one (I think very important) question: When one talking about dividing Muslims on “friends” and “enemies”, how that one see “Muslim friends” in today’s surroundings?!

Meaning, when West talking about Muslims friends and allies-while they killing they innocent brothers and sisters on the streets and villages, raping, invading countries and imprisoning them-who are those friends!? And how honest and loyal they can be toward someone who is doing such acts against them?
Okay, a quick comment here. Analytically it is imperative that we distinguish between types of warfare. In the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, we saw one of the worst types of warfare being practiced - you know this better than I do . Afghanistan was a different type of operation and, while far from a "clean" war, it was and is a lot "cleaner" than that being practiced by the Taliban. Iraq is, in many ways, a much less "clean" war, and that IMHO probably has to do with idiocy at the top (i.e. the belief that everything would be great once Saddam was gone) than it does with the actions of coalition troops.

Too few troops, stupid policies like de-Baathification and disbanding the Iraqi army were just a recipe for disaster. We have maybe 2 -3 reports of coalition troops going juramenado, and how many reports of supposedly "good Muslim" groups doing the same? 100? 1000? 10,000?

Were the Americans naive to assume that everything would be perfect with Saddam out of power? Of course, and no one believes that any more; I suspect most people never believed it to begin with. This is not the capture of Jerusalem, this is a series of bloody minded people evening old scores and outside extremists coming in to sir up the pot, and everyone blames the Americans (sorry, that really makes me mad).

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How one can support those who are hating and killing his family and neighbors!? That’s questions that bothering me these days…
I agree, it's a hard thing to do - but look at who is doing the indiscriminate killing.

Marc
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Old 04-30-2007   #15
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Hi Sarajevo,

Sorry, it's tax day in Canada, so my reply issomewhat limited .
Hi Marct,

No problem here. You answers are valued in any length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
Hmmm, on he whole, yes, I do find it "piquant" (probably a better word than paradoxical) that this is happening. I would point out, however, that Sheik Hamed Al-Ali in his April 4 fatwah came very close to saying the same thing. While I don't read Arabic (yet - I'm just starting to learn it), memri has English translations available here. While he doesn't describe ISI as engaging in a civil war, he does state that they are perilously close to "doing the Devil's work".

On Westerners talking abot Islam, what do you expect ? Muslim's talk about the West, often when they have no idea about its background. This is a human universal - the creation of an "other".
HAhahaha ! Point taken. You are right again.

To be honest, I never heard of that Sheik and don’t know how influential he is, but I do know that number other groups and individuals are taking similar line and talking against what’s going on.

But one needs to know fabric of those groups and have deep knowledge of what’s going on (and why) to judge everything and came with right conclusions of what’s going on. Here is one example:

Recently, it was one attack on Kurds (bus was stopped and people was killed), and looking on that criminal act by self we get picture of senseless killing going on and on…

In truth, that was revenge of absolutely brutal killing of Kurd teen girl who fail in love, convert to Islam and got married. Her own family betrays her, turn her to villagers who strip her naked, beat her up, stomp her and then stone her to death! Make a note- that was some Kurd sect, not a Muslims.

All that crime was recorder and posted like a message to other Kurds, and between all those morons you can even see some police officers standing on the side and watching. My point here, having all that in mind reasons violence can be different and then so they “justification” and opposition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
Okay, a quick comment here. Analytically it is imperative that we distinguish between types of warfare. In the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, we saw one of the worst types of warfare being practiced - you know this better than I do . Afghanistan was a different type of operation and, while far from a "clean" war, it was and is a lot "cleaner" than that being practiced by the Taliban. Iraq is, in many ways, a much less "clean" war, and that IMHO probably has to do with idiocy at the top (i.e. the belief that everything would be great once Saddam was gone) than it does with the actions of coalition troops.

Too few troops, stupid policies like de-Baathification and disbanding the Iraqi army were just a recipe for disaster. We have maybe 2 -3 reports of coalition troops going juramenado, and how many reports of supposedly "good Muslim" groups doing the same? 100? 1000? 10,000?

Were the Americans naive to assume that everything would be perfect with Saddam out of power? Of course, and no one believes that any more; I suspect most people never believed it to begin with. This is not the capture of Jerusalem, this is a series of bloody minded people evening old scores and outside extremists coming in to sir up the pot, and everyone blames the Americans (sorry, that really makes me mad).
I dare to say that none is questioning of taking out Saddam but WAYS to do that and REASONS why and why now?

Iraqi generals approach CIA with plan to take out Saddam and all they needed is guaranties that USA will take down sanctions and recognize them/new government. But Washington shut them down.

Why do you think that is? Why they refuse military coup without American blood spilled but they decide to invade under FAKE reasons and during that killed and still killing scores of Iraqis (after sanctions which killed 500,00 Iraqi kids)?! Reason is simple… If Iraqis take out Saddam them self there would be no reason for USA Military to occupied Iraq and take over oil fields.

And, when you talking outsiders and spreading the blame for killings, where are you putting Western outsiders who start all this and gave those extremists chance to rise up and do all this!? Something that was imposible under Saddam. That’s reason why many people now saying it was better under Saddam (like they use to say in Yugoslavia that it was better under Tito)… Like it or not, US invasion bring terror and death in Iraq in this scale.

Saddam needed to be killed by Iraqis (not this revenge killing by Shiites) or some “unexplained” sniper bullet or rocket. Not to tear yet another country in pieces and then blame victims for it and leave them out to dry.

If that thing was done right, you will be surprised with public Muslim reaction and support. And lack support to AQ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
I agree, it's a hard thing to do - but look at who is doing the indiscriminate killing.

Marc
I am looking and I know who stared, why, how and I know those killings was UNKNOWN before US invasion. But, that’s not point here.

Question was - if U.S. and NATO troops killing so many Muslims (and Marct, there is more cases then just a few) how they can support or allied with them!? Don’t you making alliances with someone who is NOT killing you?
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Old 04-30-2007   #16
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Hi Sarajevo,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarajevo071 View Post
I dare to say that none is questioning of taking out Saddam but WAYS to do that and REASONS why and why now?
I have my own dark and less than flattering suspicions as to the why and when of that war - and they are not complimentary to certain members f the US administration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarajevo071 View Post
Iraqi generals approach CIA with plan to take out Saddam and all they needed is guaranties that USA will take down sanctions and recognize them/new government. But Washington shut them down.
Really? This is the first I've heard of any serious coup attempt. Do you have any sources for this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarajevo071 View Post
Why do you think that is? Why they refuse military coup without American blood spilled but they decide to invade under FAKE reasons and during that killed and still killing scores of Iraqis (after sanctions which killed 500,00 Iraqi kids)?! Reason is simple… If Iraqis take out Saddam them self there would be no reason for USA Military to occupied Iraq and take over oil fields.
Even if we take the extremist, left-wing paranoic interpretation taken by some friends of mine, it is cheaper to let the Iraqi's get rid of Saddam and then take over the oil fields through bribery. As for the claims of the sanctions killing 500k children, this is a typical rhetorical claim that never looks at the actual causes of sanctions related deaths, i.e. how the actual resources were being distributed during the sanctions period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarajevo071 View Post
And, when you talking outsiders and spreading the blame for killings, where are you putting Western outsiders who start all this and gave those extremists chance to rise up and do all this!?
Well, first of all, going back to root historical causes I could argue hat the creation of Islam in the first place was a direct attack on the West. Within 20 years, Islam had attacked and conquered the provinces of Syria, Egypt, etc. of he Byzantine Empire, plus destroyed the Persian Empire. How far back do you want to go in this type of a blame game? Who is the "outsider" here?

Honestly, I'm not being facetious here - human groups "select" a part of history and focus in on that as heir pattern or ideal. Right now, a lot of the rhetoric coming out is talking about "crusaders". Has anyone bothered to look at the Muslim response to the first crusade? I doubt it. This type of rhetoric destroys current attempts to achieve a balance.

You know, I had a long chat with a friend of mine as I was going off to the Mosque on Friday (no, I'm not Muslim - I'm trying to learn Arabic and more about Islam). He was telling me about the Muslim invasion of Andalusia - I was telling him about the Visigoth Kingdom that they invaded (my family is descended from there). We managed to have a very civilized discussion about the entire "invasion thing", despite the probability that our ancestors slaughtered each other. We could both look back at historical events that, for each of us, had great meaning - they "lived" in us. At the same time, we were not controlled by those events, and that is what I see this rhetoric of "blame" and "insider / outsider" creating - a situation where people are controlled by history and not people who create history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarajevo071 View Post
Question was - if U.S. and NATO troops killing so many Muslims (and Marct, there is more cases then just a few) how they can support or allied with them!? Don’t you making alliances with someone who is NOT killing you?
Usually . The problem here, as you pointed out with your Kurdish example, is that Iraq is a multi-sided conflict. But I could ask he same of the Shia and Sunni - how could they ever be allies with some much mutual killing? Has the coalition killed non-combatants? Yes. Have other groups killed on-combatants? Yes. Al-Ali addresses this when he says

Quote:
But to monopolize jihad and [spread] abhorrent division, extremism and [mutual] hatred [among the jihad fighters] - albeit under a pretense of piety - is to do the work of the Devil and to follow [base] instincts, and everyone must avoid such acts and keep away from this dangerous path. (source)
Howe can a Muslim ally with someone, such as the ISI, who is killing them? And in what numbers and with what tactics? I don't see the US or coalition forces planting IEDs, suicide bombers, chlorine gas attacks in marketplaces and death squads; and I do see radical Muslim groups using all of these tactics. To my mind, the issue is not one of "why would you ally with someone who as killed you" but, rather, "why would you ally with someone who not only kills you but terrorizes you"?

Marc
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Old 05-01-2007   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
Really? This is the first I've heard of any serious coup attempt. Do you have any sources for this?
Hello Marct,

Yes I do. I saw interview with Robert Baer, former CIA field agent, on “60 minutes” where he said that story and how Washington shut him down, order him home where he was put under arrest… I try to find original, full story to post for others (I heaved all that but lost with my HD crash some time ago) and all I find tonight are this references:
Quote:
BAER: This general was proposing to kill Saddam Hussein.

BLITZER (voice-over): Bob Baer, retired from the CIA after serving as a field agent in some of the world's hottest spots for more than 20 years. One of them was Northern Iraq in the mid 90's. A defecting Iraqi general close to Saddam's inner circle pitched him a plan.

BAER: His plan was to wait for Saddam's convoy to come from Baghdad going to Tikrit. Saddam has a couple of houses around Tikrit. And when the convoy got the bridge, it goes into Samarra. They were going to block up both ends of the bridge -- Saddam's car in the middle -- and proceed to shoot it up until nobody moved in his convoy.


http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIP.../17/cp.00.html

================================================== ======
One person who wasn't surprised by the latest flap was former top CIA Middle East field officer Bob Baer, who worked with Chalabi when the latter was in northern Iraq in 1995.

Soon after a meeting with Chalabi, Baer was recalled to Washington to face an FBI criminal investigation into the charge that he had violated Executive Order 12333, issued by President Reagan in 1981, forbidding the assassination of foreign leaders by U.S. intelligence personnel.

Baer was accused, he said, of hatching a plot to kill Saddam Hussein, except the plot was a "total and complete fabrication of Chalabi's," Baer said.
He then referred to the account in his book, "See No Evil," in which Chalabi met with two Iranian intelligence officers, telling them that the National Security Council under senior Clinton adviser Anthony Lake, had dispatched an "NSC team" to northern Iraq to get rid of Saddam.

According to the account, which Baer confirmed for UPI, Chalabi staged a fake phone call in the middle of the meeting with the Iranians, but left a forged letter, written on NSC stationary out on the table for the Iranians to read.
….
http://www.warandpiece.com/blogdirs/000743.html

================================================== =======
Robert Baer had a surefire attention-getter for the 150 or so Culver Academies students he spoke to Thursday night.

He just told them about the time he tried to kill Saddam Hussein.

Not him, personally, but the handpicked team of Iraqi Army officers, Kurdish rebels, and assorted Saddam opponents he handpicked for the job in 1995 as part of his work as a CIA operative; a job in which he spent 21 years traveling to some of the nastiest places on the globe and doing things that could have come right out of a spy novel.
….
http://www.culver.org/news/News_Arti...icial_Baer.htm
I know this is not exactly what I wanted to show you but you will get idea what I heaved in mind. I will not stop looking for more info…

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
As for the claims of the sanctions killing 500k children, this is a typical rhetorical claim that never looks at the actual causes of sanctions related deaths, i.e. how the actual resources were being distributed during the sanctions period.
Quote:
Madeline Albright was asked whether the over half a million children killed by the [Iraqi] sanctions were "worth it." Her response was:
"It’s a hard choice, but I think, we, think, it’s worth it." [60 Minutes, May 11, 1996]
Of course, you will see something else in it but to me (and many others) this is admission that U.S. sanctions kill 500,000 Iraqi kids under age of 5 and that U.S. Administration didn’t care for the kids or any other innocent Iraqis.

Marct, I agree with you about guilt of Saddam and his cronies and no one defending that moron. But you can not blame victims for something that did not exist before U.S. led sanctions.

Do you know that under sanctions Iraq could not even get to import simple pencils since it was graphite in pencils!? Or simple medications!? Or parts for machines to fix water and sewage… Illness and malnutrition and radiological poisoning and illnesses that was NEVER in Iraq under Saddam!

“Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in Gulf” is interesting book for you to read and find all those fine and simple details that will explain you sanctions and consequences much better then me today. In war between Bush and Saddam innocent kids and civilians pay the price. It was much better way to deal with Iraq and Saddam but U.S. choose this way on purpose! 2 nights ago even Tenent said that U.S. was gunning after Iraq and Saddam right on September 12!?

That says allot.

Quote:
How far back do you want to go in this type of a blame game? Who is the "outsider" here?
...
You know, I had a long chat with a friend of mine as I was going off to the Mosque on Friday (no, I'm not Muslim - I'm trying to learn Arabic and more about Islam). He was telling me about the Muslim invasion of Andalusia - I was telling him about the Visigoth Kingdom that they invaded (my family is descended from there). We managed to have a very civilized discussion about the entire "invasion thing", despite the probability that our ancestors slaughtered each other. We could both look back at historical events that, for each of us, had great meaning - they "lived" in us. At the same time, we were not controlled by those events, and that is what I see this rhetoric of "blame" and "insider / outsider" creating - a situation where people are controlled by history and not people who create history.
Ah, c’mon… We don’t have a civil conversation here!? Give the credit where credit is due.

Marct, you mention “outsiders” in Iraq, obviously using Western propaganda about “foreign fighters” in Iraq (even that CIA and other services saying that they number is minor and that Iraqi Resistance is almost all domestic, and trying to put blame on them like they start this war and trouble in Iraq!?), and I humble remind you that FIRST “outsider” soldiers in Iraq was U.S. lead invasion troops… Islamic volunteers came after.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
Usually . The problem here, as you pointed out with your Kurdish example, is that Iraq is a multi-sided conflict. But I could ask he same of the Shia and Sunni - how could they ever be allies with some much mutual killing?
But Sunni groups that killing Shias and Shias that killing Sunni are not allies. Only those groups that didn’t bought into sectarian conflict can and they do working together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
Howe can a Muslim ally with someone, such as the ISI, who is killing them? And in what numbers and with what tactics? I don't see the US or coalition forces planting IEDs, suicide bombers, chlorine gas attacks in marketplaces and death squads; and I do see radical Muslim groups using all of these tactics.
There are some reports (Robert frisk being one of them) that even picture about that is not so clear… And, who ever when thru war knows how war looks like what is all possible in it, that that simple truth is – no one is 100% “clean”. Plus, I spend enough time in talks with former member of CIA team (he is Canadian, BTW) and I know work he did in Lebanon pretending to be Hezbollah group, doing things to damage they reputations… until almost whole his team got wipe out and he barely survived thanks to Shia Muslim who shelter him and save him and his buddy.

BTW, do we need to mention Falluja and use of chemical agents by U.S. forces there!? Or to go back and remember all those aerial bombings of market places, houses, weddings, columns...!? So, yeah, even coalition troops (if not with same "tools") getting same "scores" in war against Iraqi civilians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct
To my mind, the issue is not one of "why would you ally with someone who as killed you" but, rather, "why would you ally with someone who not only kills you but terrorizes you"?
Are we not witnessing splits and fights and bad rhetoric between different groups in Resistance?! That surely coming from that dispute… I would say (since I don’t know for sure and since I have no contact with Resistance) that no one liked AQI’s idea of attacking Shiites (even leaders of AQ rebuffed them about it) but they was confused who is really placing all those bombs on markets and bound by ruling that no Muslims should be accused of something if there is no evidence for that deed.

And, if you let yourself remember, all those open attacks on civilians came much later. In mean time U.S. forces (either regular troops either mercenary) killed people on streets, in they homes, bomb them, they weddings, kill them on check points, in protest marches… That turns people away from U.S. toward Resistance. When AQI came around (also like respond on Shia death squads) it was all ready late to choose sides. Battle lines were drawn.

BTW, in ISI there is bunch of other groups who are not doing what AQI doing so seams Iraqi people are not against ISI or Resistance but they getting fed up with AQ.

But, again, what I know!? I am not there not do I have contact with them...
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Old 05-01-2007   #18
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Marct,

I was only using this info to bring you another reason why so many Muslims can be distrustful in U.S. way of working with Muslim countries and how U.S. policy somehow seams not to care about Muslim lives. All that with intention in putting weight behind my original question of trust and cooperation between Muslims and U.S. against extremists.

You guys talking all the time about finding “allies” and “friends” in Muslim world to fight with you against Islamic radicals, in same time wondering why you don’t have any major honest help and friends… I am just trying to help you understand that and point out some other things…

Hope you can understand me better now.

---------------------
To others,

My apologies for looong answers… I was only trying to explain myself right and to avoid being (again) misunderstood here.


thank you
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Old 05-01-2007   #19
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While I do not know of a coup attempt, I DO know that we were actively speaking to several Iraqi Division Commanders, (The number 10 comes to mind) prior to the invasion and there was a plan in place to keep the Iraqi Army intact. It was only after the Iraqi Army deserted en masse that Bremer made the decision to disband it. (Except for the MEK, etc.) Perhaps if we'd made a serious effort to recall the soldiers and had not pursued de-Baathification, but that's a Wudda Cudda Shudda....
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Old 05-01-2007   #20
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Default Exactly what are we fighting?

Marc,
As usual, excellent and much appreciated response.

I do have a couple of questions for the general forum.

1. If we are not fighting a 'war on terror' or an Islamic civil war, what are we fighting? The biggest problem in finding a solution is often defining the problem and no-body seems to have done that sucessfully.

2. Do you see parallels between the draconian reaction of the Christian chuch to the Enlightenment and the rise of fundamentalism in East and West as a response to globalisation, the internet and the attendant wave of secualrism and diverse cultural influences. Is the search for 'traditional values' and 'meaning' a response to the bewildering amount of information, infuences and choice or is it a form of tribalism that feeds of the growing fundamentalism of 'others'. If there is a historical precedent it may imply a useful way forward.

Look forward to your response.

JD
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