Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Austin Bay talks about the porous Syrian border and the flypaper effect of invading Iraq & how that put al Qaeda in a dire predicament

From the Washington Post article cited in Austin's post:

Their goal, he [Abu Ibrahim] said, is restoration of the Islamic caliphate, the
system that governed Muslims before the rise of nation states. Abu Ibrahim said
he regarded Afghanistan during the Taliban rule as one of the few true Islamic
governments since the time of Muhammad.

And there’s a few other longing references to the Ottoman Empire. You’d think that if any memories of the Ottoman rule were passed down at all there’d be absolutely no pan-Muslim traction. The pre-colonial days were just as bad, if not worse than the colonial/nation-state days. The Turks provided a leadership that epitomized decadence and incompetence in a way no elected western official could never do. Strange, since Osama uses western decadence as a rallying cry. For centuries, that Muslim empire was the sick man of Europe and provided complete ineffectual leadership for the region. Far from destroying the Ottoman Empire, the West propped it up long past its rightful collapse because they feared the vacuum such a collapse would cause. That fear is the same one that has made the west prop up the current dictatorships for so long. Bottom line: artificial stability is bad, bad all around.

Oh yeah, and the innocence destroyed at various bombed out weddings? Well, it was not so innocent:

Afterward, Abu Qaqaa was arrested by the Syrian authorities, but he was released
within hours. By 2002 the anti-American festivals were running twice weekly,
often wrapped around weddings or other social gatherings. Organizers called
themselves The Strangers of Sham, using the ancient name for the eastern
Mediterranean region known as the Levant, and began freely distributing the CDs
of the cleric's sermons.

And other destruction of innocence:

"Once the Americans bombed a bus crossing to Syria. We made a big fuss and said
it was full of merchants," Abu Ibrahim said. "But actually, they were

For once, I believe a terrorist. Both Austin’s post and the Washington Post story of Abu Ibrahim are worth reading.

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