Islam Undressed: Roots of Today’s Campaign
To fully comprehend the present, we must first know the past in some detail. Nothing makes sense when taken out of context, and the ‘War on Terror’ is no exception. Following its inception and the conquest of Arabia, the 7th-century "breakout" of Islam led to the rapid conquest of North Africa, the invasion and virtual conquest of Spain, and even a thrust into France that carried the crescent to the gates of Paris. It took half a millennium of re-conquest to expel the Muslims from Western Europe with the Crusades. The Crusades, as it happened, fatally weakened the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire, the main barrier to the spread of Islam into southeast and central Europe. As a result of the fall of Constantinople to the ultra-militant Ottoman Sultans, Islam took over the entire Balkans, and was threatening to capture Vienna and move into the heart of Europe as recently as the 1680s.
This multi-millennial struggle continues today in a variety of ways. The recent conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo were largely a savage reaction by the Orthodox Christians of Serbia to the spread of Islam in their historic heartland, chiefly by virtue of illegal immigration and a higher birthrate. Indeed, in the West, the battle has been largely demographic, though it may at any time take a more militant turn. Muslims from the Balkans and North Africa are surging over established frontiers on a huge scale threatening to usurp indigenous peoples and cultures, just like Muslim pressure from eastern tribes brought about the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. The number of Muslims penetrating and settling in Europe is now beyond computation partially because many of them are illegal. They are settling into Spain and Italy in such numbers that, should present trends continue, both these traditionally Catholic countries will become majority Moslem during the 21st century. As they begin to dominate those democracies and control the levers of government, peoples there will at some point be facing the same choices endured by so many before them … flight, fight, or convert.
As has been outlined carefully herein, what we call the ‘War on Terror’ is simply a continuance …a modern extension of Islamic practices in play since Muhammad began his initial military conquests. Somewhat suppressed between the 1st world war and late 1970’s, Islam has been strongly resurgent since then with fundamentalist movements all over the world. But the active targeting of the Americas is a relatively new phenomenon. Today we seem to be ignoring other countries that sponsor and support terrorism as we focus mainly on Iraq and Afganistan. With the demise of the Taliban and Saddam, Iran emerged as the main keystone of the terror network until Jihadists became unpopular targeting Muslims. Now the Taliban, with huge support from tribal regions in Packistan, are resurging. The widespread terrorism in Iraq since Saddam’s capture had less to do with the shattered Baathist regime than terrorist elements from abroad. American officials on the ground in Iraq have seen abundant evidence of Iranian and Syrian support for terrorist operations. The war against us in Iraq and Afghanistan is now guided, funded, and armed by tyrannical regimes in Iran, Syria, and even our own supposed allies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Our forces and the democratic government in Iraq will remain under attack so long as the tyrannical regimes in Damascus, Riyadh, and Tehran are left free to kill embattled Iraqis, our allies, and us. Prior to the liberation of Iraq, Syrian President Bashar Assad made no secret of his intentions when he publicly called for a "Lebanon strategy to be implemented."
In August 2004, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah (head of Hezbollah) called for the entire Muslim world to join in Jihad against Americans in Iraq. Iranian leaders and Saudi clerics have also denounced the American actions in Iraq and joined the call for Jihad. The terror masters will not limit their Jihad to Iraq. The Iranian newspaper Jomhuri-ye Eslami published an open call to the Egyptian people to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak. Pakistan’s Musharraf had been repeatedly targeted for assassination, and a popular opposition presidential candidate was indeed assassinated for her anti-terrorist platform. Turkish authorities captured one of the organizers of the 2004 suicide bombings in Istanbul as he was trying to cross the border into Iran, and it is now generally acknowledged that top al Qaeda figures (including bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarkawi) had once stayed in and operated from Iranian territory. While Iraq is the current front-line, the real war extends far beyond its borders. Policy makers and the general public still seem reluctant to connect the dots and face the fact that this war is an existential struggle against worldwide Militant Islam. By becoming overly obsessed with the re-election and Iraq, the ‘War on Terror’ is being disparaged and neglected with our forces put at more risk.
For some time now, at least the last century, there has been a worldwide struggle for the soul of Islam between animated preachers of hate and the less confident preachers of peace. Unfortunately, the preachers of hate are currently winning decisively. In fact the war of ideas occurring within Islamic cultures has already been won in the most populous Islamic lands, and cleaning up loose ends like Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi will take place in due time. State-appointed clerics throughout the Middle East are preaching to the faithful that it is their "duty" to murder Jews, because Jews are "rejected" by God, who turned them into "monkeys and pigs". There is no hope for people like Ebadi re-creating Islam or convincing large numbers to divorce itself from dependencies on violence and Jihad. Their scripture is considered final and immutable, but if it were edited to remove sections supporting or calling for violent or forceful methods of conversion and conquest, there would be little left. In large parts of the world Ebadi represents more a fringe minority than a majority, and she and others so inclined continue to face mortal danger for such heretic views which are indeed in opposition to true Islam and the example of their esteemed prophet.
While perhaps most Muslims in the West are peace-loving people wanting to "live together in peace and harmony" with those of other beliefs, the question that must be answered is: Are these Muslims for peace because of Islam or in spite of Islam? The fact will remain that Muslims are saddled with a system that has a spiritual force behind it, with violence firmly planted as a systemic root. In the end it is inescapable that to be a Muslim is to be aligned with the same spirit that choked and influenced Muhammad in the cave, that caused Muhammad to wage war and massacre those who rejected him, and that caused Muhammad to teach his followers that it is an unalterable eternal imperative to continue to do the same. To truly reject militant Islam is to reject Muhammad and much of what he taught, and such a choice offers only mortal peril to Muslims so inclined.
Most people think that the ‘War on Terror’ began Sept 11th, and as far as the USA active participation in the conflict they are partially right, but in the larger view such thinking is naïve. 1979 is when the Shah of Iran fell, and also when the Saudi royal family, out of greed and fear, capitulated to pressures and started financing the worldwide expansion of militant Wahhabi Islam. These two key events represent the foundation and beginning of the current Jihadic movement launched against the West by militant Islam. Not long afterwards, Islam fired the first volley to initiate a new campaign against the West in Lebanon, which is in reality just the latest in its ongoing multi-millennial campaigns to spread its ideas through the sword of Jihad.
Lebanon was once the most progressive, free, and most democratic state in the Arab world, but quickly thereafter fell into civil war, with conflicts arising out of ideological differences, pushed from behind by newly empowered Islamists inspired by Wahhabi preaching and funding from Syria and Iran. In Syrian-occupied Lebanon, Hezbollah Islamists were battling moderate Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, and internationalists who had once found Lebanon to be a safe and congenial place. Unfortunately, if not predictably, the Hezbollah Shiite terrorist group had no interest in compromise or peace. Hezbollah was determined and eventually successful in seizing control of Lebanon and subjugating all local Arabs who opposed them. When challenged they drove the Americans out in a brutal attack on marines asleep in their barracks, massacring 241 of them. As we collected our dead and went home, none realized how that retreat would embolden the terrorists. But Islamic terrorists everywhere remember it well, and still celebrate it as a great first victory for their side against America and proof that their God is behind them. Our retreat reaffirmed their faith and reassured them that eventual victory is assured even against the better-equipped American military. Their belief that America is a paper tiger was reinforced again and again in subsequent years, most dramatically in Somalia.
Still most Americans did not then connect the dots, failing to grasp the fact that we were already in a low-grade war; until al Qaeda Sunni terrorists mounted their attack on September 11. Afterwards, most of us understood that war was indeed upon us, but many still struggle to connect all the dots, failing to recognize the source of the true threat and the more recent origins of the current Jihad declared against us. Fewer still understand how our own missteps of the past have encouraged and animated terrorists worldwide. We have tended to focus exclusively on the threat from al Qaeda and its offshoots, forgetting Hezbollah altogether, or seeing it as a menace only to Israel. In Afghanistan, we deposed al Qaeda and its Taliban allies, scattering terrorist forces, then left them unmolested to regroup in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the terrorists who ruined Lebanon, murdered our sons, and drove us out still strut about free and unafraid, ruling openly. Hezbollah has big, secure bases in Lebanon and Syria, is hurting our efforts to stabilize Iraq, and is expanding its global reach to places like the tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. It is a much larger and more formidable foe than Al-Qaeda, and has been killing Americans for much longer. One would hope that politicians and military planners eventually realize that it’s past time to make Hezbollah and all its admirers understand that there are no exceptions to the rule stated so eloquently by
To win, we must become the ‘United’ States of America, take off the kid gloves, and more persuasively dissuade all Islamic militants from their violent inclinations.