Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the Shi’a and their role in American policymaking toward the Middle East:
The only surprise — and this is only a surprise to those who have not been paying attention — about the attempted attack in Saudi Arabia is that it is being claimed by, and promptly attributed to, Al-Qaeda.
One would not have been surprised had the attack come from Shi’a living in al-Hasa province. For it is they, several hundred thousand of them, who for a very long time have had to endure Wahhabi malevolence, Wahhabi discrimination, Wahhabi contumely. They might have been inspired by the Shi’a ascendancy in Iraq, which they can hardly have remained unaware of, and the Shi’a ability to now fight back. Nor will the Shi’a in Bahrain, who make up 70% or more of the population, and are now chafing under Sunni rulers, fail to be inspired. Nor will the nearly half of the population in Yemen that is Shi’a, nor the Shi’a in Afghanistan, the Mongol-descended Hazaras, who were killed, or if women taken as sex slaves by the Sunnis of the Taliban. Nor will the Shi’a in Pakistan, whose professional class has long been a target of Sunni attacks, especially by members of two groups, Sipha-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jangvi, somehow remain immune to news of the Sunni-Shi’a conflict in Iraq. Even without fighting, these groups will be inspired by the endless hostility between Sunni and Shi”a, which phone calls from George Bush, and calls for “peace,” will not have the slightest effect in diminishing, save temporarily, and only among some of the leaders, not the less malleable populace.
One would love to know when Bush, when Rice, when all the rest of them first began to realize that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein meant, inevitably, that the Shi’a would take power, either over all of Iraq or over the southern part with the major oil resources and the only port. When did it occur to them that perhaps the sectarian split would not be overcome in the general “joy at liberation” (the joy in Baghdad will make the celebrations in Kabul seem like a “funeral procession” — Bernard Lewis, 2002)? When did they figure out that the Shi’a resentment of the Sunnis, and Sunni contempt for the Shi’a, long preceded the regime of Saddam Hussein and that those who kept assuring them otherwise had their own fish to fry — especially all those thoroughly-westernized Shi”a exiles who either ignored, or simply forgot, what the real Iraq, and the real Iraqis, were really like? And while Allawi, Chalabi, and Kanan Makiya were secular Shi’a, who themselves may have wanted to downplay, for the Americans, the real nature of Iraq. And, in their long Western exiles, where some of them became, centaur-like, half-Western men, they may have forgotten as well the craziness and violence of their own countrymen, with the centuries-old resentments reinforced by the last few decades of Sunni despotism, and with that widespread susceptibility to rumor and conspiracy theories which come naturally to those raised up in a belief-system that discourages free and skeptical inquiry. And even that survivor, the Baghdadian Vicar of Bray, the Sunni manipulator described formulaically and much too charitably as an “elder stateman,” the famously louche Adnan Pachachi (a member of the Sunni elite and member of even a pre-1958 government), who claimed the other day, in an interview in the Corriere della Sera, that there is not, and never will be, a “civil war” because the Sunnis and the Shi’a have always gotten along famously, and in fact Shi’a were prominent in Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Now the Administration is said to be “worried” about “civil war.” The thing to worry about, if you are not in the Administration, but simply an intelligent Infidel, is why anyone in the government of the United States expresses “worry” about sectarian violence between different sects of mujahedin, who otherwise would be devoting their energies to our destruction.
And still worse, why do they “worry” about this sectarian violence “spreading” elsewhere in the Middle East and in Muslim lands further away?
I understand why the Al-Saud family should be worried. I understand why the Ruler of Bahrain (oh, did he promote himself to king yet? I can’t remember) should be worried. I understand why the government of Yemen should be worried. I understand why the Sunnis and Shi’a in Lebanon might be worried. I understand why some Shi’a and Sunnis in Pakistan and Afghanistan might be worried.
But why, exactly — please explain so I can get it through my thick skull — should the Infidels in charge of the non-Muslim government of the non-Muslim (in everything which made America America) United States “worry” over the “threat” of Sunni-Shi’a civil war?
Bush gets on his high horse about those who would question his policy on the U.A.E. Ports deal (“bigotry” and so on). He still tells us, even now, that there are those who “would pervert” a “noble” religion. He still talks, incessantly, driving us all batty, about a “war on terror” and our “allies” — Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, the U.A.E., Morocco, Algeria — in that “war on terror.” But about the real war, the war of self-defense against the Jihad and all of its instruments — silence. Silence about Europe, except to push for Turkey’s admission to the European Community. Silence about the islamization of Western Europe. Lukewarm defense of freedom of speech, with time for equal deploring of those who do not responsibly exercise that “freedom” (i.e. dare to offend Muslims). Continued belief in the “two-state solution” which shows continued incomprehension of the nature of the Arab and Muslim opposition to Israel, where not further surrender by the Israelis, but only overwhelming power on their side (not merely possessed, but seen to be possessed), can prevent the Lesser Jihad from being pursued by military means. Only the doctrine of necessity, Darura, invoked when the Infidel enemy is simply too strong, can prevent that, and keep the peace.
He’s on his high horse about the U.A.E. business. He’s still talking, or rather, hallucinating, about Iraq — and American soldiers will continue to pay with their lives for his, and his advisers, hallucinations. He still can’t talk about Islam or the Jihad; it’s still the “war on terror.”
That’s why none of us can stand him. That’s the real explanation for our fury over the U.A.E. business. The U.A.E. has not earned our trust. But Bush and Company have also not earned our trust. There is nothing Machiavellian about them. Nothing cunning. Just a messianic wish to bring “democracy” which then becomes confused when the “democracy” doesn’t quite work out that way. Look at the twin farces of the “elections” held in Egypt, where when allowed to present a candidate the Muslim Brotherhood swept the board, and in Saudi Arabia, where the teeny tiny municipal elections always produced winners from among the most fanatically Muslim. Look also, for that matter, at the non-existent “Palestinian people,” with their elevation of Hamas to be their representatives.
Yet here is the American army, still smack in the middle of Iraq. It is still there, with money and materiel and men’s lives being put on hold, and risked, and sometimes ended altogether. Meanwhile the pretense continues that a “united” army — an “Iraqi” army, an army of “Iraqis” — can be trained and produced beyond more than the handful that are now so carefully being nurtured and given endless amounts of care by the American soldiers who are their nurses. They are the premature babies who have to be tended to at every step. At this rate, we will be in Iraq, and spend another half-trillion, before there are even 20,000 “Iraqi” soldiers. They will be the only 20,000 Sunni and Shi’a Arabs, and Kurds, who will be found willing, at this point, to fight together — which means, to trust their lives to each other.
It can’t be done. Facts, history, that sort of thing – stubborn things. Remember?
Not Bush. Not Bush who is now getting up on his high horse. All Hat, and No Cattle.