Vali Nasr (Member of the US Council on Foreign Relations): “We Need Engagement with Iran”
No doubt Vali Nasr, the son of a well-known Shi’ite writer and apologist, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, wishes to enroll the Americans in Iraq in order to dampen the Sunni-Shi’a clash. But his perspective is that of a Shi’a, loyal to Shi’a Islam, although not to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which he no doubt deplores. That is understandable. What is not understandable is why his views should coincide with those of Infidels, or that Americans should heed his desire to “avoid radicalization” of “both sides” by, of course, having the Americans remain and stick it out — not for their own good, but for the good of both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in Iraq.
Particularly piquant is Vali Nasr’s inability to see that wherever Infidels are concerned, all the supposed assumptions about Sunni-Shi’a rivalry — remember during Israel’s attack on Hezbollah how we kept being assured that the Sunni Arab states were secretly delighted, and wanted Israel to keep going? — tend to be muted, for the Infidels are the real enemy who will unite even warring sects of Islam.
This is how Vali Nasr put it:
“We saw this in Lebanon where a war that was initially an Arab-Israeli war — a war that belongs to the old conflicts of the region — very quickly became all about the Shiite-Sunni issue. Some Arab governments and radical Sunni clerics came out and characterized this as a Shiite power grab and said Hezbollah cannot legitimately fight for the Palestinian cause because it is Shiite and a heretical organization.”
No, it is not true that the war became a Shiite-Sunni issue. Washington was quite disappointed, in fact, in dreamily assuming — no doubt with Vali Nasr’s prognostications and Shi’a-apologist advice in view — that the Sunni Arabs would not denounce Israel. But of course they all did — all of them. And while the Shi’a in Lebanon have managed to worry the Sunni Arabs in Lebanon, they have worried even more the Druse and, above all, the Christians.
And then there is Vali Nasr’s ostentatious worry about “radicalization” (as if there could be even more) of both Sunnis and Shi’a in Iraq, and the implied corollary, which he never states outright, of the need to keep American troops there in order to dampen those sectarian tensions and hostilities which, Nasr says, are so bad “for the region.” Why yes, they are bad “for the region” — that is, for the Muslims of the region. They aren’t bad for us, the world’s Infidels. For us Sunni-Shi’a tensions are a wonderful thing.
That is why Vali Nasr and Fouad Ajami, just like the Shi’a apologists — Chalabi and others — who helped promote so cleverly the American invasion of Iraq in order to get the only power that could get rid of the Sunni despot Saddam Husein to do its work for it, are to be listened to for some parts of their analysis, but with different conclusions drawn. They want a Muslim Middle East where the Shi’a are given their due. We, on the other hand, want something else: we want a world where the Camp of Islam and Jihad, in and out of the Middle East, is weakened.
These are not the same thing. And no doubt the soft-spoken, personally winning Vali Nasr is, for that very reason, an inhibiting influence at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where some of his colleagues might not quite grasp that his point of view is that of a devout, though not violent, Muslim. He would not like a policy based, as any intelligent policy by any Infidel state must now be based, on the goal of weakening Islam, the power of Muslim states and groups to inflict harm, the size of the Muslim presence in the West, and the appeal of Islam to the economically and psychically marginal populations that are likely only to increase, unless Islam is allowed to make a spectacle of itself as it will, even more than it has, in Iraq if the Americans leave.
And what is more, if the Americans leave, the intra-Muslim violence in Iraq will be a kind of vivid demonstration of what Muslims do when there are no longer any Infidels immediately present to unify them in hatred, or to draw their malevolent attention, and when Infidel support of all kinds is also withdrawn.
Just look, if you need to, at Gaza today. What a spectacle. Why any Infidels would wish to stop it is beyond me. Only fools or appeasers or collaborators or hopeless antisemites who wish the “Palestinians” well not because they like them but because they hate, pathologically, the Israelis — for the obvious reasons — would want to stop it.
Let Iraq be Iraq. Never again should those who make high policy allow themselves to be inveigled by the Shi’a Lobby, whether of Chalabi and Makiya and Fouad Ajami and Vali Nasr, or of others yet unknown, or by the Sunni Lobby, including our “allies” in Jordan and Egypt and “staunch ally” Saudi Arabia. Neither My Weekly Standard, with its pro-Shi’a lineup (with blame laid only at those “Wahhabis” and no attention paid to the doctrines or behavior of Shi’a Muslims, whose differences with Sunnis are not about treatment of Infidels), nor James Baker, who likes to refer to “our friends in the Gulf” (and you know he’s talking about “our Arab friends” on the western coast, not the Iranian enemy on the other side of what the east-coasters call, with justice, the Persian Gulf, and what the west-coasters renamed, as they do everything, the Arabian Gulf), should be heeded at this point.
Neither the Shi’a nor the Sunni Lobby need be listened to. We are not Muslims, after all. We need to weaken the Camp of Islam and Jihad, not to improve it for Muslims, not to make the “region” less alarmed. Let the region be alarmed. Let there be a squandering of resources within the Camp of Islam. Let them channel their natural aggression — natural because of the attitudes that naturally arise in societies suffused with Qur’an, Hadith, and the violent figure of that conquering warrior Muhammad — against one another.
Let Wanda Ga’g (see “Millions of Cats”) be your guide to policy in lieu of Vali Nasr.