Cheney “worked to overcome Saudi skepticism” about Maliki? But King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is not “skeptical” at all. King Abdullah has no concerns about the “leadership abilities” of Maliki, or for that matter Jaafari before him, or of the “leadership abilities” of any Shi’ite leader or Shi’a-dominated government in Iraq.
King Abdullah is not concerned about “leadership abilities.” He knows perfectly well what Maliki, what Maliki’s party, Hizb al-Da’wa (the Army of Da’wa) is all about. It’s about Shi’a Islam. And still worse, that word “Da’wa” sends shudders down Sunni spines, because while Sunnis have been conducting Da’wa among Infidels in the West, Shi’a have been, as the Egyptian and Saudi press report grimly (and no doubt with exaggeration), actively trying to conduct Da’wa among the Sunni Muslims, in Syria, in Lebanon, and elsewhere. And who knows better than King Abdullah and other Sunni Muslims how cunning, how relentless, how dangerous Muslims engaged in campaigns of Da’wa can be?
And in addition to Maliki and the Hizb al-Da’wa, there is SCIRI, and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Jaish-e-Mahdi. Abdullah knows about all of them. Oh, he knows.
He knows, and he doesn’t like. Behind the forced smiles, Abdullah and the rest of the Al-Saud family, doesn’t like it at all. Neither does Mubarak, or the members of Mubarak’s Family-and-Friends Plan who rule over Egypt and pocket so much of its wealth. And of course Son-of-Plucky-Little-King Hussein, Abdullah of Jordan, doesn’t like it either. They aren’t in favor of replacing Maliki with someone more forceful. Their unhappiness is not with Maliki. Their unhappiness is with the Shi’a ascendancy and the loss of Sunni power.
And just like the Sunnis within Iraq, the Sunnis outside Iraq will never reconcile themselves to this loss. Never. Why not? Well, here is where a little history might do Cheney and Bush and Rice, not for the first time, a little good. They should recognize that the adherents of the belief-system of Islam are, all of them, history-haunted — because to them, in a sense, there is no history. There is only Islam, and before Islam, outside of Islam, nothing really matters. And Islam is paralysis, is stasis. There is no such thing as “progress” in Islamic history, but only the history of Islamic success and dominance. And when that success, and that dominance, came early, and after a few centuries was lost, Muslims could not and cannot stand it.
Why can’t they stand it? Why are they so history-haunted, just as other belief-systems have been, such as Fascism, and Mussolini with his tales of Roman greatness and Mare Nostrum, or Nazism, and Hitler with his harking back to those warlike Teutonic tribes supposedly enjoying their untrammeled Lebensraum? Because of the notion of Lost Greatness, a Greatness that was and always will belong to Islam as by right, as is only natural, is essential to the worldview which insists that Islam “must dominate and is not to be dominated.”
And central to the notion of Muslim greatness is the tale of fabled Baghdad, the capital, and center for almost all of the 500 years of Islam’s most glorious days, the period roughly from 750 to 1250. (It was in 1258 that the Mongols over Hulegu conquered and destroyed the city, and the Abbasid Caliphate centered there.) Baghdad itself had replaced Samarra, which had been the Abbasid capital for the first hundred years, and became, under three great Abbasid Caliphs — Al-Mansur, (754-775), Harun al-Rashid (786-809), al Ma’mun (813-833) — the madinat al-salaam, the first City of Islam. It was never replaced in Arab hearts by the successor capital of Islam, Constantinople of the Ottoman Turks. No, it was only Baghdad the city, and Baghdad the capital of Iraq, Mesopotamia, the Land of the Two Rivers. Baghdad is the place where, more than any other place, Arab Muslim history was made more than a millennium ago. Sunni Arab hearts cannot relinquish, Sunni Arab minds cannot forget, the city that must, no matter what, belong to them, if their history-haunted dreams are not to be nightmarish. And certainly it must not belong to the Shi’a, those untrustworthy “Rafidite dogs,” as the more extreme Sunnis of Al Qaeda call them. (Did you know that the Shi’a secretly opened the gates of Baghdad to the Mongols? Yes. The Shi’a and the Jews, they did it. Just consult the Sunni Arab histories).
Why can’t the Sunnis accept the Shi’a, you ask? Aren’t the Shi’a at least Muslims? If you still have to ask that question, you demonstrate that you don’t know the history that guides the present conflicts. And Bush and Cheney and Rice, with her inane “they’ll (the Sunnis and the Shi’a) just have to get over it,” still have to ask that question. So do many of those all-too-obedient and unquestioning-of-the-“mission” generals in and out of Iraq. But fewer of the keener, younger, less careerist colonels and majors and captains under them, who have experienced Iraq and Islam and Muslims in a way that the party-line generals have not, have to ask it. The answer is that the Sunnis can’t accept the Shi”a simply because they can’t. Because compromise and sweet reason are not inculcated by Islam. Because the depth and the duration of the Sunni-Shi’a split go far beyond their stated differences. The split has become a wide fissure not only in Iraq, but in Pakistan and in Saudi Arabia. Look at how the Shi’a of the Eastern Province are discriminated against, even persecuted, by the Sunni Arabs who rule that country. It is also a wide fissure in Bahrain, Yemen, and recently Lebanon, where the Shi’a have over years increased in numbers (an intra-Islam demographic conquest, mimicking that of Muslims in Western Europe) and in response a new Sunni terrorist group may find itself battling Hizballah. Can you think of anything finer, than Hizballah and Al-Qaeda going at it in Lebanon? Yes, you can — and that is representatives of Sunnis and Shi’a going at it forever in Iraq. Nothing could be finer, except the same thing happening in Iraq once the Americans leave, only with the Shi’a militias really going after the Sunnis, including but not limited to supporters of Al Qaeda.
And that is why King Abdullah solemnly expresses, to an unskeptical, credulous Cheney, his worry about the “leadership abilities” of al-Maliki. And that is what Mubarak and Abdullah of Jordan will also express: the same “worries” over his “leadership” or that of any Shi’a “leaders,” as a supplement to their shrill, hysterical, and transparent attempts to whip up the Americans against a supposed “Shi’a crescent.” The only thing the Americans need to worry about is not Shi’a efforts to convert Sunnis, or their efforts to become a geopolitical threat to the equally malign Saudis in the Gulf, but their nuclear project — for that does threaten Infidels.
The Americans got into Iraq in large part, though not completely, because of the false information supplied to them by Shi’a “informants” about weapons of mass destruction, and furthermore because of the ridiculous assertions made to the Americans about how wonderfully, permanently grateful “the Iraqis” would be, with demonstrations following the liberation of Baghdad that “would make the liberation of Kabul seem like a funeral procession.” Oh, great things were believed by Paul Wolfowitz (the war might cost “as much” as $40 billion), by Rumsfeld, Feith, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Bernard Lewis, tutti quanti. They knew. Ahmad Chalabi and Kanan Makiya and Shaha Riza and so many others of that ilk, wonderful people, people on Western wavelength, told them so.
So the Shi’a helped to get us in.
And now, it seems, the Sunnis — King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia among them — are determined to keep us there to protect the Sunnis and their interests from the Shi’a, including Maliki and all the others, who simply refuse to yield up their new-found dominance, and refuse to give the local Sunnis what the Saudi king, and the Egyptian military dictator, and the Jordanian kinglet, and so many other Sunnis, want them to give them.
Those who have done nothing to tax oil or gasoline or build nuclear reactors (as France has done) or subsidize mass transit (as Japan has done) or give the kind of tax credits for solar energy or direct subsidies (as Germany has done), have no right to tell any of us what should or should not be done in Iraq or elsewhere. Those who do not have any energy policy, and who have not yet recognized the obvious — the need to diminish the money-weapon of the global Jihad — and who have done nothing to educate themselves, much less the public, and who are fashioning policies toward Islam based on ignorance of Islam, have no right to tell us anything about how to resist the Jihad. They have forfeited whatever respect some were inclined to offer them. They have failed to set the right goals, and have squandered men, money, and material for goals that are unattainable. And even were they to be attained, they would be exactly the wrong goals.
When the Americans do leave, and the ethnic and sectarian fissures provide that “victory” that can only be achieved and will be inevitable once the Americans leave, do not let the Bush Administration claim credit for that victory. Only those who correctly identified the nature of a “victory” for Americans and other Infidels — not “freedom” for “ordinary moms and dads” in the Middle East but rather the promotion of division and demoralization and permanent strife within the Camp of Islam and Jihad — can claim some share of that “victory.”
There are not many who will be able to do so.
Meanwhile, someone please explain to Cheney that we need not fashion our policy to meet the current unhappiness of the Sunni Arabs, in some kind of attempt to match our original circa 2001-2003 gullibility to Shi’a Arab blandishments and come-ons, with gullibility and a willingness to sacrifice American soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars in order to curry favor with the likes of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, or Mubarak of Egypt.
When did Uncle Sam leap athletically, alphabetically, across two letters to end up becoming Uncle Sap?
We’re tired of it. The voters are tired of it. The soldiers are tired of it. We’re sick of it. 880 billion dollars later, 3,350 killed and 25,000 wounded later, we’re sick of it. It unnecessarily both costs and endangers us, Americans and other Infidels threatened by all the varied instruments of Jihad, so much.