In an interview published in the Christian Science Monitor dated July 13, General Petraeus declares:
“If we pull out there will be greatly increased sectarian violence, humanitarian concerns…. You don’t know what could happen in terms of dangerous conflicts, what could happen along the Kurdish/Shiite/Sunni fault lines, or how [Iraq’s] neighbors will react.”
What is wrong, from the point of view of the American and larger Infidel interests that are now engaged in a largely-unrecognized war without end, with “increased sectarian violence” in Iraq? What is wrong “in terms of”¦what could happen along the Kurdish/Shiite/Sunni fault line”? Why should it matter? Would we not find that the Camp of Islam would be weakened if Iraq dissolves into something like its original constituent parts, those three former Ottoman vilayets — Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra (more picturesquely, Bassorah) — roughly corresponding to the Kurdish, Shi’a, and Sunni areas at present, with the Christians possibly to find an American-sponsored haven in the existing Assyrian villages in the north in what would then be a completely autonomous, possibly independent, Kurdistan?
Sunnis inside and outside Iraq refuse to acquiesce in the new arrangement. They cannot conceivably accept the idea of permanent Shi’a dominance of fabled Baghdad, a place that is so important to their history-haunted view. Their view of the world depends so much on what happened, or rather what they think happened, more than a millennium ago. In that quasi-real quasi-mythological past, Baghdad was the first city of Islam for four hundred years (and the Abbasid Caliphate of Iraq, its capital first in Samarra and then in Baghdad, the most important in Arab history). It is impossible for the Sunnis to see the Shi’a, those “Rafidite dogs” whom many Sunnis have always regarded as heretics, quasi-Muslims, in control in Baghdad. For many in Al Qaeda in Iraq, and as Al-Zarqawi clearly believed, the Shi’a are worse than regular Infidels because they are more treacherous.
And how can the Shi’a, on the receiving end everywhere of Sunni aggression, not least in modern Iraq, ever give up what they have gained? After all, when the Americans were inveigled into removing Saddam Hussein, it was Shi’a in exile who did the inveigling. Some of them were no doubt like Al-Maliki, deliberately deceiving the Americans about their intentions, as someone who knew Al-Maliki in Syrian exile said. Others, such as Kanan Makiya, no doubt were naÃ¯ve. They were naive about the nature of their own countrymen and country, because in their Western and secularized and cossetted world they had forgotten what Islam, what societies and peoples suffused with Islam, are like. They actually did think there was hope for Iraq under benevolent American tutelage and sway.
It can’t happen. And General Petraeus should be more than a mere “counter-insurgency expert.” He should look outside the narrow confines of Anbar Province, with those tribes that are for turning, and outside Baghdad and the damned “surge,” and think clearly. Bush doesn’t. Rice doesn’t. No one at the civilian top is doing so, which means that the generals must do so. They must begin to analyze and then question and then see right through the damn “mission” — and realize that the best thing he can do, the best way to weaken the Camp of Islam and Jihad, is to work for the immediate withdrawal (“immediate” will take months, in any case) of American forces, so that exactly those things he now deplores, because he now does not understand their value, will come to pass. But this requires General Petraeus to be more than he has so far been. He needs to remain unaffected by this or that local Iraqi, of the winning Gunga-Din variety, and think more coldly about this war. It is not a “long war,” not a “war that will last several generations.” Rather, it is a war that will last as long as Islam exists, with that central duty of Jihad, Jihad to spread Islam until it dominates everywhere and everywhere Muslims rule. This duty does not disappear, but sometimes subsides when Muslims are too weak. It always remains ready to be implemented, in whatever way is possible, at any time.
At the moment Muslim states cannot engage in outright warfare; they are too weak. The chosen and effective instruments of Jihad, along with the greatly-exaggerated “terrorism” that Bush seems to regard as the Enemy (the “war on terrorism”), are the Money Weapon (which pays for mosques, madrasas, influence of all kinds), campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest. When there are not twenty million Muslims in Europe, but fifty million, or one hundred million, how easily will the people of Western Europe make their own domestic and foreign policies without fear of Muslim reaction? How easily do they do it even now? How easily will they resist Muslim demands for changes in their own legal and political institutions, and social arrangements? How easily do they do it even now? Nothing good can possibly happen if the peoples of Europe continue to admit Muslims, and continue to support, through Infidel-paid welfare systems, large Muslim families. Nothing good can come of allowing the Saudis and other rich Arabs to pour money in to pay for an ever-expanding number of giant mosques and madrasas — and to subvert, through all kinds of bribery, various influential Westerners. That includes those who are supposed to study and instruct us about the nature of Islam.
These are the kind of things that General Petraeus may not realize in the hectic vacancy of daily trying to create an alliance here, a compromise there. Those temporary compromises and local victories mean, in the end, very little. For if they were to help fulfill the “mission,” when that “mission” makes no sense, makes the opposite of sense, they would merely harm American interests by helping the Camp of Islam to avoid the kind of sectarian and ethnic strife that one should see not as damaging but as promoting the cause of the Infidels. When General Petraeus expresses worry about that “Sunni/Shia/Kurd fault line” and about what Iraq’s “neighbors” may do, he simply alerts us to his failure to grasp the larger picture. And he is hardly alone. But he has gotten such a press, such a buildup, and is clearly more intelligent than Bush — so this, yet one more sign of the limits of his understanding and therefore of his usefulness in the war of self-defense against the Jihad, dismays.