Iraq will turn out to be entirely ungrateful to the Americans. Everything that happens there will show that, when the Shi”a refuse to give away any their power, and the Sunnis refuse to acquiesce in the shift of power from them to the once-despised Shi”a, and both Sunni Arabs and Shi”a Arabs agree only on the need to suppress the claims of the non-Arab Kurds. The Kurds are non-Arabs, and therefore, of course, inferior to the Arabs. The Arabs will deny their claim to autonomy or even to an independence that the Kurds certainly deserve, certainly have earned (ask the American troops who were in Iraq, and who relied always on the Kurds, and never on the Arabs). Yet a Kurdish independent state, if handled rightly, could be a useful tool in weakening both Syria and Iran and, even more importantly, could be a symbol — to Berbers in Morocco and Algeria for example, or to Muslim black Africans in Darfur — of a non-Arab Muslim people throwing off the Arab yoke.
Of course the Iraqi Sunnis will blame America, and demand that the Americans remain to “protect them” from the Shi”a. And some of the Shi”a will claim that everything that goes wrong — the electricity, the water, the oifields, even for god’s sake the goddam decline in date production — was somehow the fault of the Americans. Of course Iraq will not be made to work. Much of its educated class — the doctors and engineers and teachers — were Christians, and the Christians have mostly left. They won’t come back, not now that Saddam Hussein is gone. Saddam kept the mosques and mullahs under a tight reign — not because he loved Christians but because he used the camouflage of secular Ba”athism to hide the fact of his Sunni, even what might be called his Tikriti, despotism. Now both the Sunnis and the Shi”a, those whom the Christians (e.g. Donny George, former head of the Baghdad Museum) call “the turbans,” have been free to harass the Christians. It makes perfect sense for Arabic-speaking Christians, both Assyrians and Chaldeans, to leave and not come back — and that has indeed affected the wellbeing of all Iraqis.
Iraq will again turn out to be, sooner or later, exactly what Winston Churchill declared Mesopotamia to be back in the 1920s — an “ungrateful volcano.”
Pakistan has always been the spoiled child of American foreign policy. It began way back, with the Dulles brothers, when among the group of fierce but essentially stupid anti-Communists there was a belief that Islam should be regarded only as a “bulwark against Communism.” That meant that the Al-Saud were much better than Nasser, because the former were completely Muslim, while Nasser had secular tendencies.
In the subcontinent, Pakistan had a series of fly-whisking terry-thomas moustachioed generals who were past masters at winning the trust of American counterparts in the Pentagon. Those ramrod-straight (Sandhurst posture always being a sure sign of inward rectitude) generals invited comparison with those dangerous, bandung-conferencing, Fabian Society Indian leaders — haughty untouchable Brahmin Nehru (who had also dared to have a liaison with the wife of Lord Mountbatten) and his fellow member of the Victor Gollancz’s New Left Book Club, the even more dangerous, because more marxisant (so it was felt in official Washington) Krishna Menon.
And thus it was that Pakistan — meretricious Muslim Pakistan (meretricious, in this case, precisely because it was Muslim) was made a member of that ill-fated because ill-conceived military pact known as CENTO, in which the United States and Great Britain were to supply all the money and all the arms and all the training, while the Muslim members — Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan — were to be the beneficiaries of the money, the arms, the training, but were to supply the men. The whole farcical thing fell apart in 1958 with the coup by A. Q. Qassem, in which the “pro-Western” Nuri al-Said, always described as the “strongman” of Iraq, was seized and murdered, his mutilated body dragged through the streets of Baghdad.
But while CENTO collapsed, the Pakistani generals’ love affair with the Pentagon continued. The Americans continued to supply those generals with all kinds of things, and that did not stop when the out-and-out fanatical Muslim Zia ul-Haq came to power. Anglophone Pakistanis of the upper classes like to claim, in talking to Westerners, that there was nothing wrong with Pakistan until Zia ul-Haq with his “extremism” came along. This is nonsense. Pakistan’s “extremism” was always there among its primitive masses — the masses who, unlike Benazir Bhutto, do not have millions of dollars, are not the children of zamindars, and cannot attend Harvard and Oxford and become, superficially westernized and hence offer the outward veneer of something that seemed familiar and trustworthy.
Far from being ill-treated by the United States, Pakistan continued to receive all kinds of money and all kinds of weapons. It was even promised F-16s. And that American money later came in handy when A. Q. Khan, a metallurgist skilled at thievery, managed while working in Western laboratories in the Netherlands and Germany to win sufficient trust to be given access to certain nuclear secrets. He stole those secrets and brought them back to Pakistan where the I.S.I., still living largely on the financial aid that the Americans supplied, used that aid to help finance Pakistan’s nuclear project.
Pakistan has been, for decades, the most meretricious of allies. It not only diverted American aid to build what was called “the Islamic bomb,” but A. Q. Khan was permitted by I.S.I., the Pakistan army’s intelligence service, to offer to share nuclear secrets with other countries, and apparently he did so in the cases of both Iraq and North Korea.
The government of Pakistan continues, of course, to prevent the Americans even from interviewing A. Q. Khan to try to find out exactly what he gave to whom. That is not exactly the behavior of an ally, or a friend. It is the behavior, more accurately, of an enemy, one willing to take whatever aid, financial and military, it can wheedle out of the Americans, but not willing — or able– ever to be a real ally or friend.
During the Musharraf years, with the billions from America now pouring in, the government and military in Pakistan continued to string the Americans along. There were occasional half-hearted largely feigning attacks, by the Pakistan military, on Al Qaeda or the Taliban, but mainly the Pakistan government and press did everything it could to deny that Al Qaeda was either in Pakistan or being aided by a great many Pakistanis.
It was only when the American military was becoming absolutely fed up, and when, too, the local Taliban leaders decided a bit too prematurely to take on the rich zamindars in the parts of Pakistan — e.g. the Swat Valley — that they conquered, that the ruling class in both the Pakistani government and military realized that the Taliban were a threat to them. They they turned on the Taliban, not as a favor to the Americans, but in order to preserve the position of themselves and of those like them. That did not make them the friends of the Americans, or of the Indians, or of any other Infidel group. They remain Muslims, in a country almost entirely Muslim, where non-Muslims can be harassed, persecuted, even murdered at will. It was more than twenty years ago that Bishop John Joseph immolated himself in order to bring attention to the murderous persecution of Christians in Pakistan — that persecution did not start yesterday, and it hardly was the result only of what the Taliban prompted. The persecution of Christians and Hindus is carried out by many and supported by even more. It is, in fact, not at all deplored in Pakistan, save by a handful of the morally most advanced.
Gates — according to the news report about his performance last Thursday — “described as disturbing, but not surprising, the results of a survey that only 9 percent of Pakistanis saw the United States as a partner while 64 percent looked at it as an enemy.”
So Gates thinks this widespread hostility — expressed in the survey that found that “64 percent” of Pakistanis see the U.S. as an enemy — is “disturbing, but not surprising.” He is right, it isn’t “surprising.” But what is “surprising” — or perhaps, alas, not “surprising” — is that Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, seems to think it is not “surprising” not because of what Muslims are taught in the Qur’an, in the Hadith, and through the example of Muhammad — uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil — in the Sira. In those sources Muslims are taught to be mistrustful of Infidels (to be especially wary when they seem, those Infidels, to be nice, to be generous, for they are of course in league with Shaytan, trying to woo Muslims from the Path of Allah, fi sabil Allah). Muslims are taught that between them and non-Muslims, that is between Believers and Infidels, a state of permanent hostility or war (though not necessarily open warfare) must exist, and that they have a duty to make sure that Infidels do not continue to cling to their own ways, to continue to throw up obstacles (Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Conscience are such obstacles) to the spread and then the certain, the right, the just dominance of Islam, all over the world. Apparently Robert Gates hasn’t even begun to figure out what effect Islam has on the minds of its adherents. He hasn’t begun to grasp how very different Islam is — as a Total Belief-System that offers a Complete Regulation of Life and a Complete Explanation of the Universe — from other faiths, because Islam contains a clear politics and geopolitics which he has a duty to learn about, and did have such a duty the minute he assumed the post of Secretary of Defense. Like many others in official Washington, it is a duty he apparently thinks he has no obligation to fulfill. He’s quite wrong.
And Robert Gates has been the man in charge of vast expenditures (by the United States, what have turned out to be squanderings of men, money, materiel, and military morale, all in the misguided attempt to keep Iraq together, to keep Iraq “nonviolent,” to make Iraq “prosperous” — all in the hope that Iraq would become would it will never become. This hope was never quite spelled out, never quite explained to us who are the citizens watching helplessly at the folly of this policy, first in Iraq and now, with apparently no lessons learned, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A coherent and cunning and even ruthless policy should long ago have been crafted, one devoid of sentimentalism, one recognizing that the most important theatre of war was not in Iraq, nor in Afghanistan, nor in Pakistan but, rather, right now, in the imperiled states of Western Europe, where the growth of Muslim populations threatens to change the tenor of life, the quality of life, and the orientation toward the United States, of those countries that constitute the historic heart of the West, and that without Europe the United States would lose its civilisational ancestry. It would see its legacy taken over, and destroyed, as were, everywhere that Muslims conquered, over the past 1350 years, the artifacts of whatever pre-Islamic civiliziaton had once existed. The conquered non-Muslims were made to turn away from, to forget, even to despise, their culture, wherever Islamization, and then arabization, fully triumphed. It did not, in Iran, for complicated reasons, and the fact that Iranians still have the consciousness of their pre-Islamic identity may turn out to be important in helping Iranians today move away from the Islamic Republic, to constrain Islam, or even to jettison Islam altogether (perhaps by rediscovering an alternative identity — say, Zoroastrianism), in numbers significant enough to transform state and society in Iran.
In order to formulate policies that make sense — and the war in Iraq, and the wars as currently conducted in Afghanistan and Pakistan are hideously draining on our military, and as policy are senseless — one has to first recognize, despite all the official blather, that the United States has a stake in preventing the dangerous encroachments of Islam in Western Europe. Islam is not mainly or merely a “religion.” It is a Politics. It is a Geopolitics. It is important for Robert Gates, and all those who presume to protect us, to find out about Islam — really find out, and not rely on the army of apologists for Islam, both Muslim and non-Muslim, who have so methodically hired and promoted one another in our colleges and universities, and who have been hired by the naÃ¯ve and the simpletons to “advise” us. They have been hired even within our military academies, even within our security services. Gates needs to learn the truth about Islam itself, and about those hundreds of millions of Muslims who actively support the goals of Jihad, even if many prefer other instruments of Jihad to terrorism and combat (qitaal), for reasons not of morality but of expediency. Those other instruments include deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da”wa, and demographic conquest.
To be continued.