December 27, 2009

Over Detroit Skies

Check out Roey Rosenblith's well-written first-person account of what happened on that Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit two days ago when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab turned himself into a human bomb and nearly killed three hundred people.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 27, 2009 12:41 PM
I think Rod Liddle keeps the matter more in perspective here
Posted by: Jabba the Cat at December 27, 2009 4:47 pm
I used to think that the majority of Islamist militiamen weren't dangerous because they're imbeciles, but 9/11 proved that morons can do a lot of damage if they're they're obstinate and amoral enough.

Idiots provided the muscle and the intimidation that was required for Hitler's rise to power. Stupidity and aggression, combined with misinformation provide the fuel for most extreme political activist groups. They're dangerous because they're stupid.

Traditional military operations require some training and skill, but the only thing that's required to be a terrorist is a lack of intelligence combined with a willingness to do literally anything to get media attention. That's why terrorism is so popular, and it's why we all need to be somewhat vigilant.
Posted by: Mary Madigan at December 28, 2009 2:39 pm
Like mobile IEDs.
Posted by: Paul S. at December 28, 2009 5:47 pm
"the only thing that's required to be a terrorist is a lack of intelligence combined with a willingness to do literally anything to get media attention"

Muslim terrorists are not "stupid", nor lacking in intelligence. They act on their own truly pious beliefs and felt duty. Those beliefs are the basis of a fundamentally different worldview than you or I have. Those beliefs are based on the teachings and example of the muslim prophet whom they refer to as "mohammed" (approximately, the one worthy of praise). The duty is jihad -- struggle for the sake of islam.

That not all muslims are jihadis is merely a demonstration that not all muslims are pious. Some have doubts about the truth of jinns or what the sun is, as unimpeachably described by their prophet. Others are lazy or disinterested in ideology. There are likely other reasons for a lack of piety. However, by the nature of piety and impiety, the impious will never be in charge of the ideology, unless the whole longtime culture begins to fall apart, as, unfortunately, is occurring in the UK and the Church of England, or as it occurred in the breakup of the Soviet Union. Note: communism was effectively the state religion of the USSR. This paragraph also explains why the "moderate muslims" (exactly who or what are moderate muslims?) do not stop their "extremist" colleagues in the ummah in their actions. The construction of "extremist" vs. "moderate" is basically flawed, and is a projection of outsiders' (non-muslims) assumptions and worldview upon the world of islam. A better descriptive construction is pious vs. impious.

Nor were the 9/11 perpetrators cowards, as Dubya loudly proclaimed.
Posted by: del at December 30, 2009 10:19 am
Stupid is as stupid does. One of the bombers involved in the first attack on the WTC rented a truck, using his own license for identification, which he packed with explosives. One day after the failed attempt to bring down the WTC, the bomber returned to the rental office to ask to have his deposit returned. He and his friends were arrested hours later.

During the nineties, conspiracy theorists claimed that the Islamists who were involved in these terrorist attacks must have been set up by the CIA, because no one could be that stupid. But people like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab keep proving that those conspiracy theorists are wrong.

That not all muslims are jihadis is merely a demonstration that not all muslims are pious.

The Kurds in Iraq are conservative muslims, yet they are some of our most reliable allies.

According to a Gallup poll, “Politics, not piety, differentiate moderates from radicals”. Most pious Muslims do not approve of the use of terrorism against civilians. But the political activists (approx. 7% of the population sampled) do.

It's not hard to spot the political activists. Like Abdulmutallab, they're usually wealthy or middle class. Many are indoctrinated in Islamist hotspots like London, Riyadh, the UAE, Yemen and Pakistan. Most belong to Wahhabi-sponsored organizations like CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood and various Brotherhood-sponsored student organizations. And most of them leave a huge pixel and paper trail. Just do a search for Farouk1986.
Posted by: Mary Madigan at December 31, 2009 8:18 am
Sharia is, by western standards, inherently political: it is a legal system for an entire society, and applies its rules to non-muslims, as well as muslims. Those rules always place non-muslims in an inferior and defensive position in a muslim society. Any muslim who does not believe that sharia is a worthy societal goal is not a pious muslim. Any muslim who believes that sharia is a worthy goal is both pious and political, by western understanding of "political". Of course, not all pious muslims necessarily agree on a strategy to reach their worthy goal.

But, in an islamic society, there is no accepted conception of a separation between politics and faith. All political legitimacy is based upon piety, or claims of piety. Any such separation discussed by pollsters is a projection of western concepts upon islam.

As for "civilians", the muslim disapproval of terrorism against civilians almost invariably refers to the use of terrorism or violence against fellow muslims, or against non-muslim dhimmis who have accepted their inferior place, by the definition of dhimmi, and have been allowed, by the muslim society in which they live, a nominal level of protection in return for their acquiescence to an inferior status.

The above definition of "moderate" as non-political is a fantasy. A truly non-political muslim is not "moderate"; he or she is better described as "impious".

However, muslims do understand that, if they live in a non-muslim society, they need to play by the rules to at least some extent. Certainly not all pious muslims (that is those who believe sharia is a worthy goal) are in favor of violent tactics to reach their goal. Many prefer non-violent persuasion, proselytization, or dawa as their strategy of jihad. Others may choose to use immigration or the womb as their weapons to struggle and eventually change the non-muslim world into muslim societies.

The mention of the Kurds does bring in an issue worthy of thought. Muslims are not monolithic automatons. Many individuals have portions of their identity based upon something beside islam, such as a non-arab language or ethnicity, remnants of life before islam. These non-muslim remnants ameliorate. To the extent that Kurdish society is not quite the hellhole of the Arabs' is a demonstration of this.

The Kurds in Iraq are our "allies" only to the extent of their perceived self-interest. As an ethnic non-arab minority, they would be, although muslim, second class citizens in an Arab muslim state -- or in an Iranian-muslim state. They know this.

The existence of non-muslim identities in muslim societies should be considered in the development of policy by western governments. That is particularly true in Iran. Between the Azeris, Arabs, and Baluchis, and those ethnic Persians who identify more with their Persian-ness than their muslim-ness, the dominant Iranian-muslims are not as dominant as they would like to be. This weakness could be exploited.
Posted by: del at December 31, 2009 3:00 pm
Post a comment

Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Read my blog on Kindle

Sponsored Links

Buy a used boat

Shanghai Hotels

Yachts for sale

Recommended Reading