Monday, September 06, 2004

A Week of Atrocities

For those who may have forgotten that we are at war with the global jihadist terror movement, or who simply choose not to accept this reality, the horrific events of the past week should serve as a stark reminder. The list of atrocities includes:

-The barbaric slaughter of 12 Nepalese truck drivers in Iraq.

-in Be'er Sheva, Israel, 16 civilians were murdered by Palestinian suicide terrorists .

-In Moscow, ten people were killed by a female Chechen suicide terrorist.

-Finally, the most horrific event of all occurred in Beslan, Russia, as Chechen and Arab terrorists seized control of a school and murdered hundreds of people, including many children. Admittedly the Russians have behaved abominably in Chechnya. Yet nothing can justify the sickening, deliberate massacre of children. I simply cannot come up with words sufficient to denounce this act of barbarism.

First, let me extend my condolences to the families of all those victimized by these atrocities.

Many of you who read this will say that these events are unrelated, or that they are motivated by primarily local concerns. After all, both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Russo-Chechen conflict have been going on for years. Sure, these events are tragic, but what do they have to do with us?

The problem is that all of these attacks are manifestations of the same global jihadist terror movement with which we are currently at war, of which al-Qaeda is just one very important element. There is strong evidence of links between al-Qaeda and Hamas. Al-Qaeda and other foreign Islamists have been deeply involved in Chechnya for years. Arab terrorists have fought in Chechnya, while Chechens formed a major part of bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan. What began a decade ago as a nationalist uprising against Moscow has now been subsumed into the global Islamist jihad. The Sunday Telegraph describes the goals of Chechen jihadist leader Shamil Basayev as follows:

He dreams of establishing an Islamic Emirate across the North Caucasus, and to do so, he has been fomenting the Islamic rebellion that plagues states across the broad stretch of territory from the Red Sea to the Caspian.

Ralph Peters makes the same point in compelling fashion:

The attack in Beslan wasn't about Russia's brutal incompetence in Chechnya — as counter-productive as Moscow's grim heavy-handedness may have been. It was about religious bigotry so profound that the believer can hold a gun to a child's head, pull the trigger and term the act "divine justice."

We will hear complaints that the Russian special forces should have waited — even after the terrorists began shooting children. Negotiations are the heroin of Westerners addicted to self-delusion. Who among us would have waited when he or she saw fleeing children cut down by automatic weapons? The urge to protect children is as primal as any impulse we ever feel.

Make no mistake: No blame attaches to the Russians for the massacre at that school. The guilt is entirely upon the Islamic extremists who have led the religion they claim to cherish into the realms of nightmare.

Many like to argue that the Islamists hate us for "what we do": that the jihadists' actions are due to anger over specific actions by their targets. For example, Russian occupation in Chechnya, Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, or the American-led invasion of Iraq. If we simply change these policies, the argument goes, we'll stop the terrorism. This is, to put it frankly, abject nonsense.

It is of course true that the jihadists do cite specific policies or events as justification for their atrocities, and it is likely that the actions of the USA, Israel, Russia, etc. do make them angry. However, a closer look at the behavior of Islamist terrorists reveals that their goals and their anger go well beyond specific individual grievances.

A prime example of this is the March 11, 2004 atrocities in Madrid, Spain. These were widely interpreted as being an act of retaliation for Spain's active participation in the US-led coalition in Iraq. If only Spain hadn't gotten involved, many argued, she wouldn't have been a target for the jihadists' wrath. This belief was pervasive enough among the Spanish electorate to persuade a plurality of them to vote for the Socialist Zapatero, who promptly withdrew Spanish forces from Iraq. However, Lawrence Wright examined the origins of the 3/11 attacks in a superb article in the August 2, 2004 New Yorker, and came to this chilling conclusion:

One of the most sobering pieces of information to come out of the investigation of the March 11th bombings is that the planning for the attacks may have begun nearly a year before 9/11. In October, 2000, several of the suspects met in Istanbul with Amer Azizi, who had taken the nom de guerre Othman Al Andalusi—Othman of Al Andalus. Azizi later gave the conspirators permission to act in the name of Al Qaeda, although it is unclear whether he authorized money or other assistance—or, indeed, whether Al Qaeda had much support to offer. In June, Italian police released a surveillance tape of one of the alleged planners of the train bombings, an Egyptian housepainter named Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, who said that the operation “took me two and a half years.” Ahmed had served as an explosives expert in the Egyptian Army. It appears that some kind of attack would have happened even if Spain had not joined the Coalition—or if the invasion of Iraq had never occurred.

“The real problem of Spain for Al Qaeda is that we are a neighbor of Arab countries—Morocco and Algeria—and we are a model of economy, democracy, and secularism,” Florentino Portero, a political analyst at the Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos, in Madrid, told me. “We support the transformation and Westernization of the Middle East. We defend the transition of Morocco from a monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. We are allies of the enemies of Al Qaeda in the Arab world. This point is not clearly understood by the Spanish people. We are a menace to Al Qaeda just because of who we are.”

(Emphasis added - DD)

For another example, read this first-hand terrorist account of the May 29, 2004 Khobar massacre in Saudi Arabia. Please note that in the midst of their savagery, the jihadist barbarians spared the life of an American, yet gleefully slaughtered and mutilated Swedes, Filipinos, South Africans, and Indians. Why? Because the American was a Muslim, while the others were Christians or Hindus. As the jihadist narrator proudly put it, "we purged Muhammad's land of many Christians and polytheists."

While the Islamists are angered by our policies and actions, the main reason for this is because they judge "what we do" according to a preconceived notion of "who we are". To the terrorists, we are nothing but infidels. Therefore, almost anything we do short of complete submission to their demands will enrage them. No matter what a particular nation does, the Islamists will have no problem finding a suitable grievance to justify launching terrorist atrocities against it, as even the French are finding out. The bottom line is that whether we are Russian, Israeli, Nepalese, or American, it is our very existence as "infidels and polytheists" that most offends the jihadists. No level of appeasement will change this. Yes, this is a war, and the price of not waging it with the necessary vigor is unimaginable.


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