June 20, 2007

Dividing and Conquering, or Dancing With the Devil?

Hatched by Dafydd

Two posts over on my favorite blog, Power Line -- one by Scott Johnson, the other by Paul Mirengoff -- appear to be at war with each other.

In the first, Brothers Grim at Foggy Bottom, Scott links to an article by Eli Lake at the New York Sun. Lake reports that the Bush administration is at least mulling the prospect of opening more direct relations with the Muslim Brotherhood -- "the party that founded modern political Islam," as Lake puts it, and the umbrella organization to many Islamist organizations.

The hope is that, if (a big if) the Muslim Brotherhood -- or a significant element thereof -- can be convinced that violence, murder, terrorism, and the mass slaughter of fellow Moslems is counterproductive (if not morally wrong, which may be a stretch for them), then they could serve as a counterideology, which we desperately need, to al-Qaeda, Hamas, EIJ, and other terrorist groups that more or less spun off from the Brotherhood. (Even a Shiite terror ogranization, such as Hezbollah, could be hurt by such a turn, as a "quietist" version of the Muslim Brotherhood would surely increase the appeal of Najaf Quietism itself in Iraq and even Iran, as a counterweight to Khomeini-ism.)

Scott does not offer a direct attack on the idea, but he seems to weigh in against such a move, quoting from a skeptic but not from anyone actually defending the idea. The very title of Scott's post, while a nice pun, also clearly implies that he thinks such a strategy is a fairy tale.

But just four posts later on the same page, Paul offers his own thoughts in Some Sunni Tribes Turn Against al-Qaeda in Baghdad:

Even the MSM has reported, however grudgingly, our military's success resulting from having enlisted Sunni tribes in the fight against al Qaeda in Anbar province. Attacks there have decreased by 60 percent and al Qaeda is on the run.

Now we are having some success in persuading Sunni tribes to help us against al Qaeda in Baghdad. USA Today reports that more than ten such tribes have signed on. Some of them have members who previously have fought alongside al Qaeda. As Lt. Col. Rick Welch explains, this means "they know where they live... who they are... [and] how they operate."

This tactic is working extremely well in Iraq, as Big Lizards has reported a number of times. A strong case can be made that a similar approach can work internationally... and that clearly is what President Bush has in mind for serious consideration; he has not yet made a final decision.

We've often said in other contexts that "you can't beat something with nothing." This is particularly true when fighting an ideology-based threat such as global jihadism: Its power comes from strong, principled, religious belief; those who sign aboard are looking to live their faith more fully than possible in the typical Arab or Moslem cult-of-personality dictatorship.

In Iraq, for example, many are moved by the thought of self-rule and modernity; but for those who are not, for those who crave a deeper spiritual life, it's useless to say "don't follow radical, militant Islam -- follow democracy instead!" It is far more effective to give these people an intense and all-encompassing religious option that emphatically rejects murder, violence, and coercion... such as the Quietism of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for Shia or the Indonesian Sunni Islamist anti-terrorist group Nahdatul Ulama (NU), which has a membership in the tens of millions.

Can the Muslim Brotherhood become such a force? That is, one presumes, just what the administration is exploring, inviting two Islamic scholars on opposite sides of the question to the White House for discussion and debate -- which, by the way, is a technique Ronald Reagan often used to try to understand a contentious issue.

Certainly, there is no question that members of the Brotherhood have engaged in terrorism in the past, and the Brotherhood has spun off several horrific terrorist groups (including Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led by Ayman Zawahiri of later al-Qaeda fame, and Hamas). One can argue that the Brotherhood radicalizes some people who then split away and form Islamist groups more radical than the Brotherhood.

But it's also true that the organization has denounced many terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda. The Brotherhood supports the idea of sharia law and a world-wide caliphate; but if we could appeal to elements within the organization that reject violent coercion as the path to that caliphate, we might have a serious line of attack in the propaganda war for the ummah... a vital front we have by and large neglected, ignored, even actively shunned so far.

I don't know if the Muslim Brotherhood will turn out to be the proper vehicle for such a front; they may, in the end, prove too radical, too devoted to Islamic rule to balk at the mass killing of innocents. But without exploring the idea in depth, we won't know whether such an alliance would divide and conquer our jihadist enemies -- or fool us into dancing with the Devil, giving aid and comfort (and some cheap laughs) to those very same enemies.

Still, I enthusiastically applaud such "sideways thinking" outside the normal channels of the D.C. political ideological complex, which currently offers only three paths forward, none of them very promising:

  • The "Realism" of Kissinger and Scowcroft, which cuddles up to Arab strongmen to maintain order and security;
  • Incessant military intervention in every potentially troublous Moslem country;
  • Or cowardly and foolhardy retreat to "Fortress America" to contemplate domestic policy and our navels.

I won't say there's "no harm" in investigating this front, because we could be sucked into doing the wrong thing. But I do argue there is a powerful upside that we can no longer afford to overlook. So as Ronald Reagan's mother (he assured us) used to tell him while pushing him around in his pram, "trust but verify."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 20, 2007, at the time of 2:35 PM

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The following hissed in response by: eliXelx

Everyday I look at the horse-racing, and my desire is to gamble and hope; But then reality asserts and I say to myself "You don't have to bet on every race; if you do you may win some but will end up losing and impoverished in the long run."

Right now that's where the USA/GWB is at; being asked to bet on every single problem in this world and the next. That is the burden of every king/power and yet "you don't have to bet"!

Americans would rather be wrong than be still!

On the Arabs; I recommend that in order to really understand where these maniacs are coming from one should read a History of the first centuries of the Arab conquest and occupation of Spain. It's all there! Murders, kidnappings, fatwas, razzias, unholy alliances (El Cid eg. fought for both sides!) Dhimmis, internecine feuds! No treaty with the Arabs lasted longer than a long shesh-besh game, and every move was a matter of luck, a throw of dice, random! Power and wealth was for those who could sieze and keep them; and that made for states of constant warfare, uncertainty, pillage and rape! And all of it certified as legal by some local bought-and-paid for Imam!

However, all of these comparisons will become meaningless the day the Iranians get the BOMB! They are not Arabs; they don't play games of chance like backgammon; they play the game of destiny--Chess! They play for keeps; I take and keep your pawns, your soldiers, your property, your religion, your queen and finally, I take and YOU!

The above hissed in response by: eliXelx [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 21, 2007 7:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, if there is any way we can make peace with a substantial number of them...we would be stupid not to try. I don't care how certain people feel about it, we need to keep our options open.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 21, 2007 11:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles


Hmm. Why do we not hear this from the Islamic side? "There are 2.5 billion Christians, 1 billion Hindus, and 2 billion others in the world, and if there is any way we can make peace with a substantial number of them...we would be stupid not to try." We do not have the options you seem to believe we have. This group of people worship war and death for those who will not submit to their way. The options we have today are submission of us to them, submission of them to us, death of us, or death of them. When Islam has a reformation that includes first class respect for Judaism or Christianity; then we can try your approach. Right now, I favor Islama delenda est.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 1, 2007 2:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Right now, I favor Islama delenda est.

You suffer from delusions of grandeur. You may as well say you favor a program of "luna delenda est."


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 1, 2007 6:13 PM

The following hissed in response by: yonason

I don't know if the Muslim Brotherhood will turn out to be the proper vehicle for such a front; they may, in the end, prove too radical, too devoted to Islamic rule to balk at the mass killing of innocents.

You are joking, right?

The "Muslim Bros" are the ROOT of the modern terror machine,

"The Muslim Brotherhood is the mother organization for much of the modern Islamist terror network. Al Qaeda itself has countless ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet, these ties receive - comparatively speaking - relatively little attention."

. . . with it's minions seeking out vulnerabilities everywhere. You don't embrace the mother scopion to get the little ones not to strike. You destroy them all.

There are fools, damned fools, and now there is Bush. Poor fella, he's finally on the verge of going completely la la. It would just be sad if all our lives weren't dependent on his folly of thinking you can smile at the Jihadi ghoul and have it change it's heart. IT HAS NO HEART.

As an ex Sado Arabican Chief Justice (about as Muslim "main stream" as you can get) says:

"And you will not find any organization past or present, religious or nonreligious as regards (Jihad and military) (ordering) the whole nation to march forth and mobilize all of them. into active military service as a single row for Jihad in Allah's Cause so as to make superior the Word of Allah (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), as you will find in the Islamic Religion and its teachings."

I.e., "KIll a Kofer for Akkah"

NOTE: That stuff and much worse used to be accessable from virtually EVERY Muslim website prior to 9/11, after which most pulled it and pretended it was never there.

And we can even see from our own history that nothing has changed for them.As quoted here

As Jefferson, when asking them Why they were attacking our merchant ships when we hadn't shown them any aggression, was told, "It's required of us by our religion'. (which is why Jefferson had a copy of the koran for the disgusting fifth columnist Keith Ellison to swear in on in the first place. Jefferson wanted to understand how their "holy" book could cause them to be so evil.)

"Take, for example, the 1786 meeting in London of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. As American ambassadors to France and Britain respectively, Jefferson and Adams met with Ambassador Adja to negotiate a peace treaty and protect the United States from the threat of Barbary piracy.

These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, “that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”"

Sound familiar?

Our ignorance of our history is causing us most painfully to repeat it.

Now, a little light reading for those who want to know what worked then, and what would work now, if only we had the will.

And a tiny smidgen of what's out there on the MusBros

If you think working with the M.B. might be a good idea, the dog didn't eat your homework, you just didn't do it.

The above hissed in response by: yonason [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2007 10:38 AM

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