November 28, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Tantrum Back

Hatched by Dafydd

In the last few days, we have enjoyed two stunning successes over the militant Islamist terrorist axis that has spread like a contagion around the globe for near a century now -- particularly noticibly since 1979. And as horrific as they were, the attacks in Bombay yesterday were really no setback to the increasingly successful campaign of quashing the Islamist death cult at the back of the seemingly random violence.

First, the victories:

  • Yesterday, the Iraqi parliament overwhelmingly (75%) gave final approval to the U.S.-Iraq security pact, allowing American and Coalition forces to remain in Iraq until January 1st, 2012.

While the current pact requires us to leave then, three years is a long time; as Iraqis grow more comfortable with an American presence that does not, in fact, run their country or police their nation, they may well be open to permanent American bases there (it's good for their national security and their economy, especially with oil prices plummeting).

But in any event, for at least three years, neither Iran nor Syria will dare invade Iraq directly, knowing that this would force the hand of even the most left-liberal of Obamatons.

  • And on the domestic front, four days ago, the Holy Land Foundation was convicted on all charges of aiding, abetting, supporting, and fostering Islamist terrorism, mostly Hamas.

The HLF "charity" has now been proved in a federal court of law to be nothing but a terrorist front organization. It has been supported by numerous other American and European Islamic groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which are now themselves in the legal crosshairs. This decision will have an even greater impact over the long war than the decision by Iraq's parliament allowing our forces to remain in situ for a few more years.

The HLF verdict will have very significant fallout for the quasi-legitimate enablers of terrorism, without which terrorist insurgencies necessarily fail. Most important, it gives us a legal opening to go after other terrorist front groups, like CAIR: Having had extensive and intertwining financial connections with the HLF -- now proven to have been a terrorist financing, supporting, and enabling organization -- these other groups stand in legal jeopardy themselves; all that needs proving is that they knew with whom and with what they collaborated, which should not be that difficult an argument to sustain.

A Barack H. Obama administration should be overjoyed to prosecute group after group, since it gives them the opportunity to fight the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis the way they want to do... in the courts!

But it also sets a precedent that even the most spineless Western ally can follow: Follow the money. Now we see the extraordinarily folly of the New York Times "outing" the SWIFT Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. Like everything else in the modern world, international terrorism is very expensive. It's not inherently a moneymaking enterprise; straight robbery and kidnapping for ransom produce only a very tiny portion of their funds. World-wide terrorist attacks depend upon financial and logistical support from, e.g., the government of Iran and individual wealthy Saudis, willing or un-, from non-terrorist supporters of terrorism.

This why we took out Saddam Hussein: Not to steal Iraq's oil, not to "liberate" Iraqis, but to remove the government that was, in 2003, the second biggest supporter of Islamist terrorism (Iran was probably the biggest).

Military force is one way to go after terrorist enablers, but another way is to dry up their funds through legal action. Funding requires banks and other financial institutions; banks must necessarily leave a huge footprint on world financial institutions (they cannot be completely invisible, as a terrorist organization strives for), and this extrusion into the civilized world gives us a handhold by which we can grab them and shake.

Too, even the most terrorist-enabling banks have other concerns besides financing Hamas and PIJ; that is, they have a lot to lose -- so are much more easily intimidated or frightened away than a terrorist bomber who expects to die in the holocaust he causes. Simply put, attacking terrorism by filing criminal cases against its semi-legitimate financial and logistical enablers is an extremely effective (and non-military) strategy; in the elite media's rampaging BDS, they attacked one of the few anti-axis programs that would meet with liberal Democratic approval.

Filing many court cases against Islamist terrorist enablers, to be tried in the ordinary civilian court system, would be right up the Obama adminstration's sleeve -- or even John Kerry's! -- and it would actually be extremely effective, to boot. This is win-win for the incoming "office of the President Elect," and I very much hope that he realizes his opportunity.

Now, to the disastrous attack yesterday in Bombay: While it is of course devastating to everyone personally involved, the reality is that, if it has any effect at all on India's tactics against Sunni terrorism, it will be to intensify and redouble its efforts against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and related death cultists in Pakistan, China, and India.

It's hardly a shock; many people don't realize that India has the second third largest Moslem population of any country in the world, and the largest Moslem population of any non-Moslem dominated country. [Doh! When I first wrote this, I completely forgot about Indonesia. Yeesh.] Indonesia has the largest population, at 204 million Moslems; Pakistan is second and India third -- but just barely. Although only 13.4% of the Indian population is Moslem, according to the CIA World Fact Book, India's 1.1 billion population yields about 154 million Moslems (larger than the entire population of all but a few countries on earth)... compared to 164 million in Pakistan, which is 95% Moslem.

With such a staggering number of Moslems in a Hindu-majority country, the sad fact is that mass terrorism is a fact of life. It's typically confined to the "disputed" southern region of Kashmir -- the only dispute is that India possesses it and Pakistan wants it -- but Sunni terrorists from India and Pakistan have struck in nearly every large Indian city in recent years. This latest attack is similar in casualties, though larger in scope, to some of the train bombings in the last decade... to be fair, on both sides (though I believe that Moslems are still driving the lion's share of the conflict). It seems large to us because we don't often hear much about the violence in India that has been ubiquitous for centuries before India and Pakistan separated in 1947.

The two countries fought actual wars over Kashmir in 1947, 1965, and 1971; and terrorism is omnipresent. I just don't see that the Bombay attacks could possibly result in, say, India giving up their portion of Kashmir: The land was divvied up between India and Pakistan during the partition; and in the 1950s, China grabbed a chunk of Kashmir in the Northeast. Nothing that happened yesterday is going to change that.

Nor does the current, quasi-democratic government of Pakistan have any intention of fighting another war with India... particularly since both nations have nuclear weapons. In the history of the nuclear age, no two nuclear-armed countries have ever fought a direct war with each other, though "proxy wars" have been frequent. India and Pakistan obviously share a border; the temptation for the loser in such a war, fearing being overrun, to resort to the nukes is so great that I cannot imagine either nation deciding to roll the bones.

So the attacks were really nothing more than a horrible, murderous temper tantrum by the Islamists... or, as I prefer to see it, a mass human sacrifice by an Islamic death cult... senseless, futile, and ritualistic.

Thus, the last week has seen two giant strides forward against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis, tainted only by a vile immolation of innocents by the modern-day equivalent of Moloch worship. No matter how one works the accounts, this has been a very, very good week in the clash between civilization and utter barbarity.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 28, 2008, at the time of 1:19 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

So the attacks were really nothing more than a horrible, murderous temper tantrum by the Islamists...

It's more complicated than that. First off, the political theory of terrorism is that the purpose of attacks is to draw reprisals, without giving the enemy a decent target for those reprisals. The goal is to inspire the enemy (i.e. India) to come down harshly on India's Muslim population. This aids the terrorists because it would radicalize the Muslim population leading to more support from them. So goes the theory.

And it may work out that way. Previous terrorist attacks in India by Muslims have lead to riots against Muslims, and to government repression in Muslim areas. Or so it apparently is perceived.

There's a different reason possible for this attack. The new government of Pakistan has been making a serious effort to reduce tension with India. A terrorist attack out of Pakistani territory, with possible support from the ISI, will pretty much end any movement towards less tense relations.

A real peace in the short term would necessarily involve the Pakistani government formally giving up all claim to the parts of Kashmir occupied by India. That is intolerable to the Islamic radicals.

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2008 12:26 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Steven Den Beste:

So the attacks were really nothing more than a horrible, murderous temper tantrum by the Islamists...

No, I still think the best understanding of this sort of terrorism is that it's ritualistic human sacrifice, and this version of Islam is actually closer to Moloch worship. The theory you cite is accurate, in that they really believe (convince themselves) that it will work that way... but it's psychotic and almost never works in real life.

Yes, there are riots against Moslems; but Moslems don't benefit from this. I don't even think they're radicalized so much as terrorized. Since they're such a minority in India, the last thing any rational Moslem wants is a radicalized Hindu majority... ergo, the terrorists are irrational, or at least they're acting irrationally.

Ritual human sacrifice, like the Aztecs. And like the Aztecs, once you start down that road, no amount of bloodletting is ever enough, and no person is ever immune: The gods are ever hungry, never sated.

A real peace in the short term would necessarily involve the Pakistani government formally giving up all claim to the parts of Kashmir occupied by India. That is intolerable to the Islamic radicals.

I think a "real" short-term peace here could be bought much more cheaply: If the government of Pakistan were honestly to cooperate with India in identifying any rogue elements of Pakistani intelligence who were involved and actually prosecuting them to the full extent of the law, executing or imprisoning them however the Pakistani law anent terrorism dictates.

No need to give up claims to Kashmir; the two countries have agreed to disagree about that for a number of years now.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2008 2:53 PM

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