Continuing Education on the Mid East, Islam, etc.

September 20, 2001 at 11:29 pm
Contributed by:

Heya folks…here’s today’s harvest, for your continuing education…

A look at the history of Islam:

One personal (edited) thread:

anytime. and the modern history of the conflict is the Palestinians took
arms with 5 Arab nations when Israel declared independence in 1948. When
became clear the Israeli’s would win that war, many/most Palestinians
fearing they would be slaughtered by the Israeli army since, if they had
won, that’s what they would have done to the Jews (my interpretation).

Thus started the Palestinian "refugee" problem. Jordan was the only Arab
nation to take in any of the Palestinians but then kicked them out in the
late 1960s (I believe) because the Jordanian King feared Arafat would stir
up trouble in the kingdom. Then Arafat and crew set up shop in Lebanon in
the 1970s where they engaged in terrorist activities, including the
of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1980 (or thereabouts) in order to oust the PLO
from its borders, which it did. But that was the first
strike by Israel’s army after repelling numerous invasion attempts by Arab
armies. The Israel’s stayed in Southern Lebanon until just last year. Many
observers point to the Lebanon invasion as when Israel started looking far
less sympathetic in the eyes of the world, and the army (and its Christian
allies) did engage in some Vietnam-like killing of Arab civillians.

As I said before, Israel is not innocent. I just think people forget who
is they’re dealing with. It ain’t the boy scouts.

– AT

PS: of course, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter and I
don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but that’s how I see it.

I really dig Ted Rail’s stuff but can’t disagree more than his take on
Israel. While the Israeli govt is far from faultless, those who "defend"
the Palestinians seem to convienently forget that they have NEVER recanted
their call for the destruction of the state of Israel. And yet, Israel has
tried to negotiate peace with them in good faith. And to what end? Barak
offered Arafat 99.9% of what he said he wanted at the Wylie conference and
Arafat said "no".

Oh, and PS: Israel is the ONLY nation in the middle east that holds
democratic elections. It seems to me the govts of other Arab nations —
which have done almost NOTHING to help their Palestinian brothers — have
it in their best interest to keep the Palestinians in poverty b/c that
situation gives the "Arab street" something to rail about rather than the
lack of freedoms and oppty in the Arab world.

Don’t mean to vent at you but I think the attacks last week show what
Israel has been dealing with throughout it’s history and yet still gets
roundly criticized. Again, I know the Israelis are far from perfect, but I
just don’t get it….


Another edited personal thread, courtesy of my cousin:

Hi Chris. Wow. Thanks for the discourse. I have to admit that I am behind
the times a bit. I do not have a tv, I only listen to NPR a few minutes in
the car on the weay to work, and by the time I get back from yoga, npr
programming is over. I do have some thoughts though. I would have to agree
with your last comments that it is all about our way of life which is
capitalism guised in vacuous patriotic terminology like "freedom." It is
only minorly about oil – when it suits us. It’s about support to Israel
because of the Jewish lobby (read: politics and money); it’s about needing
a scapegoat because we are too scared and too self-promoting to have
honest reflection. Finally on npr they have started to interview some
journalists from English speaking newspapers from predominantly Muslim
countires. Before they shunned discourse, hurrying off callers that wanted
us to examine our foreign policy. I don’t judge those that need the
patriotoc sentiment, that need t! he human-interest stories to grieve, but
there should be parallel introspection. (look at Maureen Dowd’s column in
the NYT today).

I think we will go into Afghanistan, if only because we are at a total
loss of what else to do. Not many, if any, Afghans are even involved int
his very loose network of terrorists. We have never committed the kinds of
resources into intelligence that we needed to, anyone going in now would
be buggered. We should be learning from the Israeli’s, from the Egyptians.
We are about to cause civil war in Pakistan. We just have no clue how to
infiltrate these cultures. For Somali we sent General Aideed’s son as the
translator. Now he is head of his father’s militia in Somalia. Just plain
stubborn, uninformed decisions. Right now half of Afghanistan is living on
the borders, desperate to get out after numerous years of drought and
famine. Pakistan closed its borders some time ago. Friends of mine went
into Afghanistan during the Mujahadin war against Russia – they went
through the Khyber pass on donkeys to bring medical relief to the people
living in the mou! ntains. American soldiers have not been trained for
that terrain – how many times do we have to live the lessons of Viet Nam,
of Somalia, before the men in charge with WWII complxes change their
stratefy? Forget minimum impact on civilians, they are looking for minimal
impact on American soldiers. They may be ready to fight a ground war now,
but clearly they are not ready for it. And a ground war against one man?
With thousands under him trained and linked by cells? Hmmm…It’s clearly
hard to know what to do, but it first has to come with serious
introspection and examination of why it happened – get out there and
listen to people – and then in consultation with countries that have
knowledge of theis kind of terrorism. Not warfare. This is not a war.
Israel has been living with this for decades (as have the Palestinians)
and it is not war, it is terrorism. It’s time we recognized that we are in
the game like everyone else. And it is not religious! . Murder and suicide
are against the Koran. Muslim fundamentalists? You have to work within the
rules of religion in order to be a fundamentalist.

I don’t know. It exhausts me to think about all this. We will go about it
wrong. We always do. It makes me think about when I was living in the
Somali refugee camps in Kenya. The embassy was bombed in Nairobi. I went
to a movie with Bruce Willis as an FBI agent. When he donned his FBI
jacket, the row a couple down from me in the theatre started to cheer –
all clean-cut American FBI agents coming to root evil out of Kenya – an
evil put there expressedly for us – the Kenyans were at a total loss, and
outr patriotic rhetoric did not help that country deal or grieve one bit.
The FBI ended up telling the Kenyan govt to expel five Islamic NGO’s – one
of which was doing really good work up in the village where I lived – a
village living next to refugee camps where refugees were getting all kinds
of things (though it wasn’t easy) – like food and medical care, and the
villagers – poor Kenyan Somalis, got nothing. So they were kicked out, the
village suffered, they knew I ! was AAmerican, I giot death threats, was
under virtual house arrest. The point is there is no reflection on cause,
no reflection on consequence. We just charge ahead, chest puffed out. Now
we have Superman as a president battling Lex Luthor. It’s too depressing.

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