We may be four years on but.... this is a fascinating observation from The Captain's Quarters about an largely overlooked article which appeared in the State-owned Iraqi newspaper Al-Nasiriyah two months prior to 9/11.
There's a killer point of course, which I'll come to, but almost as interesting is the way the writing treats the psychology of Iraqis. One really important realisation is how a state-owned (and controlled) newspaper could be so supportive of Osama Bin Laden, before his full post-9/11 Arab hero status:
'The phenomenon of Bin Ladin is a healthy phenomenon in the Arab spirit. It is a decision and a determination that the stolen Arab self has come to realize after it got bored with promises of its rulers: After it disgusted itself from their abomination and their corruption, the man had to carry the book of God and the Kalashnikov and write on some off white paper ``If you are unable to drive off the Marines from the Kaaba, I will do so.''
Talk about the 'stolen Arab self' reminds me of our own Orla 'Israel stole thirty-eight years from them; today, many were ready to take back anything they could' Guerin. But the pseudo-psychology reminds me of the typical western analysis of the self nonsense (link randomly plucked from a morass). One can't forget that Saddam drew for inspiration on the kind of mystical revolutionary Arabist socialism of Euro-educated Michel Aflaq.
One can't also emphasise enough that this article was carried in the Saddam-worshipping and brutally controlled press- yet sang the praises of Bin laden. It was a product of a newspaper in a Shia area, so I'd say we can assume its purpose was partly to intimidate, shackle and, if possible, indocrinate the local population with propaganda.
Given the recent declaration of war against the Shia by Al Qaeda, Iraq branch, this is more interesting still.
But the real crux of interest in the article is that it mentions all three of the targets on 9/11 in connection with Bin Laden. The last apparent reference may actually not be one, but it is certainly curious: 'the revolutionary Bin Ladin is insisting very convincingly that he will strike America on the arm that is already hurting. That the man will not be swayed by the plant leaves of Whitman nor by the ``Adventures of Indiana Jones'' and will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs.'. (boldenings mine)
It's so interesting- I'd like to read a better translation, but one can see that there is some clever name-dropping going on, and that someone like Bin Laden is quite philosophically consistent with the Baathist presses' mission. It's old stuff, true, but what strikes me is that on so many occasions in not being willing to believe we have an enemy that is widespread and charged with ideology and hatred towards us we've missed many things (like the clear Al Qaeda links to the London bombings, of which many are stupidly sceptical). It wouldn't surprise me if these really were references to 9/11, or that Al Qaeda reps were boasting in the coffee bars of Baghdad and elsewhere before, as well as after, the attack. (hat-tip to Mark Steyn- again)
Friday, September 16, 2005
Posted by ed thomas at 1:53 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Tranzi Frenzi- and a hope
Melanie Phillips adds some info about the Israeli General's escape from the risiblly overextended arm of the law:
'Israel’s Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog who flew to Britain to raise money for a charitable cause, was warned by Israel’s ambassador to London not to disembark from his El Al flight at Heathrow because British detectives were waiting to arrest him. The arrest warrant had been issued on Saturday by the Bow Street Magistrate's Court at the request of a pro-Palestinian group. The warrant alleged that in 2002 Almog had ordered the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes in Rafah. Gen. Almog decided not to alight from the plane, and remained aboard until it turned around and returned to Israel.' (bold lettering mine)
I was incensed by this action of the part of the authorities- and I will be even more upset if the they take some actions aginst the sensible Israeli ambassador. Britain used to be a country which had a rational regard for Israel and its position, which understood the difference between soldiers and mobsters, and distinguished sensitively between types of government. Now we don't, even though the distinctions are ever more relevant and important for our own understanding of the world.
There's a perfect evil twin to this misuse of judicial power in the surrendering of British sovereignty to European law courts- as explained by Peter Glover. Essentially what's likely to happen is the harmonisation of EU criminal law- certainly the EU powers have that power now. As well as an abdication of real power (the opposite of the extension of false power), it's an abdication of thought- and to think is what we need more than ever to do. (hat tip, ATW)
Our law used to be decent, even if imperfect and limited in many ways by the eras in which it worked. Now the limitations are few, the boundaries are eroding away to nothing, but the results is illiberalism and powercrazy behaviour.
But, despite this gloom, there is an answer. The answer is not to be too negative, but to look for positive judgements and actions to outweigh the negative ones that have such high profile. From somewhere we have to find within the law some wise decision-making. I believe it might be possible since I've been proved wrong once before. I never believed that Lord Hutton would be as immune from the popular gossip as to blame the BBC for their behaviour surrounding the Kelly affair. From almost nowhere (well, Northern Ireland ;-)), came this decent, rational man to seemingly bunker-down and deliver a rational account of affairs.
Of course I am aware that legal decisions which give the EU such powers as have been given are difficult to cope with from my perspective, but the legal position and what happens in reality can be two different things. Thus Israel might find it has some British champions and the EU might find it gets its fingers well and truly burnt at some time in the future. I wish I could say I was active in this matter, but I'm open to suggestions. For now I'll retain a little hope that our legal system can find some fibre from somewhere.
Posted by ed thomas at 11:57 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Talking About Rotten- this graph and map shows the way the UN views the world, describing the frequency of UN human rights complaints against different countries. If you look closely at the middle of the global map you can see a little sliver of red that highlights Israel. It's part of a great site, Eye on the UN.
I'm going to file it in my blogroll some time soon, but under which category I wonder?
Sometimes I feel I get this categorisation business a bit wrong, and maybe it's the fault of my slightly poetic filing system. However, in Natalie Solent's case I'm sure I was right to file her under 'pastoral talk', as is amply proved by this posting recalling Sept 11th. It's great sermon material for anyone who does that kind of thing. Or maybe it already was sermon material and Natalie was a beneficiary? In any case it ought to be in sermons somewhere.
And btw the way I must thank that fine 'surfing dude' Mark Steyn for his excellent links.
Posted by ed thomas at 8:56 AM
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
A number of things have made me realise that the problem with the War on Terrorism is that most Western politicians share the analyses of the terrorists.
The clearest example is the one staring us in the face, the one that people from outside the UK most remark on, the savagery on our doorstep that's found in Northern Ireland. Peter Hain is a classic example of a politician who has agreed with every so-called colonial grievance that's ever been aired. When you read his CV, you know that in founding the anti-Nazi league he intended to create a pressure group that would identify what he would call the 'nazi within' ie. the colonial legacy, and enshrine political correctness. Through this prism we have to see his dramatic concessions to the IRA following their latest P.R. stunt.
Moving on, look at how the British Government are dealing with Israel nowadays: trying to arrest retired Israeli Generals. Now of course it was only the idiot judiciary who were trying this on, but the British Government are not far behind. It also shows how the judiciary are becoming ever more activist. Again the establishment are agreeing with the terrorists, accepting their lines- even repeating them.
And finally, what are we to make of the War on Terror when most politicians would be horrified at any mention of a further military step- even a step- against such terrorist regimes as Iran and Syria?
Even Bin Laden, I suspect, only needs to hang around for his anti-imperialist needs to be met.
I think the current generation of politicians, especially our British ones, are unblushing hypocrites. They can't stand the bombs exploding anywhere near their political eardrums, so they act tough, but they agree with the terrorists' analyses: poverty is our fault; colonialist fascism is to blame etc etc. They won't tell us they agree, because that's not their style. I don't think the public in any western country agrees with them (and I would except a number of US politicians and thinkers from this charge, though their will is weak).
Why then are people fighting and dying in Iraq? Simply because politicians like Blair are realistic enough to know what kind of concessions are required, and that these can't be offered overnight. If you're going to allow for reverse colonisation you can't do it just like that. He is therefore at war with the unrealism of the terrorists, not their causes. People like Ken Clarke, meanwhile, are too short-sighted to understand that the terrorists have a meaningful mindset that requires appeasing or destroying.
Posted by ed thomas at 1:46 PM
Monday, September 12, 2005
An article to file alongside the UK's attempt to bring Turkey into the fold, from Melanie Phillips:
'The EU is a profoundly anti-democratic project. Its concept of democracy amounts to the will of the collective trampling down individual national interests — a collective without even a language in common.'
Posted by ed thomas at 9:37 AM