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The Difference Between Sunni And Shiite
Why is it significant that Osama is a Sunni? To understand that, you have to understand the two main branches of Islam. Here's some help -- from the History News Network, sponsored by, but operating independently of, George Mason University:

The Sunni branch believes that the first four caliphs--Mohammed's successors--rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims. They recognize the heirs of the four caliphs as legitimate religious leaders. These heirs ruled continuously in the Arab world until the break-up of the Ottoman Empire following the end of the First World War.

Shiites, in contrast, believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate successors of Mohammed. In 931 the Twelfth Imam disappeared. This was a seminal event in the history of Shiite Muslims. According to R. Scott Appleby, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, "Shiite Muslims, who are concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, [believe they] had suffered the loss of divinely guided political leadership" at the time of the Imam's disappearance. Not "until the ascendancy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1978" did they believe that they had once again begun to live under the authority of a legitimate religious figure.

Another difference between Sunnis and Shiites has to do with the Mahdi, “the rightly-guided one” whose role is to bring a just global caliphate into being. As historian Timothy Furnish has written, "The major difference is that for Shi`is he has already been here, and will return from hiding; for Sunnis he has yet to emerge into history: a comeback v. a coming out, if you will."

They link to a special 9-11 edition of the Journal of American History, in which Appleby explains, in their words, "that the Shiite outlook is far different from the Sunni's, a difference that is highly significant":

...for Sunni Muslims, approximately 90 percent of the Muslim world, the loss of the caliphate after World War I was devastating in light of the hitherto continuous historic presence of the caliph, the guardian of Islamic law and the Islamic state. Sunni fundamentalist leaders thereafter emerged in nations such as Egypt and India, where contact with Western political structures provided them with a model awkwardly to imitate ... as they struggled after 1924 to provide a viable alternative to the caliphate.

In 1928, four years after the abolishment of the caliphate, the Egyptian schoolteacher Hasan al-Banna founded the first Islamic fundamentalist movement in the Sunni world, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun). Al-Banna was appalled by "the wave of atheism and lewdness [that] engulfed Egypt" following World War I. The victorious Europeans had "imported their half-naked women into these regions, together with their liquors, their theatres, their dance halls, their amusements, their stories, their newspapers, their novels, their whims, their silly games, and their vices." Suddenly the very heart of the Islamic world was penetrated by European "schools and scientific and cultural institutes" that "cast doubt and heresy into the souls of its sons and taught them how to demean themselves, disparage their religion and their fatherland, divest themselves of their traditions and beliefs, and to regard as sacred anything Western."14 Most distressing to al-Banna and his followers was what they saw as the rapid moral decline of the religious establishment, including the leading sheikhs, or religious scholars, at Al-Azhar, the grand mosque and center of Islamic learning in Cairo. The clerical leaders had become compromised and corrupted by their alliance with the indigenous ruling elites who had succeeded the European colonial masters.

From the History News link, about Osama:

Osama bina Laden is a Sunni Muslim. To him the end of the reign of the caliphs in the 1920s was catastrophic, as he made clear in a videotape made after 9-11. On the tape, broadcast by Al-Jazeera on October 7, 2001, he proclaimed: "What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted. ... Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more [than] eighty years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated."

Here's the Cliff's notes version, with notes on subgroups and other factions at the link:

The death of Muhammad in Medina provoked a mayor crisis among his followers: The dispute over the leadership resulted in the most important "schism" in Islam: "Sunnis" and "Shiites:

- The Prophet's preference to follow him was Ali, the husband of his daughter, the Egyptian Fatima, and the father of his only surviving grandsons Hasan and Husayn. But, while the family was busy burying the Prophet, the leaders of Medina elected the aging Abu Bakr, the father of the Prophet's favorite wife, as the successor ("caliph"), even before the burial of the Prophet. Ali and his family were dismayed but agreed for the sake of unity, and because Ali was still young... however, after the murder of the third caliph, Ali was invited by the Muslims of Medina to accept the caliphate, with the mayor schism of Islam:

- The "Sunnis", followers of Abu, the majority, with 800 million Muslims.

- The "Shiites", followers of Ali, with 100 million Muslims (Iran, Iraq, Palestine).

Despite the differences in detail and politics, the various branches do accept the basic tenets laid down in the Koran.

1- The "Sunni": 800 million:

The followers of Abu, called "Sunni" because they accept the "sunnas", the oral traditions and interpretations of the Koran after Muhammad's death, called the "sunnas", and later the "Hadiths".

They are usually more liberal.

They belief the "caliph" ("successor" of Muhammad) should always be elected, not conferred by heredity. They claim they are the true followers of the faith, and until 1959 they refuse to recognize the Shiites as true Muslims. They believe in "predestination".

During the Ottoman Turks, the Caliphs were called "Sultans".

2- The "Shiite": 100 million:

The "Shiite ("partisans"), are the followers of Ali, more orthodox and militant, mainly in Iran, Iraq, and Palestine. In 656, Ali and Fatima's son Hussein led a fight against the Sunnis. Hussein was torture and beheaded, and today the Shiites of Iran honor the memory of Hussein's death with an annual procession in which marches in a frenzied demonstration beat and whip themselves with chains and branches.

The "Iman" and "Mahdi" (Messhiah):
Shiites created the office of the "Imam" ("leader" or "guide"), who were infallible, one for each generation, the only source of religious instruction and guidance, and all in direct descendence of Ali. There were 12 Imams since Ali; the last one, the 12th, went into hiding in 940, and he will emerge later to rule the world as "Mahdi" ("Messiah"). For this reason they are also called the "Imamites" or "Twelvers".

- The present "Ayatollahs", ("signs of God") see themselves as joint caretakers of the office of the Imam, until he returns at the end of time. The "Ayatollah Khomeini" claimed that he was a descendant of the 7th Imam, and hence the rightful ruler of the Shiites.

Also at the link directly above is a piece about the Wahhabi. I've frequently heard Osama referred to as a Wahhabi. Who are the Wahhabi?

A small group founded by al-Wahhab in the eighteenth century, but it was the primary force in the creation of the state of Saudi Arabia in 1932, the country of the cities of Mecca and Medina, and from them, the Wahhabi have influenced Muslims throughout the world who go into the pilgrimage to Mecca.

They are the Puritans of the Muslims, with the most strict, severely enforced moral standard of conduct, and their call for a pure Islam regulated by a literal interpretation of the Koran.

For them, it is a polytheism to visit the graves of the saints, and they are against observance of the feast of the Birth of the Prophet... and they discourage such Western innovations as cinema and dancing.

And then, there's this, The Wahhabi Myth (2nd Edition) - Dispelling Prevalent Fallacies and the Fictitious Link with Bin Laden By Haneef James Oliver, quoting an article by Karen Armstrong in The Guardian:

“Bin Laden was not inspired by Wahhabism but by the writings of the Egyptian ideologue Sayyid Qutb, who was executed by President Nasser in 1966. Almost every fundamentalist movement in Sunni Islam has been strongly influenced by Qutb, so there is a good case for calling the violence that some of his followers commit "Qutbian terrorism." Qutb urged his followers to withdraw from the moral and spiritual barbarism of modern society and fight it to the death.

Western people should learn more about such thinkers as Qutb, and become aware of the many dramatically different shades of opinion in the Muslim world. There are too many lazy, unexamined assumptions about Islam.”

Qutb is a nutwad who came to the U.S. as a scholarship student to Greeley, Colorado, and was horrified by a church dance and a bad haircut, among other things. In Joe's words, posted on this blog entry:

People would laugh at the reasons why Sayyid Qutb despised America. It covers 3 basic areas:

1. Our obsession with lawn care.
2. He attended a church dance in 1951, and went completely nuts when the slow dances began. The couples touching and the movements. Especially, to the song, "Hey Baby, Its Cold Outside."
3. The time and money we spend on our pets.

These are just some of the references that are omitted out of the translated versions of his books. Of course, those 3 examples would make perfect sense in the M.E. mentality. Qutb didn't live in Hollywood or New York City, but a small town in Colorado and he thought it was the most hedonistic place on earth.

So in defiance of Islamic extremism:
1. Mow your lawn or go to Home Depot.
2. Slow dance with someone.
3. Spoil your pet.

Posted by aalkon at April 28, 2007 4:39 AM

Comments

Thanks Amy. Usually, when someone uses my past words, it's in the manner of condemnation.

Other gems of Sayyid Qutb's obsessions are our haircuts, especially women's salons and child rearing. Other articles on how he felt the temptations of the Infidels through our modern toilet facilities. This is a popular complaint among the Super 100% True Believers. All collected in Amrika allati Ra'aytu (The America That I Saw)

When one does read his writings in Arabic and English... it is almost instinctual to laugh at these ramblings. But always remember there are millions of people who follow his teachings all over the Middle East and the West.

Outside the world wide web, I find myself warning women at parties and get togethers on the dangers of the rise of Islamist movements. "You (women) have the most to lose in this clash of cultures." All my interactions with various Muslims from different nations. Different classes and levels of education discussing current events. They would tell me how they admire the USA. Our political and social institutions of delivering the basic needs to the average citizens. The one issue that bothered them was OUR WOMEN. Do you want to see Iraq turn really ugly? Invite Paris Hilton to Baghdad for a USO tour. She is used as the ultimate symbol of western women who live in a world of jahiliyyah.

I will end this post on a Qutb quote on American women:

"The American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it."

The modern world has to live in fear, because of one man who couldn’t get any back in 1949???

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 9:19 AM

Western people should learn more about such thinkers as Qutb, and become aware of the many dramatically different shades of opinion in the Muslim world. There are too many lazy, unexamined assumptions about Islam.”

I agree that one should explore islam to the point of understanding, however, one soon reaches a point of negative return of time invested. I have made reasonable efforts to understand the differences, including direct contact with a "devout" muslim, a "moderate" muslim, and an apostate muslim, seeing the BBC DVD on Qutb and the neocons, reading Armstrong, and other activities. After all this, however, my conclusion is that it all comes down to the same as the dramatically different shades of opinion in the christian world-who cares.

If you want to understand what going on in the ME, A Century of War by Engdahl, and Petrodollar Warfare... by Clark are far more useful ways of investing time.

Posted by: Machida at April 28, 2007 9:39 AM

Totally un-PC, and very funny, joke at the bottom:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.09/posts.html?pg=2

Posted by: Dave at April 28, 2007 10:14 AM

> my conclusion is that it
> all comes down to the same
> as the dramatically different
> shades of opinion in the
> christian world-who cares.

Exactly. It's faster and better just to live in a culture where we need not be bothered... And to extend the boundaries of that culture as necessary to protect it locally.

For all the detail of Amy's post and Joe's experiences, there's nothing exotic about Qutb responses. Quite the opposite:

> expressive eyes, and
> thirsty lips. She knows
> seductiveness lies in the
> round breasts, the full
> buttocks, and in the
> shapely thighs, sleek legs

Um, these are themes that appear on the internet a lot, if you catch my drift.

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2007 10:44 AM

Short form:

Sunnis want to kill everyone who is not Sunni and taske over the world.

Shia want to kill everyone who is not Shia and take over the world.

Posted by: Lee at April 28, 2007 10:46 AM

"The American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it."

It's a beautiful thing, too.

I bet there are plenty of Christian fundamentalist types who deplore these qualities in women, too.

D'Souza and Qutb would have gotten along just fine.

Posted by: justin case at April 28, 2007 11:44 AM

Short form:

Sunnis want to kill everyone who is not Sunni and taske over the world.

So, Lee, I take it you didn't actually read Amy's post. Take a look at this...
www.islam-democracy.org/terrorism_statement.asp

However, Islam's huge, huge failure in the face of terrorist offshoots is the lack of Islamic condemnation of terrorism.

Amy, one "s" in my name, 2 in Hassan al_Banna's.

PS: Born in US, Turkish father, Canadian mother, raised atheist, still atheist at age 42.

Posted by: Hasan at April 28, 2007 12:15 PM

I've provided many posts on the various secular movements to reform Islam within the M.E.

-The various sub groupings of Qu'ran Alone movement.
-Using certain fiqh terms within Sharia law to properly condemn violence and jihad.
-Use of ijtihad or re-examination of scriptures and fitrah (natural sense of right and wrong) Even nonbelievers qualify in possessing fitrah.
-The leading secular movement within Islam is called Mu'tazilah. The bridging of science-reasoning with Islam.

But the problem for me as an atheist is the group mentality shared between the moderates and the extremists creates this atmosphere where belief systems without the lack of evidence will lead to violence and other forms of abuses. i.e. Richard Gere's warrant for his arrest in India for kissing an actress

Also, every time a liberal church reform group passes a decree of modernizing their faith. What happens? The more liberal churches lose members to their conservative counterparts. I will give more credit to the reformers when Unitarians start building mega-mall like churches similar to the evangelicals. It goes for liberal Muslims too.

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 1:23 PM

> The more liberal churches
> lose members to their
> conservative counterparts

Well, can't you look at it the other way? You seem to think the energy is with the conservatives. Couldn't you as easily say the conservatives lost membership to the liberals? Isn't that what happened in the Christian United States, that things splintered to the point where there was no dominant group to fear?

I think momentum's with the liberals and atheists, who have best toys, the funkiest music and the weirdest sex. Non-religious people have standards and principles, too.
Not trying to get all Chuck Norris on you, but I'd kill for my Godless beliefs, as would lots of atheists. We're not liberal in the dickless, Santa Monican sense.

Meanwhile, schism should be encouraged, no? It may not be the the silver lining in Iraq, but all that fury was seething there for a reason.

One reason the Crystal Cathedrals of Anaheim and Lakewood Churches of Houston get mocked so readily for their consumery, sports-event vibes is that they depict hollow devotion. Many Bengals fans at Ohio State come to root for the Patriots after they graduate and move to Boston... It's not as personal and heartfelt as it seems on game day.

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2007 2:44 PM

In the long term, it will favor the secularists and religious moderates. Also, I believe there is a spillover effect going on with the exposure of Islamic fundamentalism that is causing some scrutiny into the more active conservative christian movements.

Another positive sign is more right centered atheists are coming out of the closet thanks to Heather McDonald's article in The American Conservative. Books by Sam Harris, Dawkins, Dennett and finally Hitchens are not after converting people, but to galvanize the fence sitters. Polls show that the number of Americans calling themselves atheists has doubled since the last one was taken in 1994. It was 11% to 23%.

Even though terrorism is not one of my top 3 concerns. It’s more like number 4 or 5. Most Americans got their taste of it on 9-11. For me it happened on April 28, 1996 in Egypt.

Another positive sign comes from an incident that happened in Beirut, during the Shia ritual of the Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali. The procession where the dedicated cut themselves in remembrance of Ali's martyrdom. Seeing a few thousand young Muslim men cutting and whipping themselves with broken glass studded whips. The smell of blood in the hot sun was nauseating. Normally, people would watch the procession. What I was looking at was the crowd of onlookers showing signs of being uncomfortable to outright disgust.

I've always said the reason for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is the literal interpretation is on the way out. It is similar with evangelical Christianity in America.

By the way, Jonathan Miller's BBC documentary: Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief is on YouTube. Divided by 3 main episodes. Each episode is subdivided by six 10 minute sections. He goes through the history of atheism from Democritus to the 19th Century without being longwinded or boring.

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 4:45 PM

What happened in Egypt?

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2007 5:12 PM

Cairo, at the Europa Hotel, 18 tourists were shot and killed by members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya.*

Two bombs were set off at various locations a few hours apart, right after the shootings in the Coptic Christian neighborhood in Cairo. I was sitting with a friend at a cafe about 95 yards away from the second explosion. The target was a business owned by a leader of the Coptics. I had my back towards the explosion and at an angle. The blast threw me into my friend and landed on top of her. No major damage, except loss of 40% of the hearing in my left ear and infrequent tinnitus in my right one. (ringing lasting a week or two every few months) It was my official rite into the M.E.

The Western media reported the shootings, but was ordered (by Ministry of Information) not to report the bombings. This is Cairo and not Gaza! If there is a terrorist incident in Egypt... they have a strange policy of not reporting ALL of the story. An attempt to lessen the severity of incidents.

The Valley of the Kings incident in November of 1997 was reported, because it was caught by TV cameras. The story that wasn't reported by the MSM was the 'random' shootings of people (anyone looking Westerner) through out Cairo and Alexandria. I wasn't in any of those cities, but in a village of 200 near the Egyptian-Sudanese border. 58 tourists were killed at the Valley and 11 people (mostly Egyptians who looked like Westerners) in the 2 cities.

Like I said before Islamic terrorist go for symbolic gestures for their violent acts. The tourists at the Europa Hotel were Greeks (Greek Orthodox Christians) and the 2 explosions targeted Coptic Christian targets. (fellow Orthodox believers) Also, Mubarak has a special relationship with Coptic Christian community in Egypt. So it was a huge slight on him too. You can't protect them Mr. President.

There has been a series of bombings and shootings in Cairo since 2003. Increasing each year.

***Certain key members joined A.Q. in 2006. But there was a schism among differences with al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden.

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 6:38 PM

Google talked only about Tasmania. What do you do for a living?

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2007 7:11 PM

I meant a schism among the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya members. Many of them renounced violence. The group was responsible for Sadat's death. Now members of Gama refer Sadat as a martyr for a Modern Middle East. The other members of Gama who didn't renounce violence split into 2 groups. The supporters for A.Q. and the remaining elements of the original organization's platform.

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 7:17 PM

I'm no spook, Crid.

When I got my BS in Molecular Biology and Bio-Chemistry. I started working for an NGO/A.U. Cairo Campus that was working on tracking the development of the West Nile virus back in 1995. Even before the virus was detected in the states. I was hired by them through my parents' cache with working a Catholic charity and American University-Beirut Campus relocating Lebanese Christians into the USA.

The requirements:
-Spoke Arabic fluently.
-Had a BS in a science of some kind.

My official title was research-assistant. I started of as the guy setting up mosquito traps and collecting samples for the virologists along the Nile. Other unofficial job titles: Translator, Negotiator, Scientist, Senior Research Assistant, Cook, Nurse, Chauffer, Nutritionist, Secretary, Mechanic, Dinner guest, Tutor, Barber, File Clerk, Janitor, Drinking buddy, Fuck buddy (for female staff members) Pest exterminator, HR manager for the locals, Bartender, Accountant, Bean counter (literally, I counted beans) and an amateur camp counselor.

On my resume it says I am resourceful. I’m not kidding.

There were cycles of being busy with field work out in the middle of nowhere and plenty of down time in Cairo. I would go drinking within the expat community. By the way, best drinking buddies are Aussies and Ruskies. Took plenty of classes on a whole assortment of subjects at A.U. and University of Cairo. Improved my dialect of Arabic and acquired 3 more in the process.

In many cases when these particular charities/institutions/NGOs have resourceful, but underpaid people they will loan them out to other groups and private companies. So I go to travel a lot more and doing very strange assignments. Besides the violence, there were plenty of exciting, absurd and funny incidents that go beyond explaining. Lived 2 years in Cairo full time. Lived another 2 years in a different M.E. nation. Spent 5 years living in the states, but rotated to Malta, and various M.E. nations for assignments. Total of 9 years. 6 full time and 3 part time (I was attending grad school in the USA) Met a whole assortment of interesting international personalities. Heard plenty of gossip of certain world leaders within the region too. Living and dead.

Best years of my life, so far. If I could survive there, I could survive anywhere.

Presently, I work for bio-tech company associated with a hospital as a bio-engineer that specializes in human immunology.

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 9:43 PM

We want more Fuckbuddy anecdotes.

OK, maybe that's just me.

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2007 9:59 PM

Crid, you don't want to know Arafat's daughter was a test tube baby?

I could write a book on female sexuality under extreme stressful situations.

My first 5 years in the M.E., I survived 3 major Islamic uprisings. The downside was the possibility of getting killed. The upside was my 'dating' life. Especially women within the international community in Cairo and other cities within M.E.

The best pick up line during an Islamic uprising: "Hi, my name is Joe. Would you like me to buy you a drink?" That’s all it takes. The sound of my American accented English. My all American name. It will remind them of home. Or if they were from Europe... the stories that grandmother told them about a fling with a G.I. during WWII. Also, the possibility of being killed in the next 72 hours helps. Within 25 minutes we would be leaving the hotel bar. Like I said, the best years of my life.

Its so primal and so Darwinian. Its that whole Casablanca scenario. Elsa wants to be with Sam, instead of her weak but noble husband, Victor.

When 9-11 happened, I told my girl friend at the time there will be a lot of lucky guys in NYC and here in DC. At the time, I was living in DC. So true.

Posted by: Joe at April 28, 2007 10:59 PM

> so primal and so
> Darwinian

I saw a heartbreaking case of that, someone who maybe wasn't equipped to become a parent with a child on the way before the war was begun in Afghanistan. She wasn't Ilsa, and Dad wasn't even Rick, let alone Victor.

> Arafat's daughter was a
> test tube baby

Do you know anything about this?

http://tinyurl.com/yolw4q

It was one of those weird new mysteries, like Bert in the Bin Laden poster.

Posted by: Crid at April 29, 2007 3:45 AM

Wait, Sam was the piano player. And by new, I mean new in '01-'02, when they were called "warblogs" and all sorts of strange new information was available

Posted by: Crid at April 29, 2007 3:48 AM

In the initial post, all you have to know about this religion is contained in one concept: one man, a human, set up as a leader, would tell everyone what to do and how to think.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 29, 2007 7:29 AM

Yes, it was Rick, not Sam. I was working late in the office this weekend. Casablanca isn't one of my favorite Bogey movies. I'm more of a Treasure of Sierra Madre and Maltese Falcon type. I still ponder on how Ronald Reagan would have been if he was given the chance to play Rick.

In the future I may discuss Arafat. The test tube baby comments mainly centers on how Arafat and the PLO after fleeing southern Lebanon became a piñata for the Tunisian authorities and later the Israeli government after the Oslo Accords. It is a vein on how to deal with terrorism, by keeping these groups alive, but removing the fangs out of them. Time is the deadliest enemy of all terror groups.

I agree, Radwaste.

What the M.E. needs a little doubt placed in the rhetoric. Throw a few 'maybes' in the religious discussions. "Mohammed maybe was the last prophet of god." Just adding that expression does alter the tone of the debate. Well, it’s a start.

That part of the world does need more maybes thrown about.

Posted by: Joe at April 29, 2007 9:26 AM

A few weeks ago someone, maybe it was you, was comparing & contrasting public and private rhetoric here and there. In the USA, politicians fib in meetings and public appearances to serve constituencies, but might tell you what's really going down in private. Over there, players will honestly threaten the shit out of each other in public, but will say whatever they think you want to hear when you talk to them privately.

Posted by: Crid at April 29, 2007 9:38 AM

It could have been Justin too. I've made similar statements in the past.

Case in point, Arafat's resurgence in the Palestinian polls after the 'failed' IDF siege of his compound was completely staged by Sharon.

Another myth is that all Islamist groups are in league with A.Q. In reality most Islamist groups despise Al Qaeda. The platform for A.Q. is too abstract from the regular terror groups. Most Islamists groups just want to overthrow their respective corrupt national governments and establish an Islamic republic.

A.Q.'s actions against the US and UK has placed a great deal of scrutiny on the other movements. Also, the corrupt governments will use American money and technology to help them combat their problematic fundamentalists (i.e. Pakistan)

Also, with the advent of Islamic based terrorism has placed a lot of middle manager who were involved in liberation based terrorism out of work. It started in 1991 (Bin Laden's first fatwa), the Oslo Accords in 1994 and the final nail in the coffin was the back door negotiations with Libya during the late 1990s. A lot of these middle managers need money and have all this unused knowledge on the science of terrorism.

Various western intelligence services could uses these guys for paid information and spying on the Islamists. Always appeal to their vanity and envy of the lifestyles of the rich PLO/PNA and Gaddafi's inner circle. While their colleagues were killed by Israelis and Western Intelligence services. Or they are serving long prison sentences.

Posted by: Joe at April 29, 2007 11:52 AM

You'll be expected to say that again with different words someday, because some of us might not have understood perfectly the first time and will probably forget along the way anyway.

But... Um... I think an American electorate entranced enough by Bush's talk of a democratic Middle East enough to re-elect the Texan knows better than to hire overseas terror merchants --even in a buyer's market-- in order to get its needs met. This is my fantasy, anyway.

I'm a little pissy this afternoon. I went to the Iraq panel at the Book Festival (instead of Amy's gig-- forgive me, Red) and it was a shitbath. There were no dissenters on the panel, so it was a Westwood wormhole of smug, lefty weeny-rubbing. When my favorite panelist Langewiesche admitted that the war was happening for a reason, the silence in the room was... Unremarkable! The animals facing the stage were snoozing. They found energy to applaud chatter about how America had fucked up, and how the American voter had fucked up (and, I must presume, should therefore not be trusted in the future), but they seemed completely oblivious to the implication that bad consequences were in store for the region anyway, or that America might have installed those consequences by misconduct in earlier decades. It was a hateful thing, and I left early.

Grr.

Posted by: Crid at April 29, 2007 5:15 PM

Also, do you live in LA? Also, how did you come ot this blog?

Posted by: Crid at April 29, 2007 5:17 PM

I don't live in L.A. I'm an East Coast guy. (Philly) I do love Southern California.

For some reason, I tend to live in violent cities... Cairo, Washington DC and Philadelphia. Funny thing, I could own a handgun in Cairo, but not in DC. Actually, I'm seriously thinking about re-locating again overseas. This time a more friendly neighborhood.

How I came across Amy's site? At the time, I was going through a series of bad dates and was talking about it with a friend. She recommended Amy's site, because she wasn't the typical advice columnist. She had similar views on religion, the biological emphasis in relationships, marriage and children.

Personally, I only contribute my views on the M.E. to 2 sites. Amy's and a message board for Middle Eastern affairs in Arabic. The reason I chose Amy's site, because she reaches people who wouldn't normally read the Qur’an, the Sunnahs or the Haddiths. They are not going to learn Arabic or go visit the Middle East.

No body takes the professional protesters seriously. I lived in DC, should see how the local media and the DC police treat them like little kids, because they are so used to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mass demonstration or a stacked audience on Bill Maher’s show. Loved it when Hitchen’s flipped them off during his appearance on Maher’s show.

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