17 January 2004

Osama is so 1997!!
Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah is distancing itself from Al-Qa'ida, saying that Al-Qa'ida's tactics and policies only cause trouble and are not based on proper religious understanding.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Report by Abd-al-Latif al-Minawi in Cairo: "'The Strategy and Bombings of Al-Qa'ida (Part 1)'; Al-Sharq al-Awsat publishes new book by the leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah; the book criticizes Al-Qa'ida's strategy and bombings; Al-Qa'ida's goals are Afghan in nature and its leaders did not understand the concept of jihad; the bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca revealed their flawed understanding of Islam."

In this book they have come to the conclusion that the US never did target the Muslim world on the basis of religion, and that everything that has been done to the disadvantage of Muslims can be explained by secular US interests and therefore there is no Sharia duty to defend the faith. In fact it goes so far as to point out that US interests have at times coincided with those of Muslims, and cites the US defense of Muslims against Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The authors conclude that Al-Qa'ida's strategy was one of the most important factors that hastened the formulation of this US strategy that is negative toward the Muslim world.

Hindsight is 20/20 vision.

Relevant outtakes:
Egyptian Islamist Leaders Fault Al-Qaida's Strategy
"The leaders of the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah -- the co-authors of the book, some of whom are still in jail -- admit that the recent bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca in May 2003 revealed a flaw in the strategy adopted by Al-Qa'ida. The bombings also revealed a flaw in Al-Qa'ida's understanding of jihad and the application of Shari'ah on jihad.

The leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah Al-Islamiyah ... also assert that ... jihad is a religious duty that will remain until the Day of Judgment. But it is a duty with checks that should be available if it is to be carried out. These points contradict Al-Qa'idah's vision. Al-Qa'ida believes that jihad is the only correct response to face reality and gives precedence to the logic of defiance over the principle of calculations.

The leaders of the Al-Jama'ah Al-Islamiyah argue that the US strategy toward Afghanistan -- especially in the early 1990s -- did not justify the strategy that was adopted by Al-Qa'ida.
The co-authors suggest that the leaders of Al-Qa'ida entangled the Muslim nation in a conflict that was beyond its power to wage, a conflict that it did not want. The authors note that the consequences that resulted from Al-Qa'ida's strategy did not serve the interests of the Muslim nation, but led to many negative results: 1. It led to the collapse of the young Muslim state in Afghanistan. 2. Al-Qa'ida and the Islamic movements were hunted down as part of security globalization. 3. Al-Qa'da's strategy hurt the interests and issues of the Muslim minorities by deliberately confusing between terrorism and resistance movements against occupation. 4. It paved the way for the realization of Israel's objectives and designs.

The authors pose the question: Is it right to target and kill a person based on his nationality? The authors answer their own question by pointing to the erroneous conclusions of the Al-Qa'ida leaders that it is permissible to kill American civilians.

Al-Qa'ida's strategy strengthened the voice of those who call for all-out war against Islam. We do not believe that this crusader war actually existed. Some may say, "so what is wrong with igniting a war against America and the West on the basis of religion? This would mobilize the energies of the Muslim nation and nip these schemes in the bud". To this we say we disagree with this logic. We disagree not only because the Muslim nation is not ready for such an option. We disagree also because we believe that awakening the Muslim nation from its deep slumber and helping it to rejuvenate its civilization and bounty require us not to fall in the trap of clash of civilizations.

The book was authored by the following eight leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah Al-Islamiyah: Karam Zuhdi, Najih Ibrahim, Ali al-Sharif, Usama Hafiz, Hamdi Abd-al-Rahman, Fu'ad al-Dawalibi, Asim Abd-al-Majid, and Isam Darbalah.

Sheikh Omar Abdel al-Rahman, convicted in 1996 of conspiring to destroy New York City landmarks, including the UN headquarters, the Federal Building, and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, was the spiritual leader of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah even back when they were making money by robbing Christian shopkeepers in southern Egypt. In the mid-70s he found Saudi financial backers for the group.
Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah joined the International Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, an alliance formed in 1998 by al Qaeda and a number of other terrorist groups from the Muslim world.
In the wake of outrage over tourist killings in Egypt, the group unoffically split into a less violent and a more violent faction. Today there are believed to be a few cells still operating in Egypt, Sudan, the United Kingdom and Yemen that are believed by the Egyptian government to be supported by funds from bin Laden, Iran and perhaps some Islamic nongovernmental organizations, according to CDI and FAS. In March 2002, members of the group's historic leadership in Egypt declared use of violence misguided and renounced its future use, prompting denunciations by much of the leadership abroad.
Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat is published out of London.

Although we know Saudi Arabia was funding Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah in the 70s, we don't know if they are still funding them or have any influence over them. If we lean towards believing that SA does have some influence with the traditional leadership of the group, which is probably the faction that published this denunciation, then we might consider this as an attempt of Saudi Arabia to take some of the wind out of al-Quaida's sails now that they have become dangerous to them.
Just my opinion.
Will this act as a cluestick to the jihadis or is this a bunch of conciliatory words from a toothless organization, meant to score brownie points for Saudi Arabia?
Am I a mideast analyst now? I'm just trying to keep from having to pay jizyah. I can't afford it in this economy.
A short history of Wahahbism published in 1995 in Istambul and reproduced at usaprayercenter.org says that Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab was taught and inspired by a British spy, one Mr. Hempher, to found a new religion in order to gain worldly power. To this end he teamed up with Muhammad Ibn Saud, and eventually these 2 families founded Saudi Arabia.
Tied up with the rise of the Saud family and the formation of Saudi Arabia is the rise of Arab nationalism. Arabs were beginning to recognize themselves as a nation. The article says "Britain unwittingly supported the Wahhabi Arabs in their revolt against the Ottoman Turks." (Unwittingly? Really?)
The article warns that 80% of the mosques in the US are Wahabi and points out that majority of Muslims in the world despise the Wahhabi cult, but will stand with them because they are Muslims.
allAfrica.com: Uganda: Muslims Circumcise Pastor
Muslims Circumcise Pastor

New Vision (Kampala)
January 13, 2004
Posted to the web January 13, 2004
By Esther Mukyala

KAMULI Police have charged eight Muslims, who reportedly forcefully circumcised a born-again pastor recently, with injuring somebody.

The district Police commander, Fred Ssekiwere, said Musa Mulyabirime and seven residents of Namukoge village in Bumana sub-county circumcised Pastor Charles Muwanguzi of Bulumba Miracle Centre after his prophecy for conversion failed to materialise.

Last year, Muwanguzi reportedly prophesied that Mulyabirime would convert to Christianity by January 5, 2004.

Mulyabirime, who also predicted Muwanguzi's conversion to Islam, demanded that they put it in writing.

The duo reportedly signed an agreement in respect to their predictions on August 4, 2003.

When the day came and Musa had not converted, he led several Muslims to Muwanguzi's church where he had locked up himself as if praying for a last minute miracle.

The group reportedly broke the church door open and dragged Muwanguzi to Bulumba Mosque where a sheikh circumcised him.

Meanwhile, Muwanguzi, after reportedly nursing his wound, has resumed his church ministry.

16 January 2004

The Cairo Times2003 was a bad year for the Arabs, the pan-Arab Al Sharq Al Awsat wrote in the 2 January edition, with foreign occupation expanding from Palestine to Iraq. "Last year’s harvest, with all its bitterness, blood and tragedy, was a result of what we sowed," it said in an editorial. UAE daily Al Bayan said Arabs needed not get too despondent, but to put all their efforts into supporting the Palestinians. "There must be continued support for the Palestinian intifada in 2004 from the entire Arab world. Let’s face it: this uprising is the only one to have offered Arabs any victories over the past year, which was otherwise notable for the numerous defeats inflicted upon us," it said.

15 January 2004

LILEKS (James) The BleatIf there had been TV reporters and satellite uplinks on Columbus’ voyage, most of the coverage would have dealt with scurvy and the lack of an exit strategy.
Whatever. Fact: In the middle of a war against medieval-minded foes, we decided that we should also head back into space. We’re not going to close the borders, curl up under the covers. The right hand holds the sword, the left hand holds the sextant.
In 2001 I did not come across this moving tribute to the people, the heroes, that have affected my life so deeply. I have changed for the better since 2001 and the credit goes directly to the people on Flight 93. Their memory is for a blessing.

109 minutes revisited

A cockpit voice recorder revealed this week that the passengers where engaged in a fight with the terrorists when the jetliner plunged into a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.

It is additional evidence that the passengers foiled terrorist efforts to claim another target on the day that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were targets of an attack.

By Brad Todd
Sept. 16, 2001

It's been, of course, impossible to get past IT.


What is IT?


I think it's the gut-level fear that for the first time in my generation, we were whipped.

Whipped by our own complacency. Our own comfort. Our own insistence on putting convenience ahead of precaution. Our own arrogance that let us forget that the world is a dangerous place.


This, of course, is the angst that people in most of the rest of the world feel every day. And if we look deep inside, we can probably acknowledge that for all our egalitarian pontifications, this is not the kind of equality and fraternal kinship in which we really believe.

I finally admitted this fear to myself three days after the attack. I wasn't particularly proud of it. It seemed like a shallow thing to fret over when such real suffering was all around me -- my house sits just three miles from the Pentagon, after all.

But there it was.

And the aftertaste of the bitter pill of my character flaw was the sad realization that such angst was Osama's primary objective. Buildings and airplanes and, yes, even 6,000 lives, were just the collateral damage. Despite the metaphoric value of last week's bricks and mortar targets, the real core of the Western economy isn't a skyscraper or a government building. It's the can-do swagger of the American worker. And bin Laden's soldiers cut deep into that swagger.

So he won.

Or did he?

I thought so ... until Friday night.

Friday night I watched a Jane Pauley interview with the family of Jeremy Glick. Jeremy Glick was a 31-year-old who flew as a passenger on commercial airplanes for a living. I describe him that way because right now I'm fairly convinced I'm just a 31 year old who flies planes as a passenger for a living...the other parts of my job having become less noticeable this week.

As the interview unfolded, I realized something I didn't know before: Jeremy Glick and the people on United Flight 93, bound from Newark to San Francisco, knew what was happening on the ground.

At 8:48 a.m. Mohammed Atta took a jet headlong into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Eighteen minutes later and accomplice did the same to the south tower.

When Jeremy Glick called his wife, his first question was an attempt to confirm something another passenger had heard on his spousal call: was the World Trade Center story true?

Lizzy Glick paused, thought for a minute, swallowed hard, and told him the truth. Yes, they had. Moments later, still on the line with her husband, Lizzy Glick saw that another plane had run into the Pentagon. She passed that information on as well to her husband, who relayed it to the other passengers.

Jeremy Glick then told her that the passengers were about to take a vote and decide if they should rush the hijackers and attempt to foul up whatever evil plans they had.

He put down the phone and a commotion was heard by those on the other end of the line. Then nothing. A dead line. An aborted missile launch against the town where I live.

That was 10:37 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11... just 109 minutes after Mohammed Atta rammed the first plane into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Just 109 minutes after a new form of terrorism -- the most deadly yet invented -- came into use, it was rendered, if not obsolete, at least decidedly less effective.

Deconstructed, unengineered, thwarted, and put into the dust bin of history. By Americans. In 109 minutes.

And in retrospect, they did it in the most American of ways. They used a credit card to rent a fancy cell phone to get information just minutes old, courtesy of the ubiquitous 24-hour news phenomenon. Then they took a vote. When the vote called for sacrifice to protect country and others, there apparently wasn't a shortage of volunteers. Their action was swift. It was decisive. And it was effective.

United Flight 93 did not hit a building. It did not kill anyone on the ground. It did not terrorize a city, despite the best drawn plans of the world's most innovative madmen. Why? Because it had informed Americans on board who'd had 109 minutes to come up with a counteraction.

And the next time a hijacker full of hate pulls the same stunt with a single knife, he'll get the same treatment and meet the same result as those on United Flight 93. Dead, yes. Murderous, yes. But successful? No.

So I think the answer I come to is "yes, but at least not for long."

They did whip us. And maybe those of us who've demanded to be let on airplanes at the last minute fed a culture of convenience that made it possible.

But they only had us on the mat for 109 minutes.

Brad Todd is a political consultant who lives in Alexandria, Virginia.