Adapted from Hugh Fitzgerald's compelling comments found here at Jihad Watch.
DUBAI, United Arab EmiratesThe self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq has given Iran a two-month ultimatum to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs or face all-out war, according to an audiotape posted on the Internet Monday. "We givethe leaders of Iran a period of two months to stop all forms of support to the rejectionists of Iraq, and stop direct and indirect interference in the affairs of the Islamic state," said a voice attributed to the group's leader Abu Omar Al Baghdadi. The term rejectionists is used by Sunni militant groups to refer to Shiites, who dominate the government in Iraq and are in a majority in both Iraq and neighboring Iran.
"Otherwise, expect a fierce war that will annihilate you, which we have been preparing for over the past four years and just waiting to issue the orders to wage the campaign," the voice said.
And at the very same time that the US Administration, at the end of its intellectual and rhetorical tether, tells us that Al Qaeda, with a few thousand men, can "take over Iraq" if the Americans leave, it at the same time tells us that that same uber-Sunni organizqation is now having trouble with other Sunnis, particularly the Anbar tribes.
So, in US policy language, which once upon a tiem shined its spotlight upon the mighty organization of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has now declared war on the Shiites in Iraq, calling them "Rafidite dogs".
Shiites, of course, who in the Sunni playbook, are even more treacherous than the run-of-the-mill American and other Western Infidels (the Crusaders/Zionists we all know). Shiites, the declared enemies of the Kurds, who have no rights in Mosul or Kirkuk or for that matter anywhere else because Al Qaeda, while "universalist" ini the same way as Islam claims to be "universalist," is all about the Arabs, and about Arab supremacist claims. Because Al Qaeda will never support the claims of a non-Arab Muslim people if those claims were made against Arab interests, as with the Kurds, or the Berbers in North Africa, or black African Muslims in Darfur.
Yep, the religion of peace is just a fountainhead of blissful co-existence.
And what makes the absurdity still more absurd is the entire confused and topsy-turveydom that public discussion of the iraq War has become. We should note that from whatever perch or sideline one finds oneselfby those who continue to support the war, by those who have stopped supporting the war, by those who never supported the war, by those who are now eager to see the Americans leaveso many different positions, and so many of them proclaimed without any grasp of the overall picture, or how and why what can and should be achievednot despitebut BECAUSE of an American withdrawal we hear and observe daily this doublespeak by the same Bush Administration telling us that "Al Qaeda" will take over while also muttering darkly about how the Iranian agents are everywhere and that Iran, or forces loyal to Iran, will "take over."
The Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, of course, think the Shiites today are the same Shiites of Iraq that they managed to dominate and suppress duriing the entire history of modern Iraq. But they are wrong. And they are also wrong about other things. As Muslims, they have been discouraged at every turn from the habit of free and skeptical inquiry and encouraged, instead, in the habit of mental submission. This has consequences in their grasp of reality. They keep saying, and many of them keep believing, that they constitute, at a minimum, some 42% of the population.
They fail to realize, or come to grips with, the fact that the Shi'a have not only outbred them, but over time, some of the formerly Sunni tribes have become more and more Shii'a (see an article by Nakash on this), and that at present, the Sunni Arabs constitute less than 20% of the population. And that population is concentrated in two places: Anbar Province, and Baghdad. In Baghdad, fabled Baghdad, the Baghdad of Sunni Arab dreams af past (a past which, psychologically, must forever be as real, or even more so, than the present) Islamic glory, the Sunni Arabs have over the past few years been driven out, and now cannot be more than 15% of the population.
Several questions arise. How, exactly, will those remaining Sunnis stay on, if there is a Sunni revolt, or an "Al Qaeda" revolt, against the Shiites? And do the Sunnis realize that the Iran-Iraq border, the one set in 1847 by the Treaty of Erzerum between the Ottoman and the Persian Empires (a treaty which the Czar of Russia helped to bring about) is porous, and do they realize that the Iranian agents are not only in Iraq now, but cannot, not by the Americans, and not by Al Qaeda, be removed?
Or is it that, with a certain panic, they do indeed realize this, and are doing what Muslim Arabs have done beforedid in May and the very beginnng of June 1967, did in October 1973, and do whenever they go to warwhich is to engage in a great deal of huffing, and puffing, and I'll-blow-your-house-downing, and what's more, believe their own rhetoric.
Look at Al Qaeda threatening Iran. Now begin to consider if you really think that the Bush Administration's claim that we must remain in Iraq to avoid "catastrophe" is the right idea, or if you are beginning to see the sense and wisdom of the notion that the war in Iraq is "won" if it leads to a weakening of the Camp of Islam. Is this not a more perfect parsing of events, not this "ordinary moms and dads" in Iraq tasting of "freedom" which George Bush maintains is a universal passion, contradicting many who are skeptical that believers in Islam share, or could possiblly share, if they remain believers, the Western notions about political legitimacy that gave rise to the modern, advanced democracies of the West.
And it naturally follows that the weakening of the Camp of Islam, in Iraq, can be obtained only by, and indeed very well by, doing nothing to prevent it. But the Americans have been moving heaven and earth to prevent it. The ethnic Arab Kurds and sectarian (Sunni/Shiite) fissures, fissures which were pre-existing, the Americans did not and could not have caused.
But American foreign policy, always willing to carry someone else's bucket if it returns a trade deal in the end, has given us Paul Wolfowitz: "Iraq has no history of ethnic conflict" and Condaleeza Rice; "They will just have to get over it [the Sunni-Shiite conflict]) to increase the confusion in the public mind about what's going on over there in the Middle East. Fourteen hundred years of sectarian strife will not be cleared away by simple wishful thinking by infidel leadership. Not even close.
In the case of this particularly bloody sectarian conflict, co-religionists on both sides, as a matter of pride and politics, will send in "volunteers" and money and war material, and what's more, there will be consequences for Sunni-Shiite relations in Bahrain, in Eastern Saudi Arabia, in Yemen, in Kuwait, in Lebanon, in Pakistan, places where the Shiite have rightly felt discriminated against, and have in the past demonstrated, or rioted, or tried to fight back against the Sunnis who either suppressed them (as in Saudi Arabia), or denied them political power (as in Bahrain, with a Sunni ruler and a population that is 70-75% Shiite), or tried to force them to submit to Sunni rule (the Shiite Zaidis of northern Yemen), or kept them, as they see it, impoverished and out of the corridors of power (as in Lebanon), or subjected them to campaigns of terror (as in Pakistan, with the Sunni group Sipaha-e-Sahaba).
In other words, muddled thinking is the only American policy on the ground. While the Camp of Islam rages on, burning itself everything within its sight, the American leadership campaign smoulders, coughs, and sputters. America should leave Iraq indeed, but leave knowing that a greater war in the Middle East and most likely within our own wide-open borders, is coming, and we should be preparing ourselves for the both fight and the fallout. We shall all be infected by this contagion. There is no escape, but victory is the reward for those who stand firm against this unspeakable menace.
Here's a hint. Islam is NOT the religion of peace. Islam is fighting tooth and nail, every man, woman, and child, for world domination. Saudi Arabian style, who have an upper hand due, in historical terms, to its sudden oil wealth. Of course, the Saudis and their Sunni Wahabbi version of peaceful religion seem poised to dispense with the bloodthirsty Shiite renegades first.
Peaceniks are a strange bunch...