Tuesday, January 13, 2004
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The European front in the War on Terror
The Guardian's Sunday Observer had an extremely disturbing story two days ago on the renaissance of Muslim terrorist cells across the continent. The highlights:
This matches what the London Times (subscription required) reported earlier this month:
Developing... in a very disturbing way.posted by Dan on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM
Did some REALLY expect this Cancer Not To Metastasize?posted by: JP on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.posted by: BigJosh on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
The big question, of course, is whether this is a direct result of her policies to transform/liberate/etc. the middle east.
and the next logical question - assuming you think it is or isn't, what evidence do you have to support the conclusion?posted by: publius on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
by "her" i meant "our" - sorry, long dayposted by: publius on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Actually the big question is what do we do about this now. Al Qaeda's robust growth in Europe throughout Europe in the 1990's did not rely for inspiration on an American invasion of Iraq. In fact, it's leader most commonly cited the steps taken to contain Iraq without war -- principally the deployment of American soldiers in Saudi Arabia -- first among his reasons for waging war against us.
Europe continues to treat terrorism as a somewhat nastier version of criminal activity. Assuming the English newspapers are right (a big assumption), perhaps what Europe needs is its own version of the Patriot Act.posted by: Zathras on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Political correctness is virtually the norm in Europe and the British isles; America merely has the sniffles while they have full blown cases of advanced pneumonia. Most of our Middle Eastern immigrants are Americanized no later than the second generation. I’ve read where in Germany a high number of these immigrants still feel alienated even after the third generation! Our welfare systems also do not generally support immigrants indefinitely. Earlier today Instapundit highlighted Mark Steyn’s piece:
“Let me see if I understand the BBC Rules of Engagement correctly: if you're Robert Kilroy-Silk and you make some robust statements about the Arab penchant for suicide bombing, amputations, repression of women and a generally celebratory attitude to September 11 – none of which is factually in dispute – the BBC will yank you off the air and the Commission for Racial Equality will file a complaint to the police which could result in your serving seven years in gaol. Message: this behaviour is unacceptable in multicultural Britain.
But, if you're Tom Paulin and you incite murder, in a part of the world where folks need little incitement to murder, as part of a non-factual emotive rant about how "Brooklyn-born" Jewish settlers on the West Bank "should be shot dead" because "they are Nazis" and "I feel nothing but hatred for them", the BBC will keep you on the air, kibitzing (as the Zionists would say) with the crème de la crème of London's cultural arbiters each week. Message: this behaviour is completely acceptable.
The New York Times and Washington Post are bad enough. However, they are nowhere near as goofy as the BBC and the “mainstream” media of Europe.posted by: David Thomson on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
IIRC, the Brits adopted a law like, but some what stiffer than, the patriot act.
Clearly the problem runs a lot deeper than mere law enforcement. One social policy step European countries should take is limiting the availibility of dole payments to unemployed adults. Another step would be deporting persistently unemployed aliens.
Americans should be happy that our illegal immigrants come from latin america and not the middle east.posted by: Robert Schwartz on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
The smug intellectual elites believe that all they need for world harmony is for Bush and conservative thinkers to go away, and then these puny criminal elements will whither away.
What they refuse to believe is that it is 1943 again, we are at war, and they are offering aid and comfort to the enemy. Israel is our canary in the coal mine, and when they stop breathing, Western Civilization is right behind them.
It matters not whether we demonize Osama bin Laden or Abu Musab Zarqawi, we face a serious movement, one which a billion Muslims will enthusiastically support when the time comes. Treating this war like a criminal investigation, and granting our enemies access to legal and constitutional protections when this enemy (who respects no humane norms, neither moral nor legal, no Geneva Convention while we attempt to revise the Patriot act) pursues a global war of world domination, would be funny if it were not tragic.posted by: Michael Gersh on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Some comments for David Thomson.
I can speak a bit to the issue of Germany's Middle Eastern immigrants (if one considers Turks to be Middle Eastern, for most of Germany's Muslim immigrants, certainly those here for 2-3 generations, are Turks). Some of them did feel alienated, largely because they were by force of law quite literally alienated. Third generation immigrant or not, they were legally Turks, not Germans, and acquisition of German citizenship was extremely difficult. German citizenship law was reformed a couple of years ago and it is now easier for "Turks" born in Germany to become German citizens (though Germany is still very far from adopting a ius solis system). In America, such immigrants would not only feel American in the second generation, they'd be American. How a state's legal system deals with immigrants and how those immigrants feel about the state are not, I'd venture, entirely unrelated.
As for Kilroy-Silk and Paulin: political correctness of the reactions to them to one side (though if I recall correctly, Paulin was pretty roundly condemned at the time), surely there is room for the judgement that they are both of them offensive prats.posted by: Mrs Tilton on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
if I recall correctly, Paulin was pretty roundly condemned at the time
He did not lose his job, and was not threatened with criminal prosecution, so I don't think there is any comparison with what happened to Kilroy-Silk.posted by: R C Dean on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
To my mind, the EU's problems in this regard are a vindication for Mr. Bush, and his policies, which the EU rejected. How would it be now if the EU had fallen into line with us, instead of bleating anti-western nonsense?
It's my guess that this question will play in the upcoming election.
Allow me to take issue with your "one billion Muslims" argument. This figure is often bandied about, usually by those who are fatalistically inclined (as in, "how can we possibly hope to survive an onslaught by a BILLION MUSLIMS?"). In the wake of the Kilroy-Silk controversy, who wants to say "yes, but..." Well, here goes. Yes, there are a billion Muslims, roughly speaking. BUT they are not eagerly awaiting orders to rise up and destroy Western civilization.
The well of current jihadist dogma flows directly ( as we all hear, ad nauseum) from S. Arabia and the ME. But I would not write off the "converts" (i.e.non-Arab Muslims) so quickly. They are far and away the majority of the "billion" Muslims, and if we are able to stop the flow of Wahhabist garbage in their direction and help them rehabilitate their own moderate traditions, we won't have to fight a "billion" or more enemy combatants. Just a few hundred million.
Now, don't we all feel better?posted by: Clio on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Why shouldn't terrorism be spreading? Al Qaeda is winning, after all. The have already achieved their first major goal, getting the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia, and are well on their way to their second, polarizing the world into a "clash of civilizations".posted by: Rich Puchalsky on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Given that "Britain is still playing a central logistical role for the militants, with extremists, ... a senior militant describes London as 'the nerve centre'" Why is it that there is not criticism of the British Government and Prime Minister Blair? Criticizing the BBC is no substitute.
Everyone is bashing the French, the Germans, the EU, the the 'nerve center' is treated with kid gloves.posted by: claude tessier on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
To Mrs Tiltin:
What about this tiny little irky fact that what Paulin was saying was hatred-inciting balderdash, whereas what Kilroy was saying was essentially true (as in 'empirical fact')? I know it's all the rage nowadays, particularly in the academy, to speak of 'rival discourses', but I have news for you: simply because there are multiple opinions it does not mean that they are all equal. Some things are incoherent (illogical), some things cannot be empirically tested. Paulin's rant was faulty on both counts; Kilroy's piece, although crude, passed both tests. So here's some news for you, Mrs Tilton, and others out there: some people are wrong in their opinions. In fact, most people are wrong in their opinions. They cannot reason and/or their opinions are empirically false. Pointing this out is not offending people; it's clarifying where we all stand. And even if it does offend people: I am sure you are not too upset by the fact that Hitler may have felt offended by Winston Churchill's characterization of him as a barbarian, or are you now? The truth will set us all free.posted by: Jane on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Clio has it exactly right. The terror problem is Arab, and its spread to non-Arabic Islamic areas is solely a function of Saudi oil income. Whether terror in non-Arabic Islamic areas would survive loss of Saudi oil income is a significant question. My take is that it won't, but this might not save Pakistan which has failed state problems combined with WMD possession.
There is a non-trivial chance that its intramural hostilities will have the same effects as city-busting nuclear attack, i.e., collapse of its transportation infrastructure and ensuing megadeath. Only that is when we'd have to go in to keep Pakistan's nukes from falling into the hands of Al Qaeda's successor terrorist organizations, and IMO we'd have to use our own nukes in the process.
Pakistan is just too over-populated and impoverished for most of its population to survive once its shaky transportation infrastructure (i.e., port unloading capacity and food distribution system) goes down for any reason, with civil war heading the list.
Saudi Arabia, though, is both at much greater risk of civil war than Pakistan, and of consequent catastrophic population loss. Only 11.62% of its work force are Saudis, and the 78.38% foreigners will all go home during civil war or Saudi loss of oil income. See:
"RIYADH, 12 January 2004 — Saudis constitute only 11.62 percent of the Kingdom’s total work force, according to Ahmad Al-Mansour Al-Zamil, deputy minister for labor affairs. “The number of workers in the Kingdom reached five million on Jan. 7 this year. Among them Saudis number 581,000,” he said, quoting the latest statistics of the information center at the Agency for Labor Affairs."
The tiny, rotten work ethic, Saudi domestic labor force is incapable of supporting the 16-20 million Saudi population just given the area's awful climate, and there are lots of other reasons the place would then suffer megadeath.
Such collapses would result in truly massive refugee flows to anywhere else possible. People won't stay in place to die of thirst, exposure, starvation, disease, violent disorder, etc. Those who think the world would be better off without Arabs should keep this in mind.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, some favored nationalities excepted (American, etc.), have limited-time contracts by Saudi law, so a large number are always coming and going at any one time. This law was adopted to avoid any chance of them settling in. The Saudis intend to avoid what happened with Turkish "guest workers" in Germany.
The refugee flow I mentioned would be local residents fleeing imminent death.
Here's a factoid on how potent a push even local warlordism can create. The Chinese population of Japanese-occupied Manchuria soared in the early and middle 1930's, despite the exceptionally brutal Japanese rule, because it was preferable to living in warlord-ridden northern China. The only people allowed to be nasty in Manchuria were the Japanese and there weren't that many of them, so it was heaven for Chinese compared to China.
The situations I expect to occur in Saudi Arabia, and which might occur in Pakistan, will make northern China in the 1930's look like a walk in the park.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Am I getting you right ? Your worries are about the instability created by 581,000 Saudi refugees ? Sounds to me that the even if all of them left, the amount of refugees would be small in scale when compared to refugee flows we saw in Rwanda (2.5 millions), just to name one case.
I agree with you that a civil war in Saudi Arabia is not impossible and could be devastating, but I don't think that the refugee issue is the worst consequence or the real destabilizer in neighboring countries. I would fear the lawlessness in Saudi Arabia a lot more (a brand new Afghanistan, but with lots of oil money). Think Uganda and Sierra Leone, where diamond money fueled decades upon decades of neverending atrocities.
Anyway, I still thought your post was quite insightful.posted by: ch2 on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
If you reread my original post, you will see that I said the total non-foreign population of Saudi Arabia, i.e., Arabs and whatnot, is 16-20 million, of whom only 581,000 are gainfully employed. There about 4.5 - 5.0 million foreign workers who are not included in the 16-20 million.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
What about this tiny little irky fact that what Paulin was saying was hatred-inciting balderdash, whereas what Kilroy was saying was essentially true (as in 'empirical fact')?
Kilroy claimed that all Arabs were "despotic, barbarous, corrupt suicide bombers". This is an "empirical fact"? I don't think so: it's hatred-inciting balderdash.
Kilroy claimed that Arab nations have contributed nothing to modern civilisation. This is rubbish - I wouldn't even rate it as high as "hatred-inciting balderdash". He's ignoring the invention of modern mathematics, astronomy and medicine, in order to make a racist point.
Finally, if that suits your right-wing head better, Kilroy knew that his contract with the BBC prohibited exactly this kind of racist posturing. He broke his contract. He lost his job as a result.
posted by: Jesurgislac on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
Kilory made a generalization. He expressed himself crudely, as I pointed out. That does not alter the fact that the Muslim contribution to civilization took place about 1,000 years ago, never to be heard from since, and has been hyped for obvious PC concerns ('let's not rock the boat'). The *Arabs*, as opposed to Muslims, contributed virtually nothing. The much-cited stuff about mathematics was either taken from the Indians or from the Greeks. Furthermore, the Arabs did this long before their tribes were dispersed into states, which only happened in the 20th century. The fact that the Western political structure of the nation-state does not suit their pre-modern tribal way of life is an important part of the problems they pose. So, if you really believe that the "Arab nations" have contributed to civilization, as you say, you have to point to something that happened in the last 75 years. Otherwise you're stuck with the Muslim minding of the Greek/Indian store 1,000 years ago. In short, Kilroy was essentially right. I can only wish you much strength in your sorrow... It must be tough.posted by: Jane on 01.13.04 at 04:36 PM [permalink]
the Muslim contribution to civilization took place about 1,000 years ago, never to be heard from since
There are so many errors in this statement that I'm not quite sure where to begin.
First, we're discussing Arabs, not Muslims. Second, "a 1,000 years ago" is a wild over-generalization. Third, "never to be heard from since" is simply false. Fourth, up until the Industrial Revolution, Arab civilizations rivalled white Western civilisations: and the Industrial Revolution changed things for all non-Europeans worldwide, not only for the Arabs.
The much-cited stuff about mathematics was either taken from the Indians or from the Greeks.
The history of mathematics is of mathematicians learning from each other down the centuries. The Hindus invented the concept of zero: but we have it in Europe because Arab mathematicians saw its utility and worked out how to use it. That's why we call the present system "Arab numerals" - because it was Arab mathematicians, working from the 5th to the 11th century, who developed the foundation of modern math, before it was introduced into Europe. Without Arabs we wouldn't have Euclid: we have many classical Greek treasures only because Arab libraries preserved them during the Dark Ages in Europe. To dismiss all those centuries of work as "taken from the Indians or the Greeks" is absurd and a racist denial of history.
Furthermore, the Arabs did this long before their tribes were dispersed into states, which only happened in the 20th century.
And this has what to do with anything?
The fact that the Western political structure of the nation-state does not suit their pre-modern tribal way of life is an important part of the problems they pose.
Again, you demonstrate minimal knowledge of history. The problems caused by the post-WWI division of the Ottoman Empire into smaller nation-states has little to do with the "pre-modern tribal way of life" and a lot to do with the French and British colonialist attitude to the Arabs.
So, if you really believe that the "Arab nations" have contributed to civilization, as you say, you have to point to something that happened in the last 75 years.
Why? Because three-quarters of a century is the most your brain can cope with? Because nothing "real" happened prior to 1929?
Otherwise you're stuck with the Muslim minding of the Greek/Indian store 1,000 years ago. In short, Kilroy was essentially right.
In short, Kilroy was as much of a racist anti-historian as you are; no wonder you liked it. I do try to feel pity rather than anger towards the ignorant, but when the ignorant are as proud of their lack of knowledge as you, and use their ignorance to justify hateful attacks on people by race, I find it hard to do so. Still, I'll try to remember that you are just a know-nothing who may get better with education. Kilroy has no such excuse.
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