Saturday, June 16, 2007

Islam in Miniature

The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to One. He advanced towards it trembling. The Phantom was exactly as it had been, but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape.

"Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?"

--Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Didn't conventional wisdom always hold that everything that’s wrong in the Middle East stems from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and (formerly) the Gaza strip?

Which was always nonsense, of course. The Arab Middle East’s biggest problem is not Israeli occupation, but Islam.

Friday’s CNSNews reports the following (“Gaza Residents Anticipate an Islamic Future”):

After days of violence, the Gaza Strip was quiet on Friday as citizens there awakened to a new Islamic reality.One Gaza resident said that while he and his family are physically fine, they feel "terrible" because they don't know what the future holds."Hamas militants are behaving politely," said an economist who asked not to be named.

Since Thursday night, people have been allowed to go out, he said. Hamas members allowed Gazans to visit a prison formerly controlled by the Fatah faction, showing them the jail cells and implements of torture in an effort to paint themselves as the good guys, the man said.Hamas has vowed to bring strict Islamic law to the Gaza Strip.

Remember: the ousted Fatah party was formed as the political sock-puppet of Yasser Arafat’s terrorist P.L.O. Overnight, the corrupt Palestinian Authority that Fatah inherited from its founder, and which it continued to administer in imitation of Arafat’s thieving, murderous, obstructionist, and duplicitous style, is now the clearly more moderate of the two feuding terrorist groups.

“Moderate” in this context is a purely relative term. Fatah was always more secular than Hamas, and when backed into a corner was finally willing to say it recognized Israel’s right to exist (not say it and mean it, of course, just say it); but even that was too much for Hamas. Fatah's failings are why Hamas feels so little compunction in making war against Fatah and executing their former partners in a unity government.

What we are witnessing in this tiny strip of geography is what happens when a “moderate” Islamic terror organization comes up against a better funded, more ruthless, and more fanatically Islamic terror organization: the formation of an Islamic terror state.

Moderates always lose against fanatics with Iranian bankrollers.

Gazans may be sorry now they voted for Hamas, but this is exactly what they asked for when they voted for it, and now it is too late for regrets. Hamas promised Gazans both a destroyed Israel and a return to Sharia totalitarianism. Hamas is never going to achieve the first promise, but is already delivering on the second one. According to the CNS report, Hamas militants for now are being polite to the Gazans, but:

Arab affairs expert, Dr. Mordechai Kedar from the BESA Center for Strategic Studies near Tel Aviv, said he expects the situation in the Gaza Strip to worsen.In the beginning, Hamas may stabilize the situation but then support for the fundamentalists will decrease, Kedar said -- when Hamas starts closing down restaurants and cafes after sunset, for example.

And worse than that, I’m sure, if the example Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and other Islamic states tell us anything.

Defenders of Israel have long criticized as fatuous the “peace plan” approach to the Palestinians. To us it it was self-evident that creation of a Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist would mean a terror state on Israel’s doorstep--a state that will not only threatens Israel’s existence, but will further destabilize the Middle East, risking even European and American national security.

We are now watching this come true in tiny Gaza.

Critics of international jihadism have also insisted that the litany of Islamic complaints--chief amongst them the perpetual complaints about Palestinians' mistreatment at the hands of Israel--have never been anything more than useful excuses for a well-documented and perfectly transparent religious goal of imposing Islam on the unbelieving world, and the subjugation of the Christian civilization of the West.

We can see this war in a microcosm in nearly every armed conflict on the globe today, in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Kosovo, and on and on.

But in Gaza we can see the conflict with the fog of phony claims of injustice and the complex factors of religious demographics and dverse populations swept out of the way. This was Muslims murdering Muslims. The Hamas coup cannot fairly be blamed on Israel, nor on the Iraq war, nor on the plight of the Palestinians, nor on the persecution of Muslims by neighboring infidels. Hamas had to sweep Fatah out of the way in order to achieve its two irreducible objects: the destruction of Israel, and the creation of a Sharia state in alliance with the militant ummah throughout the world.

Hamas and its likeminded jihadist armies couldn't care less about creating a Palestinian state for the sake of the Palestinians. The only states that matters are Islamic states whose military and economic resources can be turned to the service of the borderless Islamic nation. Political entities are useful only insofar as they enable a more effective jihad against those in the House of War.

When demonstrators in Dearborn last week called for unity amongst Iraqis, Lebanese, and Palestinians, they spoke on behalf of the Islamic nation, the believers, the ummah. They were voicing their hopes for more and more of what is happening in Gaza right now. They want an Islamic theocracy for the Palestinians, just as they want one for the Lebanese for the Iraqis, and sooner or later for the whole world.

If there is a silver lining in this, albeit a blood-stained silver lining, it is that what we see now in this tiny, tortured microcosm on the Mediterranean is a simplified model of the struggle of Islam against the world, stripped of all the social, political, and historical complications we must sort through elsewhere in our tangles with Islam, especially with Iraq and Iran. In Gaza there can be no confusion about root causes.

We know now that Hamas’s first principle is not the liberation of Palestinians from Israeli occupation (there is no occupation), nor the formation of a just state based on a democratic model (they could have cooperated with Fatah), nor obtaining ecomomic and social advancement for Gaza’s people (Hamas knows full well Gaza will be more starved and isolated from the world than ever after this).

No, Hamas’s first principle is Allah demands imposition of Islam by force, setting up an Islamic state, and confining all within it under Sharia law. And such is the nature of its logic of force, so ferocious and all-demanding, that even after having won electoral success and significant representation in a unity party, Hamas still had to stage a bloody coup to eliminate even its only moderate partners, the merely secular crooks and terrorists of Arafat’s Fatah.

The ideologically blinkered will always find reasons to blame this on Israel, on George W. Bush, on the West, but it is very clear that Gaza today is the effect of the cause of Islamic radicalism. By no means is it exceptional. The situation of Gaza will not require mounds of sociological, political, or anthropological analysis on the order of Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Even being mindful of the risks of oversimplification, this is irreducibly simple. In Gaza a jihadist army took over, and imposed an Islamic state.

Gazans a year ago may not have anticipated waking up on June 14th under a new Taliban, but are any of the rest of us really surprised that, given the opportunity to prevail through armed force, Hamas would impose just this kind of religious rule? Was this unexpected? Was it something that none of us ever imagined?

You know the answer. There is nothing that just happened in Gaza that didn’t happen already in recent times in Algeria, in Afghanistan under the Taliban, in Iran under the ayatollahs, or that is not being attempted in southern Lebanon or Sadr City, or isn't now on the drawing board for London, Paris, or Your Town, USA, if we don't learn from this and watch out.

Like Scrooge’s being taken to witness his own wake, a vision of what may come to pass, but not what must come to pass, Gaza this week is a premonition of the future vouchsafed to the West. Jihadism is opportunistic, warlike, and single-minded. It does not mix with moderation. It therefore needs to be treated accordingly.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, we have a chance to stop the insanity in our own policies, even if we can do little for the insanity that Gaza has now become. We don’t have to continue trying to palliate Islamic fanaticism with diplomatic niceties, money, and tolerance of warlike trespasses, meanwhile expecting a different result. We don’t have to keep forcing Israel to work towards the impossible goal of a two-state solution that will lead to nothing more than permanent war against Israel.

The fall of Gaza is a tragedy that can serve as a warning if we let it. The warning is that this is Islam. This is what jihadists are fighting for. This is what they will settle for.

But if Scrooge can learn, why can't we?

"Am I that man who lay upon the bed?" he cried, upon his knees.

The finger pointed from the grave to him, and back again.

"No, Spirit! Oh no, no!"

The finger still was there.

"Spirit!" he cried, tight clutching at its robe, "hear me. I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?"

For the first time the hand appeared to shake.

"Good Spirit," he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: "Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life."

The kind hand trembled.


Anonymous said...

El presidente compasivo must act quickly to admit the inhabitants of Gaza to the United States as refugees. They will contribute another valued element to the multicultural melenge that so enriches our country and can work closely with their recently admitted Iraqi brothers. I suggest settling them in Detroit, Minneapolis, and California.

Viva El Presidente Jorge bin Jorge al-Bush!

Islam is a religion of peace!

Allahu akbar!

Anonymous said...

This is frightening - and, I'm sorry to say, true. This is such an important issue. It's frustrating that the media, and therefore the people, don't see it that way.