Thursday, May 26, 2005


The latest news is that Zarqawi, the face of Islamist terror in Iraq and Al Qaeda's go-to guy has been wounded. I'm instantly skeptical of such news since much of the war on terror is a war of propaganda. If he survives, he will of course be a legend who has returned from the edge of death, thus adding to the mystique of this Jihadist.

Since the Islamist movement is by nature a romantic cult of suicide and death, there is little doubt that such a spin could be helpful in enlisting more Iraqis and more Saudis, as well as other foreigners who continue to be drawn to Iraq.

He could conceivably be wounded though, I will admit.

In any case, the only real solution in Iraq is a political one in which a government of whatever kind is able to install a stable state apparatus.

The nature of the insurgency is an important lesson on Arab tribalism in the mideast. Tom Friedman points out the "hama rules" in relation to Syria's crushing of the Muslim brotherhood.

While the conflict in Palestine sits front and center (in large part because of Arab resistance to secular encroachment, racism, European anti-semitism and the efforts of the Jurassic left to use the "imperialism" template on yet another conflict) most people are not aware that Syria, in a single day, killed between ten and twenty thousand people by leveling the city of Hama with artillery, then bulldozing the town.

Syria, needless to say, has had no problem with insurgents.

It also explains the brutality of Hussein's regime. Was Hussein a reflection of the tribal culture of the mideast filtered through baathism and Stalinism? Given the murderous nature of the insurgency, it appears to be so. In the history of the world, there are very few examples of the kind of terrorism we see now, and we must face the fact that Islam is used as their excuse. The targets are women, children, old people...innocent people at prayer or in their homes, flying on airplanes are riding trains...this is an enemy that I think rightly belongs among the worst the world has ever seen. When Hitchens says that the Viet Cong were downright civilized compared to these people, I think he's right. And when Brad DeLong tries to mock Hitchens for such a comparison, you wonder if he is watching the same exploding ice-cream stores and coffeeshops we are.

I would bet Syria could stabilize Iraq.


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