Sunday, July 20, 2008

Islamic Resentment Against the West

Neptunus Lex offers his take on progress in the war on terror:

The sources of Islamic resentment against the West are complex and multi-faceted. Our lofty ideals about democracy were always viewed with suspicion when our actions in the region were to make common cause with oppressive kings and tyrants. The issue of Palestinian statehood and the perceived injustices of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank smolder in hearts throughout the umma, but there is little hope for real compromise when too many Palestinians cherish the dream of destroying their Israeli “peace partners” in detail rather than coming to any form of accomodation with their existence. Even if some way were found to bridge that gap, the al Qaeda jihadis that dream of re-establishing the caliphate seek also to undo the Spanish reconquista along the way - a goal that is probably not worth serious consideration in Spain.

So where are we now?

Tactically. In Iraq we have taken a battle that al Qaeda called a “must-win” and made them lose. When we leave - and leave we will - we will have left behind the nearest approximation to a liberal democracy that the region’s culture will currently support, while demonstrating our capacity to take a blow and return it severalfold. The rats are fleeing the sinking ship:

Al-Qaeda may be considering shifting its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, the top US commander in Iraq has said.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Gen David Petraeus said there was evidence that foreign fighters were being diverted away from Iraq…

He said there were signs that foreign fighters recruited by al-Qaeda to do battle in Iraq were being diverted to the largely ungoverned areas on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

While Jihad, inc. has not entirely abandoned making mayhem in Iraq, weak governments in both Afghanistan and Pakistan leaves the Pakistani FATA as a much more congenial place from whence to plan and execute terroristic savageries. The Iraqi people have seen the Qaeda vision up close and - ultimately choosing to believe that it could be defeated in an alliance of convenience with a coalition unwilling to cut and run - rejected it, opening up for themselves a brighter, more prosperous future. No matter how deeply the current of anti-westernism and anti-Americanism runs in the middle east, it has not escaped local notice that the Iraqi people - faced with the choice between violent and autocratically imposed sharia law and democratic self-determination informed by their cultural character chose the latter, often at hideous personal cost.

More at the link.

See also, Max Boot, "Are We Winning the War on Terror?"