Friday, March 24, 2006

All Quiet by the Dead Sea

Commentary by Martin Kelly
February 4, 2005

If a Muslim commentator were to refer to the State of Israel as ‘Zionia’ in the mainstream press, the outrage would be absolutely justified and deafening.

They would probably, and rightly, be fired by their publisher and forced to repay whatever bungs they’d received from the Bush White House.

On 9/13/2003, a ‘Townhall’ columnist called Jay Bryant referred to the Muslim world as ‘Islamia’, on his website, ‘The Optimate’. He repeated the phrase in a ‘Townhall’ column called ‘First olive’, dated 1/31/2005. In the original column, he referred to ‘Islamia’ as ‘a word I have made up and define as the Islamic counterpart of the old term ‘Christendom’.

However, before he engaged in a philological expedition worthy of Lewis Carroll, Bryant of Arabia should have been aware that there is already a perfectly serviceable Arabic word to describe the ‘Islamic counterpart of the old term ‘Christendom’. That word is ‘umma’, roughly defined as the brotherhood of all Muslims, and the nature of the umma is such that it cannot be secularised.

It was the spirit of the umma that Osama tried to inflame. The vast majority of the umma, to their credit, want and wanted nothing to do with him.

Those who did have been handed a golden opportunity to fight the infidel due to the carelessness, arrogance and stupidity of the neoconservatives in their invasion and occupation of Iraq.

And, for the first time in quite some time, it seems to be All Quiet by the Dead Sea.

I cannot recall hearing any reports of terrorist attacks in Israel for some time. The incidence of attacks seems to have lessened considerably.

This is a state of affairs that can have only four causes.

Firstly, Israel’s anti-terror operations are winning.

Secondly, the Islamofascists are in trouble. The death of a prominent leader, such as Arafat, almost always leads to a subsequent power struggle. Although they may have hated him, he was at least a recognisable figurehead, a celebrity tyrant if you prefer. They needed him as much as he needed them. The relatively easy accession of Abu Mazen may be no more than superficial – although he has a popular mandate, the warlords are fighting among themselves.

Thirdly, the number of volunteers for murder operations is dropping. Although the young men may be willing to echo the vicious anti-Semitism of Hamas, fewer are willing to kill themselves for its sake.

They, too, may care for the preservation and survival of their homes and families.

Fourthly, the terrorists and suicide bombers still exist, but they are elsewhere.

At base, terrorism is a form of radicalism. Radicalism is a mental state, but the terrorist is a radical committed to taking personal action, to making the mental state become real. That commitment cannot be satisfied by inactivity.

Terrorists need to terrorise, and terrorists cannot reform, - those who do are not true terrorists.

A good example of this comes from Northern Ireland. Since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, there have been no major attacks by the Provisional IRA, although the paleo-Fenians of the Real IRA perpetrated the Omagh massacre after the agreement, to which it was not a part, was concluded. However, the Provisionals have consistently obfuscated about handing over their weapons. They must have the guns in order to keep the diehard terrorists in their own ranks in line.

The lack of terror opportunities has led to the gradual transformation of the province’s terror gangs into crime gangs, and a worst-case pessimist can envisage a future for Ulster not unlike that of Chechnya, Kosovo or Somalia, de facto gangster societies and failed states.

But if the terrorists and suicide bombers of the West Bank are elsewhere, where can they be? There is only one place they can be, Iraq, the place that seems to afford more opportunities for terrorism right now than anywhere else in the world.

Even in heavily policed areas like the West Bank, it surely can’t be impossible for some committed wannabe neck-smiter to slip across the Jordanian border and make their way across that country to Iraq. And if one can do it, so can others.

After all, Iraq has two important advantages over Israel for your average terrorist. Firstly, it is very much larger, so there is very much greater freedom of movement. Secondly, it is less secure. The Project For the New American Century has created a terrorists’ paradise.

At the end of his ‘First olive’ article, Jay Bryant wrote that

“For historical and ethnological reason, Iraq had to be the first Arabic olive out of the (democratic) jar. That is why oil policy, weapons of mass destruction and other minutia (sic) never really mattered”.

Every man should find his ethics harsh, difficult masters. Jay Bryant can clearly reconcile his with the lies and deceptions forced on the American people in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
He should be grateful he lives in such a tolerant society, where liars can send the sons of others to fight the mortal enemies of another state.