Monday, 11 February 2008
Kneeling Angel, by Shah Quli, mid 16th century
Though, of course, any work of beauty from Islamic culture must, by convenient definition, be an exception to Islamic culture, which apparently hates all beauty.
And from there to Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror
by Jason Burke, reviewed by historian, William Dalyrmple here. The whole piece should be read, but to sample a little of it:
Ironically, the country which has played by far the greatest role in advancing the spread of global Islamic militancy was not listed in Bush's 'axis of evil' speech, and is a major US ally. It is no coincidence that Saudi Arabia provided 15 of the 19 hijackers on 11 September. Ever since the Thirties, the Saudi regime has vigorously exported Wahhabi Islam, the most severe, puritanical incarnation of a religion which historically has been remarkable for its tolerance and syncretism.
The Saudis have used their oil wealth to try to kill off tolerant forms of Islam. Saudi money financed the most extreme Jihadis fighting in Afghanistan and the camps in which they were trained. It was these camps that produced the Afghan Arabs who form the hard core of al-Qaeda as well as a myriad of other similar organisations. As Burke shows, prior to Clinton elevating bin Laden to mythic status by firing cruise missiles at al-Qaeda bases, few in the Islamic world had ever heard of him.
Yet America, dependent on Saudi oil, continues to ignore the culpability of the Saudis, and allows them to suppress human rights as brutally as the Taliban. More damaging still, the Americans continue to permit the Saudis to export their Wahhabism unchecked.
The Saudis now dominate as much as 90 per cent of Arabic language newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, radio and TV. They have also promoted the mass radicalisation of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kurdistan by funding the hard-core Wahhabi, Salafi and Deobandi schools that now dominate education there.
That the US is a major ally of the nation spreading extremist Islam is a great anomaly, isn't it? Well, no, it isn't. It does admittedly contradict a false version of reality only fit for children, which accepts the War on Terror on its own apparent, but patently false terms, but it fits perfectly the reality of a created and convenient enemy, whose diabolical existence- devoted to pure evil as it is- justifies all manner of draconian and aggressive actions by those who might wish to take such actions.
As leading neo-con thinker Richard Perle helpfully informed us: "Dictators must have enemies. They must have internal enemies to justify their secret police and external enemies to justify their military forces."
"Dictatorships start wars because they need external enemies to exert internal control over their own people."
As a sign of the esteem in which I hold my hypothetical audience, I will leave it to any members of this kinetically elite body to decide which category of theory explains this American and British support of the nation primarily responsible for the extremist Islam which these countries- the Axis of Integrity- are allegedly fighting. Does it most comply to the nature of an It's Just Happening Theory, or is it perhaps better suited to the nature of a Conspiracy Theory?