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?


Neil Forsyth said...

Is the war on terror just a front for an altogether different war going on behind the scenes? I think it might be.

Andrew K said...

I think it certainly might.

elberry said...

i'm told that the Saudis fund terrorism: this is why Saudi Arabia doesn't get any suicide bombers, because they're all paid to do it elsewhere.

elberry said...

On the subject of Islamic art, interesting to look into the Muslim influence on Dante. Startling stuff. Some evidence that Dante encountered Rumi-like schools of mysticism, the whole Fedeli d'amore being a Western offshoot of Rumi's loose teachings (Rumi too i guess being part of a larger stream), possibly allied to what was exterminated in the Cathar Crusade.

Andrew K said...

I've read a very interesting book on the Cathars, though perhaps not quite broad enough in its scope for my liking, though it is what it is & excellent on in its own terms: The Yellpw Cross. Highly recommended, but not quite sure what you mean by the Cathar Crusade; the attack on the Cathars by the Catholic Church?

elberry said...

Yes, i think it's sometimes called The Cathar Crusade, otherwise known as The Albigensian Crusade, i think. Am cogitating a longish post about Dante which will make reference to it. i think from the scale and atrocity of the Church's response to the Cathars, there was definitely something going on that they found extremely dangerous. Could be it was just the number of followers, but i'm not sure. i think their doctrines were in some way present in the Troubador songs, and this was transmitted to Dante's fedeli d'amore secret society. Dante's sympathy for the Knight Templars is interesting too.

Andrew K said...

I wouldn't be looking for good guys too especially in the Templars & Church story, though. Many of the people within the Cathar Yellow Cross book were very appealing & devout, but the belief system itself I'd have very deep reservations about. Their persecutors I'd probably have far grater reservations about.