Friday, November 11, 2005

Questions For Another Day

I had the best of intentions -- really I did.

I'd spent the better part of the last 36 hours -- work and sleep and meals aside (which leaves approximately one hour and forty-eight minutes) coming up with good ideas for this space: and then the bombings in Jordan happened, and here I am. I'm referring, of course, to the multiple hotel bombings that claimed at least 57.

Normally, these types of attacks -- which are relatively frequent throughout the Middle East, thanks to al Qaeda -- are not worthy of mention herein above and beyond the fact that loss of human life, however extensive, is not something I want to focus on in these pages. However, the fallout from the attacks -- on the streets of Amman -- was far too interesting to ignore.

First of all, if you've been in a cave or merely stopping by here and not reading, hearing, viewing or otherwise ingesting the news vis-a-vis the bombings, here's a link. This link details not only what happened -- a multitude of al-Qaeda bombings which ripped through 3 Western-frequented hotels (The Radisson, Grand Hyatt and Days Inn) and killed 60, including the three animals responsible for carrying out the actual attacks -- but of the protests in Amman, which is what I intend to focus on here, at least for the moment.

Why this incident is significant -- and make no mistake, it is extremely significant -- is that the angry, inflamed protests by young Jordanian males screaming for blood in the streets of Amman are protesting al-Qaeda, not Israel, not America, and not the myriad Western targets which usually are the focus of Arab bile. No, the anger is self-directed -- and while al-Qaeda referred to their choice of targets, Amman, as a backyard for the enemies of [Islam] (referring to Israel and America), the bottom line is that the majority of the 150 either injured or killed by these attacks are Muslim.

In the above-cited link, al-Qaeda's statement included these words in describing their planning of the attacks:

"A group of martyrdom-seekers carried out the planning and implementation. They comprised three men and a woman who decided to accompany her husband on the path to martyrdom," the statement said.

"It was agreed to use suicide belts for precision and to cause maximum damage."

This type of statement, while not unusual and typically chilling for al-Qaeda, is unique in that this was the first time this type of anti-Muslim edict was openly discussed by the group. Their assertion that this attack was an indictment of Jordan as a Western and Israeli ally will not carry much weight for those Arab youths chanting "Burn in hell,Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!" Al-Zarqawi is the senior member of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Yesterday, while discussing this with Kaia, I told her -- point-blank -- that despite the horrific nature of these attacks (especially detonating an explosive belt in the middle of a wedding celebration), the one positive result of this incident -- if one can even use the term "positive" in the same sentence as this incident -- is that by crossing this line and attacking their fellow Muslims, al-Qaeda has become reviled by both non-Muslims and Muslims alike. During the years of heavy IRA activity between Belfast and No. 10 Downing Street, the IRA always targeted the British; if the IRA began arbitrarily killing Irishmen -- politics be damned -- they would have been sold out to the British without hesitation. Now that al-Qaeda has begun attacking fellow Muslims -- other than merely bombing mosques of other Islamic sects -- I hope that the Muslim, Arab world begins to see these monsters as have Westerners and non-Muslims have. And reacts accordingly.

There is no doubt that a large part of why al-Qaeda has survived this long is because many Arabs who publicly condemn suicide bombings and attacks on civilians, whether they are Israeli, American or Arab, privately don't mind these types of attacks. Many Arabs -- from heads of state on down to the poorest members of Arab societies -- have no fondness for Jews or America, as they have been inundated over the past five decades to believe that Jews and America are evil and want to drink their blood. That inundation, in part, is how fervent, radical, maniacal suicide bombers are bred. However, now that the curtain of religious piety has been lifted, and the entire Muslim world can see what these non-humans are doing -- in the name of Islam -- to their fellow Muslims -- I wonder how long it will be before the Arab world begins not only to cease its support for them, but even join the West in targeting and eliminating them.

According to the above-linked article, Jordan's Queen Noor predicted the terrorists would lose ground because of the anger over the assaults.

"I personally think they've made a significant tactical error here, because they have attacked innocent civilians, primarily Muslims," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday night. "It is a sin against Islam what they have done."

The U.S.-born queen said a good friend of hers was wounded and is in intensive care, and his daughter was killed. Most Jordanians know someone -- or someone who knows someone -- hurt by the bombings, she said.

"I think those who comprise many of the either disaffected, or those searching for the best way for their grievances and frustrations and anger to be resolved or represented, will look at this in horror, and I think they (attackers) will lose support as a result for what they have done."

What is so troubling is that there still remains a question whether al-Qaeda, after killing or injuring 100 of their own people, will begin to lose support. While one can only hope that this continued violence perpetrated by al-Qaeda abates, it seems far more likely to me that, assuming it does not, that their attacks on their fellow Muslims continue and the Arab world sees -- once and for all -- why Israeli and Western interests regard the Arab world the way they do.

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.

- Aldous Huxley

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