Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Monday, September 13, 2004

Theories and Thoughts

Ali at Iraq the Model, has an interesting theory on suicide attacks and Iraqi “resistance.” He notes the sharp decline in suicide attacks during each of the two revolts of Sadr’s Mehdi militia:

“When Sadr revolts suicide attacks stop and when Sadr stops suicide attacks resume. The only two suicide attacks that were carried during this period was soon after a peace agreement was reached and when clashes broke up again they stopped. I think that when the Mehdi militia issue will be settled, we will witness again another horrible series of suicide attacks. This whole theory depends on assuming that the relation between the “resistance” and its supporters is much stronger than it looks. The people who support the “resistance” finance it and thus can dictate to a considerable extent its strategy.”

He also has some strong opinions regarding the impact of the situation in Iraq on American elections. He predicts increased attacks on Americans in Iraq as an attempt to sway American opinions against the operation and President Bush. Bush has clearly stated his intentions of keeping troops in Iraq until the job is done and a stable government has been established. The perception of many is that the election of Kerry in November would lead to a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, despite the fact that he has never formally stated this at any time. In Ali’s own words: “[t]he bottom line is that with Kerry they think they have a chance but with Bush there is none.”

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Alaa (
The Mesopotamian) watched the recent events unfolding in Russia and has these few but poignant words:

“Nothing and no cause can justify this, no way. And what is more unbearable is that these zombies carry out all these atrocities in the name of my own religion, in the name of my own God. What can one say?”

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Zeyad's post On clerics, fatwas, and terrorism is an analysis of the complexities and intricacies of modern-day Islam. He points out the fact that there are many different sects/groups/cults of Islam and that clerics and leaders speak only for the beliefs and followers of their sect/group/cult. There is no central authority to all Muslims and no single interpretation of Islamic beliefs. This is an important fact to remember when condemning "Islamic terrorism." The words and actions of a distinct minority should not be considered reflections of the religion as a whole.

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Sam at Hammorabi denounces the terrorists and rejects their inclusion in Islam. This is the stance taken by many Islamic leaders and scholars. I'm glad that the majority of Muslims do not support or condone terrorism. I agree that it is not truly representative of Islam. However, I am concerned with the message it sends to the supporters and followers of these radical groups. By rejecting them and denouncing their beliefs, moderate Muslims are driving a deeper wedge between themselves and these individuals. Separating them from mainstream Islam will only marginalize them further.

The War on Terror is not going to be won by American tanks and missiles. It is beyond the scope of any military or government. At best, it will reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. At worst, it will further inflame the radicals and provide propaganda used to entice additional recruits. You can destroy training camps, confiscate weapons, and arrest individuals. You can damage the physical capabilities and hinder financial backing. You can overthrow governments and remove despotic dictators; but you can not stamp out ideas or beliefs. You can not change a mindset or ideology with a gun. The teaching of radical ideas can only be combated with alternative teachings and viewpoints. This is not a war against a nation, dictator, regime, or people. This is not a war against Islam. It is an internal struggle within Islam that will not be solved by violence and politics.