Posts Tagged ‘Muslim extremism’

Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia

May 24, 2017

I came across this picture a couple of days ago and wondered what it was.

It is a ceremony conducted Monday in honor of the opening of the Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Saudi Arabia.

The participants touching the glowing orb are Egypt’s President Abdul-Fatah Al-Sisi, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and President Donald Trump.

The name of the center is ironic, because Saudi Arabia is the center for extremist ideology in the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia pays for missionaries to spread Wahabism (or Salafism), a highly intolerant version of Islam.  Wahabists believe that Shiites and other Sunnis are not true Muslims.

Hassan Rouhani

King Salman and his son, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, are  waging a bombing campaign against Shiite villagers in Yemen, is stepping up aid to rebels in Syria and is trying to organize a Sunni Arab military alliance against Iran.

Voters in Iran, meanwhile, have re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, the moderate reformer who negotiated the nuclear deal with the USA.

Rouhani is more democratic and peaceable than the hereditary Saudi rulers.  He has won honest and contested elections.  The range of choices in Iranian elections is limited because the ayatollahs vet candidates.  But you could say the same about U.S. elections, except that our candidates are vetted by big-money donors.

The Saudis seek regime change in Syria and Yemen; Rouhani seeks increased trade and investment.   In Middle East geopolitics, the Saudi monarchy is the aggressor, the Iranian clerical regime is the one on the defensive.

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Does the rule of law apply to jihadists?

October 1, 2011

Yes, Anwar al-Awlaki was a jihadist.  He advocated waging war on the United States.

Is it justifiable to kill an “enemy combatant”?  Maybe.   It depends on your definition of an “enemy combatant”?   But the criteria, if any, for defining an enemy combatant are a state secret.  Basically anybody is an enemy combatant whom the President of the United States decides is an enemy combatant.   This contradicts the basic principle of the rule of law, which is that a ruler has no right to kill or imprison you unless you are in violation of a known law.

Whether or not Anwar al-Awlaki played any operational role in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, his chief threat to the United States was in the influence of his anti-American ideas, especially among English-speaking Muslims.

Supporters of U.S. government policy say that jihadist clerics such as Anwar al-Awlaki are inherently anti-American and have to do with a goal of establishing a worldwide Islamic Caliphate, not with the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries and U.S. support for dictators in Arab lands.

But what makes his ideas so influential?  Isn’t it because the U.S. government’s policies give them credence?   I don’t think killing Anwar al-Awlaki will diminish the appeal of his ideas.  I think his death will make him a martyr in the eyes of many young Muslims, and, at least in the short run, add to his appeal.  He may be dead, but the videos and audios of his sermons have a kind of immortality on the Internet.  Ultimately, the only way for the U.S. government to counter his ideas is, by its actions, to prove he is wrong.

Click on Anwar al-Awlaki in his own words for a collection of quotes, video links and audio links by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.