Watching the Middle East Implode

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


jp-egypt1-articleLargeOriginally published in Defining Ideas

The revolutions against dictators in the Middle East dubbed the Arab Spring have degenerated into a complex, bloody mélange of coups and counter-coups, as have happened in Egypt; vicious civil wars, like the current conflict in Syria; a resurgence of jihadists gaining footholds in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sinai; and a shifting and fracturing of alliances and enmities of the sort throwing Lebanon and Jordan into turmoil. Meanwhile, American foreign policy has been confused, incompetent, and feckless in insuring that the security and interests of the United States and its allies are protected.

A major reason for our foreign policy failures in the region is our inability to take into account the intricate diversity of ideological, political, and especially theological motives driving events. Just within the Islamist outfits, Sunni and Shia groups are at odds—and this isn’t to mention the many bitter divisions within Sunni and Shia groups. Add the other players in the Middle East––military dictators, secular democrats, leftover communists, and nationalists of various stripes––and the whole region seems embroiled in endlessly complex divisions and issues.

Yet a greater impediment to understanding accurately this bloody and complex region is our preconceived biases. Too often we rely on explanations that gratify our own ideological preferences and prejudices, but that function like mental stencils: they are a priori patterns we superimpose on events to create the picture we want to see, but only by concealing other events that do not fit the pattern. We indulge the most serious error of foreign policy: assuming that other peoples think like us and desire the same goods as we do, like political freedom and prosperity, at the expense of others, like religious obedience and honor.

One persistent narrative attributes the region’s disorder to Western colonialism and imperialism. The intrusion of European colonial powers into the region, the story goes, disrupted the native social and political institutions, imposing in their place racist norms and alien values that demeaned Muslims as the “other” and denigrated their culture to justify the exploitation of resources and markets. This process culminated after World War I in the dismantling of the caliphate, and the creation of Western-style nation-states that ignored the traditional ethnic and sectarian identities of the region. As a result, resentment and anger at colonial occupation and exploitation erupted in Islamist jihadism against the oppressor.

The Islamists themselves have found this narrative a convenient pretext for their violence, thus reinforcing this explanation for some Westerners. The most important jihadist theorist, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote, “It is necessary to revive the Muslim community which is buried under the debris of the man-made traditions of several generations, and which is crushed under the weight of those false laws and customs which are not even remotely related to the Islamic teachings.”

Qutb was clearly alluding to the European colonial presence in the Middle East, and specifically to the nearly half-century of British control of Egypt. Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other jihadist groups similarly lace their communiqués with references to colonial “oppression” and neo-imperialist interference, as when Osama bin Laden scolded the U.S. in 2002 for waging war in the region “so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.” The Arabs likewise routinely describe the creation of Israel as a particularly offensive act of colonial aggression against the lands of Islam.

Such pretexts, however, are clearly for Western consumption, exploiting the Marxist demonization of imperialism and colonialism that informs the ideology of many leftist intellectuals in Europe and America. When speaking to fellow Muslims, however, most Islamist groups ground their motives in the traditional doctrines of Islam, which call for war against the infidel and the enemies of Islam.

The narrative of colonial oppression may be gratifying to leftist Western intellectuals, but it cannot alone explain the disorder of the region that has persisted long after the exit of the colonial powers. And it is hard to take seriously complaints of imperialism, colonialism, and occupation coming from followers of Islam. After all, Muslims were one of history’s most successful conquerors and imperialists who, as Efraim Karsh writes, “acted in a typically imperialist fashion from the start, subjugating indigenous populations, colonizing their lands, and expropriating their wealth, resources, and labor.”

Something else is needed to explain Islamic violence when India, a British colony for nearly 200 years, or South Africa, another ex-colony subjected to the indignities of racial apartheid, has not spawned global terrorist networks responsible for over 20,000 violent attacks just since 9/11.

The other dominant narrative is a reprise of Wilsonian democracy promotion. In this view, the dysfunctions of the region reflect the absence of open economies, liberal democratic governments, and recognition of human rights. Subjected to autocrats and dictators, the peoples of the Middle East are denied freedom, individual rights, and economic opportunity, and as a result are mired in poverty, oppression, and political disorder that explode into violent jihad.

George W. Bush sounded these themes in January 2005 in his inaugural speech, in which he linked U.S. security and global peace to the “force of human freedom” and the expansion of democracy: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Hence Bush’s attempts to build democratic institutions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and President Obama’s early support for the “Arab Spring” revolutions: “I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy [and] universal rights.” Both presidents agree that more democracy in the region will mean less of the violence, suffering, and disorder caused by frustration and oppression at the hands of dictators and kleptocrats.

Like the left-wing narrative of colonialism’s blowback in the form of terror and political dysfunction, democracy promotion suffers from the same limitations, particularly the imposition of Western political categories and goods onto a different culture. The fetishizing of democracy ignores the complex network of mores, values, and principles that undergird political freedom and that took over two millennia in the West to coalesce into liberal democracy. And it ignores the absence of those principles and mores in most Middle Eastern countries.

So we focus instead on the photogenic process of voting, the ink-stained fingers and lines at polling booths that we confuse for belief in the liberal foundations of genuine democracy. More important, like the left-wing narrative, democracy promotion is ultimately based on material conditions and the goods of this world––prosperity and individual freedom–– at the expense of religious beliefs. Religion is treated as a private lifestyle choice, as it has become in the West, rather than the most fundamental and important dimension of identity both personal and political, as it is in the Muslim world.

Much of the conflict in the Middle East reflects the collision of these two sets of goods, the religious and the secular, which we oversimplify by emphasizing only the latter. We assume that if a liberal democracy can be created, the tolerance for differences of religious belief, respect for individual rights, and a preference for settling political conflict with legal processes rather than violence, will automatically follow. We forget that in our own history, despite the long tradition of separation of church and state whose roots lie in Christian doctrine, Europe was torn apart by wars of religion that killed millions before that tolerance for sectarian differences triumphed.

The power of Islam is the reality our various narratives ignore or rationalize away when we attempt to understand the violence and disorder of the Middle East. But as the scholar Bernard Lewis reminds us, “in most Islamic countries, religion remains a major political factor,” for “most Muslim countries are still profoundly Muslim, in a way and in a sense that that most Christian countries are no longer Christian . . . in no Christian country at the present time can religious leaders count on the degree of belief and participation that remains normal in the Muslim lands . . . Christian clergy do not exercise or even claim the kind of public authority in most Muslim countries.”

This observation provides an insight into recent events in Egypt. After Mubarak fell, many believed that the secular democrats were on their way to creating a more democratic political order. But ensuing elections brought to power the Muslim Brothers, an Islamist organization that scorns democracy and Western notions of human rights as alien impositions preventing the creation of an Islamic social and political order based on sharia law.

When the deteriorating economy created frustration with the Muslim Brothers’ arrogance and ineptitude, mass protests sparked a military intervention that once again was interpreted as a rejection of the Brothers and sharia, and a yearning for liberal democracy. Our ideological stencil assumed that our secular goods of freedom and prosperity had trumped the religious goods of fidelity to Islam and its doctrines.

Yet it is not so clear that this is the case. Impatience with the Muslim Brothers’ inability to provide basic necessities and manage the economy, or anger at its heavy-handed tactics, do not necessarily entail rejection of the ultimate goal of a political-social order more consistent with Islamic law. Polling of Egyptians suggests that the general program of the Muslim Brothers is still supported even as their tactics and governing are rejected.

In a Pew survey earlier this year, 74 percent of Egyptians said they want sharia to be “the official law of the land,” and 55 percent said sharia should apply to non-Muslims, which in Egypt includes 15 million Christian Copts. An earlier survey from 2010 found more specific support for sharia law: 84 percent of Egyptians supported the death penalty for apostates, 82 percent supported stoning adulterers, 85 percent said Islam’s influence on politics is positive, 95 percent said that it is good that Islam plays a large role in politics, 59 percent identified with Islamic fundamentalists, 54 percent favored gender segregation in the workplace, 82 percent favored stoning adulterers, 77 percent favored whippings and cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers, 84 percent favored death for those leaving Islam, and 60 percent said that laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran.

These attitudes, consistent with the program of the Muslim Brothers, suggest that their opponents are angry not with their long-term goal of creating a more Islamized government, but with the Brothers’ abuse of power and their managerial incompetence that alienated the even more radically Islamist Nour party. As the Middle East analyst Reuel Marc Gerecht recently wrote, “Only the deluded, the naïve and the politically deceitful . . . can believe that Islamism’s ‘moment’ in Egypt has passed. More likely, it’s just having an interlude.”

These results will not surprise anyone who understands how profoundly religious beliefs determine Middle Eastern attitudes to politics and society. Rather than ignoring this widespread religiosity, or subordinating it to our own goods such as prosperity and personal freedom, or explaining away the patent illiberal and intolerant dimensions of this belief, as the dominant narratives continue to do, we should instead recognize and acknowledge the critical role of Islam in the violence and disorder rending this geopolitically strategic region. Only then can we craft a foreign policy that protects our security and interests.

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  • UCSPanther

    I’d say that the Middle East will explode, not implode. If not now, perhaps in the future.

  • JVictor

    These last two presidential administrations have allowed for the proliferation of radical Islam at a terrible cost to the American people.

    Bush was naïve to believe that western values could prosper in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israeli leaders warned him about the dangers posed by
    invading Iraq in particular. He ignored their warnings, and countless dollars
    and precious American lives were lost. People can argue his motives–was it “revenge” for the attacks on 9-11 or was it about the free flow of oil or was it about spreading the western ideal of representative government and democracy–but, the end result was the same: Religious zealotry, in general, and radical Islam, particularly, will trump any type of truncated “human rights” mission if given any type of foothold.

    Obama has an undeniable track record of supporting the more radical Islamic elements at every turn. Whether he was “leading from behind” by funneling sophisticated weaponry to the Syrian rebels through Benghazi or by ignoring the pleas of the Iranian people for freedom from the Holocaust-denying Ahmadinijad and, now, Rouhani regimes, he has thrown his support behind the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaida since before he was elected to the presidency. All the while, Israel has become increasingly isolated, the Middle East has been thrown into a downward spiral of chaos, and any minority religion has been increasingly threatened.

    Ignorance is no excuse. Bush should have known better, but his ideology overwhelmed the obvious result. Arrogance is no excuse. Obama is culpable for, and has contributed to the turmoil now. For better or worse, the two of them share the horrible distinction of helping radical Islam get a stronger foothold in the world.

    • wildjew

      “Obama has an undeniable track record of supporting the more radical Islamic elements at every turn….”

      I don’t know how anyone (even a dedicated Obama-supporter) can deny it.

      • watsa46

        They do not deny anything; they claim ignorance and refusal to learn anything from others. They are stubbornly ignorant.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      You analogy is pretty good except for the fact that the existence of radical Islam is really a political correct myth. Indeed, we are not talking about so-called radical Islam. Instead, we are talking about mainstream orthodox Islam. Further, we are also not talking about so-called radical Muslims, i.e., Islamists. Instead, we are talking about mainstream orthodox Muslims, as all Muslims are jihadists in one form or another, including the millions living over here in the West right amongst us.

    • EarlyBird

      Bush thought he could force democracy on these people and they would like it and change their ways. Obama realizes that we’re not going to be able to return to the old way of controlling tyrannical governments in order to keep the bearded ones down.

      The bearded ones are having their day in the sun. They are far more focused on their own Islamist enemies than the West right now. It’s going to be very chaotic there for a long time, and Western-created borders are going to change. The trick is to make what happens there as unimportant to us as possible by getting as oil independent as possible, and not getting involved in things we don’t need to get involved in (Syria). If Islamic psychos are getting their hands on WMD, take them out. Anything less, leave them alone. They are their own worst enemies.

      • Gee

        Odumba supports those “bearded ones”

      • Nabuquduriuzhur

        I think you hit it on the head. Bush naively thought that someone being shown how to do the right thing would make them want to do the right thing. That doesn’t work when a basic culture is one based on evil like the Q’uran.

        • EarlyBird

          He didn’t realize that though people want to live in peace, dignity and self government, many people don’t want others to have those rights – especially when the Other represents an enemy that goes back for a 1,000 or so years. Iraq as well as most Arab nations, have borders that were arbitrarily assigned by the Western powers, regardless of tribal and sectarian divides. You take that strong hand off the lid of the pot and boom! you have a massive civil war as has been occuring in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and to a lesser extent Lybia. But we’ll just need to treat that whole area as a dangerous, toxic site for a few more generations until they sort things out, and just make sure nothing terrible comes out of it to hurt us.

          • defcon 4

            By your reasoning the Ottoman Caliphate was a good thing. Maybe it should be brought back?! I’m sure Erdogan would agree.

    • 12banjo

      I have wondered how much trying to vindicate and validate “Poppy” figured into Bush2 going into Iraq.

  • Northern Leo

    This is truly one of the most perceptive takes on what is happening in the Muslim world and how so many in the West continue to hang on to false paradigms of what the true situation happens to be in that part of the world. Thanks for that, Bruce!

  • kentek

    Where is Genghis Khan when you really really need him?

  • ObamaYoMoma

    to take into account the intricate diversity of ideological, political, and especially theological motives driving events.

    Speak for yourself, Islam, in stark contrast to true faith-based religions, requires total, complete, and unconditional submission to the “will of Allah” of all Muslims under the penalty of death for blasphemy and apostasy, and that requirement doesn’t make Islam a true faith based religion. Instead, it makes Islam a very totalitarian cult, as the freedom of conscience is very forbidden under the penalty of death in Islam.

    Furthermore, the highest pillar of which Islam stands is jihad, and jihad is also a holy fundamental obligation incumbent upon all Muslims in one form or another. Therefore, all Muslims are jihadists in one form or another. Otherwise, they are blasphemous apostates that according to the texts and tenets of Islam must be executed. Again, the freedom of conscience in Islam is strictly forbidden, as Islam is a very totalitarian cult as opposed to being a faith-based religion.

    Also, what is the “will of Allah” that all Muslim must totally, completely, and unconditionally submit to under the penalty of death for blasphemy and apostasy? In essence it is Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law, and the only freedom that Sharia allows is the freedom for Muslims to become more devout slaves of Allah.

    Finally, when you closely examine the infamous sword verses of the Koran, which were some of the very last verses issued shortly before Muhammad’s death, and then take into account the universally accepted throughout Islam doctrine of abrogation, it becomes crystal clear that the fundamental sole purpose of Islam is the subjugation of all religions and all infidels into Islamic totalitarianism through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law.

    Thus, while this writer may idiotically consider Islam to be a religion on a par with true faith-based religions, please excuse me if I take a pass on that one. Indeed, Islam is a very totalitarian cult that is masquerading as being a faith-based religion in order to dupe its intended victims. In fact, it couldn’t me anymore obvious.

    • Northstar

      Are you really this ignorant?

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Get lost you Canadian commie!

      • RagingVoiceOfReason

        Care to explain how he/she is wrong?

      • defcon 4

        LOL, gee, events in the islamic world in the here and now would certainly tend to lend credence to ObamaYoMoma’s theory — rather than the religion of peace lie.

        • Northstar

          Islam isn’t a religion of peace, but it is a religion.
          Nazi Germany was an evil country, but it was a country.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    What we are observing taking place in the Islamic world today, since this manifestation transcends the Middle East, is the reawakening of Islam, and the upheaval we observe today is the process of Islam reasserting itself, which was tremendously helped in this process by the stupidity of the West with the USA leading the pack and the enormous infusion of oil dollars.

    In any event, let me reiterate that the sole fundamental purpose of Islam is the subjugation of all religions and all infidels into Islamic totalitarianism through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law. Thus, when Muslims attacks the West, it isn’t done for any other ancillary reason other than for jihad, which is holy fighting in the cause of Allah for the establishment/expansion of Islam, and it’s not terrorism, since jihad, in stark contrast to terrorism, is a manifestation solely unique to Islam and manifests both violently and non-violently, but overall astronomically far more non-violently relative to violently, unlike terrorism which is always and only violent.

    The Islamists themselves have found

    The only Islamist, i.e., radical Muslims that exist in the world today, exist in the dark recesses of the minds of those that have been corrupted by political correctness. The reality is jihad is not only the highest pillar of which Islam stands; it is also a fundamental holy obligation incumbent upon all Muslims in the world in one form or another. Hence, because Islam is exceedingly totalitarian, all Muslims in the world are jihadists in one form or another. Otherwise, they are blasphemous apostates that according to the texts and tenets of Islam must be executed. Thus, the author needs to explain to us how he can deem some jihadists as being Islamists, i.e., radicals, and at the same time deem other jihadists not to be Islamists. Indeed, it would be very interesting to see how he arrived at his idiocy.

    • Northstar

      More spam?

      • defcon 4

        If you move to any islamic state you won’t have to read, hear or see anything critical of islam ever again, so put on your boots and get to walkin’!

        • Northstar

          Why would I want to move to ObamaYoMoma’s homeland?

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Hence Bush’s attempts to build democratic institutions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and President Obama’s early support for the “Arab Spring” revolutions: “I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy [and] universal rights.” Both presidents agree that more democracy in the region will mean less of the violence, suffering, and disorder caused by frustration and oppression at the hands of dictators and kleptocrats.

    Both men are incredibly incompetent moonbats and very gullible useful idiots, as Islam is not a faith-based religion, but a very aggressive and destructive totalitarian cult instead masquerading as being a faith-based religion to dupe its intended victims. Additionally, because the texts and tenets of Islam are believed by all Muslims to emanate directly from Allah (God), Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law, must prevail above all fallible manmade laws since it is divine and infallible. Thus, the establishment of democracy in the Islamic world is a complete and utter impossibility because to Muslims all manmade laws are abominations that must be obliterated.

    Indeed, the Bush administration’s incredibly incompetent State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan acquiesced to the infusion of both respective country’s constitutions with Sharia as the supreme law of the land and thereby ensuring at the same time that both countries would never ever become democracies, but instead exceedingly totalitarian Islamic hellholes. Especially since Sharia is Islamic totalitarian law, and the only freedom Sharia allows is the freedom for Muslims to become more devout slaves of Allah.

    As a matter of fact, the so-called “War on Terror” was indeed incredibly fantasy based, especially when you consider the fact that Muslims aren’t even terrorists, because they are jihadists instead, as jihad is specifically and only holy fighting in the cause of Allah for the establishment/expansion of Islam, is a manifestation unique to Islamic society only, and manifest, in stark contrast to terrorism, both violently and non-violently, but overall astronomically far more non-violently relative to violently, while terrorism, on the other hand, is always and only violent.

    Not only that, but because Islam in and of itself is a very aggressive and destructive form of totalitarianism as opposed to being a religion, the establishment of democracy in the Islamic world is a complete and utter impossibility, that and the fact that Islam is no “religion of peace” that is being hijacked by radicals. Which was also utterly absurd since, per the texts and tenets of Islam, all Muslims are jihadists in one form or another, including the millions that have migrated to the West to include the United States. In other words, Bush’s so-called “War on Terror” was incredibly fantasy based and destined from the get go to become the biggest strategic blunder ever in America, which, of course, it inevitably did.

    • GODSWIZARD

      Hey Northstar….bluntly, you are an idiot and a moron. Study Islam, research muslims, buy a Quran to read, and best of all–as a dhimmi, kafir, and infidel–move to the Islamic majority nation of your choice. Then, after, oh….say….15 or 20 years there, get back to the rest of us regarding your enlightening first person education in Islam and muslims.

      • Guest

        Northstar

  • ObamaYoMoma

    most Islamist groups ground their motives in the traditional doctrines of Islam, which call for war against the infidel and the enemies of Islam.

    While the existence of so-called Islamist is an unhinged political correct myth, most jihadists ground their motives in the traditional doctrines of Islam because once again the sole fundamental purpose of Islam is to subjugate into Islamic totalitarianism all religions and all infidels through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    . . . in no Christian country at the present time can religious leaders count on the degree of belief and participation that remains normal in the Muslim lands . . .

    It is an incredibly ludicrous exercise to compare Christian countries with Islamic countries since Islam again isn’t a faith-based religion like Christianity, but instead a very aggressive and destructive totalitarian cult that has as its first and foremost purpose the subjugation into Islamic totalitarianism of all faith-based religions and all infidels through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law. Furthermore, there is no such thing as Christian countries, since there is separation of church and state in all Western democracies.

    Nonetheless, separation of church and state doesn’t quite go far enough for Leftists, as they want to obliterate faith-based religions to replace it with worship of the state.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Only then can we craft a foreign policy that protects our security and interests.

    A common sense foreign policy would begin at home first as in the outlawing of Islam and the banning and reversing of mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage, since it is really stealth and deceptive non-violent jihad for the strategic purpose of demographic conquest, as just like clockwork Muslims never ever assimilate and integrate, since to do so would cause them to become blasphemous apostates and at the same time to gain a death sentence in the process. Hence, they form Muslim enclaves instead that in time morph into Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia that are in effect tiny Islamic statelets within the much larger host infidel states.

    Next, the ruling Mullah regime of Iran and their nuclear weapons program must be eradicated, followed by the same with respect to Pakistan’s massive nuclear weapons arsenal and nuclear weapons program.

    Finally, the Islamic world must be totally abandoned and isolated, and because the Islamic world is totalitarian, it can’t produce anything on its own other than jihad and misery. Thus, without the West to prop it up, it wouldn’t be very long before it would fall into a state of crushing and debilitating poverty. It should therefore be allowed to stew in this condition for several generations or until Islam as a force becomes totally discredited.

    • defcon 4

      Dearbornistan, Michigan is already one such enclave, and others are incipient.

    • sirderam

      ObamaYoMoma I agree with your general analysis but it overlooks our dependence on oil. Unfortunately, until we solve that problem, we can’t just leave them to stew in their own Islamic ignorance.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Well, we need to develop our own oil resources as we have more oil here in the USA than in the entire Middle East. Nonetheless, if we still need their oil, then we should just take their oil resources away from them since they use the proceeds derived to fund and wage jihad anyway. Indeed, we need to ensure that they end up in crushing and debilitating poverty so that in time Islam will become discredited.

        • defcon 4

          I think developing alternatives to oil is a better plan of action. Of course OPEC has taken steps in the past to make sure such alternatives aren’t cost effective.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            I think developing alternatives to oil is a better plan of action. Of course OPEC has taken steps in the past to make sure such alternatives aren’t cost effective.

            We don’t have the time or the technology currently available to develop any alternatives in the near term. Not to mention that manmade global warming is nothing but junk science in any event. Hence, since there is plenty of oil to go around for decades to come, let’s develop our oil industry and stop kidding ourselves about the availability of alternative energy. In any event, after the disaster that the Obama administration has become, development of our oil industry is the fastest way for us to get our economy back on track.

          • ziggy zoggy

            I agree. Develop our own oil reserves and take everything of value from the islamopithecines. They haven’t earned anything and don’t deserve anything. Except extinction.

          • hiernonymous

            Wow – openly advocating genocide! Not bad?

            I have to ask – you said you had to lie and pretend you were a Muslim in order to marry your wife, which strongly implies that your wife was Muslim – without more detail, it doesn’t make sense that you’d have to pretend to be Muslim to marry a Buddhist, for example.

            So you think your wife deserves (or deserved) extinction?

          • defcon 4

            Duh, the holey books of islam plainly call for a genocide of Jews allahtard. But of course, that doesn’t bother your fine islamic “morality” in the slightest.

          • hiernonymous

            Non-sequitur. If calling for genocide is not evil, then even if your claims about what the Qur’an says were true, there’d be no problem. If calling for genocide is evil, then your Zoggy friend has just shown himself to be evil – and I believe he professes to be Christian, does he not?

            As for your claims about what the Qur’an says, just out of curiosity – how do you know? Do you read Arabic, or are you just being someone’s parrot?

            But let’s not lose sight of the most important question – is Ziggy calling for his wife’s death or not?

          • defcon 4

            LOL, the charter of Hamas quotes the same hadith, which kinda gives it the imprimatur of authenticity. As have OTHER insane imams, mad mullahs and asinine ayatollahs. Oh yes and only those who can read classic arabic can understand the holey books of islam eh? Your urbane lies aren’t fooling anyone.

          • hiernonymous

            “…the charter of Hamas quotes the same hadith, which kinda gives it the imprimatur of authenticity.”

            The same sort of authenticity lent to Leviticus by Phelps and Swanson?

            “Oh yes and only those who can read classic arabic can understand the holey books of islam eh?”

            Holy books? There’s only one holy book in Islam, and that’s the Qur’an. The Qur’an is only the Qur’an in Arabic; so, yeah, reading Arabic is a big help if you’re going to publicly pontificate on its contents.

            “Your urbane lies aren’t fooling anyone.”

            So far, the only lie we’ve identified is Ziggy betraying his religion to claim to be Muslim. Still wondering if his call for a genocide against Muslims encompasses his wife; do you have some insight into that, or do you want to deflect some more?

          • hiernonymous

            Where? To which passage are you referring? What lines of what surah?

          • defcon 4

            Bukhari:V4B52N177
            “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘You Muslims will fight the Jews till some of them hide behind stones. The stones will betray them saying, “O Abdullah (slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.”‘”

            Ishaq:441
            “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”‘”

            In Sahih Muslim: Book 041, Number 6985:
            Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

            “Allah wished to confirm the truth by His words: ‘Wipe the infidels out to the last.’”
            Bukhari 4,55,547

            I can hardly wait to see how you lie your away around these quotes.

          • hiernonymous

            I was expecting to see a call for genocide from the Qur’an, the only holy book of Islam; you’ve given me hadiths that allude to accounts of Muhammad’s description of the end times. They don’t call for a genocide of the Jews; they describe the coming of the Masih al Dajjal (the false Messiah); they believe that the Mahdi will prepare the Army of Islam, and that Jesus of Nazareth will descend from heaven to lead it against the army of the false prophet. The account described in the hadith assumes that by the time of this climatic battle, the Jews will either have ‘seen the light’ and become Muslims, or those retaining their Jewish identity will fight for the Masih al Dajjal.

            This isn’t terribly different from Christian eschatology, which also assumes that on the arrival of the Antichrist, the world will be divided between the faithful and the enemy. Both religions call for a climatic showdown between the faithful and the unfaithful at the end of the world.

            That said, none of what you’re describing is found in the Qur’an.

          • hiernonymous

            *crickets*

      • defcon 4

        The largest source of imported oil in the US used to be Mexico. I’m not sure if that’s true anymore. It’s the rest of the world that’s much more dependent on islam0fascist oil.

  • FlyOnTheScrtm

    There is a third narrative that says that if somehow Israel were to disappear then the Mid-East would find itself in a never imagined peace. And this evil narrative
    recently got a boost from the University of Pennsylvania’s Ian Lustick who wrote a piece in the New York Times of 14 September 2013. I am amazed that people can literally choose to use mental tongs to blind themselves to history as long as they achieve their devious aims of a counter narrative of the reality they do not want to hear about.

    • defcon 4

      The islamic lie is that once the najjis kafir is eliminated from the world, islam will bring peace.

  • defcon 4

    A professor at a California public university, criticising Islam? That takes courage and integrity; a courage and integrity which you don’t see much of at California universities anymore.

    • Gee

      Wouldn’t happen if the professor didn’t already have tenure

  • Josh

    build a wall around these muslim shitholes, withdraw any support whatsoever (especially soldiers) and only accept religious minorities like the copts as refugees. they will solve it in their own way (basically killing each other) until they are tired themselves. in the end, there will be one more sharia-based idiocracy we do not give a shit about and we got rid of a lot less brainwashed, murderous cultists without making our hands dirty. is that so hard to grasp?

    aw, right, in fact the whole thing is not about egypt at all, but about barack trying to cover up the fact that he is one big failure. how stupid of me…

  • TienBing

    A good analysis of current events in the ME.

    In the face of all evidence of history and daily events, fools continue to refer to moderate and radical Islam – as if such things exist. Moderate Muslims are a chimera invented by orthodox Muslims to trick dhimmies. There is submission or rejection – no middle ground in Islam. The so called “moderates” – those who haven’t heard the call yet, will answer eagerly when the the call is made.
    Dhimmies are either so dense that they do not understand the implications of every poll of Muslims in the ME, or they are so lost in their progressive fantasyland, frolicking with unicorns and moderate Muslims, that they don’t even notice.

    • ziggy zoggy

      Maybe the Soviets control Muslim thought.

  • EarlyBird

    So what is Thornton’s proposal? He doesn’t seem to understand is that even if we could stuff the Arabs back into the Western-controlled tyrant bottles, that model is unsustainable. That is what 9/11 showed us – and to his credit, W recognized. That is what the “Arab Spring” is showing us: those days are over.

    What’s Thornton’s plan? What’s the magic wand that the US and the West have, which is not being waved, that makes the Arab Muslim world came and safe and non-threatening? One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to assume we can make these very complicated and chaotic societies dance to our tune. How and why?

    • Gee

      Maybe he is pointing out a problem that lacks a solution. Only a total fucking idiot thinks that when one points out a problem they must have a workable solution.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        We need to build consensus to realize what our best options are. Obviously we must define the problem before we can work on building consensus.

        The EB is so dumb…

        • EarlyBird

          “Consensus.” Oh shut up, Colonel Ripper.
          You repeatedly announce that we need to obliterate Iran and then “mop up the Middle East.” Any position short of total war on every Muslim in the world to you is evidence of socialist, America and God hating appeasement. “Consensus.” Hey, make sure leftists aren’t draining you of your vital juices. And watch out for flouridation in your water!

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You repeatedly announce that we need to obliterate Iran and then “mop up the Middle East.” ”

            You fail to articulate your opponents positions accurately or honestly. You’re a liar and a troll.

          • EarlyBird

            You’re a delusionary fascist. “We could rule the world if we wanted to.” You believe that we must rule or be ruled; must dominate or be dominated; attack or be attacked; we are either winning or losing. Your world is absolutely zero sum. You dream (after a purging of all things to the left of you and an American Restoration) a world under the gentle subjugation of a gentle Americanism. There is nothing less American than that.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            You are to me like some angry niece or nephew that just spews nonsense to get attention.

            Get off the drugs and calm down. I’ll still pay attention to you when you’re more reasonable. Try to be constructive in the discourse or people will always reject you.

            First you have to comprehend what is said and then you have to demonstrate your comprehension by accurately handing paraphrases and summaries. Right now you seem like a deranged psychopath or a paid liar here to disrupt the conversations.

          • defcon 4

            What the hell are muslimes doing to ANYONE non-muslim in their various islam0fascist misery theme parks now?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You repeatedly announce that we need to obliterate Iran and then “mop up the Middle East.””

            I said we should strike Iran’s nuclear sites and then only react with mopping up operations when they retaliate (as opposed to trying to accomplish more than that). I repeated it during the Syrian WMD strike discussions because had we done this already, we would not even have to worry about what certain other organizations think they can get away with. Your secular savior has projected to the world that we’re not interested in defending anything. Not property or ideas. Certainly not “red lines.”

            So yet again your ability to comprehend the discourse is in the negative numbers. Are you malicious or somehow organically disturbed and destructive because of that?

      • EarlyBird

        He’s taking Obama to task for not having fixed it. Same with all of you idiots. “You mean the world is a dangerous place and we are not always perfectly safe?! I blame the left!”

        • TienBing

          The world is indeed a dangerous place. It is even more dangerous when fools tinker with it no matter how unbelievably small their efforts.

        • Drakken

          I blame useful idiots like you, a leftist as they come.

        • ziggy zoggy

          Obama claimed he would heal the planet and stem the tides. Ret@rds like you believed him.

          • EarlyBird

            Oh thanks for that, Village People! xo

    • defcon 4

      Let’s all just sit by and watch islam0nazis continue their ethnic cleansing of everyone non-muslim for their various islam0fascist states. Because it’s all so very complex and chaotic isn’t it?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      We waste more time and money fighting domestic leftist lunatics like you than we do fighting foreign jihadis.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Of course, like the unhinged leftwing loon you are you blame America for generating 9/11, even though 9/11 was an unprovoked act of jihad in the cause of Allah for the establishment/expansion of Islam. Indeed, your posts make it clear, Leftism is a very severe mental disease.

      By the way, W was just as moronic as you, which is why his fantasy-based so-called “War on Terror” inevitably became the greatest strategic blunder ever in American history.

      • EarlyBird

        Yeah. Not that I expect to be able to reason with reactionary dimwits like you, because you don’t come to your positions via reason to begin with.

        But consider: if you shoot bullets straight up into the sky, they will fall down on you and hurt you. Nobody is “blaming” you for pointing that fact out; they are warning you as a friend to stop doing things that will hurt you.
        It might be more comfortable for you to imagine that jihadists have just been driven mad to attack America because we’re pure and Godly, and they are organically evil, but it’s not true. Consider what our policies are in their economies, governments and societies, and see if you can imagine how that might relate to the jihadists’ actions against us. They are using Islam as an organizing force. They’d use “ism” at their disposal if it helped them drive us out.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          Yeah. Not that I expect to be able to reason with reactionary dimwits like you, because you don’t come to your positions via reason to begin with.

          First, I have to commend you for a great opening; I have to admit I laughed my ass off when I read your crap. It was utterly hilarious. Thank you, for the laugh.

          But consider: if you shoot bullets straight up into the sky, they will fall down on you and hurt you. Nobody is “blaming” you for pointing that fact out; they are warning you as a friend to stop doing things that will hurt you.

          Consider what our policies are in their economies, governments and societies, and see if you can imagine how that might relate to the jihadists’ actions against us. They are using Islam as an organizing force. They’d use “ism” at their disposal if it helped them drive us out.

          In any event, you are still an incredibly unhinged self-hating leftwing loon. Jihad is not terrorism and most of all it is not blowback for anything, instead it offensive holy war in the cause of Allah for the establishment/expansion of Islam, as the sole fundamental purpose of Islam is the subjugation into Islamic totalitarianism of all religions and all infidels through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law. Thus, go buy a clue you blame America first self-hating moonbat.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          Yeah. Not that I expect to be able to reason with reactionary dimwits like you, because you don’t come to your positions via reason to begin with.

          First, I have to commend you for a great opening; I have to admit I laughed my butt off when I read your crap. It was utterly hilarious. Thank you, for the laugh.

          But consider: if you shoot bullets straight up into the sky, they will fall down on you and hurt you. Nobody is “blaming” you for pointing that fact out; they are warning you as a friend to stop doing things that will hurt you.

          Consider what our policies are in their economies, governments and societies, and see if you can imagine how that might relate to the jihadists’ actions against us. They are using Islam as an organizing force. They’d use “ism” at their disposal if it helped them drive us out.

          In any event, you are still an incredibly unhinged self-hating leftwing loon. Jihad is not terrorism and most of all it is not blowback for anything, instead it offensive holy war in the cause of Allah for the establishment/expansion of Islam, as the sole fundamental purpose of Islam is the subjugation into Islamic totalitarianism of all religions and all infidels through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law. Thus, go buy a clue you blame America first self-hating moonbat.

  • PAthena

    In addition to the role of Mohammedanism in Egypt and other Arab countries, in incessant wars, one should also take into account marriage practices which lead to the formation of clans. Arabs widely practice first-cousin marriages, which lead to the formation of clans, and these clans fight with each other.

  • dougjmiller

    We have become mercenaries for some of the worst people on the planet. Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East is dictated by his benefactors in the oil rich Arabian Peninsula. The wealthy Sunni Arab/ Moslems are scared to death of the Shia Persian/ Moslem dictatorship in Iran. And the Assad regime in Syria is a tool of the Iranian regime which has threatened the monarchies in the Arabian Peninsula countless times. Obama is following his masters’ orders by trying to go after Assad. At some point he will also go after the mullahs in Iran at the request of his masters. But Obama will hold off on the Iranian campaign until after the mullahs nuke Israel. That way he’ll get a bigger tip.

  • Raymond_in_DC

    “The power of Islam is the reality our various narratives ignore or rationalize away when we attempt to understand the violence and disorder of the Middle East.”

    Absolutely true, but too long ignored. Many years ago, studying international politics (including two years at the graduate level), the significance of Islam was hardly broached. When it was noted that Israel had good relations (then) with both Turkey and Iran, it was explained that “they’re Muslim, but not Arab”. Given such a superficial understanding of the region, it’s hardly surprising that few regional specialists properly appreciated the Islamic Revolution that rocked Iran under the Shah. On the other hand, a few weeks visit to Iran by yours truly in 1976 revealed a remarkable country, but one perhaps moving too fast given the underlying conservatism still extant in the country.

    Failing to recognize the true nature of their blindness, academia put on a very different set of glasses, this time reflecting the post-colonial ideas of Edward Said, which meshed well with the new generation of “scholars” who came of age in the 1960s. Near East studies departments were increasingly populated by Arabs and Muslims, few of whom would attribute the troubles of the region to anything indigenous in the culture, least of all Islam.

    So it’s not surprising that, as Barry Rubin reported, many Israelis believe “Americans don’t understand the Middle East”.

  • defcon 4

    What an ugly thought. I hope it’s not true. Under any POTUS before BHO I’d believe it wasn’t possible.

  • ziggy zoggy

    Islamopithecines are sub-human animals. Is that supposed to be a news flash?

    • defcon 4

      Someone, somewhere, came up with the line: Muslims, human by birth, sub-human by choice.