bin Laden's Army
"The only lesson from Iraq is that no state in the world can confront the Americans with a chance of success," said Abuza. "The only way to make the Americans taste the humiliation that Arabs feel on a daily basis is through terrorism. "And the only person who can do that is Osama bin Laden and his loose network," he said.
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As bombs go off in the Middle East and the terror alert level is raised in the United States, Zachary Abuza's analysis seems both chilling and correct. But correct as far as it goes. The next question is whether the "humiliation that Arabs feel on a daily basis" can be changed.
The hope of the Iraqi invasion is that there can be a transformation of an Arab country from a terror state into a modern democracy with stout Islamic credentials but without the Arab propensity for terror. To attain that hope is proving to be, a month in, difficult. Which does not make the objective any the less worthwhile.
To defeat the Al-Qaeda terror requires the combination of stick and carrot. The police and intelligence actions against the pointy end of the Arab's humiliation is vital and will have to last for years. Finding and killing bin Laden is more critical now than it has ever been. The Saudi outrage may help that necessary end along.
As well, it is vital that the radical factions of the Palestinians be eliminated militarily and diplomatically. To do this will require the removal of Arafat who is either unable or unwilling to attack the roots of the Palestinian terror. To leave Arafat in power, even with the veil of a new, and apparently powerless Prime Minister, simply ensures that the terror will continue and that the Arab world will have a steady stream of martyres to underscore its humiliation. Dumping Arafat into a distant and ideally isolated exile is critical to beginning a real search for peace in Israel and the Middle East. Similarly, using full on force to knock back Hamas and Hezbollah - whether Israeli, American or international is key to the efforts to eliminate terrorism as a legitimate choice.
The message to the Arab and Islamofascist world has to be very blunt. Terror does not work and terrorists are hunted and killed without respect for international borders, religious sensitivity or regional politics. Abuza is exactly right on the lesson from Iraq: no state can confront the United States. It is important to make clear that no individual or group is beyond the power of America and her allies.
So much for the stick; the carrot is the creation of first a society which works in Iraq but which remains Arab and Islamic. The second is the creation of a Palestinian state which works and remains Arab and Islamic. The third is the creation of a reasonable means of allocating oil revenues in Iraq so that the Iraqi people can see a visible and personal improvement in their condition and the condition of their nation. The fourth is to use the methods pioneered by George Soros in Central Europe to use large chunks of private money to undermine the corrupt and repressive regimes which still control much of the Arab world.
While the military and intelligence communities should certainly continue to work hard to destroy terrorists and the regimes - Syria and Iran come to mind - which sponsor them it is also critical for liberal and moderate Arabs to be well funded and encouraged in their struggle against the medieval mullahs.
The creation of liberal and moderate institutions is critical for the establishment of a civil society. In a culture where religion has invaded and often destroyed universities, professional associations and even elementary schools, offering alternatives is vital. Initially this is likely to be a very artificial process with many of the formal structures existing mainly as safe havens for people willing to contemplate an Arab world without the taint of fundamentalist religion or corrupt government. But the formal structures will give way to the informal hallway conversations which are the real work of a civil society.
the alternative to creating civility is the monologue of the suicide bomber. For Arabs and Muslims the day to day humiliation arises because their civilization has not been through the harrowing of a full scale Enlightenment. The perceived insults of the West are no worse than the realization that the absence of a civil society dooms the Arab world to an endless cycle of mediaeval repression and intolerance.
To be called a heretic in the West really does no harm. In Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia or Iran it can lead to death at the hands of state sanctioned courts. Until heresy is a personal rather than political act the Islamic world will not have had it's Enlightenment and the terrorist will still be going with God when they blast the Infidels.