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sturm und drang
05-26-2004, 10:27 AM
I read this last night in Newsweek, and thought it was an interesting, even-handed take on our intervention in the Middle East.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has taught us how impossible it is to procure peace when two groups are taught from birth to hate one another. My fear – and that of many others regardless of party or proclivity – is that Bush's policies have been myopic in this regard.

As Zakaria opines below, our invasion and subsequent mishandling of the occupation of Iraq have destroyed any vestiges of pro-Americanism left in the Arab world. Anything allied with Americanism – such as the very notion of reform or democracy – can be sullied and discredited simply by association.

The last part of the editorial talks to my greatest fear regarding our actions: that a new generation is being raised from birth to hate the United States.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Everywhere in the Arab world, people are talking about reform. But the easiest way to sideline a reform is to claim that it's pro-American

By Fareed Zakaria
Newsweek

May 31 issue - Traveling through the Middle East for the past week has been tough. Anger and frustration with America is worse than I've ever seen it. Still, I've been torn between two feelings, one to thank George W. Bush and another to curse him. (This is one of those columns that will get angry e-mails from both sides.) Bush's efforts to push for reform in the Arab world—despite the irritation it has caused—has put the topic front and center on the region's agenda. Everywhere in the Arab world, people are talking about reform. Last week the World Economic Forum held a second annual meeting on the subject in Jordan. Next week the Arab Summit in Tunis will likely endorse reform, the first time it will do so. "People won't admit it, but three years ago reform was something few talked about," said a Jordanian diplomat. "Today it's everywhere."

Of course, there were other forces and other people who helped. The globalization of the 1990s had begun to affect the Arab world. Satellite television and the Internet were bringing the outside world into these countries. And after September 11, despite the defensive rhetoric, Arabs began to ask themselves, "Why did this happen?" Writers and scholars began pointing out that for the past 40 years the Middle East had lagged behind the rest of the world economically, socially and politically. The United Nations produced a report that documented this reality in graphic detail: only sub-Saharan Africa had a worse record of economic growth, 50 percent of Arab women were illiterate and so on.

Into this mix came Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell and his top policy aide, Richard Haas, all of whom made the case over the past two years for ending America's blind support for Arab dictators and embracing and assisting reform efforts. These moves in turn led the Europeans to develop their own set of proposals. Some of the administration's rhetoric was heavy-handed (surprise, surprise), but championing this issue made it unavoidable.

Today reform is more in the air than on the ground—with a few important exceptions—Dubai, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain. At the Forum's plenary session on reform, Amre Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, claimed that reform has been taking place in the region for years. But his fellow Egyptian, the prominent businessman Naguib Sawiris, archly responded, "Then why has nothing changed economically or politically to this day?" Sawiris argued that reform remains stymied by economic and political elites who fear losing power. At the end of the session the audience members (about 300 people) were polled as to whether they believe Arab governments are committed to reform (a) merely rhetorically or (b) fully; 94.4 percent voted for (a).

Still, the wind is behind those who advocate free-market, modern, Western-style reforms. Just don't call them American-style reforms. Thanks to the bitter cocktail of unilateralism, arrogance and incompetence that has characterized so much of the Bush administration's policy, American support could turn into the kiss of death for reformers. The easiest way to sideline a reform is to claim that it is pro-American. That is the line being taken by reactionaries within every country from Kuwait to Algeria.

Recent events aren't helping. Abu Ghraib has confirmed the worst suspicions of every Arab. Middle Easterners are shocked by the images, but their broader feeling is that America is hypocritical. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah, whom I met in Jidda, said with great passion: "The people who committed these acts at Abu Ghraib are a small group of deviants. I'm absolutely sure... that they do not represent the American people, who have high moral standards. But also understand that the people who committed those terrible acts on September 11 were not representative of the Saudi people. The American people are pure and good, as are the Saudi people. Small groups of deviants do not represent their respective societies."

Competing for space with the Abu Ghraib pictures on the front page are ones from Rafah. Every pro-American reformer I spoke to complained about the administration's blind support for Ariel Sharon and pleaded that we become much more engaged to make peace. Sawiris said, "If 300 million Arabs believe that you're being totally unfair, surely it should make you pay some attention."

Anti-Americanism is morphing from a purely anti-Bush phenomenon into a much broader cultural attitude. Samar Fatany, a Saudi woman who has a weekly radio show, said to me, "If you continue on your present path, you will have no partners in the Middle East. In my generation there are thousands of people who studied and lived in America, who know America, love it, and understand that you can make mistakes. We explain America to our people. But in this next generation, you are creating so much bitterness. They don't understand you, and they don't want to understand you. What will come of that?"

The results will be bad for both sides. Arab reform, which can and should be helped by American efforts and contacts, will not go as far as it could. And American interests and security will suffer in this rising tide of hatred. What could have been a policy of "win-win" is now becoming "lose-lose."

madape
05-26-2004, 10:52 AM
How disappointed you will be when Iraq becomes the Middle East's second democracy.

Do our enemies hate us more now than they did before? It's hard to say, but who cares. These people already hated us enough to slaughter us by the thousands on 9/11. They would slaughter us by millions if they could. The "rising tide" of islamic violence against America started long before Iraq. It's ridiculous to assume that the problem would have gone away if we simply decided to let Saddam stay in power.

It's unfortunate that freedom in Iraq must come through violence, but I really see no other way. Saddam exerted such a violent and suppressive influence that no democratic uprising could ever have taken place in Iraq without US military intervention. Americans have dies, and many more will surely die before Iraq is truly free. But there is scarecly a more noble sacrifice than a soldier who gives his/her life in the name of liberty. In a short time, the Arab world will be able to look at Iraq as a model of how freedom and democracy can lead to great prosperity. The bright shining star of the middle east will soon spread the influence of freedom over all the lands where evil hides.

Sadly, the liberation has not been as quick and painless as most of us would have liked it to have been, although it is not nearly as bad as the press and others on the left would like to beleive. Yet future generations will view the liberation as just a nanosecond compared to the upcoming decades upon decades of free and democratic Iraq. America has ripped the band aid off a festering, infected wound and are finally applying the needed medication to heal a sick and broken society. The faint of heart wail and cry about the pain and wish that the band aid was placed back on. Well it's not going back on. George Bush is going to fix this shit once and for all.

Myopic my ass.

We'll be here when you're done crying.

sturm und drang
05-26-2004, 12:11 PM
Madape wrote:

"Do our enemies hate us more now than they did before? It's hard to say, but who cares. These people already hated us enough to slaughter us by the thousands on 9/11."

Okay, I'll bite. I care.

And I bet you'll care, too, when the situation and at our interests abroad starts to look a lot like Israel.

"These people" did not hate us enough to slaughter us by the thousands on 9/11. An extremist terrorist group hated us enough to do that. What we have done, as Zakaria points out, is spread that enmity beyond a small extremist group into the very mainstream of Arab culture. Our actions in Iraq have engendered a broader and deeper hatred of America than has ever existed. And it will take 15-20 years to reap the consequences of an entire culture brought up from birth to despise us.

So myopic, yes. Yes yes and yes. We can resume this conversation in 2025.

This glittering freedom, democracy and prosperity you so eloquently describe is far from assured. The point of the article is that we had begun to make inroads - we and our allies had begun the admittedly long and aruduous process of reforming the Middle East. Now that we have gone in and bungled the implementation of it, we are the mark of Cain. No one in the Arab world will embrace or accept anything associated with us, including the very American notions of freedom and democracy. People will rebel against the very freedom, democracy and capitalism we are trying to instill - simply because it is American.

One other quick point: you decry the big, bad leftist media for misrepresenting our governance of Iraq. It's not really that bad, you say. I won't even debate this broken-record leftist media schtick, but will instead ask a simple question: In this case, is not perception reality? The perception of the rest of the world - and the rest of the Arab world, in particular - is exactly what matters, like it or not.

LRB
05-26-2004, 12:54 PM
One other quick point: you decry the big, bad leftist media for misrepresenting our governance of Iraq. It's not really that bad, you say. I won't even debate this broken-record leftist media schtick, but will instead ask a simple question: In this case, is not perception reality? The perception of the rest of the world - and the rest of the Arab world, in particular - is exactly what matters, like it or not.


But perception changes and the truth comes out eventually. We can give in to our opponents and live an illusion while hiding our head in the sand or we can take decisive action and be above the momentary peer pressure of the world. Russia feed their people propaganda against the US and the West for decades, but this enforced perception was burst by the underlying truth. So, no, I do not agree that reality is perception. An illusion can be maintained for a time, but not indefinitely. And it is not just a few extremists who wanted to kill us on 9/11, there are millions who actively or at least indirectly supported them.

By the year 2025, the true fruits of our actions will be visible for all to see who can see. They will be so obivious that all except for the completely fantatical or mindless will have to aknowledge them. If we do poorly, they will know. If we do well, they will know as well. We can give them the illusion of help, but in reality shaft them. In 2025, it will come back to haunt us. Or we can help them now even though it is difficult doing the right thing and incurs present day perception that we're shafting them. But in 2025 we can hope to see rewards for our actions.

Do we go for the short term gain, but make the problem worse. Or do we go for the long term solution, even if it is much more difficult now. I choose the latter.

madape
05-26-2004, 01:47 PM
Perception is reality? Who's perception are you talking about? The Al Jazeera perceptions that have us blowing up hospitals and executing children? Al Queda's perception that the world would be a better place with more dead Jews or more dead Americans?

No. Some perceptions are more honorable and more "true" than others. The leftist media (and I can provide you ample proof of the leftist slant) is providing you with an untrue perception of what is going on. They do it because they hate George Bush. You listen and beleive them because what they say fits your pacifist political ideology.

Unlike you, much of the Arab world has no choice in what they listen to. Dictators force feed anti-American/anti-Western propaganda. They preach jihad and fund terror movements. The citizens of Arab countries have little other information on which to judge America other than what is provided by Al Jazeera, the Wahabbist hatemongers, genocidal Shiite clerics, or Al Queada terrorists. Is it any wonder these people don't like us? In order to change the middle east; in order to turn the tide of anti-american violence and hate, we MUST eliminate the forced "perception" that the US is the root of all evil. It is impossible to do such a thing when facist, Islamic thugs have any dissenting opinions firmly squashed under their oil-rich thumbs. The situation isn't going to change with some Clintonian diplomacy not backed by any threat of military action. Saddam obviously wasn't going down without a fight. Be glad we acted now before a new generation of Saddam backed Iraqi terrorists decided that New York, Tel Aviv, or Dallas/FortWorth deserved the same mass casualties that were suffered upon Iraqi children by the US backed sanctions.

The biggest challenge to democracy in this post-cold war world is the islamic fundamentalist movement. It's defeat can't be acheived through the same kind of cowardly foreign policy that lead to the terror movement and 9/11 to begin with. It must come from eliminating the source of the hatred, and the source is government backed Islamo-facism. This is a war that will likely take decades to win. Thankfully, most of America is determined to stick it through to the end. I just wish the other side could manage to look a little beyond the bridge of its nose and focus on the long-term goal. If it could, it would notice that things are changing.. quickly... for the better.

madape
05-26-2004, 03:09 PM
More "reality" from muslim extremists in THIS country...


Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, director of the Islamic Society of North America, says "homosexuality is a moral disease, a sin, a corruption… No person is born homosexual, just as nobody is born a thief, a liar or a murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education."

Sheikh Sharkhawy, a cleric at the prestigious London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, compares homosexuality to a "cancer tumour." He argues "we must burn all gays to prevent paedophilia and the spread of AIDS," and says gay people "have no hope of a spiritual life." The Muslim Educational Trust hands out educational material to Muslim teachers – intended for children! – advocating the death penalty for gay people, and advising Muslim pupils to stay away from gay classmates and teachers.


http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=395

On the other hand, maybe the problem here isn't entirely due to facism. These are American Muslims we're talking about.

sturm und drang
05-26-2004, 05:03 PM
First of all, I've never been dubbed a "pacifist." Interesting, considering my college degree is in history and a concentration in martial studies.

The reality of the situation in Iraq is that we conquered a country for stated reasons that proved to be - much to our embarrassment - non-existent. The unpalatable fact is that, after almost a year of occupation, we have been totally unable to unearth one shred of evidence that points to either the presence of WMD or a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.

The Iraqis want us gone. And we won't leave.

We've killed hundreds or thousands of innocent Iraqis - something that, as a student of war, I know is inevitable and we have done our utmost to avoid. Nevertheless, the fact remains.

And now there are a spate of horrific prisoner abuse photographs circulating.

I won't even touch the rest of the hearsay about bombing weddings and the like. I will only talk that which is undeniable.

Everyone around the world sees all these images. They know we haven't provided any evidence of the suspicions that drove our invasion. They know the Iraqis want us out. They know we've killed innocent people and that, worse yet, we are mocking, torturing and ridiculing prisoners against the terms of the Geneva treaty - a treaty of which we are the primary supporter. This is the perception. Whether or not it is true I won't debate, but these are the thoughts, editorials and images that are shaping people's opinions. And that's what we're going to have to reckon with.

If the invasion of Iraq had gone at the terrorists, eliminated most or even some of them, I'd feel differently. But the invasion of Iraq toppled a dictator who, while undeniably evil, had no connection whatsoever (besides a shared religion) to those who attacked us. Personally, I feel we're in more danger from terrorists than ever before.

Hatred of America is at an all-time high - in the Middle East and throughout the rest of the world. We have effectively propelled a hatred that was the province of the few into the hearts and minds of the many. None of us know who's right now, or next year or the next. But all I will say is that we will not escape the wrath of such wide-spread, cultural Anti-American venom. Children will be raised to seethe in hatred at the U.S., and will be given plenty of visual evidence of why they should. We are the new Israel.

LRB
05-26-2004, 05:35 PM
The reality of the situation in Iraq is that we conquered a country for stated reasons that proved to be - much to our embarrassment - non-existent. The unpalatable fact is that, after almost a year of occupation, we have been totally unable to unearth one shred of evidence that points to either the presence of WMD or a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.


While a successful argument could be made that an overwhelming amount of evidence has not been found, it would not be accurate to say not "one shred of evidence" has been found. Last week an artilleray shell was found with chemical components. That is at least a single shred. Al Queda camps along the borders, papers linking meetings between high level Iraqi and Al Queda officials have been found as well. Certainly more than a single shred there as well.


The Iraqis want us gone. And we won't leave.


While it is clearly obvious that some Iraqis want us gone, I do not think that it is so easily determined that all or even most want us gone. Much of our information is tainted by biased media reporters whose agenda is well served by reporting that the Iraqis don't want us there. What is rarely reported is the cooperation and thanks that we have and still do recieve. Furthermore it would be irresponsible for the US to leave and let Iraq drown in anarchy.


We've killed hundreds or thousands of innocent Iraqis - something that, as a student of war, I know is inevitable and we have done our utmost to avoid. Nevertheless, the fact remains.


I'm totally unsure where this number comes from. Are you adding military and civilian casualties together and calling all innocent? Even then I don't think we'd have much more than 100,000 casualties. I would be interested in the source of these numbers though so that I could see for myself. Clearly thousands of innocents have died which is a tragedy even if it doesn't reach the hundreds of thousands. But would any less have died if Saddam had remained in power? Maybe, maybe not. We don't know for sure, but we do know that he's killed hundreds of thousands of his own citizens in the past.


They know we've killed innocent people and that, worse yet, we are mocking, torturing and ridiculing prisoners against the terms of the Geneva treaty - a treaty of which we are the primary supporter.

The geneva treaty does not cover all prisioners only ones who are taken that are fighting in uniform among other considerations. It does not cover ununiformed terrorists. Still we have taken actions to stop the abuses and to punish the perpetrators. But for every one tortured by US, there are hundreds if not thousands who we freed from torture far worse. But the media has no desire to dwell on this do they?


Hatred of America is at an all-time high - in the Middle East and throughout the rest of the world. We have effectively propelled a hatred that was the province of the few into the hearts and minds of the many. None of us know who's right now, or next year or the next. But all I will say is that we will not escape the wrath of such wide-spread, cultural Anti-American venom. Children will be raised to seethe in hatred at the U.S., and will be given plenty of visual evidence of why they should. We are the new Israel.


I would rather be hated but respected than have indifference and no respect. In the middle east if you have no respect then you are a target and no one thinks twice about attacking you. If you are hated you are a bigger target, but with respect they will think long and hard before attacking you except for the crazies who would attack us anyways.

If we go around walking on egg shells afraid to defend ourselves because of what the Arab world thinks of us, then we lose our freedom. If they want to hate us, become our enmies, and attack us then we can kill them as well. We have more than enough bullets, bombs and other devices. If they want to be our friends then we will be the best of friends. And if they want us to leave them the hell alone, then learn to leave us the hell alone and live in peace.

u2sarajevo
05-26-2004, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by: sturm und drang
First of all, I've never been dubbed a "pacifist." Interesting, considering my college degree is in history and a concentration in martial studies.

The reality of the situation in Iraq is that we conquered a country for stated reasons that proved to be - much to our embarrassment - non-existent. The unpalatable fact is that, after almost a year of occupation, we have been totally unable to unearth one shred of evidence that points to either the presence of WMD or a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.NEWS UPDATE for sturm... (http://us.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/05/25/iraq.main/)

sturm und drang
05-26-2004, 05:58 PM
LRB,

I wrote "hundreds OR thousands" - I am, admittedly, too distracted to look up an exact count. I should've realized it would be mistaken for "hundreds OF thousands."

madape
05-26-2004, 05:58 PM
I knew it wouldn't take long before you resorted to the typical anti-war rhetoric. So let's just get this out of the way. No, we haven't found stockpiles of WMDs, but yes Saddaam had them. No, we havevn't found Osama hiding out in some Iraqi cave, but yes Saddam had significant ties to terrorism. Yes, Abu Ghraib was a very unfortunate occurance, but it's certianly not US policy and we're dealing with it in exactly the way responsible governments deal with crimes like this.

What you don't hear repeated over and over and over and over on the mainstream meadia any more is that we have rid the world of one of the most dangerous enemies of the United States, liberated an arab country suffocated by brutal facism, and made the world a safer place.

These people you think are so innocent and mistreated actually declared Jihad on us years ago. Did you not get the 9/11 wake up call with the rest of America? The activities in Iraq didn't piss these people off, they were pissed off at us already. Who cares why. Nothing justifies their hate. They hate us because we support a Jewish state in the Middle East. They hate us because we're not muslim. They hate us because we are free and properous. Unless you propose cutting our ties to Israel and embracing Islam as our national religion, and become a subserviant muslim nation state, they will never be at peace with us. Never. This is the ideology that has been allowed to grow rampant in the region for decades. It will not go away just because we decide play nice with our enemies. In case you haven't noticed, that's what we were doing up until the day some Islamics decided to unleash passenger aircraft armageddon on us three years ago.

You claim that our presence in Iraq will cause young people to grow up hating America. I say that's bullshit. They already grow up hating us. What we are doing is making sure muslim children have the opportunity NOT to grow up hating us.

No one likes to be occupied by a foreign army. Like Bush says, we wouldn't like it either. But the US doesn't want to be there any more than the Iraqis want us there. But we must stay and finish what we've started. Once Iraq acheives it's independant sovreignty, we'll pack our shit up and leave. What we'll leave behind is the greatest gift ever given to the middle east. In time, the free and prosperous citizens of Iraq will look to America as a great friend, just as Japan does now, and just as West Germany did after WWII. Many Iraqis already love us (again, a fact you've apparently missed while watching CNN and reading Newsweek). This relationship will last much longer, and leave a far greater lasting impression than the overblown images from Abu Ghraib.

BTW, I'm glad you picked on Israel. The fact that Israel is knee deep in islamic shit is through no fault of it's own. They live in a land full of genocidal maniacs, who are brought up to beleive that the Jews are responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world. The fact that the Jews haven't been pushed out into the Mediterranean is a testament to their courage and tenacity. Unable to defeat Israel, the enemy has now set it's eyes on us. If we take the opposite course and choose to lay back and let the tide of Islamo-facism wash over us, it will be WE who are pushed out into the sea.

LRB
05-26-2004, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by: sturm und drang
LRB,

I wrote "hundreds OR thousands" - I am, admittedly, too distracted to look up an exact count. I should've realized it would be mistaken for "hundreds OF thousands."

My apologies for the bad eyesite and carelessness. I agree with your numbers of hundreds or thousands.

reeds
05-26-2004, 07:38 PM
"Do our enemies hate us more now than they did before? It's hard to say, but who cares. These people already hated us enough to slaughter us by the thousands on 9/11. They would slaughter us by millions if they could. The "rising tide" of islamic violence against America started long before Iraq. It's ridiculous to assume that the problem would have gone away if we simply decided to let Saddam stay in power"

OMG- who cares??????? I would hope this country cares...

NO- the problem would NOT have gone away if we let Saddam stay in power, but it might not have gotten worse....We now have MORE enemies and more targets..

dude1394
05-26-2004, 08:12 PM
NO- the problem would NOT have gone away if we let Saddam stay in power, but it might not have gotten worse....We now have MORE enemies and more targets..

Unfortunately reeds this is the essential point of the leftists and appeasers. As President Bush said
Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. (Applause.)

We cannot HOPE that terrorists do not get a WMD and use it on us, that is NOT a strategy. President Bush and the USA with their allies again have risen up to a global challenge. Only the weakness of our own people will defeat us in this fight.

dude1394
05-26-2004, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by: madape
How disappointed you will be when Iraq becomes the Middle East's second democracy.

It's unfortunate that freedom in Iraq must come through violence, but I really see no other way. Saddam exerted such a violent and suppressive influence that no democratic uprising could ever have taken place in Iraq without US military intervention. Americans have died, and many more will surely die before Iraq is truly free. But there is scarecly a more noble sacrifice than a soldier who gives his/her life in the name of liberty. In a short time, the Arab world will be able to look at Iraq as a model of how freedom and democracy can lead to great prosperity. The bright shining star of the middle east will soon spread the influence of freedom over all the lands where evil hides.

Sadly, the liberation has not been as quick and painless as most of us would have liked it to have been, although it is not nearly as bad as the press and others on the left would like to beleive. Yet future generations will view the liberation as just a nanosecond compared to the upcoming decades upon decades of free and democratic Iraq. America has ripped the band aid off a festering, infected wound and are finally applying the needed medication to heal a sick and broken society. The faint of heart wail and cry about the pain and wish that the band aid was placed back on. Well it's not going back on. George Bush is going to fix this shit once and for all.

Myopic my ass.

We'll be here when you're done crying.

Beautiful ape...

FishForLunch
05-27-2004, 12:38 AM
The reality of the situation in Iraq is that we conquered a country for stated reasons that proved to be - much to our embarrassment - non-existent. The unpalatable fact is that, after almost a year of occupation, we have been totally unable to unearth one shred of evidence that points to either the presence of WMD or a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is a shred l, but I bet you and the lefties will dismiss it as propaganda

New evidence of link between Iraq and al Qaeda.

Thursday, May 27, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

One thing we've learned about Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein is that the former dictator was a diligent record keeper. Coalition forces have found--literally--millions of documents. These papers are still being sorted, translated and absorbed, but they are already turning up new facts about Saddam's links to terrorism.

We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that "secular" Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix. But John Ashcroft's press conference yesterday reminds us that the terror threat remains, and it seems especially irresponsible for journalists not to be open to new evidence. If the CIA was wrong about WMD, couldn't it have also missed Saddam's terror links?

One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. The U.S. has never been sure whether he was there on behalf of the Iraqi regime or whether he was an Iraqi Islamicist who hooked up with al Qaeda on his own.

It is possible that the Ahmed Hikmat Shakir listed on the Fedayeen rosters is a different man from the Iraqi of the same name with the proven al Qaeda connections. His identity awaits confirmation by al Qaeda operatives in U.S. custody or perhaps by other captured documents. But our sources tell us there is no questioning the authenticity of the three Fedayeen rosters. The chain of control is impeccable. The documents were captured by the U.S. military and have been in U.S. hands ever since.
As others have reported, at the time of the summit Shakir was working at the Kuala Lumpur airport, having obtained the job through an Iraqi intelligence agent at the Iraqi embassy. The four-day al Qaeda meeting was attended by Khalid al Midhar and Nawaz al Hamzi, who were at the controls of American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon. Also on hand were Ramzi bin al Shibh, the operational planner of the 9/11 attacks, and Tawfiz al Atash, a high-ranking Osama bin Laden lieutenant and mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. Shakir left Malaysia on January 13, four days after the summit concluded.

That's not the only connection between Shakir and al Qaeda. The Iraqi next turned up in Qatar, where he was arrested on September 17, 2001, four days after the attacks in the U.S. A search of his pockets and apartment uncovered such information as the phone numbers of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers' safe houses and contacts. Also found was information pertaining to a 1995 al Qaeda plot to blow up a dozen commercial airliners over the Pacific.

After a brief detention, our friends the Qataris inexplicably released Shakir, and on October 21 he flew to Amman, Jordan. The Jordanians promptly arrested him, but under pressure from the Iraqis (and Amnesty International, which questioned his detention) and with the acquiescence of the CIA, they let him go after three months. He was last seen heading home to Baghdad.




One of the mysteries of postwar Iraq is why the Bush Administration and our $40-billion-a-year intelligence services haven't devoted more resources to probing the links between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda. In his new book, "The Connection," Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard puts together all of the many strands of intriguing evidence that the two did do business together. There's no single "smoking gun," but there sure is a lot of smoke.
The reason to care goes beyond the prewar justification for toppling Saddam and relates directly to our current security. U.S. officials believe that American civilian Nicholas Berg was beheaded in Iraq recently by Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, who is closely linked to al Qaeda and was given high-level medical treatment and sanctuary by Saddam's government. The Baathists killing U.S. soldiers are clearly working with al Qaeda now; Saddam's files might show us how they linked up in the first place

twelli
05-27-2004, 04:07 AM
No matter what the TV pictures make us believe, I still think that most of the people in the Middle East are genuine friendly people who don't hate the US and the terrorists are as small a minority as the jailhouse torturers and other bad elements in the US army. Most Arab people just want to live in peace and are against terrorism as much as the Americans.

sturm und drang
05-27-2004, 06:53 AM
Madape wrote:

"I knew it wouldn't take long before you resorted to the typical anti-war rhetoric."

You know why the anti-war rhetoric is so typically consistent? Because it's a chorus of facts.

By the way, I'm glad you're asssured that Saddam had WMD and that there were substantial links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I have no idea what top secret government documents and intel you have access to to be so cocksure, but it's refreshing to know that - regardless of a dearth of cold, hard facts available to the rest of us - your faith runs so deep.

Regarding the hatred of Americans in the Middle East: I disagree with your hypothesis that hate is hate. Yes, there were certainly Arabs who hated us far prior to 9/11. But that enmity has a.) now become a wholesale cultural phenomenon and b.) has intensified grotesquely. The hatred is broader and deeper than it has ever been. I don't agree with your polarized view that hatred for us existed, and it exists now, so what's the difference? We have thrown gasoline on the fire, driven it to new heights, new intensities and a new generation. Like I said before, it will take 15 - 20 years to understand the full ramifications of the invasion and occupation.

In the meantime, what will happen to us this summer?

And do you really think Isreal is totally blameless? Interesting.

madape
05-27-2004, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by: sturm und drang
Madape wrote:

"I knew it wouldn't take long before you resorted to the typical anti-war rhetoric."

You know why the anti-war rhetoric is so typically consistent? Because it's a chorus of facts.

By the way, I'm glad you're asssured that Saddam had WMD and that there were substantial links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I have no idea what top secret government documents and intel you have access to to be so cocksure, but it's refreshing to know that - regardless of a dearth of cold, hard facts available to the rest of us - your faith runs so deep.

It's a tired argument, but I'll state it again. We know Saddam had chemical weapons because he had USED THEM. Unless you can prove that all those kurds died from something other than an Iraqi chemical weapon, it is YOU who are dismissing reality. Now some of these weapons that you insist never existed are turning up in the hands of terrorists. How can you seriosly sit there with any credibilty and say that Sadaam did not have any WMDs? It's preposterous.

We know that Iraq had links to terrorism because 1) Saddam openly funded Palestinean terror squads. 2) Al-Zarkawi was, and still is operating in Iraq. Nick Berg did not die at the blade of some Baathist insurgent. He died at the blade of an Al-Qaeda operative who was stationed in Iraq long before the US occupation.

Those are hard FACTS. It you who are blinded by party loyalty to a point in which you can't see the signs staring you right in the face.

But again, these points are impossible to argue because they are so buried in the heads of liberals that they have become some kind of manefesto. I'm convinced that no common sense, no rationality, no logical arguments canever convince any of these people that Bush is not some sort of lying Hitler type who blew up innocent people so that he and his friends can profit from oil. I'm giving up trying.


Regarding the hatred of Americans in the Middle East: I disagree with your hypothesis that hate is hate. Yes, there were certainly Arabs who hated us far prior to 9/11. But that enmity has a.) now become a wholesale cultural phenomenon and b.) has intensified grotesquely. The hatred is broader and deeper than it has ever been. I don't agree with your polarized view that hatred for us existed, and it exists now, so what's the difference? We have thrown gasoline on the fire, driven it to new heights, new intensities and a new generation. Like I said before, it will take 15 - 20 years to understand the full ramifications of the invasion and occupation.

In the meantime, what will happen to us this summer?

And do you really think Isreal is totally blameless? Interesting.

It already was a cultural phenomenon. The hatred was broad and deep before Iraq. If it is worse now, it is because those that hate us feel that their totalitarian and empirical aspirations are threatened. I agree with you that we need to turn the tide of hate. Your opinion is that essentially we should just leave it alone and let it fester in a cesspool of facist arab shit, and hope that somehow these people slowly wake up and start to love America. My opinion is that we tear down the walls of facism, force and end to government sponsored anti-Americanism, and build strong relationships with open and Democratic arab countries. The enlightened few in America who "get it" know that this is the only way in which we can ensure that the next generation of arabs at least has a choice in whether to hate America. Before, it was a fucking certainty.

I also agree with you that it will take several generations before we know the result of this proactive war on terror. But your original point had something to do with Bush being "myopic". I think that is such a distorted "perception" of reality it almost deserves ridicule. The anti-war left are the ones with no eyes on the future. It is they who would rather feed the alligator in the hopes that it won't eat them quickly. While France, Germany, and Al Gore are hiding under a rock with a barrel of fish, Bush and company are out killing the alligator. And no, the alligator probably doesn't like that plan very much. It will probably fight back.

But once it's dead, it's dead.

And you can come out from under your rock.