Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Caucasus, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Hezbollah and an appeal to my Muslim readers

Back from my short trip I want to share with you a hodge-podge of observations and thoughts.  Let's begin by the Caucasus.

Two things are happening simultaneously in Chechnia, Dagestan: Wahabi insurgents have embarked on a systematic campaign of terror against non-Wahabi Muslim clerics and scholars.  This is happening against a background of major losses for the Wahabi insurgency whose leaders are being killed by the Russian security forces one by one.  It appears that the Wahabis are realizing that their insurgency has no chance of success and that they are lashing out against those whom they perceive as "traitors" and "collaborators", in particular in the ranks of the Islamic clergy and scholars.  This confrontation between the Wahabi insurgency and the local Muslims is rooted in the historical fact that the type of Islam the Wahabis advocate has no historical roots in the region.  Historically, the type of Islam practiced in the Caucasus is a mix of moderate Sunni Islam heavily laced in with pre-Islamic tribal traditions, Sufism and modern secular influences.  Sadly, many local Muslim clerics and scholars did not take enough security measures to protect themselves and they paid the price for presenting an easy, "soft", target.  I can only hope that the local Muslim communities will now realize the full extend of the threat against it and take the same type of protection measures government officials and security force commanders have taken.  The skills to do so are available locally so all is needed is a political decision to do so.

I am sad to say that from what I can see the Muslim community worldwide is still studiously looking away from the Caucasus and not paying any attention to the plight of its fellow-Muslims there.  When Muslims were killed by Russian "kuffar" the Muslim world was vocal in its touching sympathy and support for the Chechen and Dagestani people (regardless of the immense list of atrocities committed against everybody by the insurgents!).  Now that it is quite clear that these very same Muslims are being terrorized by Saudi-backed Wahabis, the Muslims suddenly find themselves looking elsewhere.  I find that very discouraging.

Libya.  Predictably, NATO is now going fully into the so-called "widening" phase of its Bosnia/Kosovo-like campaign against Libya: its destroying more and more of the socio-economic infrastructure of the country.  When I watch the images of the bombs falling on Tripoli I always flash back on the bombs being dropped on Belgrade.  In those tragic days I was amongst the few who were trying to sound the alarm about the fact that the breaking of international law by the US Empire in its war against Serbia and Montenegro over Kosovo was setting a precedent and would have terrible repercussions later.  I was telling my Muslim friends, "hate the Serbs all you want (if you have to), but realize that sooner or later you will be on the receiving end of these very same policies".  But just as in Chechnia, the Muslim world was mostly steered up into an anti-Serb frenzy (carefully induced by the US propaganda machine) and almost nobody seemed capable of thinking more than just one step ahead of the "stop the genocide! stop the genocide!" hysteria.  We now know that no "genocide" took place in either Bosnia or Kosovo (or Chechnia, for that matter), but it's too late now.  Bosnia and Kosovo have turned into the black hole of Europe: with a mix of abject poverty, corruption, mafia thuggery, Wahabi Islamists and US military personnel overseeing it all.  Welcome to the New World Order folks!  In Chechnia, Russia finally pushed back, but at a terrible price not only for Russian, but even more, so for the Chechen people.  What will now happen with Libya?

Frankly, I don't know.  My feeling is that Gaddafi is no Milosevic.  Oh, by the way, if I remember correctly: was Gaddafi not the ONLY Muslim leader who oppose the NATO war in Bosnia and Kosovo?  I am not sure of that, but I think I recall that he did see through the propaganda.

Anyway - Gaddafi must know and understand what NATO has in store for him and his country:  a cell in the Hague for him and his sons, and a Kosovo-like enslavement of Libya.  When I hear that he wants to fight to death I tend to believe him.  More importantly, as far as I know the Libyan population is highly educated and probably understands what is going on.  As for the resistance, which I supported initially, it must come to realize that it has been hijacked, co-opted and manipulated and find the courage to do exactly what Akhmad Kadyrov and so many other Chechen leaders did when they realize that they were being used by the US Empire: break-off its alliance with CIA/MI6 controlled puppets, choose "country over politics" and find some arrangement with Gaddafi who has made innumerable offers of peace, negotiations and democratic elections.  This will be tough, of course, and I sympathize with the plight of those who loathe Gaddafi himself (as I personally do), but what is at stake now is the very survival of Libya as an independent country.  Furthermore, for all the bad things that Gaddafi has done, he has also done quite a few things right and all these socio-economic achievements will turn into dust if the international bankers and Zionists get their teeth deep int the Libyan economy, which they will if their newly acquired CIA/MI6 puppets ever seize power.

Yet again, the Muslim world appears to be studiously looking away from these painful realities.  Are they afraid of the almighty USA?  Or do they feel duped as they were in Kosovo and simply cannot fess up to it?  Or do they hate Gadaffi more than they love Libya?  I frankly don't know, but I notice that even Hezbollah, to my great sadness, has nothing to say about all this (more about Hezbollah's strange silences below)

Egypt.  The military junta running Egypt has committed the "crime of crimes", at least in my opinion.  It has re-closed the Rafah border. Check out this exclusive report by DemocracyNow!:

I find that totally sickening and I can only hope and pray that the Egyptian people will rise again to stop this abomination. 

By the way, there is something which the opposition could already do to help.  It could declare that it has begun making lists of the names of all government officials (military, police, border guard, ministries, etc.) who in any way have collaborated with this obscene policy of betrayal of the Palestinian people of Gaza and that as soon as when the opposition comes to power these officials will all be charged with treason and tried in court.  Such a threat could go a long towards dampening the zeal of the many folks involved in the implementation of this policy.

Sadly, besides the outraged people of Gaza, the Muslim world seems to be strangely silent on this topic also.  Again, I do not understand why.

Syria now.  This will be my first post about Syria.  I did not post about the situation there until now not because of any strong political leanings of mine, but simply because I did not feel that I understood what is going on there.  I still don't understand, by the way, but I feel that there are a few things which I would like to share with you.

First, I have no way of knowing whether the majority of the Syrian population support Assad's regime or not.  Unlike Iran, Syria did not have an election, and there is no way to know whether the opposition or the regime have a democratic legitimacy.  What we do know is that the Syrian regime under Hafez al-Assad did crush popular uprising with extreme violence several times in the past.  Assad Jr. is probably as ruthless has his father.  Besides, I also personally loathe Assad junior, Bashir, whom I always saw as a covert collaborator of Israel and the United States (on whose behalf he tortured "rendered" suspects!) and whom I strongly suspect of being involved in the murder of Imad Mugniyeh (as does Mugniyeh's widow, I would add).  But when I see the very same forces which are attempting to conquer Libya throwing their support behind the anti-Assad insurgency it gives me pause.  Folks like Eltsin, Milosevic, Saddam, Gaddafi or Assad are loathsome and brutal dictators, no doubt, but I simply do not believe that replacing them with a NATO Viceroy is making things better.  There is "bad" and there is "worse" and "worse" is often a lot worse than "bad".  Or, to loosely paraphrase Hegel, quantitative changes can eventually result in qualitative changes.  Why is it that some many political figures and otherwise astute observers stubbornly refuse to see that?

Which brings me to Hezbollah.

For a self-professed "Hezbollah groupie" and "Nasrallah fanboy" like myself it is rather painful to have to admit that I am becoming frustrated, if not disappointed, with Hezbollah.  Why?

First, Hezbollah had absolutely nothing to say about the alleged (and probably fictional) murder of Osama Bin-Laden in Pakistan.

Second, Hezbollah is not sounding the alarm about the USraelian Empire's successful attempt to co-opt and control the (initially spontaneous and legitimate) opposition to Gaddafi.

Third, Hezbollah is also remaining mostly silent or, even worse, supportive of the Assad regime in Syria.

Of course, I understand the political reasons for all this.  In the first case, Hezbollah does not want to alienate Sunnis, in the second case Hezbollah still remembers the kidnapping and murder of Musa al-Sadr by Gaddafi, and in the third case Hezbollah feels that it cannot come out against a regime whom it largely, but not exclusively, depends on for weapons and support.  But are these ethically valid reasons or are these considerations of petty politics?

My secular readers will not understand this, but I hold religious leaders to a far higher standard than their secular counterparts.  If I am not mistaken, Hassan Nasrallah's clerical title is Hojatoleslam (also transcribed as Hujjat al-Islam from Arabic), meaning the "proof of Islam".  In other words, Hassan Nasrallah is a "proof of the surrender to God".  Can any person - in particular a Shia cleric - upon whom such a noble title is bestowed really choose to remain silent out of petty political considerations?

I hope that I am not offending my fellow "Hezbollah groupies" and "Nasrallah fanboys" or, more seriously, my Shia readers.  But I have to call it the way I see it and Hezbollah's heavy silence baffles, frustrates and disappoints me.

If I am wrong, which I would readily admit, please tell me why.

All I can say in my defense is that this is my personal blog.  Not only because I control it, but because I share my personal feelings, doubts, fears, frustrations, with the rest of you here.  This blog is not the antiseptic, polished and always politically correct editorial page for a corporate newspaper. 

So I will say it frankly here: I am deeply disturbed and disappointed by the seeming inability of so many Muslim leaders to speak up and dare to say a very unpopular truth (sometimes even in a personal correspondence).

All the evil in this world is based on two ingredients: violence and lies.  And the latter is far more important than the former.  In the past I have already vented my frustration and disappointments with Muslims when they resort to what I call a knee-jerk "my Ummah, right or wrong" kind of reaction to a far more complex and nuanced reality.  But we are not talking about wars between Muslims and kuffar here, we are talking about tragedies which are taking place very much inside the Ummah, and yet even Hezbollah is silent, all its attention focused on Bahrain (which, no doubt, fully deserves that attention, but not exclusively).

So I would like to directly address my Muslim readers here and ask: can you explain what is going on here?  What am I missing?  Are you personally comfortable with the deafening silence which bothers me - an Orthodox Christian - so much?

The Saker