Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

From the New York Times editorial board:

It is worth reading certain Islamist newspapers to see their reactions to the attacks in Paris. The West is cast as a land of 'infidels.' The attacks were the result of the onslaught against Islam. Muslims and Arabs have become the enemies of the secular and the Jews. The Palestinian question is invoked along with the rape of Iraq and the memory of colonial trauma, and packaged into a messianic discourse meant to seduce the masses. Such talk spreads in the social spaces below, while up above, political leaders send their condolences to France and denounce a crime against humanity. This totally schizophrenic situation parallels the West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia.

All of which leaves one skeptical of Western democracies’ thunderous declarations regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism. Their war can only be myopic, for it targets the effect rather than the cause. Since ISIS is first and foremost a culture, not a militia, how do you prevent future generations from turning to jihadism when the influence of Fatwa Valley and its clerics and its culture and its immense editorial industry remains intact?

More here.

Let's face it. The only "military solution" to the IS problem is a brutal and permanent occupation with a million or more troops to keep "the peace." We would have to resort to Nazi German anti-insurgency tactics, torture, murder, wiping out entire villages for the crimes of a few. Police state terror. Forever. That's the only "military solution" to terrorism.

And, in the end, it would fail miserably. It would give EVERYBODY IN THE REGION damned good reasons to strap on bombs and blow themselves up among crowds of Westerners. So there is no "military solution." We would be sowing the seeds of our own defeat, and lose our souls in the process.

Yes, we should do something in the short term to make the world safer from terrorism, although I don't know what that would be. But I am certain that if we don't overhaul our entire diplomatic approach to the Middle East, abandoning the freakish, contradictory, bizarre, and irrational games of oil-chess and Western domination, including America's ongoing acceptance of Israel's crimes against the Palestinians and our dealing-with-the-devil alliance with the Saudis, and replace it all with a foreign policy of justice, human rights, and economic development, any short term effort will be both futile and counterproductive.

If we don't completely re-think this, we will fail.