Saturday :: Feb 11, 2006

Toon Wars: Who Let The War Dogs Out?


by pessimist

Ever since the news broke about the uprising over the Mohammad cartoons, I have been very skeptical about what I had been hearing and reading. Several things weren't adding up from what we were being told, and waiting a week to see how things have developed has proven to be of some value.

For instance:

Flemming Rose's job as culture editor of Jyllands-Posten led him to create a page for last Sept. 30 with a dozen drawings and the headline "Muhammeds ansigt," or "The Face of Mohammed." Sept. 30 was, in 2005, the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

I would buy the argument that this was an honest mistake, except that "The paper is historically known for taking a right-wing line."

In the 1920s and 30s the paper was infamous for its sympathy for fascism and understanding of the German Nazi dictatorship. After the war the paper continued to grow, and its ties and sympathy to business interests and industries growed [sic] equally.

Jyllands-Posten played a crucial role in the 2001 election bringing the right-wing party Venstre and its leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen to power. Several journalists covering parliamentary and governmental politics were subsequently employed as "spin doctors" of his government.

The 2001 election focused primarily on the immigration question.

Immigrations issues are behind an accusation that the delayed uproar over these cartoons was inspired by the actions of Danish imams:

As the row escalated, Danes blamed their Muslim minority for fueling the furore. Although Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons last September, the furore arose after the imams' [Southwest Asian] tour in December and last month.
Resentment of Muslims has seen a rise of support for the far-right Danish People's Party (DPP), which has described Islam as a terrorist religion and has said that it is an inferior civilisation.

That would be enough to make a secular humanist raging mad!

Assuming for the moment that this charge against the Danish imams is correct, where could they go to drum up support for such protests?

Our FRIENDS - the Saudis!


How a meeting of leaders in Mecca set off the cartoon wars around the world

A summit of Muslim nations held in Mecca in December may have played a key role in stoking outraged protests across the Islamic world against a series of caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed. The meeting in Islam's holiest city appears to have been a catalyst for turning local anger at the images into a matter of public, and often violent, protest in Muslim nations.
A dossier of the cartoons, which was compiled by Danish Muslims, was handed around the sidelines of the meeting, attended by 57 Islamic nations including leaders such as Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Saudi King, Abdullah.

Think about this for a moment. The Saudis strongly support the Muslim fundamentalism known as Wahhabism. Wahhabism is the current-day motivation for the conservative belief that Islam seeks to convert the world by force. Wahhabism is reported to be against everything the West holds dear. Osama is a believer in Wahhabi tenets. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. The Council on Foreign Relations says 95% of Saudi men supported Osama's Jihad when surveyed shortly after the attacks.

Saudi Arabia just concluded major trade deals with China and India and doesn't need the United States any more.

The handwriting is on the wall, and we in the US refuse to see it. But in an effort not to harm their huge investment in America - $400 billion to $800 billion - the Saudis need a distraction, and that would be the motivation behind any involvement they may have in this cartoon controversy.

Princeton Professor Bernard Lewis had this to say about Muslims (and by extension, the Saudis):

These are not stupid people. They are highly sophisticated, intelligent people who have created great civilizations in the past. And we are not dealing with people who do not understand the value of knowledge. They do, having created so much knowledge themselves. We are not dealing with people who are unaware of these things. They are highly aware, particularly today with modern communications.

It seems that most of the Muslim nations haven’t been able to balance Islam on the one hand and the need to Westernize/modernize on the other. [W]e must recognize that part of the damage that has been done to these societies is precisely because of what we would call either Westernization or modernization.

All too often European and American policies toward the Arab world have been predicated on an unspoken assumption: that these people are incapable of democracy, that it’s inevitable that they will be ruled by tyrants, and that they are on a lower level of civilization. We hold them to a lower level both in what we expect from them and what they may expect from us. We don’t expect these people to live by civilized rules.

In this perception, the aim of policy is to ensure that they will be ruled by friendly, not hostile, tyrants.
What modernization has done is to increase enormously the power of the state, the extent and scope and range of state power, and to weaken or remove the previous limiting powers in traditional society. The modern apparatus of government — the means of surveillance, enforcement, and repression — has given the modern rulers vastly greater power and authority than were ever exercised by any of the legendary caliphs and sultans of the past. They were democrats compared to some of the modern rulers. I find this approach deeply insulting, morally reprehensible, and, in the world of today, politically unworkable.

The Taliban are influenced by Wahhabism, a movement founded by Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahab. The Wahhabi branch of Islam is very fanatical, to the extent of being totally intolerant, very oppressive of women, and so on. Two things happened in the 20th century that gave Wahhabis enormous importance. One of them was that sheikhs of the House of Saud, who were Wahhabis, and their followers obtained control of the holy places of Islam — Mecca and Medina — which gave them enormous prestige in the Muslim world. And second, probably more important, they controlled the oil wells and the immense resources those gave them.

Imagine that the Ku Klux Klan gets total control of the state of Texas. And the Ku Klux Klan has at its disposal all the oil rigs in Texas. And they use this money to set up a well-endowed network of colleges and schools throughout Christendom, peddling their peculiar brand of Christianity. You would then have an approximate equivalent of what has happened in the modern Muslim world.

If, to follow Professor Lewis' metaphor, the Texas Klan wanted to take control of the United States government, they would need to break up the Democratic Party into factions and get them fighting with each other so that they would be too busy to notice the destruction the TexiKlan are causing to our nation.

I don't think that's a metaphor. I think that's reality.

OK, I think I have demonstrated that there could easily be an element of Muslim involvement with this cartoon controversy being artificially in-stimulated. Would there not also be Western motivation for stirring things up?

As I have already presented above, the Danes elected a right-wing government largely on the basis of immigration tensions. Their attitudes, as confirmed by Prof. Lewis' remarks, are that Muslims are 'inferior' in spite of the likelihood - as Prof. Lewis implies - that Muslim students preform better than their Danish schoolmates.

That should sound vary familiar to any of our Black readers who remember the early days of American public school desegregation!

Let's go Old School for a moment. Think about the history of our nation. Think about how we Americans believed that the Natives were inferior and didn't deserve respect or land ownership. Think about how we just killed them off and took it for our own use.

Now think about the stupid comments I know you have heard from friends and family about how 'we need to go over there and take OUR oil from them [derogatory characterization]s'. Keeping us inflamed at Muslim outrages - easily stirred on both sides, as recent events demonstrate - keeps us from questioning the handling of the wars on terror, for oil, and against Iraq - or any of many other vital issues.

The primary suspects for the Western involvement in stirring up the Muslims over cartoons thus would have to be groups that believe that the world was given to Westerners and/or Christians to exploit. This will, by definition, include PNAC and Bu$hCo, but there are other groups out there who don't suffer that kind of visibility.

It may also be that religion isn't the main motivation at all, but is instead just a tool to be used to achieve the desired results - global political power and world economic dominance.

This is the motive I'm most aligned with.

We know, for example, that the Bu$h family has had long-term business connections with the Saudis, bin Laden's family not being the least of these by any means. We also know that both the Saudis and the Bu$h family care little about nationalism when there is a profit to be made. We also know that both groups constitute the bulk of the Carlyle Group.

Now before I'm accused of wearing my titanium tam o'shanter a little low, I'm only pointing out possibilities. If one looks at means, motives, and opportunities, a clique of Saudis and Bu$hes has to rank toward the top, for they have all three. Few of the other groups generally mentioned in the media as being behind the protests do. QED.

So what is the point of causing religious unrest?

The dollar is losing its former status, which alarms Americans for the obvious reasons, and the Saudis for other, not-so-obvious reasons.

Late last year, in Kuala Lumpur, the ASEAN nations met to discuss economic policies. Some of the goals of these talks were laid out here [other goals here] centering around the realization that China wags the economic dog.

Economic conferences are a dollar-a-dozen, so what was so important about this one? Pointedly not invited is the United States while non-members India, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were expressly invited.

How can the US lead if it isn't there?

There is much more to this specific issue, but suffice it for now to sum it up as the US is going down, being replaced by China, as the world leader. This is why the Saudis are interested in current events.

If one believes the canard that 'war is good for the economy', then if one is sunk to the ear lobes in this economy to the tune of up to $800 billion, one has to consider one's options cautiously. Hedging the bet by playing both sides is not a bad start, but once the trend analysis is concluded, one has to take action. But what if taking that action makes the problem worse?

The only solution is to play other angles against each other!

Militarily, the US is stuck on the Oil Tar Baby twice: in Afghanistan and Iraq. Suppose more attention is focused on Iran - an OPEC rival and religious enemy? Getting the US to act against Iranian oil facilities as a part of a more general action would only benefit Saudi goals by weakening the economic and political root of Shi'a militancy, which is the only means by which the Sauds would lose power in Arabia. It would also weaken America in many ways - economically, militarily, socially, ... That would be three, North Korea possibly being a fourth if China loses its grip on the region.

But I digress. North Korea is of little interest to SaudiCarlyle.

The only responses America's conservatives can come up with to such a threat actually plays into these Saudi goals, so it is little wonder that things aren't getting any better internationally. America's liberals are too busy surrendering to the conservatives every chance they get to offer much of a response themselves.

On the other hand, China (and to a lesser extent, Russia) has many interests in the region as well, and are rivals and opponents of the US. Keeping China (which has its own growing Muslim problem) and the US eying each other warily over Iran and Central Asia keeps either from gaining or keeping the upper hand in the future. It also keeps either from seriously developing Central Asia and weakening OPEC's dominance of petroleum resource markets.

Without the income that those markets produce, would-be world dominators couldn't make a move. Not Saudi. Not Carlyle.

And that would end their freedom to deny freedom to the rest of us.

No power, know peace.


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