Democracy Needs a Dermatologist
Headline: Pakistan Taliban Leader Killed in US Drone Strike
Article Synopsis: Hakimullah Mehsud, who the US claimed to have killed almost two years ago, was also reportedly killed on January 12th in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Radio transmissions overheard consisted of Taliban operative discussing his death in the recent attack, and also scolds to not discuss such things on the radio. Taliban officials publically deny the rumor.
Lashing Out: Pakistan is the only nation to have recognized the Taliban’s sovereign authority in Afghanistan from the mid ‘90s until late ’01. The Taliban is a group of mostly non-Afghan religious zealots who descended upon Afghanistan in the power vacuum left by a retreating Soviet occupation force in order to create a Sunni Muslim theocracy.
The fact that they are just across the border from Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim theocracy is a fact not lost on Iran, or among those groups of muslims who use each other as target practice when a good old Western, American-Israeli target doesn’t present itself. Sunnis and Shi’ites have been killing each other since the Prophet Mohammed’s funeral ended, and have only briefly called a truce when they could scrape up a common enemy.
The Sunni Taliban has been bombing Shi’a mosques in Afghanistan, and has recently begun practicing on what is seemingly their only semi-friend in the world: the Pakistani government.
Conclusion: Time to withdraw from Afghanistan. When enemies and quasi-enemies start taking aim at each other, our involvement is not needed.
Headline: Al Qaida Captures Town Near Yemeni Capital
Article Synopsis: Hooligans from the birthplace of Wahabi-sect Sunni yahoory have overrun army positions around the town of Radda, captured the town, and freed prison inmates – who later joined the al Qaida militia. The US withdrew support from Yemen’s president Saleh, and his anti-al Qaida campaign, late last summer after discovering that Saleh was an unelected tyrant. Saleh is scheduled to give up power this spring.
How Often can Our Face be Spited? Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia, in the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula, is where the fundamentalist group of Sunni islam, called Wahabi or, sometimes, Salafi, was invented in the late 18th century; Wahabi is considered rude for some reason. Wahabism views any non-literal interpretation of the Koran to be blasphemy, and views any government which concedes the equality of a non-muslim government to be blasphemous as well. Veneration of historical sites – such as the Kabalah – is considered idolatry.
Wahabi sect Sunnis famously collaborated with the Turkish rulers of the Ottoman empire until the early 20th century – as the Turks ruled a self-superior muslim empire – which put the Arab Wahabis at odds with the rest of the Arabs under Turkish rule ... who called the Wahabis “collaborators”. When the Saudi tribe was handed control of most of the Arabian peninsula by the British after the British-aided Arab uprising against Turkish rule in the 1920s, the Wahabi have had a love-hate relationship with the Saudi government: they hate the Saudi government when the Saudis do anything but what the Wahabis want; they love the Saudi government when it does such things as bulldoze the grave of Mohammed’s mother.
Wahabis seek a new Caliphate, a muslim theocratic rule of the known world. During the last Caliphate, the known world was considerably smaller; today it covers the entire planet. As a result, any government which does not have similar aspirations to muslim world dominance such as all governments besides Afghanistan from 1995 through 2001, Iran since 1979, Saudi Arabia when it’s bulldozing historical shrines, and lawless wastes like Somalia and, now, Egypt, are considered by the Wahabis to be part of the problem. And nations like Iran, which itself aspires to muslim theocratic domination of the world but is the wrong type of islam to be doing the dominating, doesn’t count.
Yemen’s president Saleh, in a rare bit of clarity after 9-11, decided that his personal bread was buttered on America’s side, and actively – if impolitely and inexpertly – assisted in the targeting of al Qaida hooligans. With the change of US administration, however, less emphasis was placed on achieved results and more on personal character of those we deal with, and Saleh’s despotism has become more important to the United States than what he does with it.
Conclusion: Since breaking Yemen off from US military assistance several months ago, al Qaida has wrested control of up to a third of the nation from Yemen’s reluctant army – many of whom are Wahabi themselves. Unless the strategy is to allow al Qaida an inhospitable haven for their theocratic despotry which can be easily surrounded and obliterated ... which I do not give the current US government credit enough to think up on its own ... this would seem to be another inept idealism masquerading as Obama’s Foreign Policy.
Headline: Egypt’s Transition to Democracy Grows Messier
Article Synopsis: Egypt’s military imposed a “transitional government” upon the departure of US ally Hosni Mubarak. The original timetable for handing government control to an elected government was in the middle of 2012, but the military is showing signs that it is no longer willing to do so. Mohamed ElBaradie has shocked the nation by declaring that he will not seek Egypt’s presidency.
Democracy Yes, Elections No: The ineptly staggered parliamentary election between late November and early January resulted in the islamist group Muslim Brotherhood collecting nearly 50% of the seats, and the ultra-islamist Salafi party – Wahabi – al Qaida – collecting just over 20%.
Seventy percent of the Egyptian parliament, when it’s finally seated in a few months, will belong to those who have spent decades or longer actively attempting to bring down Middle Eastern governments that do not seek to bring down western civilization, ... and bringing down western civilization as well. The other 30% of parliament is divvied up among scads of disparate and likely divisive vaguely “liberal” or “leftist” parties.
The concern now is that the majority Brotherhood party, with or without its slightly more strident ally in the Salafi party, has cut a deal with the Egyptian military to leave it in control, put up a figurehead president to give the illusion of democratic validity, and reconstruct an effective dictatorship in Egypt ... but this time, a dictatorship which is not friendly to the West, to Israel, to tourism and Egypt’s economy, or to anyone else except muslim theocrats.
One of Egypt’s more prominent activists, Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, upon shaking the cobwebs of idealistic delusion from his head, remarked, “We feel that elections now are not the best framework toward democratic rule.” No shit, Shady. I could have told you that months ago and, in fact, did.
I hate being right all the time.
Conclusion: You don’t start a revolution without having, already in place, a system to replace the deposed government with. Toppling the throne and then hoping for the best is the best way of getting the worst. History is full of examples too numerous to recount, including the French Revolution and Watergate.