Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden's Death Creates Teachable Moments about the Middle East

This article was published on PajamasMedia. The text is provided here for your convenience.

DOROTHY: “I thought you said she was dead.”
GLINDA: “That was her sister--the Wicked Witch of the East. This is the Wicked Witch of the West. And she's worse than the other one was.”
--“The Wizard of Oz”

By Barry Rubin

It's astounding that Hamas, Fatah al-Aqsa Brigades, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood all issued pro-bin Laden statements. They didn't have to do it. He was no friend of theirs. Yet out of Islamic solidarity, anti-Western hatred, and perhaps fear that it could happen to them they did. It's extraordinary these groups could say such statements and not be totally discredited in American eyes for taking the side of the September 11 terrorist leader.

Ding-dong, bin-Ladin’s dead. The Wicked Terrorist of the West is no more. But there are plenty more around.

In fact, several events are already proving it. The question is: Does the U.S. government, its European friends, and the Munchkins of their intellectual elite know a wicked witch when they see one?

Even the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Fatah—the ruling party in the “moderate” Palestinian Authority (PA) of which “President” Mahmoud Abbas is a leader (Abbas himself didn't criticize the operation)—cheered bin Laden. In other words, the militia of a group that has received lavish U.S. funding has now endorsed the September 11 attacks! Will the mass media notice this point? Will Congress?

To make the story even more interesting, Palestinian Media Watch pointed out that the Palestinian news agency edited out that message in its English-language site. What a marvelous case study of the usual practice of expressing extremism in Arabic for their own audience and moderation in English for the Western journalists, policymakers, and “experts.”

The statement is truly remarkable. Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades didn’t owe bin Laden anything. It is supposedly a secular-oriented group and has never cooperated with al-Qaeda. Yet so great is the power of radical Islamism, anti-Americanism, and pure hatred of the “other” that this group—which easily could have remained silent—couldn’t help itself.

The statement reads—and note the use of the word “jihad” from a Fatah group:

“The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades mourned Tuesday the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following his assassination Sunday by American troops in Pakistan.

“His death, a statement said, `won't stop our Jihad mission against injustice and occupation….The Islamic nation was shocked with the news that bin Laden had been killed by the non-believers."

He left a generation who follows the education he gave in Jihad, the statement continued. The fighters in Palestine and around the world who have lost their leaders did not stop their mission and will continue in the tutelage of their masters."

"We say to the American and Israeli occupier: The umma, [Islamic nation] which produced leaders who changed the course of history through their Jihad and their endurance is a nation that is capable of supplying an abundance of new blood into the arteries of the resistance and is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah's oneness, Allah willing.'"

And Ma’an in English changed the end of that passage as follows:

"We tell the Israeli and the American occupiers that we have leaders who have changed history with their Jihad and their steadfastness. We are ready to sacrifice our lives to bring back peace."

Get it? The Fatah group says jihad, Islamism, terrorism hooray! Bin Laden was their great teacher. But the version given out to the world is that they are ready to die for peace. This is the gap that usually exists and usually goes unnoticed.

It is less surprising that Hamas expressed anger at its sister’s demise. Yet remember that historically Hamas was not an ally of bin Laden's. Yet it couldn't resist either. Hamas’s candidate for Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh—you know, the guy we are always being told leads the “moderate” faction—mourned the death of this “Arab holy warrior.” He was confirming that bin Ladin was properly waging jihad.

Haniyeh continued, “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”

Now, if you just see that line quoted consider what it means. Haniyeh is declaring a blood feud with the United States which means that Hamas is committing itself to kill Americans. Saying that the United States sheds “Muslim and Arab blood” is not an accidental phrase.

Of course, this comes after the U.S. government successfully intervened to press Israel to reduce sanctions on the Gaza Strip to an absolute minimum; okayed the passing of $400 million of U.S. taxpayer money to the Gaza Strip (through the Palestinian Authority) to take care of folks there; and helped overturn an Egyptian government keeping Hamas in check.

You call that gratitude? Objectively, the Obama Administration has been one of Hamas’s best friends. Moreover, Hamas has just signed a unity agreement with Fatah. Scores of countries will vote in September at the UN General Assembly to recognize a Fatah-Hamas government unconditionally.

Incidentally, note that it is portrayed as an act of aggression for the United States to try to kill or capture the man who launched a bloody, unprovoked attack on it. This is precisely the way much of the Western mass media and a number of governments portray Israel's self-defense against terror attacks.

The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl asks the right question:

“Should the mourner of bin Laden be recognized as a worthy partner for peace with Israel, or a potential leader of a new Arab state? Haniyeh’s comments won’t leave the White House--which has been weighing how to respond to the Palestinian unity deal -- with much of a choice.”

Perhaps and perhaps not. And how about the leaders of all those other democratic countries just aching to break bread with Hamas? In fact, what is career moderate Mahmoud Abbas and the moderate Palestinian Authority making a deal with Hamas?

Well, a few hours later the PA signed a unity agreement with Hamas. Backing the September 11 attack seems no barrier to their cooperation. Or to continued U.S. aid and diplomatic support? Or to Europeans supporting a Fatah-Hamas state? Guess what? The British government immediately issued a statement applauding the Fatah-Hamas deal.

And that’s not all. Haniyeh also urged the Palestinian Authority to rescind its past recognition of Israel. Remember, that’s no longer a demand by an enemy but a proposal made by a partner and ally. In Haniyeh’s words: Israel’s presence “on our land is illegal and cannot be recognized.” Be sure that he was not talking about parts of the West Bank and east Jerusalem but the whole shebang.

Meanwhile, the Syrian regime’s killing of more than 500 unarmed demonstrators is not damaging its standing at the UN, where Syria may soon receive a seat on the Human Rights’ Council. Well, why not? Libya and Iran have achieved such rewards.

And what about Hizballah, now a major part of Lebanon’s government, involved in such events as the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks, killing 242 Americans, and a number of kidnappings including the horrible torture and murder of Colonel Rich Higgins?

Then there's the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Its leader called for violent Jihad to destroy America in October 2010. Four months later, the president of the United States publicly accepted its inclusion in a future Egyptian government. Might this not be a good idea?

Finally, if the United States can do a targeted killing of a terrorist who had killed Americans, unintentionally knocking off an innocent bystander in the process, how can anyone complain about Israel doing the same thing?

Yes, there’s a great deal to learn from the bin Laden assassination.

Maan has issued a "correction" on the translation but then al-Aqsa Brigades denied having made the statement. Presumably, Maan would not have been fooled by imposters and Abbas probably told the al-Aqsa Brigades that the statement was very damaging and should be withdrawn.
Oh, and by the way, appeasement won't work with these forces because they view the conflict as irreconcilible no matter what America does. Here's a little parable:

DOROTHY: "You can have your old slippers but give me back Toto...." The Witch tries to remove the slippers and gets a terrible shock from them.
DOROTHY: "I'm sorry. I didn't do it! Can I still have my dog?"
WITCH: "No!....Those slippers will never come off, as long as....you're alive."


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