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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Articles on the Arab world after 2007
Islam's moderates
Osama Bin Laden's great idea
For how long will we tolerate Saudi terrorism?
Hypocrisy in the Islamic world
The nuclear race in the Middle East
The Arab League against Iraq
Articles on the Arab world before 2007
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

  • (december 2007) Islam's moderates. The world is spending most of the decade watching in disbelief as Muslim "extremists" engage in ever more barbaric behavior.
    The most notorious are, obviously, the suicide bombings and the beheadings in Iraq and Afghanistan, that display a degree of brutality that makes Hitler look reasonable. Then there are the attacks against schoolgirls in Afghanistan, guilty of wanting to get an education, the attacks on girls in Iraq, guilty of not wearing the veil. There was a death penalty for a Muslim guilty of converting to Christianity. Politicians and intellectuals of non-Muslim countries have been routinely threatened of death because of something they said or did. In november 2007 a girl, victim of a gang rape, was sentenced to 200 lashes because she invited the rape by traveling in a car with men who were not immediate relatives (the Saudi law forbids this). You don't have time to absorb one of these shocking news than another one comes around: weeks later a British teacher was arrested in Sudan because her schoolchildren named their toys Mohammed. Extremists immediately demanded that she be executed for such a grave offense. In the southern Iraqi city of Basra alone about 40 women have been murdered, decapitated and mutilated, their bodies dumped in the garbage, because they were dressed in Western clothes or did not wear a headscarf
    Whenever something like this happens, the media tell us that the vast majority of Muslims are "moderates" who do not approve of this barbaric extremes. The media tell us that Islam is a religion of peace and that Muslims want to coexist peacefully with the rest of the world.
    We know that millions of Muslims take to the streets the moment they feel that someone has offended "their" prophet or "their" holy book (note the word "their": they behave as if everybody should respect whomever they deem to be a prophet). We would expect that the same masses of "moderate" Muslims would be motivated (even more motivated, actually) to defend the reputation of their prophet and their holy book and their religion when "extremists" tarnish it. What is more serious: that one (one) Danish cartoonist made fun of Mohammed or that little schoolgirls are killed and tens of women are murdered and mutilated? We would expect that millions of moderate Muslims would not have any doubt.
    The question is simple: where are these moderates? Where are the millions of Muslims marching in the streets to protest the flogging of a victim of rape? Where are the millions of Muslims marching in the streets to protest the beheadings and the suicide bombings in Iraq? Where are the millions of Muslims marching in the streets to protest the persecution of writers? Where are the millions of Muslims marching in the streets to protest the jailing of a teacher? Where are the millions of Muslims marching in the streets to protest the killings of little Afghan schoolgirls and Iraqi women?
    George W Bush keeps telling us that Islam is a great religion that has been hijacked by a few extremists. What exactly has been hijacked?
    (See also Not Islamic fascism but Islamic denial).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (september 2007) Osama Bin Laden's great idea. To anyone used to anti-American rhetoric, Osama Bin Laden's speech of september 2007 bears striking similarities with two notorious anti-USA propagandists: Fidel Castro of Cuba (whose lengthy speeches pivot on precisely the arguments used by Bin Laden against the covert activities of the USA government and the flawed capitalist system) and Noam Chomsky of the USA (whose books analyze how Jewish lobbies and multinational corporations drive the USA's foreign policy).
    Osama Bin Laden's past messages were heavily religious in nature, continuously drawing from the teachings of Mohammed in person. Now he sounds more like a left-wing politician than an Islamic fanatic. His references to Islam are purely marginal, basically the equivalent of idiomatic expressions. This latest speech to the world by Osama sounds like a speech meant for the Western audience, not for the Islamic audience. As the influence of Al Qaeda spreads around the Islamic world, Osama seems more focused on the Western world. He shows little interest for gaining recognition in the Islamic world (a goal that is clearly achievable) and a lot of interest for gaining respect in the Western world (a goal that is virtually impossible). It sounds like he is out of touch with the state of public opinion in the world, although he is obviously well-informed about the domestic and foreign politics of the USA.
    Sometimes it sounds like Osama Bin Laden attacked the USA almost by accident, as a mere corollary to a different kind of war (a religious civil war against the un-Islamic tyrants of the Islamic world) and now that he is, willingly or unwillingly, at war against the USA he is trying to find the rational justification for that war. And the best justification he can find is not in the Quran but in the books and speeches of communists.
    Osama Bin Laden may be less stupid than his victims think. He may have correctly realized that the Cold War may be over but anti-Americanism is stronger than ever. Every single argument used by the Soviet Union and its allies against the USA remains very appealing for millions of anti-Americans all over the world. While they would be embarrassed to embrace communism after it failed so badly, in practice they agree at least with the picture of the USA that communism painted in its heydays. In a sense, there is a large audience ready to accept a (political) prophet who announces that communism was wrong but communism's view of the USA was correct. Even the most famous of all Popes, John Paul II, saw it that way. Such a "negative" ideology of purely anti-USA sentiments, not necessarily tied to an altenative, would unify the Western European masses that march in the street against globalization, the Islamic masses that burn USA and Israeli flags in the squares, and even the USA masses that protest against the war in Iraq.
    A purely "negative" ideology (an ideology that opposes something without hailing something else) has a great advantage: one can just criticize. No need to propose and defend an alternative. That's where communism lost, in a sense. The alternative ended up being worse than the capitalist democratic society. Coming up with an alternative that works and that would be accepted by those different segments of the human population is a challenging task.
    Indirectly, Osama has realized that one could forge a broad "coalition of the willing" opposed to the coalition of the willing that Bush tried to put together in 2003. While Bush's "will" was not shared by many people, the will to oppose the USA government is shared by millions of Europeans, Chinese, Africans, Latin Americans and even USA citizens.
    Osama may not succeed. But someone else (who doesn't have blood on his hands) may some day take the idea and run with it.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (august 2007) For how long will we tolerate the Saudi? Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for a jihad against the infidels, and notably the USA. One of their followers, Osama bin Laden, eventually organized a group that did just that, first in Africa, then in Yemen, then in New York and Washington.
    Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for a jihad against the Shiites, whom they consider heretics. This has led to the massive carnage in Iraq, as "heretics" are even worse than "infidels" in fundamentalist Islam. (See for example this article).
    There is little doubt that the Saudi clerics are to Islamic terrorism what Adolf Hitler was to nazism. Bush's USA is living in denial of the obvious truth. Maliki's Iraq is less oblivious to the truth, but is powerless against the super-armed Saudi neighbor. How long will it take for the USA to realize that Iraq and the USA face the same enemy?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (july 2007) Hypocrisy in the Islamic world. In 2001 a poll asked Muslims around the world if they supported suicide bombers. From Lebanon to Nigeria a huge percentage replied "yes". In 2007 the same poll (scroll down) asked them the same question: the vast majority answered "no". What has changed? Did Bush's policies change their mind? Did Islamic clerics suddenly realize that the Quran is a book of peace?
    No, what has changed is that these days Muslims are the main victims of suicide bombers. The sins of the fathers are falling on their children, and the most gruesome invention of Islam is now killing Muslims around the world like flies. Hence, suicide bombing is no longer cool. But let the world remember that it was cool when it only killed non-Muslims.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (April 2007) The nuclear race in the Middle East. In a region in which honor prevails over everything else, the mere suspicion (largely shared by all Arab countries) that Iran is preparing a nuclear weapon has unleashed a rush of adrenaline as rivals scramble to boast of their own nuclear programs. Turkey is about to inaugurate its first nuclear plant. The son of Egypt's dictator Mubarak has announced Egypt's grandiose plans for nuclear energy. Saudi Arabia has proposed a regional plan. Libya's dictator Qaddafi must be baffled: he voluntarily surrendered his nuclear program to the USA and Britain, and now finds himself surrounded by countries who are rushing to achieve nuclear competence. It is no mystery that the real goal is to be ready to build a nuclear weapon, should Iran do so first.
    The West, enslaved by Middle Eastern oil, seems powerless to stop this nuclear race. But then perhaps it makes no sense anymore than two of the nuclear powers are small obsolete European nations (France and Britain) and that none of the emerging powers of the Middle East has gone nuclear. Why should France have the nuclear bomb and Saudi Arabia not have it?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2007) The Arab League against Iraq. The Arab League defined "illegitimate" the USA "occupation" of Iraq, and has repeatedly implied that the Iraqi government is also "illegitimate" since it operates under foreign occupation.
    The reason the Arab League calls "illegitimate" the democratically elected government of Iraq is simple: they are all dictators, who have not been elected by their people. From their point of view the Iraqi elections (not the Iraqi civil war) are a scary event. They want to erase the notion that democratic elections are needed to legitimize a leader.
    Al Jazeera is the ideological arm of the Arab League. It was Al Jazeera that, from the beginning, depicted the USA as the invader/occupier, not as the liberator. Al Jazeera has repeatedly focused on the minor deficiencies of the Iraqi democracy while always ignoring the colossal aberrations of the other Arab regimes. If the slightest irregularity is found in Iraq, it makes the headlines on Al Jazeera. If Saudi Arabia or Egypt persecute the opposition, Al Jazeera finds it perfectly normal. When the Egyptian government was under pressure because of a ferry tragedy that cost the lives of 1,000 people (and showed the incompetence of the authorities), Al Jazeera distracted the Arab world with the news that a small newspaper in a small Christian country had published some cartoons that made fun of Islam's founder Mohammed. By consistently attacking Iraq and consistently defending the other Arab regimes, Al Jazeera is de facto encouraging Arabs to become suicide bombers and "insurgents" (i.e., anti-democracy fighters).
    The Arab League has a vested interest in causing the downfall of the democratically elected government of Iraq. Al Jazeera is their main tool. It is the Arab League and Al Jazeera that have created the Iraqi civil war. They are creating insurgents, suicide bombers and militias.
    The USA does not see its enemy even when it's standing right in front.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • Articles on the Arab world before 2007
Editorial correspondence | Back to the top | Back to Politics | Back to the world news