Thursday, October 4, 2007

America, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban: Who's on Your Side?

Good for Poland. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, that country's prime minister, said Poland would not retreat "in the face of terrorists."

That declaration came after Poland's ambassador to Iraq was burned over 20% of his body. Not seriously, and he's expected to live, but it was unpleasant. The ambassador's convoy was hit with three bombs and gunfire in what the Iraqi Foreign Ministry called a "criminal assassination attempt" aimed at "damaging the strong relations between Iraq and Poland."

Meanwhile, Naif Jassim Mohammed, an Iraqi lawmaker and part of Iraq's biggest Sunni bloc, seems to have been at a meeting of suspected Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters. Then U.S. and Iraqi troops detained him.

And, south of Baghdad, the town of Iskandariyah needs a new mayor. Their old one was blown up, along with four of his bodyguards, on his way to work. Mayor Abbas Hassan Hamza was a member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party.

On the other side of Baghdad, Sheik Muawiya Naji Jbara died after a roadside bomb went off next to his convoy. The Sheik had been on his way to support anti-Al Qaeda fighters southwest of Samarra. Sheik Muawiya Naji Jbara was the head of the Salahuddin Tribal Awakening Council.

Back in America, while Iraqis are dying to get their country sorted out, almost one in five people in one party think the world will be better off if America loses the war in Iraq. My guess is that they think Iraqis are being killed because Yankees are there, and that the unpleasantness would stop if American and other coalition forces left.

I'm pretty sure that Al Qaeda, particularly Al Aqeda in Iraq, would be happy to see the coalition go. And that the same could be said for some of the people in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is part of the world where rape victims are killed, by their relatives, because they brought shame on their families. The idea of honor killings seems odd to many Americans, but it's a sincerely-held belief for many in and around the Middle East.

Release of "The Kite Runner," has been delayed to December 14 while Zekiria Ebrahimi, Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada and Ali Danish Bakhty Ari, three boys appearing in the film, are evacuated from Kabul. It's a reasonable precaution, in a country where rape victims are killed.

Actually, I think that the possibility that the boys whose rape is depicted in the film might be killed demonstrates that Middle Eastern cultures and beliefs are much more egalitarian that thought.

Although the subjects of honor killings are generally thought of as female, it's clear that people of either sex can be killed to un-shame a family.

That's a fine example of equal rights.

So what?

The war on terror is about a conflict between two radically opposed cultures.
  • One defends freedom, allowing people a considerable range of choice in how they live their lives. This is the side that America leads.
  • The other kills rape victims, and recently hung a teenage boy because he had American dollars. The boy had been in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. Helmand leads Afghani provinces in violence, and is a major poppy producer. A district police chief said, "The Taliban warned villagers that they would face the same punishment if they were caught with dollars."
Personally, I'd rather live here in America, in what Ward Churchill, late of Colorado University, called a "fascist state".

At least here, he gets paid for saying things like that, instead of paying with his life.

Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.