Saturday, November 6, 2010

Al Qaeda, al-Awlaki, Yemen, and a Wake-Up Call

From today's news:
"Yemen Orders Arrest of U.S.-Born Radical Cleric Awlaki"
FOXNews (November 6, 2010)

"A Yemeni judge ordered police Saturday to find a radical U.S.-born cleric 'dead or alive' after the Al Qaeda-linked preacher failed to appear at his trial for his role in the killing of foreigners.

"Yemen is under heavy U.S. pressure to crack down on the country's Al Qaeda offshoot after a scheme to send bombs through the mail in packages addressed to the U.S. was thwarted a week ago. The group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the plot on Friday.

"The cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents and is one of the most prominent English-language radical clerics. His sermons advocating jihad, or holy war, against the United States have influenced militants involved in several attacks or attempted attacks on U.S. soil.

"Yemeni officials say he may have blessed the mail bomb plot, while not necessarily taking an active part in it...."

"...With his sudden trial and the arrest order, Yemen appears to be trying to show its American allies that it considers the cleric a serious threat..

"Judge Mohsen Allwan ordered al-Awlaki to be 'arrested by force, dead or alive' after he failed to appear for the start of his trial in Yemen on Tuesday. He was charged last week as a co-defendant in a surprise announcement as part of the trial of another man, Hisham Assem, who has been accused of killing a Frenchman in an Oct. 6 attack at an oil firm compound...."

What the Anwar al-Awlaki Warrant Doesn't Prove

If the name Anwar al-Awlaki sounds familiar, you've been paying attention to coverage of the Fort Hood shootings by Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Major Hasan sent emails to Imam al-Awlaki, and there may be other connections. (November 11, 2009)

And no, I do not think that Major Hasan, Imam al-Awlaki, Big Oil, the entire Bush family and the shape-shifting space-alien lizard people are conspiring to make me pay more for gasoline now, than I did in 1969. Which is another topic.

I also do not think that 'the only good Indian Muslim is a dead Muslim.' I discussed that deplorable philosophy in December, 2007.

Yemen, an Arrest Warrant, and a Wake-up Call

Whether or not Yemen's government is sincere in wanting to arrest someone who's apparently involved with Al-Qaeda, I think this warrant is a good sign.

Note: I wrote "good sign." Not "final solution to everything." I'm not even convinced that the nominal central government in Yemen has practical control over a significant fraction of the country. Yemen is in better shape than Somalia - but it's not exactly in good shape either. Part of the country's recovering from being a worker's paradise, the other from being a theocratic Imamate. ("Yemen," CIA World Factbook (last updated November 3, 2010))

I think - hope might be a safer term - that the warrant is another indication that some leaders in the Middle East's Islamic world have noticed that the world has changed since the time of Abraham.

I think that at least some of the terrorists who say they're defending Islam were shocked when their local culture was abruptly exposed to the last several thousand years of change. I'm not making excuses: but I can imagine that growing up with burqas and honor killings, and suddenly having hundreds of cable channels with bikinis, Budweiser, and dog food commercials wash over over you might upset some folks. I've discussed that before. (October 21, 2010)

The failure of Western civilization to crumble after September 11, 2010, may have been a sort of wake-up call to Middle Eastern leaders. The world has changed. It's time to make adjustments.

The adjustments can be made gracefully, or under protest. But they will, I think, have to be made sooner or later. The rest of the world - at least those of us who deal with folks who don't live in our own little enclave - can't tolerate bombs on aircraft much longer.

No matter how sincere the beliefs are, of those who planned the attacks.

And that's another topic.

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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.