US soldier kills comrades in Iraq
A US soldier has shot dead five of his colleagues at a base in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the Pentagon says.
Two other people were hurt in the shootings and the gunman is in custody, Pentagon officials have said.
An earlier military statement said the incident had happened at Camp Liberty near Baghdad’s international airport at about 1400 (1100 GMT).
The White House said US President Barack Obama was shocked by news of the “terrible tragedy”.
The president planned to discuss it with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said spokesman Robert Gibbs.
“Any time we lose one of our own, it affects us all” Colonel John Robinson US army spokesman
The shooting reportedly occurred at a clinic where troops receive help for personal issues or combat stress.
It is not the first time a US soldier has opened fire on comrades in recent years.
One soldier was sentenced to death in 2005 after killing two officers and wounding 14 other personnel with grenades and a rifle at a camp in Kuwait.
The BBC’s Natalia Antelava, in Baghdad, says troops at Camp Liberty had been enjoying a much more relaxed atmosphere in recent months.
She says there have been few attacks on the base recently, so the timing of the shooting will make it particularly shocking to the soldiers there.
It is the deadliest single incident involving US forces since 10 April, when five soldiers were killed by a truck bomb in the northern city of Mosul.
“Any time we lose one of our own, it affects us all,” said military spokesman Colonel John Robinson.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all the service members involved in this terrible tragedy.”
Earlier this month, a man in an Iraqi army uniform shot dead two US soldiers and injured three others at a base near Mosul.
Iraqi military reports said he was a soldier also working as an imam at a mosque on the base.
US forces are due to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by August 2010.
Jamaatu-d-Da’wah (hereinafter “JuD”) is quite adept at avoiding the attention of the government and at gaining public approval.
When Pakistan was forced to outlaw the Lashkar-e Tayyiba, the organization now known as JuD had a different name, which was to be listed in the list of banned organizations. Conveniently, just before the list was officially promulgated, JuD changed its name, thus escaping being banned. And so they – JuD, its supporters, and the Pakistani authorities – could say, “It’s not the banned organization. Look, it’s a different organization!” But the people aren’t stupid.
One of the challenges with banning the JuD was that such a move was not popular with the people. Various such organizations are popular among the people despite all the mischief they cause. No clearer example of this exists than the incident of the Red Mosque, when the Pakistani army raided and flushed out a mosque in the middle of Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan) where a radical group had established its operational center along with a vast weapons cache. The people, rather than being relieved that another source of chaos was eliminated, turned against the Pakistani army and accused it of attacking Islam.
So, the people support these organizations, despite the destruction and damage that they do. To take action against these organizations would be to invite the wrath of the people, who could become a mob and cause all sorts of trouble for Pakistani authorities. As such, Pakistani authorities do not often take drastic action against Islamist organizations unless forced to do so – whether forced through external pressure or due to internal security threats.
Why the people support organizations like JuD – and, because of this and other reasons, why Pakistani authorities are not motivated to taken them down – will be discussed day after tomorrow.
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, it has been found, were carried out with the instrumentality of a Pakistani organization called Jamaatu-d-Da’wah (meaning “Congregation/Group of the Invitation/Proselyting”, hereinafter “JuD”). It is an organization allied with Lashkar-e Tayyiba (literally, “Army of the Pure”, note that it could also mean “Army of Muhammad” when “Tayyib” is one of Muhammad’s names/titles, hereinafter “LeT”).
This is not good news.
There are two obstacles: popular support for JuD, and a lack of incentive for Pakistan to crack down on them.
JuD operates mainly within Pakistan with eyes towards Chechnya, Kashmir, and other areas where Muslim extremist “freedom-fighters” are wont to obsess about. It is ideologically tied to the Ahl-e Hadith, which the Salafi groups (the most prominent one among which is the Wahhabi Hanbali movement) subscribe to or teach or practice the most. Thus, JuD is linked, even if only ideologically and theologically, with the vast multinational Islamist extremist movement under the the auspices of the Salafi movement. (Although not all Salafis are extremists, and not all extremists are Salafis, the momentum of Islamist extremism is mainly because of the Salafi movement spreading itself and its version of pure and purified Islam.)
Unlike some Salafi movements, however, JuD is a little different, which I will discuss in the following two days.
The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai were unprecedented on a variety of levels.
Most terrorist attacks involved a single target, whether a train, market, plane, or building. This time, multiple targets were targeted at the same time in a sophisticated, coordinated attack.
Most terrorist attacks involved a single incident, whether opening fire or exploding a bomb. This time, the terrorists took over two major hotels and a Jewish center, staying there for days.
Most terrorist attacks targeted random bystanders. Reports indicate that the terrorists singled out people from Western countries (particularly America, the UK, and Israel).
But the terrorists, I think, accomplished their goals, even though most were killed. They spread immense panic and unrest throughout the world.
I think it is a little difficult, perhaps, for some people in the West to realize what role, status, and stature hotels have, particularly in South Asia. Americans don’t often go to hotels unless they’re staying in one or are attending some grand function or gathering. In South Asia, hotels are often the gathering places for the elite, who dine there and go to see and be seen. They are very much a part of the local community’s life, not just those of guests or banqueters. Attacking the Oberoi and Taj hotels dealt an immense blow to the communities and elite of Mumbai.
More on these attacks, what they mean, and issues behind them, will be forthcoming.
For a class, I chose to watch a movie, Traitor. A very interesting movie indeed. It can be considered an interesting exposé of the mindset of many Muslims when it comes to the West (particularly America) and terrorism. The line/thought of “We’re not terrorists; Americans are terrorists” is quite common albeit untenable.
There is a fundamental difference between civilian casualties in American campaigns and in militants’ campaigns. In the former, it’s collateral damage. In the latter, it’s the goal. Americans do not intentionally target civilian targets whereas Islamist militants overwhelmingly do. More civilians have died because of Islamist extremism than because of America’s War on Terrorism. More Muslims have died because of Islamist extremism than because of America’s War on Terrorism.
One point a character in the movie made was that terrorism was all a theater with a clear audience. Terrorism’s goal is to terrorize people so they’re weakened or they surrender. It’s perhaps one of the only weapons the other side can use in this disproportionate war. But that does not mitigate the sheer evil of terrorism.
I friend of mine is having troubles with religion, saying he likes things to be rational. I told him that rationality should never be one’s sole guiding light. All sorts of abominations can be justified, explained, or made acceptable through reason and logic. What scared me, thoroughly, many years ago was to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and realize, to my horror, that in many cases his logic made sense. The outcome was evil; the foundations were shaky; but if one accepted his premises, the conclusions made sense. It is extremely easy–as we have seen many, many people (including Islamists, people in the pay of Islamists, self-defending or blinded Muslims, and even a whole coterie of Leftists) do–to justify, explain, and make acceptable terrorism.
We need to understand the terrorists’ mindset in order to realize just how deep this cancer has set in. And we should formulate our policies accordingly, realizing that winning hearts and minds, while laudable, is far more difficult than we might imagine. These people, whether Islamists or the average Muslim, simply think differently than we do in the West.
XBradTC of Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid, a great and patient guy, asked me on a thread over at The Hostages to look at a story: “A Pakistani ‘awakening’?” posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 by Neptunus Lex.
Later, we learn that the armed services of The United States conducted raids across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, into Pakistan, attacking militants.
On September 11, 2008 (fortuitously), Neptunus Lex put up an interesting post on President Bush’s authorization of such raids, in his post “Gloves Off“.
It would be an understatement to say that relations between The United States and Pakistan have taken an interesting turn.
The problem has to do with the Pakistani military’s inability or unwillingness to take action against militants within its border.
Now, one may ask: Was it a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty to conduct this raid? The answer is: Yes. The next question is: Were The United States justified? The answer is: Yes.
When elements within one country are conducting attacking against another state or its interests, the attacked state has the right to respond, by force if necessary. If, after so many years of threatening and cajoling and persuading Pakistani forces to take action against militants to end their incursions into Afghanistan, the state that has sovereignty does not cease and desist such acts (or cause them to stop), the attacking state may be attacked as retaliation, to take out offending elements, or as an invasion. This occurred, I hope people will remember, between Turkey and Iraq where the offending elements were Kurdish terrorists and the offended party was the state of Turkey. Although a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, Turkey was within its rights to respond as it did.
However, this discussion skirts the real issue: what is to be done about terrorist, militant elements in Pakistan that are attacking American interests, interests of allies in Afghanistan, and Afghani interests?
I see the raids not as a true attack to eliminate militants (if it were, they would be much more extensive and would take many, many such raids). I see this as part of the delicate relations between Pakistan and The United States: this is The United States sending a strong message to Pakistan.
The United States could not conduct these raids while Musharraf was in office because doing so would mean he would be ousted, resulting in immense chaos. With Musharraf out and there being no strong ties between The United States and Asif Ali Zardari, the new president of Pakistan, The United States could send a strong message. The message was: Get to work, and eliminate the militants, or we’ll do it.
I think this message was also to assert that The United States will not allow Pakistan to dictate terms. The United States will pursue their interests, and the Pakistani forces ought to get in line.
In response, the Pakistani military revealed that the Pakistani military has orders to fire back if any foreign entities violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. So, if Americans try to do the thing the Pakistanis have failed to do, the Americans will be attacked, rather than the militants.
However, this is all part of a face-saving campaign. Many Pakistani authorities have made somewhat staunch and belligerent stances against America. This is essential, otherwise the public will think that Pakistani authorities were allowing Americans to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty, which could result in chaos and riots if not all-outs coups.
Furthermore, not one American thing will be hurt. While the Pakistani military may be jingoistic, in fact they will not do anything. The fallout of such an incidence would be immense. Additionally, the orders seem to be allow the Pakistani military room to not attack – it has to be unmistakably and verifiably a foreign entity, and likely by the time such a thing could be verified, it would be too late.
The raids also made the Pakistani authorities perk up. There were a number of meetings between Pakistani and American military officials to discuss the issue. Now the Pakistanis know they’ll have to do something. And while the public may or may not support them, at least the Pakistani military will know it has to get to job done.
The good news, which the post by Neptunus Lex on August 27 mentioned, is that the Pakistani military has been getting more active with regard to taking action against militants. The result is painful for Pakistan: there is a wave of suicide attacks. But the military is pushing forward.
So while things seem chaotic and perhaps discouraging, I think through the clouds we can see quite a bit of sunshine. The Pakistani military has begun taking its job a little more seriously, and it may be that with local help, the militant threat will be eliminated.
Issues will he rehashed, and others will be elaborated on later.
Was this good or was this bad? Perhaps both.
When Musharraf was the autocrat of Pakistan, he was good for The United States. But when he started to play politician, he became unreliable and undependable simply because he no longer controled all the levers of power in Pakistan. Add to this the intense opposition against him by various branches of the government, which did everything they could to stymie his efforts, and we get a situation that makes his cooperation with The United States difficult, if at all possible, and puts us in a position of supporting a man who has become useless.
Most supporters of Musharraf have been complaining that he veered off track soon after becoming the autocrat. They said, “He should be a general or a politician, not both.” In trying to be both, he essentially shot himself in the foot by opening himself up to being challenged, opposed, and taken down by forces he does not and cannot control. He should have stuck to being a general, with a puppet government and figurehead prime minister, while implementing those measures needed to make Pakistan stable and prosperous. Instead, he decided to usher in a wave of democracy, which brought him down.
This selfsame wave of democracy also moved Pakistan away from The United States. The people, who before had to simply accept Musharraf’s stance because they couldn’t do anything about it, began to express their disapproval of cooperating with The United States, and essentially began implementing measures and stances that hindered cooperation with The United States. In fact, the government of Pakistan turned from strenuously opposing militants to coddling and tolerating them, letting them take over key cities and areas rather then putting them down like it should have.
Having Musharraf in power also contributed to an environment of instability and uncertainty. The opposition to him was doing everything it could to unseat him, and we had no idea how successful they would be, or when they would try which trick, and what tricks would be next.
I hope that with Musharraf’s successor, attention to Pakistan’s military by Pakistanis will wane, allowing the military to take on more robust and active roles in flushing out the militants and preventing the establishment of a de facto Taliban mini-state in the North-West Frontier Province. With Musharraf out, critics cannot accuse the military of following Musharraf’s pro-American (and ostensibly anti-Islamic) policies. What is fortunate is that Kayani, the current head military guy, is our guy (or so it is believed). Without the intense public pressure, criticism, and opposition, maybe with the new president he’d be able to operate more freely.
Forging links with Kayani was a excellent decision by the Pentagon, and will help us move forward regardless of who is president of Pakistan. We cannot be tied down to one person, particularly a politician who, as such, is exposed to unpredictable maneuvers by opponents. I hope we are forging links with other military people so we can move forward regardless of unexpected circumstances that may befall Kayani.
In the end, Musharraf became useless, and part of this was his own fault. While democracy is good, there never has been democracy in Pakistan. It’s all a political game with dirty tricks, everyone manipulating (and even changing) the law to suit their needs and interests. There will never be resolution in Pakistan, and the government (and military) of Pakistan will always have to contend with militants. What we must prevent is Pakistan becoming an active supporter of militants, allowing them to use Pakistan as a base.
So, Ahmadinezhad has said he wants to get rid of Israel. And many preoccupy themselves with how, practically, Iran could accomplish it. Launching a nuke at Israel is considered so impossible that it is dismissed. (Then again, hijacking civilian passenger airplanes and crashing them into buildings was similarly dismissed.)
But Iran doesn’t have to launch a missile. All it has to do is give a nuke to Hezbollah, who is across the border from Israel.
Ever heard of a dirty bomb? Iran could be the first one to use it, through Hezbollah.
Some of the men who played an instrumental rôle in Europe’s long struggle against Islamic imperialism were:
Otho de Lagery, Pope Urban II
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles Martel, Mayor of the Palace and Duke of the Franks
Vladislav III Dracula Ţepeş, Prince of Wallachia
Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania
And so it seems strange that whereas the reaction of Europeans back then was to form alliances and enter into oaths to protect Christian Europe from the Turks, and to fight wars to drive out (if not stop) the Turks, the reaction of today’s Europeans is to shrug and continue to chastise America.
But this would be to simplify things perhaps too much. What is interesting is Vladislav (often shortened to “Vlad”) III Dracula. His father was inducted into the Order of the Dragon created by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund to protect Europe from the Islamic imperialists. In recognition of this, Vlad obtained the surname of “Dracul” (“dragon” in Romanian). His son, Vlad III, would be surnamed “Dracula” which means “(son) of the Dragon”. Vlad III was not officially a part of the Order of the Dragon, but Vlad III did much more against the Turks and for Europe than his father did. His father backed out of his oath to fight the Turks when they threatened Europe. But Vlad III Dracula did fight the Turks. So European ambivalence seems to run far back.
But then the war back then was quite clear and obvious: the Islamic empires soldiers were galloping across the fields with their horses, scimitars, and banners. There is no such activity now. Rather than obtaining influence over the West through political annexation, many Muslims are attempting to annex the West through sophistry and demographics.
But on that end, I do not entirely buy the notion that the West is inevitably doomed. Europe, maybe. They seem to have lost the will to perpetuate their own cultures, which would doom them to extinction with or without foreigners in their midst. But Americans cling to their culture and peculiar notions, regardless how much they cheer on the exotic foreigners. As long as it doesn’t change the way Americans do things the American way, they can’t be bothered. Furthermore, although more and more people are choosing to have fewer children, there are still a number of groups that continue to have many children (Hispanics, Catholics, Latter-day Saints, and Orthodox Jews come to mind).
Of course, the difference between Vlad Dracul, who paid tribute to the Ottoman sultan and gave over to the sultan two of his sons as hostages, and Vlad III Dracula, Vlad Dracul’s son, was that Vlad III Dracula know first hand what the enemy was like, having been held hostage by them. He was filled with zeal to escape the Turks, oust the Turks from his lands, and kick the Turks out of Europe. He had many successes but in the end was betrayed by his own people…who capitulated to the Turks.
Vlad III Dracula – as well as Emperor Sigismund, Pope Urban II, Charles Martel, and King Jan III Sobieski – all knew that we have to put in effort to remain free. Rather than joining alliances and riding off on horses, we can put in effort by teaching our own people about our civilization and instill in them a love and pride for it.
the average muslim goes by what they are told…….TV…internet….they do not religiously study the quran….although they have some idea what it says…they just go about their daily lives…..
their TV is awful….lots of propaganda….
the internet is not always friendly towards them, so they develop animosity that way too.
people have to be honest..but they need to stay in balance…and not condemn everyone for what the terrorists are doing….their religion teaches this..but the average muslim does not care …he wants to be accepted…criticism will drive them toward the terrorists view..so it is really complicated.
Reformatted, I’d like to emphasize one point made: “And not condemn everyone for what the terrorists are doing. Their religion teaches this, but the average Muslim does not care.”
It cannot be denied that extremism (and perhaps even terrorism) may be justified by the fundamental sources of Islam. But this does not mean we should confront every Muslim because of it. Most don’t care for such an interpretation; many oppose such interpretations (although based mainly on gut feeling rather than based on the fundamental sources); and very many are thoroughly embarrassed by the extremists. Many Muslims want to move ahead and forward in the modern world, and resent being dragged down by extremists and fundamentalists.
In this case, we have to be strategic about discussing Islam and extremism or terrorism with Muslims. It will not serve us to constantly harp on what is obviously true. We can win much of Muslims’ trust by assuring them that we will not blame terrorism on them personally.
If 80 percent of them were Ismailis then I’d say the world is now a much much better place – but if 80 percent were Wahhabi – well then I would legitimately worry about my fate.
He raises an interesting point: one which underscores the fact that various interpretations of Islam exist.
The Ismailis are non-violent and have been for a long time now. What is almost ironic is that the predecessors of the Nizari Ismailis were the dreaded Assassins of Alamut.
Live quietist Shiites (the Ismailis are, after all, Shiites), they await the arrival of a certain figure to deliver the world from its current state of sin and division. Until then, they blindly follow the teachings of their divinely-appointed hereditary leader (the Imam for the Nizari Ismailis, and the Da’i Mutlaq (Supreme Emissary or Supreme Missionary) for the Bohra Ismailis).
What is also interesting, if not a little sobering, is that whereas most Muslims don’t have anything against the Bohra Ismailis, many Muslims say they do not recognize the modernist Nizari Ismailis as Muslims. But Nizari Ismailism is the form of Islam that is most compatible with the modern world. Take that for what it’s worth.
An example of how modernist Nizari Ismailis are: the Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah (the imam before the current one) banned the hijab for Ismaili women.
It would be nice if Ismailism spread. It would go a long way in helping to ease the clash between Muslims and the West. Because the more fundamentalist Islam spreads, the more the West and modernist Muslims are threatened.
One of the bloggers I admire is dicentra. In an e-mail a long time ago, she told me something that made me think quite hard. She said she didn’t care too much for books like those written by Stephen Emerson, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer: exposes of Islam. She said she is familiar with biased books that tear down religious movements out of malice and full of lies, and so she feels a little wary of such books.
She has a point.
See, I am thrilled to read what Emerson, Pipes, Spencer, et al., have to write about the seedy side of Islam. But, to be perfectly frank, this is only half the picture.
In order to complete the picture, we must read books by authors like Mark Steyn, Oriana Fallaci, and Bat Yeor. While Emerson, Pipes, Spencer ,et al., write about Islamism, Steyn, Fallaci, Yeor, et al., indicate why and how all of this matters. The former great authors detail the War of Civilizations from where our enemy is coming from, while the latter show us why we have such a crucial stake in this War.
I am totally enthralled with Fallaci for this. She knew these people. She tried to warn us. She retired, exhausted, but came back with a vengeance after 9/11.
If you have to choose only one set, read Steyn, Fallaci, Yeor, et al. They will give enough information on Islamism but, importantly, they put it all in context. If you want more detail, go to the others.
And if you have to choose one author, it should be Oriana Fallaci. Read a little about her: why she came out of retirement, whom she scolded and why, and where she gets her knowledge from. She’s amazing.
Section One: Historical Contextualization
One modern interpretation of the entire issue of jihad deals with historical contextualization: in other words, jihad in its times, places, circumstances, conditions, and other elements of its context in history. Such efforts attempt to study why jihad was waged when it was waged, why what was done was done, what changes from time to time and why and how, and so on.
One may thus divide jihad by force into four distinct periods:
1. Jihad under Muhammad
2. Wars of conquest
3. Rise of modern politics
4. Modern terrorist jihad Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to Nice Deb for alerting us: Major Stephen Coughlin, who was to be fired by the Pentagon under pressure from an Islam Hisham (close aide to Gordon England, Deputy Secretary of Defense), and known Islamist-sympathizer, will be retained by the DoD albeit in another area.
For more info, please see:
Major Stephen Coughlin, employed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was recently fired under pressure from Islamists, most alarmingly the ring-leading Islamist (Hisham Islam) working in the Department of Defense. They opposed his exposé of the rôle of Islamic law (shari’ah) in jihad. Declaiming him to be an extremist and whatnot, endangering the military’s efforts to build bridges with the Muslim community.
(I learned about this from Lady Vorzheva’s blog Spanish Pundit in her post “Terrorismo islámico (III): continuación del caso Stephen Coughlin, el experto anti-terrorista despedido del Pentágono por “islamófobo”” which means “Islamic Terrorism (III): continuation of the case [of] Stephen Coughlin, the anti-terrorism expert fired by the Pentagon for “Islamophobia””. I was a little but surprised I had not heard of this before.) Read the rest of this entry »
“Islamophobia” refers to what some people believe to be bigotry and intolerance towards Islam due to fear, hatred, and ignorance of Islam. It is often used against those who speak or write against aspects of Islam, such as Islamism, or who otherwise do not respect Islam as Muslims want them to.
Literally, “Islamophobia” means “fear of Islam” but is used like “homophobia” to refer to what they see as an ignorant, bigoted hatred for Islam. (This is somewhat interesting as many of the people who accuse others of Islamophobia could themselves be accused of homophobia.) Read the rest of this entry »
Sorry I had hoped I lined up enough posts to go through the middle of the week. My bad.
Today’s post is on the insidious nature of Islamist propaganda and lobbying. Whereas the usual modi operandi of the East (namely, using theology, appearance of orthodoxy and orthopraxy, guns, bombs, and other forms of force, violence, and intimidation) cannot work in the West, Islamists and their sympathizers (neither of whom necessary have to be Muslims) use the more sophistocated and effective means available here, namly lobbying and propaganda.
I think the case of Mark Deli Siljander, former representative of Michigan’s 4th district in the US House of Representatives, which case Ace blogged about in “BREAKING: Former *Congressman* & Delegate To The UN Indicted For Terrorist Fundraising”, demonstrates this quite clearly. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the significant problems with understanding Islam has to do with entire debate of what is Islam.
Okay, so one wants to understand these Muslims. Which form of Islam should one study? Sunni Islam? Then what about Shiite Islam (which is quite different from Sunni Islam)? What about the different schools of jurisprudence within Sunni Islam? What about the various movements therein: the modernist movement, the Salafi movement (which includes the Wahhabi and Deobandi groups), the Ahmadi movements (whom most Muslims declare to be non-Muslim), the various militant movements? What about local forms of Islam that mix elements of the old religion with Islam? What about Sufis, both the ones popular in the West (considered heterodox and heteroprax by most Muslims) and those popular amongst Muslims (but would seem to Westerners to be intolerant and too inflexible)? Read the rest of this entry »
There is a difference between understanding Islam and Muslims’ grievances and being aware of them.
We have no obligation to understand Islam and/or Muslims’ grievances. We would be morally behooved to do so were Muslims to try to understand us, but barring that it is utterly ridiculous to assert that we unilaterally (or, rather, unreciprocatedly) try to understand them. Read the rest of this entry »