Wednesday, October 19, 2005

West Asia: The Times They Are A-Changin!

Via Washington Post, High Noon for Syria

Via AP, Saddam Hussein trial opens in Baghdad

Via CNN, Early vote count points to Iraq constitution win

These are all consequences of the entirely valid war in Iraq. However botched the after-war may have been, the forcible removal of Saddam Hussein will likely mark the turning point in the blighted recent history of this region. For this, the people of Arabia and Levant should be enormously grateful to the brave soldiers of the coalition of the willing.


libertarian said...

PR, a person's got to take an extremely long view to be able to justify the benefits of the war in Iraq. Your statement that people of Arabia and Levant should be enormously grateful will likely be construed as an insult in that part of the world. The reason is the benefits viz. representative governments, freedom for the many - are abstract concepts to most (though they are critical long-term) while the costs (ravaged country, busted economy, secessionist movements) stare every one in the face today.

Just as India is reaping the benefits of co-opting the British legal and governmental framework today, the Iraq will need at least 20 years more to appreciate the change in direction that W facilitated. I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to thank me for facilitating that change with my tax money.

history_lover said...

The tougher the resistance the american forces (and the coalition of the bullied and bought ) is given by the iraqis the better it would be for all of us muslims ...

Primary Red said...

History Lover:

So in your version of reality, indiscrimnate mass murder of Muslims, including children and people praying at Mosques, constitutes "tough resistance" to American forces?

This, you think, is good for Muslims?


Best regards.

history_lover said...

So now the americans are good guys for fighting al-qaida in Iraq ?
I thought they said they went to Iraq to find and destroy WMDs
Every loss of civilian life is a matter of concern for us but there is nothing wrong if roadside bombs target american ...

libertarian said...


The 'resistance' is thuggery by a small band of opportunists. These career pests will invent strife if it doesn't exist. They have successfully hyphenated 'Islamic' and 'terrorism'. Labeling the insurgency in Iraq as 'iraqi resistance' misses both, the players and the intent, by miles. If you think that's a service to Muslims, hmmmm ...

I also think you over-reach with your umbrella "us muslims" inclusion. Except for handful, none of the 140 million Indian muslims have an American persecution complex. This is clearly shown by their words and actions.

The bad guys, if that's who you're trying to identify, are the idiots who inherited or seized the leadership of all the back-water Arabian-peninsula states.

history_lover said...

So what makes you think you know about the iraqi resistance ?
Just reading select western media makes won't do .
BTW did realize that your words echo what all occupying powers have usually said about thier opponents ?
The fact that indian muslims are busy in thier own issues does not mean they support the american invasion
For Indian muslims' views may be you need to read Indian muslim media eg. both urdu and English , , The Radiance etc..
to know what many indian muslims feel about this issue .
I do not say that every indian muslim opposes the american invasion but many do .Personally in my circle of AMU friends and family I have yet to meet anyone who supports the american invasion

libertarian said...


Enlighten me on what the 'Iraqi resistance' is. Last I heard it was non-Iraqi Zarqawi slitting civilans' throats on camera and blowing up Iraqi police recruits, men, women and children, and a few Americans, when he got lucky. Oh yes, he has an affinity for killing Shias, and sparing Sunnis. Last I checked, 'son-of-the-soil' Muqtada al-Sadr was involved in the political process and had wound down his armed resistance. The Baathists ... don't know where they are in the 'resistance' you mention.

Anyway, that's besides the point. More to the point, I fail to see what kinship an Indian muslim should have with an Arabian muslim. I know for sure that most Arabian muslims think of other muslims (including Indian muslims) as 2nd-class citizens of the ummah - cool to have in the brotherhood (no sisterhood for the misogynistic Wahhabis) as long as they don't get too big for their boots. And the reason? It all boils down to who's got the moolah my friend. It's the caste-system all over again! And unfortunately, we'll always be 2nd class for them.

I accept your observation about a section of Indian muslims being upset with the US. I don't think the sentiment is restricted to just the muslims of India btw. But I don't see how that translates to white-washing evil garbed as a 'resistance'.

I will check out the sources you mention to get a feel for grass-roots emotions.

history_lover said...

Personally I dont find anything wrong if fellow muslims from around the world goto iraq to help fight the americans.There is nothing islamically wrong in this.
Al Sadr opposes the occupation although he realizes that the americans have too much firepower so he has stopped fighting while others continue to fight but not just because they want Saddam back.

I have myself lived for sometime in the Gulf Region and I am aware of the racism of somearabs.Despite this, there are AMU alumni associations in Riyadh,UAE,Bahrain etc... which recently celebrated Founder's Day -Sir Syed ahmad Khan's birthday
Many north indian muslims have atleast some family member working there(Doctors ,engineers,plumbers ,electricians etc..)Thanks the petro boom, fortunes of lakhs of indian muslim families have changed for the better.
The support for arabs is because they are our fellow muslims and we are theologically One Ummah.It has to do with Ummah.It has to do with our Akhirah .It does not matter that arabs look down upon us or they follow a different school of thought.The crux of the matter that the land of Abu Hanifa (RA) and Ali (RA) is under alien occupation is simply infuriating.
I could cite numerous points from the scriptures,fiqhi rulings for this but this is probably not the right forum.

Primary Red said...


Sorry, your idea that it is OK for muslims worldwide to go fight Americans in Iraq is unacceptable. Certainly, this is not tolerable for Indian muslims.

US is India's ally in the world. Abu Musab Al Zarqawi is not. For any Indian to suggest it is OK to wage war against an Indian ally by collaborating with the pathetic terrorist Zaraqawi is treasonous.

As Indians, we have freedom of faith. This blog has, and will continue to, aggressively argue for such freedom. BUT, freedom of faith does not give anyone the licence to wage war on India, or Indian allies. Faith is very important, freedom and equality of faith are very important, but your citizenship must come ahead of your faith.

Be very careful about what you say. Frankly, you've already said enough that merits legal review -- any justification or exhortation for a community to take up terrorism must be examined beyond the routine freedom of speech framework. We hope Indian authorities will look into your activities.

Best regards.

Jaffna said...

Primary Red

I read History Lover's comments and while I do not agree with them, they merit attention and debate. I see a lot of myself in him - both "minorities", both with a love of history and the religious legal texts etc. I do not think the call for arms is appropriate at all. But I am grateful that he chose to share his perspective with us. I would only differ from him in that the exclusive focus on the "Ummah" might not be productive. We live in a pluralistic world with many religions that need to co-exist with mutual respect.

Libertarian - your views approximate mine.

Best regards

history_lover said...

God Forbid that Usama bin Laden or Zarqawi become my allies.Amongst other things,I don't want to damage my chances in the akhirah.
I doubt that anyone will seriously go to Iraq to fight the americans.
It is just drawing room talk as people are too involved in thier family and livelihood to go there and are too much of a coward (including me :-) )
Let me put this into a historical context although not all are directly relevant.
* Lord Byron died fighting in the balkans against the Ottomans.
* Iqbal first recited his poem shikwa (in I think 1903) in a gathering to raise money for the Ottoman Empire which was involved in a war at that time,which later let to the khilafat movement
* People of many countries went off to fight for Republican Spain in the 1930s against General Franco's forces
* Many american jews goto Israel as a matter of solidarty.Perhaps you have read Eric Segal's the Class which has one such character.
* There are some indian shia muslims studying and living in America's enemy - Iran.I think even Srinagar has a Imam Khomeini centre.
* Many muslims went off to fight the soviets in Afghanistan.I don't remember the name of the author at this moment but there was a series of children's story books in urdu available in India which glorified the Afghan resistance against the Soviets (remember we were thier allies at that time).

So this idea is nothing new.
@Jaffna I agree with you on entirely on the need for people of different religions AND different nations to to co-exist with mutual respect.

libertarian said...


People go to fight for several causes. Fighting in the name of religion seems to be something belonging to a previous age. Let me explain why.

Nation-states as the norm, are a relatively recent invention (~ 200 years). However, by their ubiquity I'm guessing they have are here to stay. Large nation-states have population in the 9-figure or 10-figure range. It is impossible to find homogeneous populations in samples that large. To prevent strife, there must be kinship. Nationality provides that glue. On such a large scale religion has failed.

Without other assumptions, the only kinship is blood relations. In hunter-gatherer societies this worked quite well. For larger societies (say a tribe or a chiefdom or kingdom) religion became the glue that held society together. However, religion as kinship is fundamentally flawed as it is not inclusive i.e. people not of the religion cannot belong to the group. Nation-states finesse that problem by introducing the concept of 'nationality' which trumps religious affiliation. And it has worked much better than pure religious affiliation. Further, nationality is an operational idea with tangible (worldly) benefits. The benefits of religion are a personal perception and differ widely from one person to another.

With this as a back-drop I don't believe the ummah can exist in practice. It tries to straddle too large a population with too exclusive a message to last any reasonable length of time.

Jaffna, I guess growing up a 'minority' makes us appreciate secularism that much more huh? The term "zeal of a convert" comes to mind.

Jaffna said...


I am not sure I am comfortable with the term "zeal of a convert" :-)

But anyway. I am trying to access your blog "indus libertarian" without success. Could you send me the coordinates? Thanks

libertarian said...

I created a blog by the name "Indus Libertarian" as part of the registration procedure to avoid posting as 'anonymous'. There are no articles at this time. So you're not missing anything :-) - in any event, am enjoying the ideas you and PR are putting out!
Best regards.

history_lover said...

I accept that nation states are here to stay .Pragmatism demands that we accept the nation state and we have accepted it as a useful way of living.
The call of the ummah is weak.It is trumped by nationalism,ethncity etc.


Blog Archive