ACT for America

Hamas CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Oklahoma was not welcome at an anti-terrorism seminar in Oklahoma City on Friday night. However, Adam Soltani, the terrorist chapter's executive director, went anyway. Though not allowed into the chamber to view the seminar, he was allowed to watch it from the gallery of the state capitol. In a defiant move, CAIR is showing that it will use any means of force necessary to make a point. From stalking, to open harassment of anyone or any group it deems "Islamophobic," this organization means to throw its weight around and intimidate anyone it sees as a threat.


Adam Soltani, Hamas Cair Oklahoma
Adam Soltani, Hamas Cair Oklahoma

Adam Soltani, Hamas CAIR Oklahoma executive director, made a spectacle at an anti-terrorism seminar at the state capitol in Oklahoma City Friday night. In a move characteristic of Islamic thugs, he showed up at the meeting that he was specifically barred from. The anti-terrorism seminar was for law enforcement officials, but that didn't stop Mr. Soltani, and his posse from creating a scene.

    A training seminar at the capitol for law enforcement officers, comes under fire from a Muslim advocacy group who says speakers at the event were nothing more than anti-Muslim extremists.

    The day-long seminar at the capitol was closed to the public and our cameras, but one man who wasn't supposed to be there, managed to make it inside.
 
How did Mr. Soltani get into the seminar? Here is an except from the Hamas CAIR press release.

Soltani tried on Friday to register and pay to attend the seminar, sponsored by the Oklahoma Counterterrorism Caucus, but was told the seminar was full.

    Organizers initially put out a House news release saying the seminar was for law enforcement agents and was open to the public but later said the part regarding the public was in error.

    Earlier in the week, Soltani criticized the seminar, saying some of the speakers were anti-Muslim. He also questioned why police participants were able to get Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training continuing education credit for attending.

    Sheryl Siddiqui of Tulsa, a spokeswoman for Hamas Cair said, "Oklahoma Muslims need Oklahoma law enforcement officers to know the difference between constructive, contributing, law-abiding citizens versus al-Qaida and other terrorists."
 
Oklahoma is one state that has a grasp on Sharia. In spite of it's voter amendment ban on Sharia law, which was permanently blocked by a U.S. judge in August 2013, the state's law enforcement community knows the threat that Islam poses, and they were quite vocal about it at the seminar.


To read more, click here.

Freedom Outpost
Janna Brock
November 3, 2013

 
 

 
   

The Siege of Byzantium
By Raymond Ibrahim

You can read more of Raymond Ibrahim's excellent work at www.raymondibrahim.com

August 15, marks the anniversary of Constantinople’s victory over Muslim invaders in what historians commonly call the “Second Siege of Byzantium,” 717–18. Prior to this massive onslaught, the Muslims had been hacking away at the domains of the Byzantine empire for nearly a century. The Muslims’ ultimate goal was the conquest of Constantinople — for both political and religious reasons.

Politically, Islam had no rival but the “hated Christians” of Byzantium, known by various appellations — including al-Rum (the Romans), al-Nassara (the Nazarenes), and, most notoriously, al-Kilab (the “dogs”). The eastern Sasanian Empire had already been vanquished, and Persia subsumed into the caliphate. Only the “worshippers of the cross” — as they were, and still are, disparagingly known — were left as contenders over the eastern Mediterranean basin.

More important, Constantinople — from a theological perspective — simply had to fall. From the start, Islam and jihad were inextricably linked. The jihad, or “holy war,” which took over Arabia and Persia, followed by Syria, Egypt, and all of North Africa — all formerly Byzantine territory — was considered a religious obligation, or, as later codified in sharia law, a fard kifaya: a communal obligation on the body of believers, to be adhered to and fulfilled no less than the Five Pillars of Islam. As the famous 14th-century Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun put it: “In the Muslim community, the jihad is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. . . . Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

This concept of jihad as institutionalized holy war was first articulated and codified into Islam’s worldview by “warrior-theologians” (mujahidin-fuqaha) living and fighting along the Byzantine-Arab frontier (such as the mujahid Abdallah bin Mubarak, author of the seminal work Kitab al-Jihad or “Book of Jihad”).

The prevalent view was that, so long as Constantinople stood, the Cross would defy the Crescent. This is a literal point: Symbols played a great role in these wars. Less than a century earlier, at the pivotal battle of Yarmuk (636), where the Muslims crushed the Byzantines, leading to the conquest of Syria, one Muslim complained to the caliph, saying, “The dog of the Romans [Emperor Heraclius] has greatly frustrated us with the ubiquitous presence of the cross!”

Indeed, one cannot overemphasize the religious nature of these wars — which, if still codified in Islam’s sharia, has become all but alien to a Western epistemology that tends to cynically dismiss the role of faith. That the primary way of identifying oneself in the old world was based on religious affiliation — not race, ethnicity, or nationality, all modern concepts — is indicative of the central role of faith. Even useful terms such as “Byzantines” are ultimately anachronistic; “Byzantines” identified themselves first and foremost as “Christians.”

For these reasons, the conquest of Constantinople would take on increasingly apocalyptic proportions in Islamic literature. Ever since the Muslim prophet Mohammed sent a message in 628 to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, summoning him to Islam, with the famous assertion, aslam taslam — that is, “submit [become Muslim], and you will have peace” — and the summons was refused, Constantinople became Islam’s arch-enemy. Mohammed even prophesied that the Christian capital would — indeed, must — fall to Islam, with blessings and rewards to the Muslim(s) fulfilling this prophecy. Fall the great city would — but not for some 800 years, in 1453, giving an inchoate Europe the needed time to mature, strengthen, and unify.

Beginning with Mohammed’s participation at the Battle of Tabuk (630), recorded in the Koran, Muslims had been harrying the Byzantines for decades, closing in on Constantinople. With the coming of the Umayyad dynasty (660) — which also saw the end of the first fitna (Muslim “civil war”), resulting in the Sunni-Shia split — Islam’s seat of power moved from Medina to recently conquered Damascus, mere miles from the prize of  Constantinople.

By the early 700s, the Muslim conquests were slowing down. There were several “disaffected” parties in the Muslim camp — particularly the losers of the first fitna, the Kharijites and Shia, the former a particularly ruthless sect. To prevent another civil war from erupting, a major campaign against the common infidel enemy was in order.

 

All these factors — Umayyad consolidation of Muslim power in Damascus, a slowing down of the conquests in general, and the need to direct the bellicosity of the various idle or disgruntled warlike Muslim sects, not to mention an undying enmity for the obstinate infidels across the way — encouraged the caliphate to apply its full might against its arch-foe. Constantinople had been unsuccessfully besieged several times before, most notably during the First Siege, which lasted four years (674–78) and was ultimately turned back by the cyclopean walls of the city.

So it was that, upon his ascension to the caliphate in 715, the new supreme leader of the Islamic empire, Suleiman, decided that the time was ripe for a massive, all-out offensive against Constantinople. The Byzantines would go on to offer a hefty tribute, but nothing less than total capitulation to Islam would do. Mustering a mammoth army of some 200,000 fighters, with Suleiman’s own brother, Maslama, leading, the former commanded the latter: “Stay there [Constantinople] until you conquer it or I recall you.” (That a caliph sent his own brother is further indicative of the importance of this campaign.)

A single anecdote supports the chroniclers’ claims that a gargantuan army was being mustered. Two years prior to the siege, in 715, a report reached the Christians that the Muslims were felling countless trees in Lebanon, land of the cedar, in order to construct tens of thousands of warships for an “upcoming expedition.” This fact alone caused a mini-war to erupt on the island of Rhodes, where the Byzantines sent an army to intercept the Muslim expeditionary force. One Byzantine ambassador returning from Damascus reported that the “Saracens were preparing an armament by sea and land, such as would transcend the experience of the past, or the belief of the present.” In short, 120,000 infantry and cavalry, and a naval force composed of 80,000, were making their way to Constantinople.

Maslama, leading the land force through Anatolia, crushed and put to the sword all in his way. Women and children were enslaved; tens of thousands of men crucified. While making their way through that great desolate no-man’s land between the Byzantine and Umayyad empires, frequented by nomadic tribes, the Muslims attacked, slew, and burned all in their path.

According to renowned Muslim chronicler al-Tabari, “The [Christian] inhabitants of eastern Anatolia were filled with terror the likes of which they had never experienced before. All they saw were Muslims in their midst shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ Allah planted terror in their hearts. . . . The men were crucified over the course of 24 km.” Al-Tabari later goes on to explain that the Muslim forces were successful owing to their adherence to Koranic verses such as 8:60: “Muster against them [infidels] all the men and cavalry at your command, that you may strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah, and your enemies.” (See also 3:151.) (Nearly a millennium and a half after the Koran’s compilation, modern-day mujahidin — “holy warriors” who are fond of exhorting their followers by referring to these otherwise arcane battles — continue relying on such verses and their exegeses to “terrorize” the “enemies of Allah.”)

To make matters worse, as Maslama was marching toward Constantinople, subjugating everything in his path, the Christian empire itself was internally divided — as evinced by the fact that, between 713 and 717, two emperors had come and gone.

Enter Leo III — also known as Leo the Isaurian, Leo the Arab, and, most notoriously, Leo the Heretic. There is little doubt that the Byzantine victory over the Muslims owes a great debt to Leo, who makes his appearance early in the pages of the chronicles as a general and strategist — living up to the Greek word for “general,” strategos.

Born as Conon in modern-day Syria (hence the “Arab” appellation), Leo, stationed in Anatolia, encountered the forces of Maslama early on. All the sources record Leo playing something of a cat-and-mouse game with the caliph’s brother, duping him in various ways. Tabari simply concludes that Leo dealt Maslama “such a deception as if he [Maslama] was a silly plaything of a woman.”

At any rate, Leo gained the necessary time and advantage to slip back to Constantinople, where, as the ablest man to defend the empire from the coming onslaught, he was soon proclaimed emperor. Considering the empire’s strong walls that had withstood countless sieges for centuries, Leo knew that, as long as sea communications were open, the city would be relatively safe. The problem was that, as Maslama was nearing with his land force of 120,000, 1,800 vessels containing the additional 80,000 fighting men were approaching the Bosporus. The city would be surrounded.

On August 15, Maslama was at the city walls, laying siege to it with various engines of war; the navy arrived two weeks later, on September 1. After a few fruitless attempts to breach the walls, Maslama settled to reduce the city by blockade, much of which would depend on the navy.

A close reading of the sources reveals that two important factors saved the empire: Arab inexperience at sea warfare and Greek ingenuity. The Arab warships nearing the Bosporus were heavy-laden with equipment and, in general, cumbersome. To lure the ships, Leo, in another stratagem, had the ponderous chain that normally guarded the harbor cast aside. “But while they hesitated whether they should seize the opportunity . . . the ministers of destruction were at hand”: Leo had sent out his fleet, with the secret weapon of the day, “Greek fire” (an incendiary composition projected by means of siphons), which conflagrated the Muslim ships into “blazing wrecks”: “Some of them, still burning, smashed into the sea wall, while others sank in the deep, men and all.”

Soon after this pivotal defeat, the ambitious caliph Suleiman, who had meant to fulfill Mohammed’s prophecy by conquering Constantinople, died of “indigestion” (according to the chroniclers, by devouring two baskets of eggs and figs, followed by marrow and sugar for dessert). To make matters worse, the new caliph, Omar II, seemed, at least initially, not to be as attentive to the needs of Maslama’s army. Winter set in, and the Byzantines retired to their fortified city, leaving the elements to deal with the Muslim camp. “One of the cruelest winters that anyone could remember” arrived, and, “for one hundred days, snow covered the earth.”

Still, Maslama’s brother, the late caliph, had commanded him to “stay there [Constantinople] until you conquer it or I recall you.” Neither had happened; the latter option was no longer possible. All Maslama could do was wait and assure his emaciated, desperate men: “Soon! Soon supplies will be here!” In the meantime, roaming Turkic tribes, particularly the Bulgars, who had yet to embrace Islam, began harrying the Muslim camp.

By springtime, reinforcements finally came, by both land and sea. It was not enough; frost and famine had hit the massive army of Maslama hard, to the point that cannibalism was resorted to. The Greek chronicler Theophanes relates: “Some even say they put dead men and their own dung in pans, kneaded this, and ate it. A plague-like disease descended on them, and destroyed a countless throng.” The plausibility of the second sentence offers support for the improbable first one. An independent chronicler, Michael the Syrian, wrote: “The hunger oppressed them so much that they were eating the corpses of the dead, each other’s feces, and other filth.”

From the new caliph’s point of view, that such a massive force, years to mobilize, was already at the gates of Christendom, made it very difficult to simply give up. As caliph — successor to the warrior-prophet and his companions, who had subjugated much of the known world — he could not accept defeat so easily. While the army made do, a new navy, composed of two war expeditions, one from Alexandria, Egypt, the other from North Africa — nearly 800 ships total — made its way to Constantinople. Under cover of night, they managed to blockade the Bosporus, threatening to cut off all communications from the city.

Moreover, the Muslim commanders were warier of the Greek fire, and kept their distance. Aware of this, Maslama’s army, somewhat recovered owing to supplies and fresh conscriptions, was once again on the move, besieging the city with — considering the abominable trials to which they had recently been subjected — a feral fury. It seemed that the beginning of the end, though delayed, had finally arrived.

Delivery for Constantinople came from the least expected source: the Egyptian crew manning the Alexandrian ships, the Christian Copts. Because the vast majority of the caliphate’s fighting men, the mujahidin, were already engaging the enemy, the caliph had no choice but to rely on Christian dhimmi (second-class) conscripts for reinforcements. Much to the caliph’s chagrin, however, the Copts all fled at nighttime to Constantinople, and acclaimed the Christian emperor.

Theophanes writes that, as the Copts seized light boats and fled in desertion to the city, “the sea looked entirely made of wood.” Not only did the Muslim war galleys lose a good deal of manpower, but the Egyptians provided Leo with exact information concerning the Muslims’ ships and plans. Taking advantage of this, Leo once again released the fire-ships from the citadel. Considering the loss of manpower after the Copts’ desertion, the confrontation was more a rout than a battle.

It is worth noting that this little-known fact — that Copts abandoned the Muslim fleets in droves to join forces with the Christian emperor — indicates that, from the start, Christian life under Muslim rule was not as tolerable as later revisionist history (which claims that the Copts of Egypt welcomed the Muslims as “liberators” from the Byzantine yoke) makes it out to be.

 

Seeking to capitalize on this naval victory and the enthusiasm of the Christians, Leo had the retreating Muslim fleets pursued on land, and many Muslims were cut down. Simultaneously, the neighboring Bulgars — who, though occasionally hostile to the Christian empire, had no love for the new invaders, the Muslims — were persuaded by Leo’s “gifts and promises” into attacking and ultimately killing as many as 22,000 of Maslama’s battle-weary, half-starved men.

To make matters worse, “a report was dexterously scattered that the Franks, the unknown nations of the Latin world, were arming by sea and land in defense of the Christian cause, and their formidable aid was expected.” (It would be another three centuries before the Franks and Muslims would engage in a military conflict, spanning over two centuries, that would come to be known as the Crusades.)

By now, even the distant caliph realized that all was lost. Maslama, who could only have welcomed the summons, was recalled; and, on August 15 — according to most chroniclers, precisely one year to the day after it began — the siege of Constantinople was lifted.

Still, the Muslims’ troubles were far from over. Nature was not through with them. A terrible sea-storm is said to have all but annihilated the retreating ships, so that, of the 2,560 ships embarking back to Damascus and Alexandria, only ten remained — and of these, half were captured by the Byzantines, leaving only five to make it back to the caliphate and report the calamities that had befallen them (which may be both why the Arab chroniclers are curiously silent about the particulars of these events, and why it would be centuries before Constantinople would be similarly attacked again).

This sea-storm also led to the popular belief that divine providence had intervened on behalf of Christendom, with historians referring to August 15 as an “ecumenical date.” Meanwhile, in the Islamic world, this defeat, earthquakes in Palestine, and the death of Caliph Omar II in 720 (having been caliph in the year 100 of the Islamic calendar) boded an apocalyptic end to the world.

Of the original 200,000 Muslims who set out to conquer the Christian capital and additional spring reinforcements, only some 30,000 ever made it back alive. By way of retribution and before dying, a bitter and vindictive Omar, failing to subdue the Christians across the way, was quick to project his wrath on those Christians, the dhimmis, living under Islamic authority: He forced many of them to convert to Islam, killing those who refused.

It is difficult to exaggerate the significance of this battle. That Constantinople was able to repulse the caliphate’s hordes is one of Western history’s most decisive moments: Had it fallen, “Dark Age” Europe — chaotic and leaderless — would have been exposed to the Muslim invaders. And, if history is any indicator, the last time a large expanse of territory was left open before the sword of Islam, thousands of miles were conquered and consolidated in mere decades, resulting in what is known today as Dar al-Islam, or the “Islamic world.”

Indeed, this victory is far more significant than its more famous Western counterpart, the Frankish victory over the Muslims at the Battle of Tours, led by Charles Martel (the “Hammer”) in 732. Unlike the latter, which, from a Muslim point of view, was first and foremost a campaign dedicated to rapine and plunder, not conquest — evinced by the fact that, after the initial battle, the Muslims fled — the siege of Constantinople was devoted to a longtime goal, had the full backing of the caliphate, and consisted of far greater manpower. Had the Muslims won, and since Constantinople was the bulwark of Europe’s eastern flank, there would have been nothing to prevent them from turning the whole of Europe into the northwestern appendage of Dar al-Islam.

Nor should the architect of this great victory be forgotten. The Byzantine historian Vasiliev concludes that “by his successful resistance Leo saved not only the Byzantine Empire and the Eastern Christian world, but also all of Western civilization.”

Yet, true to the vicissitudes and ironies of Byzantine history — the word has not come to mean “convoluted” for nothing — by the time Leo died, “in the Orthodox histories he was represented as little better than a Saracen” (hence the famous appellation, “Leo the Heretic”) owing to the Iconoclastic controversy. If Charles Martel would be memorialized as the heroic grandfather of the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, it would be Leo’s lot to be all but anathematized — an unfortunate fact contributing to the historical neglect of this brilliant victory.

 
SAUDI ARABIA AND THE ISLAMIC STATE


There can be no denying that Saudi Arabia has long played a key role in the global Jihadist movement:

• 16 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis.

• The largest single source of foreign fighters among insurgents in Iraq fighting US GIs was Saudi Arabia.

• Wealthy Saudis have long funded charities that supported the families of HAMAS suicide bombers in Israel.

These are just a few examples of Saudi treachery in the war on terrorism.

But what is Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the new Islamic State? Why is Saudi Arabia’s king warning the West to take action against them? Can he be trusted?

Former British intelligence officer Alastair Crooke provides an informed background on this subject that can help all of us understand…

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You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

By Alastair Crooke

The World Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717157.html

The dramatic arrival of Da'ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed -- and horrified -- by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia's ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, "Don't the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?"

It appears -- even now -- that Saudi Arabia's ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite "fire" with Sunni "fire"; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da'ish's strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan -- please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da'ish (ISIS) -- and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia's direction and discourse.

THE SAUDI DUALITY

Saudi Arabia's internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom's doctrinal makeup and its historical origins.

One dominant strand to the Saudi identity pertains directly to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism), and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. (The latter was then no more than a minor leader -- amongst many -- of continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.)

The second strand to this perplexing duality, relates precisely to King Abd-al Aziz's subsequent shift towards statehood in the 1920s: his curbing of Ikhwani violence (in order to have diplomatic standing as a nation-state with Britain and America); his institutionalization of the original Wahhabist impulse -- and the subsequent seizing of the opportunely surging petrodollar spigot in the 1970s, to channel the volatile Ikhwani current away from home towards export -- by diffusing a cultural revolution, rather than violent revolution throughout the Muslim world.

But this "cultural revolution" was no docile reformism. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab's Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived all about him -- hence his call to purge Islam of all its heresies and idolatries.

MUSLIM IMPOSTORS

The American author and journalist, Steven Coll, has written how this austere and censorious disciple of the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab, despised "the decorous, arty, tobacco smoking, hashish imbibing, drum pounding Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who travelled across Arabia to pray at Mecca."

In Abd al-Wahhab's view, these were not Muslims; they were imposters masquerading as Muslims. Nor, indeed, did he find the behavior of local Bedouin Arabs much better. They aggravated Abd al-Wahhab by their honoring of saints, by their erecting of tombstones, and their "superstition" (e.g. revering graves or places that were deemed particularly imbued with the divine).

All this behavior, Abd al-Wahhab denounced as bida -- forbidden by God.

Like Taymiyyah before him, Abd al-Wahhab believed that the period of the Prophet Muhammad's stay in Medina was the ideal of Muslim society (the "best of times"), to which all Muslims should aspire to emulate (this, essentially, is Salafism).

Taymiyyah had declared war on Shi'ism, Sufism and Greek philosophy. He spoke out, too against visiting the grave of the prophet and the celebration of his birthday, declaring that all such behavior represented mere imitation of the Christian worship of Jesus as God (i.e. idolatry). Abd al-Wahhab assimilated all this earlier teaching, stating that "any doubt or hesitation" on the part of a believer in respect to his or her acknowledging this particular interpretation of Islam should "deprive a man of immunity of his property and his life."

One of the main tenets of Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine has become the key idea of takfir.Under the takfiri doctrine, Abd al-Wahhab and his followers could deem fellow Muslims infidels should they engage in activities that in any way could be said to encroach on the sovereignty of the absolute Authority (that is, the King). Abd al-Wahhab denounced all Muslims who honored the dead, saints, or angels. He held that such sentiments detracted from the complete subservience one must feel towards God, and only God. Wahhabi Islam thus bans any prayer to saints and dead loved ones, pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, religious festivals celebrating saints, the honoring of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's birthday, and even prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead.

Abd al-Wahhab demanded conformity -- a conformity that was to be demonstrated in physical and tangible ways. He argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader (a Caliph, if there were one). Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote. The list of apostates meriting death included the Shiite, Sufis and other Muslim denominations, whom Abd al-Wahhab did not consider to be Muslim at all.

There is nothing here that separates Wahhabism from ISIS. The rift would emerge only later: from the subsequent institutionalization of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine of "One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque" -- these three pillars being taken respectively to refer to the Saudi king, the absolute authority of official Wahhabism, and its control of "the word" (i.e. the mosque).

It is this rift -- the ISIS denial of these three pillars on which the whole of Sunni authority presently rests -- makes ISIS, which in all other respects conforms to Wahhabism, a deep threat to Saudi Arabia.

BRIEF HISTORY 1741- 1818

Abd al-Wahhab's advocacy of these ultra radical views inevitably led to his expulsion from his own town -- and in 1741, after some wanderings, he found refuge under the protection of Ibn Saud and his tribe. What Ibn Saud perceived in Abd al-Wahhab's novel teaching was the means to overturn Arab tradition and convention. It was a path to seizing power.

Ibn Saud's clan, seizing on Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine, now could do what they always did, which was raiding neighboring villages and robbing them of their possessions. Only now they were doing it not within the ambit of Arab tradition, but rather under the banner of jihad. Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab also reintroduced the idea of martyrdom in the name of jihad, as it granted those martyred immediate entry into paradise.

In the beginning, they conquered a few local communities and imposed their rule over them. (The conquered inhabitants were given a limited choice: conversion to Wahhabism or death.) By 1790, the Alliance controlled most of the Arabian Peninsula and repeatedly raided Medina, Syria and Iraq.

Their strategy -- like that of ISIS today -- was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear. In 1801, the Allies attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children. Many Shiite shrines were destroyed, including the shrine of Imam Hussein, the murdered grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

A British official, Lieutenant Francis Warden, observing the situation at the time, wrote: "They pillaged the whole of it [Karbala], and plundered the Tomb of Hussein... slaying in the course of the day, with circumstances of peculiar cruelty, above five thousand of the inhabitants ..."

Osman Ibn Bishr Najdi, the historian of the first Saudi state, wrote that Ibn Saud committed a massacre in Karbala in 1801. He proudly documented that massacre saying, "we took Karbala and slaughtered and took its people (as slaves), then praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and we do not apologize for that and say: 'And to the unbelievers: the same treatment.'"

In 1803, Abdul Aziz then entered the Holy City of Mecca, which surrendered under the impact of terror and panic (the same fate was to befall Medina, too). Abd al-Wahhab's followers demolished historical monuments and all the tombs and shrines in their midst. By the end, they had destroyed centuries of Islamic architecture near the Grand Mosque.

But in November of 1803, a Shiite assassin killed King Abdul Aziz (taking revenge for the massacre at Karbala). His son, Saud bin Abd al Aziz, succeeded him and continued the conquest of Arabia. Ottoman rulers, however, could no longer just sit back and watch as their empire was devoured piece by piece. In 1812, the Ottoman army, composed of Egyptians, pushed the Alliance out from Medina, Jeddah and Mecca. In 1814, Saud bin Abd al Aziz died of fever. His unfortunate son Abdullah bin Saud, however, was taken by the Ottomans to Istanbul, where he was gruesomely executed (a visitor to Istanbul reported seeing him having been humiliated in the streets of Istanbul for three days, then hanged and beheaded, his severed head fired from a canon, and his heart cut out and impaled on his body).

In 1815, Wahhabi forces were crushed by the Egyptians (acting on the Ottoman's behalf) in a decisive battle. In 1818, the Ottomans captured and destroyed the Wahhabi capital of Dariyah. The first Saudi state was no more. The few remaining Wahhabis withdrew into the desert to regroup, and there they remained, quiescent for most of the 19th century.

HISTORY RETURNS WITH ISIS

It is not hard to understand how the founding of the Islamic State by ISIS in contemporary Iraq might resonate amongst those who recall this history. Indeed, the ethos of 18th century Wahhabism did not just wither in Nejd, but it roared back into life when the Ottoman Empire collapsed amongst the chaos of World War I.

The Al Saud -- in this 20th century renaissance -- were led by the laconic and politically astute Abd-al Aziz, who, on uniting the fractious Bedouin tribes, launched the Saudi "Ikhwan" in the spirit of Abd-al Wahhab's and Ibn Saud's earlier fighting proselytisers.

The Ikhwan was a reincarnation of the early, fierce, semi-independent vanguard movement of committed armed Wahhabist "moralists" who almost had succeeded in seizing Arabia by the early 1800s. In the same manner as earlier, the Ikhwan again succeeded in capturing Mecca, Medina and Jeddah between 1914 and 1926. Abd-al Aziz, however, began to feel his wider interests to be threatened by the revolutionary "Jacobinism" exhibited by the Ikhwan. The Ikhwan revolted -- leading to a civil war that lasted until the 1930s, when the King had them put down: he machine-gunned them.

For this king, (Abd-al Aziz), the simple verities of previous decades were eroding. Oil was being discovered in the peninsular. Britain and America were courting Abd-al Aziz, but still were inclined to support Sharif Husain as the only legitimate ruler of Arabia. The Saudis needed to develop a more sophisticated diplomatic posture.

So Wahhabism was forcefully changed from a movement of revolutionary jihad and theological takfiri purification, to a movement of conservative social, political, theological, and religious da'wa (Islamic call) and to justifying the institution that upholds loyalty to the royal Saudi family and the King's absolute power.

OIL WEALTH SPREAD WAHHABISM

With the advent of the oil bonanza -- as the French scholar, Giles Kepel writes, Saudi goals were to "reach out and spread Wahhabism across the Muslim world ... to "Wahhabise" Islam, thereby reducing the "multitude of voices within the religion" to a "single creed" -- a movement which would transcend national divisions. Billions of dollars were -- and continue to be -- invested in this manifestation of soft power.

It was this heady mix of billion dollar soft power projection -- and the Saudi willingness to manage Sunni Islam both to further America's interests, as it concomitantly embedded Wahhabism educationally, socially and culturally throughout the lands of Islam -- that brought into being a western policy dependency on Saudi Arabia, a dependency that has endured since Abd-al Aziz's meeting with Roosevelt on a U.S. warship (returning the president from the Yalta Conference) until today.

Westerners looked at the Kingdom and their gaze was taken by the wealth; by the apparent modernization; by the professed leadership of the Islamic world. They chose to presume that the Kingdom was bending to the imperatives of modern life -- and that the management of Sunni Islam would bend the Kingdom, too, to modern life.

But the Saudi Ikhwan approach to Islam did not die in the 1930s. It retreated, but it maintained its hold over parts of the system -- hence the duality that we observe today in the Saudi attitude towards ISIS.

On the one hand, ISIS is deeply Wahhabist. On the other hand, it is ultra radical in a different way. It could be seen essentially as a corrective movement to contemporary Wahhabism.

ISIS is a "post-Medina" movement: it looks to the actions of the first two Caliphs, rather than the Prophet Muhammad himself, as a source of emulation, and it forcefully denies the Saudis' claim of authority to rule.

As the Saudi monarchy blossomed in the oil age into an ever more inflated institution, the appeal of the Ikhwan message gained ground (despite King Faisal's modernization campaign). The "Ikhwan approach" enjoyed -- and still enjoys -- the support of many prominent men and women and sheikhs. In a sense, Osama bin Laden was precisely the representative of a late flowering of this Ikhwani approach.

Today, ISIS' undermining of the legitimacy of the King's legitimacy is not seen to be problematic, but rather a return to the true origins of the Saudi-Wahhab project.

In the collaborative management of the region by the Saudis and the West in pursuit of the many western projects (countering socialism, Ba'athism, Nasserism, Soviet and Iranian influence), western politicians have highlighted their chosen reading of Saudi Arabia (wealth, modernization and influence), but they chose to ignore the Wahhabist impulse.

After all, the more radical Islamist movements were perceived by Western intelligence services as being more effective in toppling the USSR in Afghanistan -- and in combatting out-of-favor Middle Eastern leaders and states.

Why should we be surprised then, that from Prince Bandar's Saudi-Western mandate to manage the insurgency in Syria against President Assad should have emerged a neo-Ikhwan type of violent, fear-inducing vanguard movement: ISIS? And why should we be surprised -- knowing a little about Wahhabism -- that "moderate" insurgents in Syria would become rarer than a mythical unicorn? Why should we have imagined that radical Wahhabism would create moderates? Or why could we imagine that a doctrine of "One leader, One authority, One mosque: submit to it, or be killed" could ever ultimately lead to moderation or tolerance?

Or, perhaps, we never imagined.


 


By
for National Review

President Obama violated a “clear and unambiguous” law when he released five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday.

“[The Department of Defense] violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” the GAO report said. “In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.

[read more]
 
[Excerpt from Video:  "We're commanded to terrorize the disbelievers.  The Quran says very clearly in the Arabic language...this means terrorize them.  It's a command from Allah."
Youtube via CNN
May 9, 2011
uploaded by xGH3x

 

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