Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Protection of Allah

A few hundred of Al-Sadr's militia are holed up in a highly revered historical Muslim shrine in Najaf. A ring of Americans and Iraqis have surrounded it and are trying to make sure nobody escapes.

They would like us to believe they are poor, persecuted men of Iraq valiantly holding off a superior military force. But that is not the case.

First of all, these folks want a Shia Religious Islamic government. They know they won't get this under a liberal democracy that protects other Iraqi's interests equally with theirs. There are indications that Al-Sadr is supported by the neighboring Islamic government in Iran. But that's really beside the point.

The point is, these folks don't want any part of a democratic process. Alawi has been very shrewd in continuing to offer them a political party status in exchange for amnesty -- because it shows just that. Al-Sadr is not interested in being a part of a political process. He wants to force Iraqis to subvert to his religious ideology and he is willing to kill them to make it happen.

No, what's really going on here is they are hiding behind Allah's robes -- and I'm sure Allah is not impressed. They want the US to attack the shrine -- that's why they went there. By hiding there shouting slogans and firing off rounds, they delude themselves and others who are willing to be deluded -- into thinking that they, the Valiant Underdogs, Protected By Allah, are bravely fending off the aggressor.

Never mind that if they themselves hadn't started shooting people, none of this would be going on.

Imagine the roles were reversed -- first of all, our guys would be loath to go into a Christian shrine to hide from our enemies. But suppose we did. Do you think the Islamists would think twice about blowing it up?

Out of respect for good Muslims throughout the world, and to avoid tactical suicide, we will do everything in our power to keep from damaging the shrine.

I imagine with all of this wishy-washy behavior coming out of the group, they are simply buying time. The longer they can portray the situation as infidels besieging brave Muslims in a holy place, the more support they can garner from various Muslims around the world. And the better chance they have of slipping Al-Sadr out of the ring of containment, to fight another day.

"We will fight to the death!" They say -- holed up in their hiding place.


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