Archive for January, 2010

Jundu Syabab Menggegar Mahasiswa Malaysia!

January 29, 2010

Kemunculan Jundu asy-Syabab – Menuju kebangkitan syabab ul-Islam

September 10, 2009

Assalamualaikum, alhamdulillah. Dakwah Islam berkembang lagi sejajar dengan kemunculan laman blog sebuah gerakan mahasiswa Muslim, Jundu asy-Syabab yang bakal dibuka secara rasmi selepas Aidilfitri 1430H. Berikut merupakan sebahagian daripada petikan dan juga ’snapshot’ laman tersebut. Para pengunjung dijemput memeriahkan lagi percambahan pemikiran di sana di samping bertukar pengetahuan dalam kerangka fikrah Islami. Mudah-mudahan laman tersebut menjadi titik-tolak yang mencetuskan gelombang kebangkitan mahasiswa yang berkesedaran. Amiin…

Jundu asy-Syabab

Salam Ta’ruf

Jundu Asy-Syabab adalah sebuah gerakan mahasiswa yg terdiri daripada mahasiswa dan mahasiswi universiti-universiti di seluruh Malaysia yang bangkit atas kesedaran untuk berjuang menegakkan kembali kemuliaan Islam yang sudah dilupakan.
Kami akan membahas, membincang dan memuhasabah segala jenis pemikiran, ideologi dan ragam kehidupan masyarakat terutamanya berkaitan cabaran sebagai mahasiswa harini dengan kupasan berlandaskan Islam.

Sila Klik untuk Mengunjungi Laman Jundu asy-Syabab

 

Sertai Kami - terbuka kepada seluruh mahasiswa IPTA dan PTS Sertai Kami – terbuka kepada seluruh mahasiswa IPTA dan PTS 

 

Swiss Minaret Ban

January 29, 2010

Voters in a nationwide referendum, in Switzerland have approved a ban on the construction of new minarets. Whist for many Muslims in the West this was not surprising considering the rising anti-foreigner attitude in Switzerland. For many Muslims in the Muslim world this may have come as a surprise. The nation in the Alps, known for its ski resorts and banking industry may even be unknown to many Muslims in the Islamic world. The Swiss ban should not be viewed in isolation, it is part of a general campaign by the Capitalist nations and now Western populations who view Islam with disdain and threatening the very way of life the West has embraced. The Swiss People’s Party, which campaigned for the ban and has concentrated its recent political campaigns almost exclusively on xenophobic messages, has seen a considerable rise in popularity in the last 10 years. With foreigners comprising around 20% of the Swiss population of 7.7 million, the overall anti-foreigner message (which is not exclusively anti-Muslim) has resonated with the traditionally insulated Swiss, particularly in the less cosmopolitan cantons of central Switzerland. A mosque in Geneva was vandalized three times in the run up to the referendum. Switzerland is home to approximately 400,000 Muslims (about 5.1% of the Swiss population), most of whom are from Turkey or various republics of the former Yugoslavia. The attacks on Islam after 9/11 have created an atmosphere of Nationalism, and right-wing parties have latched onto this opportunity and are on the rise in almost all parts of Western Europe. The rising number of immigrants in Europe has led many Europeans to regard them, most of who are Muslim, as a threat to their culture and jobs. According to a recent study, one in two Europeans believes there are too many immigrants in Europe. In line with this trend, right-wing parties that are openly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim have now gained widespread popular support in Austria, France, Netherlands, Denmark, and in Britain as well. The Rise of the Far Right in Mainland Europe Post 9/11, has accelerated vocalisation of anti-Muslim fervour that continues to plague Europe. From the publishing of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم infuriating the Global Muslim population to the production of Geert Wilders abhorrent ‘Fitna’ video; the subject of Islam has been a target for relentless attack. Further to this, policies in France and parts of Germany banning the Hijab in some public premises has resulted in Muslim women being denied the basic right to education, employment and healthcare facilities. Such a phenomena of hatred towards Muslims and ethnic minorities is in reality ingrained in the history of mainland Europe. History can testify to the lack of welcome of ‘foreigners’ by the ‘host population’ – many being unforgiving and unforgetful of past differences. Tolerance of the other has been overwritten by the overwhelming sentiment of bitterness and resentment. For instance the tensions between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia by Serbs, the Nazi slaughter of Jews and Gypsies have left bitter scars in peoples’ attitudes and perceptions. Tolerance in plural societies is therefore a somewhat farfetched idea when the cause behind such wars have been lack of coexistence or acceptance of differences, and an attempt to forcefully assimilate those of other beliefs and values. European nations face a catch 22 situation. On the one hand, they need more immigrants from the developing world to guarantee the sustainability of their economic systems due to their ageing populations. On the other hand, every additional immigrant in Europe is turning the average European into a more nationalist and less tolerant person. As noted in a 2004 report by the RAND corporation, “the sheer number of immigrants required to offset population aging in the EU and its member states would be unacceptable in Europe’s current socio-political climate.” Denmark has attempted to solve this problem. In November 2009 the Danish parliament increased tenfold the amount of money offered to immigrants who permanently return to their home countries. The Danish government is now paying every immigrant 100,000 Danish kroner ($20,000) if he or she chooses to leave Denmark. However it needs to be understood that the Swiss decision on minarets and the general anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as some of the polices to tackle the Ummah in the West reflects a far deeper fear shared by thousands of people in Western Europe. Until the events of 9/11 integration of the Ummah followed two distinct policies. The first was that Muslims would show their loyalty to the host nation and in return their religious needs would be catered for, this was the case in continental Europe. Britain on the other hand viewed integration as a process of offering the Muslims everything in return for their loyalty. The subsequent invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan showed the West that the Ummah held on to Islam and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Ummah under attack. Muslims in the West have since the events of 9/11 held onto Islam and have in fact become more political, this development is the West’s biggest problem. This is because any people who engage in political struggle will lead the call for their own state with their own system of governance. Whilst the Ummah is not looking to establish Islam in the West, the rising Muslim population, with Islamic politics at its centre along with a more aware Ummah becoming more and more in tune with Islam and with many in the West embracing Islam for the West the Ummah is challenging the West’s way of life – Capitalism. The direct attacks on Islam and attempts by the West to ban parts of Islam are in fact Capitalism attempting to defend itself. The direct attacks on Islam shows the Ummah in the West to her credit never integrated or abandoned the deen but actually held onto it. The attacks on Islam and Muslims in Europe are because Muslims refuse to abandon political Islam and support Western policies around the world. European governments understand very well as the Qur’aysh did at the time of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم that political ideas always end with government. This is why the Khilafah is continually branded as totalitarian and dictatorial. The stage is set for the return of the Khilafah. The Muslims in the Muslim world need to make this happen, and the Ummah in the West stand must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ummah globally for the return of Allah’s سبحانه وتعالى deen.

The Islamic Aqeedah is the basis for the State and its expansion

January 25, 2010

 

عَنْ جُنَادَةَ بْنِ أَبِى أُمَيَّةَ قَالَ دَخَلْنَا عَلَى عُبَادَةَ بْنِ الصَّامِتِ وَهُوَ مَرِيضٌ فَقُلْنَا حَدِّثْنَا أَصْلَحَكَ اللَّهُ بِحَدِيثٍ يَنْفَعُ اللَّهُ بِهِ سَمِعْتَهُ

مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم-فَقَالَ دَعَانَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَبَايَعْنَاهُ فَكَانَ فِيمَا أَخَذَ عَلَيْنَا أَنْ

بَايَعَنَا عَلَى السَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ فِى مَنْشَطِنَا وَمَكْرَهِنَا وَعُسْرِنَا وَيُسْرِنَا وَأَثَرَةٍ عَلَيْنَا وَأَنْ لاَ نُنَازِعَ الأَمْرَ أَهْلَهُ قَالَ إِلاَّ أَنْ تَرَوْا كُفْرًا

بَوَاحًا عِنْدَكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِيهِ بُرْهَانٌ

It has been narrated on the authority of Junida bin Abu Umayya who said: We called upon ‘Ubada bin as-Samit who was ill and said to him: May God give you health – narrate to us a tradition which God may prove beneficial (to us) and which you have heard from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم .

He said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم  called us and we took the oath of allegiance to him. Among the injunctions he made binding upon us was: Listening and obedience (to the Amir) in our pleasure and displeasure, in our adversity and prosperity, even when somebody is given preference over us, and without disputing the delegation of powers to a man duly invested with them (Obedience shall be accorded to him in all circumstances)

He said: except when you see clear kufr/ disbelief which you have proof from Allah

(Muslim)

Hadith 7

أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ

I have been ordered to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no God except Allah and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah and they establish the prayer and give the Zakat

(Muslim/ Bukhari)

Commentary

  1. It is not permitted for anything within the basis of the State to be derived from other than the Islamic Aqeedah. So its constitution and its laws must be taken from the Shari’ah.
  2. The first narration is evidence of this point since it makes deviation from the Islamic Aqeedah the basis for rebelling against the rule, in other words the rule becomes illegitimate when it begins to implement anything which has not been derived from the Islamic Aqeedah in terms of legislation.
  3. Other similar narrations mention not to raise the sword against the rulers as long as they establish prayer, or as long as they do not commit flagrant kufr, or they do not commit open sins against Allah سبحانه وتعالى. All of these indicate that it is the implementation and adherence to Islam that legitimizes their rule.
  4. As Imam Nawawi mentioned, what is meant by open disbelief is open sin, which is clearly established by the proofs of Islam and is confirmed.
  5. There are different positions amongst the scholars regarding when it becomes obligatory to actively remove the ruler, and Qadi Iyyad is narrated as holding that if there is clear evidence of disbelief and change to the Shari’ah and appearance of innovation then it becomes obligatory for the Muslims to work to remove him and replace him with a just ruler.
  6. It should be noted that these narrations are all in respect to the tyrant ruler who in origin was legitimate and then his rule became corrupt, or within a system that is Islamic and it is only the ruler who needed correcting. In other words they are related to the correction of the ruler within the Islamic State if he went astray rather than these rulers today who never ruled according to any Islamic basis and their systems are un-Islamic in origin.
  7. The second narration indicates that not only is the Islamic Aqeedah the basis of the authority and government but that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم  did not stop at that, rather he also legislated for Jihad and made it an obligation upon the Muslims in order to carry this Aqeedah to all people.

Five years on: Aceh’s clean slate

January 25, 2010
26 December 2009
//

IT’S FRIDAY in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, and the muezzin is sounding the midday call to prayer, the most important of the week. Governor Irwandi Yusuf is running late, but making excellent time thanks to his security detail ahead, blaring horns and sirens to scythe through the morass of motorbikes clogging the streets around the city’s grand mosque. Despite the dark tints on the windows of his self-driven Jeep Wrangler, Irwandi, travelling in the middle of the convoy, draws stares of recognition. To Aceh’s 4 million inhabitants, the shiny black tank is a widely recognised symbol of their popular governor, and his idiosyncratic, hands-on approach. To Irwandi, the reverse holds true.

"The Acehnese people are – how do you say – all-terrain vehicles," he laughs. "They’re off-roaders."

He’s referring to the resilience the Acehnese have displayed in the face of overwhelming recent trials; namely, the apocalyptic tsunami – the most destructive in history – which ravaged the province five years ago yesterday. The wave killed up to 170,000 in Aceh, making a blank slate of the landscape and compounding the miseries of what was already one of the world’s more abject regions.

Before the tsunami, Aceh was a forgotten backwater, stifled for decades under repressive military control. Society was fractured, brutalised and isolated from the rest of the world as the result of a vicious conflict between separatists and the Indonesian government, which had seethed for 29 years, at the cost of 15,000, mostly civilian, lives.

Then, on the morning of Boxing Day, 2004, a 9.3 magnitude earthquake – the fourth-largest in a century – struck underwater off the Acehnese coast, jolting a 1200km expanse of ocean floor and shaking the entire planet up to a centimetre. The blast of energy unleashed by the quake was equivalent to 550m Hiroshimas, and created a wall of water three storeys high, which travelled a fifth of the way across the earth at speeds of up to 600km/h. Truly international in scope, the disaster claimed more than 228,000 lives, affected 2.5 million others, and caused close to US$10b worth of damage in 14 countries. By far the highest price was paid by Aceh, the first and worst affected, where more people died than in all other countries combined.
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In Banda Aceh, the capital, nearly a third of the population was simply washed away. New Zealander Bob McKerrow, the head of Indonesia’s Red Cross, was doing tsunami relief work in the Maldives when bodies with Indonesian identity papers surfaced on the beach, 4500km across the Indian Ocean.

The aerial images, of kilometres of formerly populous coastland reduced to an immense stretch of swamp and rubble, were unequivocal. The response, as they were beamed into Western homes where families had gathered for Christmas, was unprecedented. A total of US$13.5 billion in aid was pledged to the global tsunami relief effort, including a record-breaking US$5.5 billion from ordinary citizens; nearly half of the total was allocated to Aceh.

The magnitude of the destruction required the relief effort to be conducted on what was virtually a war footing. More than 16,000 foreign personnel entered the province, bringing ships, aircraft, a floating hospital. In many places, military forces had to make amphibious landings, then bulldoze roads in order to reach stricken communities in a state of bewilderment and profound grief.

"The tsunami was something outside our imagination", says Tabrani Yunis, a 41-year-old community activist and tsunami survivor who, after the initial earthquake that morning left his home and family unscathed, had kissed his wife Salminar, eight-year-old son and four-year-old daughter goodbye, and set off on business to another part of the province. He rushed back half an hour later as panicked news of the deadly tide spread through the city, and found his low-lying neighbourhood had been taken by the ocean, his family and home with it.

Like many survivors in the devoutly Muslim province – filthy, dazed, robbed of everything they had – he sheltered for a time in the city’s mosques, among the few surviving structures in the destruction zone. But the cries of children there, tormenting reminders of his own losses, drove him out to sleep under a raincoat in a park. For weeks afterwards, he wandered hopelessly, searching for news of his family, before taking work as a translator for foreign media crews in order to travel around the province and, he hoped, find a lead. He was barely able to function. "Walking and crying, walking and crying," he remembers. "I was like a crazy person."

That Yunis was but one among hundreds of thousands of similar tales gives some indication of the enormity of the challenge faced by the relief operation, and why the initial prognosis of its architects was bleak. Even when the heavy lifting of the physical reconstruction – a mammoth task of rebuilding homes, schools, roads, hospitals, businesses – was completed, survivors were expected to face a raft of problems caused by the psychological trauma, social breakdown and economic collapse the disaster brought about. There were strongly founded fears of a hopeless, dispirited underclass developing in the tent cities and barracks set up to house the 400,000 displaced: a lost generation of tsunami orphans, vulnerable to child trafficking, domestic abuse, drug dependency and criminality.

Remarkably, five years on, virtually none of this has transpired. "The people of Aceh have recovered," says Irwandi. "They are not traumatised."

Life in Aceh is better than anyone remembers it being. Nearly all of the homeless have been re-housed; many of the widowed, remarried. The war has ended, and the scars of the ordeal, in both the landscape and the people, are barely visible.

Zubedy Koteng, head of Unicef’s child protection programme in Aceh, arrived in the province 10 days after the tsunami struck, and has monitored the wellbeing of local children since. "I don’t see any psychological effects from the tsunami. I just don’t see it anywhere," he says. "For me, it’s amazing."

THE SCALE of the upheaval which has taken place in Aceh is evident in Irwandi’s VIP reception as he sweeps into the grounds of the mosque, bustling with hundreds of faithful in their Friday best. Five years ago, Irwandi, then a separatist guerrilla, was a prisoner of war, who escaped the rising floodwaters in prison, among 40 other of 278 inmates to do so, only by punching a hole through a ceiling and clinging to the roof for dear life.

Today, as a result of a peace accord struck in the political space created by the disaster, the one-time secessionist is not only a free man, but leader of a province which boasts better infrastructure, a more open society and a degree of autonomy from Jakarta that was unimaginable during the strangling years of military rule. "We have more now than what we had before the tsunami – much more," he says.

Despite the increasingly strident interpretations of sharia which have been implemented in recent years (in September, outgoing provincial lawmakers approved legislation allowing for adulterers to be stoned to death, although Irwandi, a progressive, has not ratified the law), Aceh has become in many ways a more progressive society.

Coffee houses – the main social hub and previously an exclusively male domain – are now open to women, the more privileged of whom avail themselves of wi-fi connections to engage with the outside world on their laptops. Yunis, once forced to conduct his women’s rights work underground – placing the shoes of people attending his meetings in a cupboard, rather than on the doorstep, to avoid police detection – now operates with the blessing of authorities.

Under Irwandi’s conservation-minded leadership, Aceh has banned logging, and implemented a carbon credit scheme to protect the province’s jeopardised forests, which, it is hoped, will prove a major drawcard to the tourists being eyed as a new income stream. (The Sumatran rainforest, locals boast, is the only place in the world where all the characters of Kipling’s Jungle Book can be found in their natural habitat.) The province that was largely closed off to outsiders for nearly 30 years is implementing a visa-on-arrival programme at its international airport, and is described by the Lonely Planet as "the next best spot".

David Shirley, a New Zealander who manages Banda Aceh’s only four-star hotel and is conducting academic research into the dynamics of developing tourism in a sharia territory, sees significant potential to grow the industry beyond the sphere of disaster tourism.

Many of those who visit the province are drawn by curiosity over its recent history, although evidence of the ordeal is not immediately apparent. A nascent tourist trail has developed: at the landmark site of a 2600-tonne ship, dumped by the wave in the middle of a village 5km inland, a migrant from Bali sells "I heart Aceh" T-shirts. But at Lhok Nga, the "ground zero" where thousands were swept to their deaths, the non-descript mass gravesite is easily missed amidst the more incongruous sights of a golf course, cows on the beach and the Western surfer dudes who have been appearing in increasing numbers since word got out that the tsunami zone has gnarly breaks.

The wounds on the people are similarly difficult to discern. The "all terrain" Acehnese are a redoubtable warrior people, famous equally for their fierce resistance to outsiders, and devotion to the Islamic faith. Their swift psychological recovery is generally attributed to both. Says McKerrow: "Chalk it up to a quarter century of bloodshed. Their coping mechanism was operating at a high level when the tsunami occurred. They recovered much quicker than people who hadn’t been exposed to blood and guts and death for that period of time."

Faith has been an essential crutch. The disaster was widely construed as an act of God, and had to be accepted on those terms. In contrast, the civil war, the work of men, left wounds that still fester.

"Islam gives me strength, something to hold on to," says Sri Misra, Yunis’ 41-year-old colleague, who lost all her family – a husband, sister, and nephew – in the disaster. "If I didn’t have religion I would go crazy. I would ask why my husband and family were taken away. But I know it’s the will of God."

Yunis, who, like virtually everyone in Aceh, has had no access to counseling or therapy throughout his ordeal, says he simply had to endure. There was no alternative.

"Something came in my mind that day. Oh my god. You are starting alone again," he says. "But then I realised, no: you haven’t lost everything. You still have friends, some family. A job. You aren’t starting from zero."

Yunis has remarried and is a father again. He is a respected community leader; he travels internationally; he does not have the air of a haunted or broken man. It is only when he pulls out a picture of his two lost children on his mobile phone, that he chokes up and is unable to speak. When he recovers, he explains that he still becomes emotional when he is around children. The sight of the ocean spooks him.

AT A time when the international community is redoubling its efforts to address climate change, among other daunting humanitarian concerns, the modern miracle of Aceh’s recovery is an encouraging sign of what can be achieved when political will, resources and coordination align.

"They moved mountains," says McKerrow, who has been involved in the Tsunami Legacy project, an international review of the lessons learned from the disaster, which confirmed the Indonesian approach as the most effective of myriad responses.

A Dunedinite who has spent 38 years in the international aid sector, McKerrow says the response in Aceh was the largest and most successful he has seen. Where other countries closed ranks and determined to handle the situation on their own, Indonesia swallowed its pride and opened its borders, accepting foreign expertise where it acknowledged deficiencies.

"The other affected governments didn’t lift their game above a mediocre level," says McKerrow. "Leadership is about looking at the horizon beyond the horizon. Other countries `managed’ their response, whereas Indonesia had inspired leadership."

Crucial to its success was Jakarta’s creation, three months after the disaster, of the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR). Established to coordinate a strategic and accountable response, with gaps identified and replications avoided, the BRR was staffed with some of the country’s finest, cherry-picked technocratic talent. Recently elected and eager to establish a reputation as a deliverer of good governance, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono appointed a respected and unimpeachable academic to direct the organisation, and gave him the mandate to "build back better" by reforming social institutions stunted by decades of conflict.

"He told [the director]: `You reform Indonesia from Aceh, and I’ll reform Indonesia from Jakarta’," says McKerrow. "That was the critical moment."

The establishment of the BRR helped curb the orgy of flag-planting which prevailed in the early months, as nearly 500 NGOs and charitable organisations swarmed into Aceh. Groups from all over the world wanted to be seen to play their part in the recovery from the great disaster of the age; many were relatively inexperienced players, swollen to an unfamiliar size and importance by the unprecedented level of public donations they received. Even the Scientologists got in on the action, with 200 of L. Ron Hubbard’s disciples travelling to Aceh to administer "spiritual first aid".

Those early "Klondike days" saw a number of hasty, ill-advised projects, as NGOs, responding partly to the implicit imperative to compete for funds and prestige, rushed to demonstrate to their home publics that they were taking action.

"You’d have an organisation come in; they’ve got staff on the ground, they’ve got their home media there for a few days, and they just want to build some f—— houses," says McKerrow. "They don’t care about land titles, and they build them in the wrong place." A number of developments were subsequently torn down in these circumstances, an instructive lesson that it was worthwhile doing things properly, even if that meant taking a little longer.

Throughout the response, the NGOs had more money than they’d seen before; more money, literally, than some of them knew what to do with. Greatly expanded budgets and capacities saw some organisations make eyebrow-raising forays into spheres in which they had no track record (civil engineering projects), or which seemed less than essential (a lifeguard training project).

One veteran humanitarian worker recalls the "glorious moment" when USAid knocked on his organisation’s door with unsolicited funding for a project. "I was delighted to tell them, and all their conditions, to f— off," he crows. "We didn’t need them."

Today, as he and his colleagues grapple with aid shortfalls and public indifference to less spectacular natural disasters, they look back wistfully at the salad days of the tsunami. "It really was the disaster of a lifetime," says one.

There were criticisms of the response: that replacement houses were of an inadequate standard, or the wait for them was too long; that people who should have been entitled to homes missed out; that, in one of Indonesia’s more impoverished regions, too little focus was given to economic development.

Claims of rorts involving contractors engaged in the reconstruction were not uncommon, although it is generally accepted that BRR, established with an internal anti-corruption unit, is a clean institution, and levels of graft were low by Indonesian standards.

Given the overall scale of the disaster, says McKerrow, the relief and reconstruction of Aceh can only be viewed a success. "For every 100 very good things that were done, there were maybe five to eight f—-ups," he considers. "That’s not too bad."

THE TSUNAMI swept away everything: the precious and irreplaceable, but also some things the Acehnese needed rid of.

"A lot of people you talk to see the tsunami as Allah’s way of ending the conflict," says Luke Swainson, a 26-year-old from Palmerston North who has been working in Aceh’s NGO sector for three years.

The disaster’s one great silver lining was in creating a political opening for peace. The two sides could barely continue to skirmish while the world poured its energies into rebuilding the province; besides, the suffering endured in the tragedy had largely sapped the will to fight. Eight months after the tsunami, an historic peace agreement ending decades of conflict was signed between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Helsinki.

Over a meal at his home, Irwandi – the GAM’s former counterintelligence head, who, after Helsinki, renounced his separatist agenda, and won a landslide victory in Aceh’s first democratic election in 30 years – explains that his commitment to the cause began when he read a history book as an eight-year-old.

"Maybe the first book I read was the wrong book, according to Jakarta," he laughs.

Aceh’s claim to independence is based on its long history as a sovereign entity, and a more recent perception that the province’s rich natural resources were being plundered by central government for the benefit of neighbouring Javanese. For Irwandi, these convictions hardened during periods of intense conflict, months when "you could see dead bodies almost every day: in the ditch, on the street," recalls the 49 year-old. "When you see that, it starts something crawling in your brain."

After completing a Masters degree in veterinary studies in the United States, Irwandi self-funded a stint of guerrilla training in an undisclosed Latin American country, before returning home to work in his field of study. For years, he led a double life, disappearing for months at a stretch to fight the Indonesian military. For a time, he joined the Red Cross to study humanitarian law, realising his soldiers would need to abide by the Geneva Conventions if they were to attain international sympathy and respect.

Today, he describes relations with Jakarta as "good; very cautiously good". It is inherently a relationship of tension.

"Indonesia," says Irwandi, "is a crooked rope, a rope that’s not straight yet."

At its extremities: an autonomous Aceh in the west; the restive Papua in the east.

"If you pull at both ends, it will be straight," he says. "If you pull too strong, the ends will be severed."

Peace has been won, but it is a delicate thing. Former rebels, he says, are "swallowing their disappointment" at having given up aspirations to independence, while the Indonesian military, 17,400 of whom remain in the province, remain "paranoid".

"Of course, there is still anger," says Irwandi. "But we hope they don’t open the old wound."

The fragility of Aceh’s new political arrangements were highlighted only the day previous, when, during an interview with McKerrow at the Red Cross’ Aceh headquarters, a staff member rushed into his office, her face blanched. "I need to speak to you in private, urgently," she hisses.

The head of the German Red Cross delegation in Indonesia, visiting Banda Aceh from Jakarta on a monitoring trip, has been shot three times, in the stomach and arm, by unidentified men on motorcycles. It was a targeted attack that left three Indonesians travelling with him unscathed. The German – in McKerrow’s words, a "tough coot" who has spent a decade working in Afghanistan – is evacuated to Singapore with serious injuries, but survives. In the following weeks, shots targeting foreigners are fired on two more occasions, although noone is injured.

Irwandi blames the shooting on "terrorists" disaffected, destabilising elements in the province whose position has been weakened by the ceasefire, and who fear a peaceful and prosperous Aceh will one day secede. He says he knew such attacks were on the cards, knows who is responsible, and claims they seek to drive Westerners from the province so they can further their agenda without external scrutiny. "I know there’s a web there," he says. "But I don’t know how to cut it."

Despite the targeted nature of the attacks, he says, Aceh remains safe for foreigners. He does not consider the attacks a genuine threat to the province’s stability.

McKerrow, too, is alarmed, but confident the peace will hold. Aceh has survived much worse. "To me, it’s a case that when people have little, then why not fight? But now people in Aceh have got land, houses, education, greater freedom. Things are better than ever. For the first time in 25 years, they’ve got something to lose."

The Revival of Islam in Central Asia and Caucasus

January 24, 2010

The present CIS (Common wealth of Independent States) or former Soviet Union has more than 70 million Muslims. Under seven decades of Communist rule, Muslims almost lost their identity due to the persecution of Islam.
The perestroika or reform policy of Gorbachev, who came to power in 1985, eased the religious policy of the former Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s reform policy mainly concentrated on economic restructuring for which he sought the help of the West. Obviously, to deal with the outside world, Gorbachev had to improve the freedom of conscience of the citizens of his country. Thus the believers became less persecuted and demanded more freedom.
Though the 1991 Communist coup  to overthrow Gorbachev did not succeed, it brought about a great historical change, the downfall of the Communist era and the creation of the CIS. This brought an end to the Gorbachev era.
At present, the six Muslims republics of the former Soviet Union Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan are members of the CIS. Except Azerbaijan, the other five republics fall within the geographical boundary of Central Asia. Apart from these six republics, there are about 20 million indigenous Muslims inside the Russian Federation, the biggest state of the CIS, who are mostly concentrated in the Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and scarcely in other parts of the Russian Federation where the total population is over 150 million.
The revival of Islam in Central Asia and the CIS has had a different impact in different areas depending on freedom of religious policy and the interest in Islam. On the whole, the impact of cultural and educational aspects of Islam is growing in all parts of Central Asia and the CIS. For example, growth of mosques and educational institutions–madrasaha–varies from place to place; in Uzbekistan alone there are more than 2000  mosques. During the Soviet period there were only some 400 mosques throughout the USSR.
The new mosques, madrasahs and Islamic Centres are mostly financed by local Muslims. In many cases donations have come from Muslim organizations. Some Muslims countries–Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and a few others also contributed. The Muslim countries also offer scholarships for students from Central Asia to study in their own countries. In Turkey alone, there are about ten thousand students studying in different educational institutions. The Islamic Universities of Pakistan and Malaysia, a few universities in Saudi Arabia and Al-Azhar University regularly provide places for students from Central Asia–The students are financed either by the University itself or organizations. Some students are also studying in  Libya, Morocco and other countries.
The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), World Muslim League (Rabita), International Islamic Relief Organization, SAAR Foundation and Islamic Development Bank regularly make contributions to educational and other developmental works in Central Asia. Some of these organizations have opened branches in Moscow and other cities of Central Asia with the Official permission of local governments.
The Organizations also finance orphanages, hospitals and provide other humanitarian assistance. The Islamic Development Bank has so far provided over $4 million. Due to ethnic problems and regional conflicts, for example, war in Chechnya, Tajikistan, Abkhazia, Nagornokarabah, a huge number of refugees have been made homeless and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
Despite political uncertainties and economic difficulties, for the revival of Islam, the education of Muslim children has priority. Parents are enthusiastic to teach their children Islamic values starting from the nursery age. Mostly evening and weekend (part-time) madrasahs are serving this purpose. Though the shortage of Islamic teachers is a problem in many areas, some of the above mentioned Muslim organizations are helping with the preparation of teachers. In Kazakhstan and Tatarstan many teachers are engaged, from Turkey especially, to teach Arabic and Islamic disciplines. Officially, the Ministries of Culture of some Muslim Republics, at the request of parents, are introducing in mainstream schools syllabus with Islamic disciplines. For this, guidance is being sought from the Muslim countries.
At the moment, there is a great need for literature on Islam. To meet this requirement, books available in English, Turkish or Arabic are being translated into Russian and local languages. Such books cater for different ages. Presently, independent organizations within the country, with the help of international organizations like WAMY, IIRO, SAAR Foundation have been producing a considerable amount of Islamic literature every year. WAMY has established a publication bureau in Dagestan called ‘Sant-Lada’. ‘Sant-Lada’ mainly publishes translated Islamic literature. Nevertheless, for the 70 million Muslims of CIS with at least 7/8 major languages the available literature is still only a drop in the ocean. Similarly, at the higher educational level, the interest in studying Islam is growing. Recently, Moscow State University started higher degrees on various aspects of Islam–something unthinkable during the Soviet period. Independent institutes are being established to study Arabic, The Quran, Hadith, Tafsir, life of the Prophet (pbuh), etc. In January, 1995, such an institute was opened in Moscow with the help of some financiers from Kuwait. The Rector of the Institute is Sayed Kamaliev, a leading Arabist from the former Soviet Union.
Female education has also been of great concern in the society. ‘Charity begins at home’, so mothers have the responsibility of educating the future generations. However, there are still very few full-time institutions where girls can get Islamic education. In Tashkent, the Mir-Arab Madrasah now has a female section. This is the only Madrasah to have survived since the Soviet period by government funding. Recently, an independent women’s Madrasah called ‘Fatimat-uz-Zaharah’ has been established in Tashkent by independent funding. The madrasah which caters for female students of all ages, so far attracted at least one thousand students. Recently, a similar madrasah was established in Dagestan to cater for Caucasus female students.
As a result of female Islamic education, the wearing hijab (female Islamic dress) is very visible in Muslim areas which was a taboo during Soviet Times.
As Islamic education is becoming a need, the intelligentsia also feels a need to produce academic works on Islam. Many even propose to rewrite the history of central Asia. History books, as written by Soviet scholars previously, do not emphasize the role Islam played in the history of Central Asia. The specialized centers at universities, as well as a number of independent centres, have engaged scholars and Islamologists to write books on different aspect of Islam. But, at the moment, such academic works are far too few to meet the demand.

Fear of Persecution
In central Asia, the revival of Islam is very much evident. However, the present leaders and the governments of Muslim states are mostly communist-turned-democrats, so it is very unlikely that their policies will easily accommodate Islam. Their constitution separates religion from state. So, mass Islamic movements and any role that Islam is to play in state affair face almost the same restrictions as in the past. For example, the Islamic Revivalist Party, the only major political movement for Muslims, formed in 1990, has faced severe persecution in Muslim republics. The irony with IRP is that, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, it ceased to be an ‘all Union’ or one party and sought recognition in individual Muslim states. But it was not recognized by the majority of Muslim states. For example, in Uzbekistan, not only has the IRP been unrecognised, its leaders, including the Chairman of the Party–Abdullah Uttah–have been imprisoned. Tajikistan was the only place where the IRP was recognized a mark in the political arena of the republic. Unfortunately, the communist and Russian ploy defeated the democratic alliance in Tajikistan in 1992. Had a free democratic system been allowed after the downfall of Communism, Tajikistan would have been the first democratic state in the former Soviet Union with a major role played by IRP. The ‘defeated’ leader of IRP, in fear of persecution, crossed the border and sought refuge in Afghanistan. The leaders–Mohammad Sharif, Abdullah Nuri, Uslam Daulatov, Turadzonzadah and others have vowed to continue the jihad from across the border.
In other parts of Muslim areas, the Islamic political movement is still in its infancy and fear of persecution is high. For example, the Kazakh authorities have time and again alerted themselves to the rise of ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ all over Central Asia. The war in Chechnya has accelerated Muslim awareness and the Islamic Movement.

Foreign Investment
The sudden collapse of the communist system and the weak infrastructure of government pushed Central Asia and Caucasus into chaos. The economy is weak and struggling to recover. At the same time the Muslim republics have vast resources of oil, gas, cotton, gold, etc. The resources easily attract foreign  investment. Becoming members of Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO) and with the support of IMF and World Bank, the Central Asian republics are developing their economic sectors. Among the Muslim countries, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and some Gulf countries have established economic and trade links with Central Asian states. However, the volatile governments and the political uncertainties of these newly independent Muslim states do not at present attract massive investment from outside.
Nevertheless, it can be concluded that due to the geographical and strategic situation and its cultural, religious and historical links, the Muslim world can play a very important role in bringing back the region under Islamic Brotherhood.

Chenhnya at a Glance
Chechnya was a part of Daghestan, a Muslim state of the Caucasus, under the leadership of Imam Shamyl.
In 1859 Muslims of Daghestan lost their country to Russia after 34 years of resistance jihad.
In 1917 Daghestanis declared independence. Some even supported Communists against the Czars because they promised to recognise their independence.
In 1925 Communists Russians reoccupied Daghestan. Banned Islam, Masjds, and other Islamic institutions.
Chechnya Autonomous Region was established by the Soviets to divided the Muslims of Caucasus (Daghestan) into different groups while appearing to give recognition and autonomy to different linguistic groups.
In 1944 the whole population was loaded on cattle trucks and were expelled to Siberia and Kazakhstan by Stalin where one third of the Chechens died.
In 1965 Chechens were allowed back to their region.
Oct. 1991: Chechnya declared independence from Russia as other autonomous regions were doing around it after Dudayev was elected as president. He was among the children who were deported to Kazakhstan in 1944.
Dec. 11, 1994: Russian attack on Chechnya began with 40,000 man Russian army armed with superpower class equipment.
Dec. 30, 1994: The first major Russian attack on Grozny began with hundreds of tanks while the world was at pause for New Year celebrations.
Jan. 3, 1995:  The first Russian attack on Grozny repelled by Chechens as ‘hundreds of tanks’ are destroyed as described by one Russian sources.

Islam’s expansion into Caucasus and Central Asia

January 24, 2010

The collapse of the Soviet Union, Western focus on economics rather than human rights, Moscow’s errors and its violent reactions to demands for independence in the Caucasus are favouring the expansion of Islamic fundamentalism, this according to Centre for Eastern Studies. Tomorrow, professors Jacek Cichocki, Maciej Falkowski and Krzysztof Strachota from the Warsaw-based institute will present a conference titled “Islam in the current context of Central Asia and Caucasus: A Socio-Political Approach,” organised by the Pontificia Università Gregoriana and Polish Embassy to the Holy See.

The starting point of the thesis elaborated by the Centre and presented in various studies is that that the Caucasus and Central Asia are located in the heart of the Eurasian continent and represent a borderline where the European, Russian, Chinese and Islamic civilisations meet.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union a number of independent states emerged in the both areas: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Southern Caucasus, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in the Central Asia. However, it also marked the rebirth of nationalist sentiments in many republics in the northern Caucasus that are part of the Russian federation. These, in many respects, are closer to the southern Caucasus and Central Asia than the rest of Russia.

Complicating matters is the fact that this region has now become an area of competition between Russia, USA, China and regional powers like Iran and Turkey in what some have started calling the New Great Game. However, the West has played an ambiguous role as it appeals for democratisation and the respect of human rights, but often sets its own economic interests above everything else.

Above all, after decades of enforced Soviet atheism, Islam is re-emerging as the dominant religion, except for Georgia and Armenia which remain Christian.

Islam is a key identity marker for the nations that occupy much of the Caucasus and Central Asia, a pillar of the regions’ customs and a natural ideology for the region’s native populations.

Local Muslim societies have traditionally been tolerant towards Christians (mostly Orthodox), but any attempts to convert Muslims tend to trigger aversion and even violent hostility. Increasingly Islam has become the basis for national identity, especially in the Russian Federation.

As time goes by, the former Soviet, now independent states leave the post-Soviet space and become an integral part of the Ummah, the worldwide community of Muslims, and are thus affected by its unstable situation, particularly by the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. More and more, radical Islamic movements and countries like Iran play a role in the region.

Moscow’s incompetent handling of the conflict in Chechnya and its attempts to crush nationalist movements in this and other republics have favoured Islam’s growth.

The deteriorating economic and social situations in the region, especially among the young who see no future for themselves, make matters worse.

In many places tensions have already reached the boiling point—good examples are the revolts in the Uzbek city of Andijan (May 2005) and the Nalchik city in the northern Caucasus (October 2005).

Local governments reacted crushing the protest movements as the West limited itself to verbal criticism.

In Russia’s northern Caucasus the lack of freedom and the violent repression of autonomist and independentist aspirations have fuelled Islamic fundamentalism which has become the only venue many young people have to protest and express their aspirations.

Method of Establishing the Caliphate

January 24, 2010

Anwar al Awlaki: a question about the method of establishing Caliphate

Question: Salam Alaikum. What I understand from your lectures is that you believe the method to re-establish Caliphate is through Jihad. Can you respond to this?

Another view that is being addressed to the Ummah is the concept of fighting the rulers and that through military struggle Islam will return to the world stage. Again this is based upon a particular Hadith.

It has been narrated from many sources including Imam Muslim that the Prophet (saw) said, “Do not challenge the people of authority unless you see explicit Kufr of which you have clear proof from Allah (from Islam)..”

Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer states that if the Caliph reverts to the rule of disbelief, he would be fought until he returned to the implementation of Islam and the Sharia.

Ibn Hajr in his Fateh al-Bari also states that if he becomes a Kafir, or changes the Sharia he should be fought and removed.

This view is also mentioned in Nayl al-Awtar and supported by Imam Shawkani. That is, if the ruler rules by other than the Sharia he is fought until he either repents or is removed.

However that is the only situation that it applies to i.e. the ruling of a Caliph who resorts to the Kufr ruling and disobedience to Allah. It does not relate to the Caliph becoming tyrannical and also does not relate to his personality becoming corrupt. In which case obedience to him is binding and the Muslims should still pray behind him and fight Jihad behind him.

However, these Ahadith are not connected to the current situation. They are all connected to revolt and rising against the Caliph and are titled under the subject of “Khurooj min al Khaleefah” i.e. “rising against the authority of a Caliph or an Imam”.

The current situation is not that of the Caliphs who used to rule by Islam and then turned away from Islam. The current problem is also not merely related to removing a ruler by killing him. Rather, entire systems of Kufr have been implemented over Muslims for over 76 years, none of the rulers have ever ruled by the Sharia and none of them are Caliphs within a Caliphate.

The systems that they are applying are either monarchies or Capitalistic with some sort of democratic framework. Hence, the reality isn.t that of removing a bad Caliph within an Islamic State.

The reality is of uprooting an entire Kufr system, including it’s ruler, to again establish Dar ul-Islam. The current rulers are not comparable in any way to Caliphs who have introduced one Kufr law into the Caliphate. Hence these Ahadith, which have always been understood in the context of Dar ul-Islam i.e. where Islam is implemented and the Muslims possess the security, do not apply upon the current situation.

The reality which they address is that of removing a Caliph who rules with Kufr within the Islamic State, not that of uprooting an entire Kufr system merely by fighting and killing the ruler of that system.

The only situation that is comparable from the evidences is the establishment of the Islamic State for the very first time by the Prophet (saw) and the struggle which he (saw) went through in order to establish this State and change Dar ul-Kufr to Dar ul-Islam.

This is the struggle which he (saw) referred to in the Hadith of Hamza and as is illustrated in the Books of Sunnah and Seerah. As that is the only instance in which a complete system of Kufr existed and was changed to a complete system of Islam. So the matter is regarding the changing of a system, not merely a ruler.

The Ahadith of fighting, apply to changing a ruler i.e. a Caliph who has gone astray not a system, only the struggle of the Prophet (saw) in Makkah applies to the changing of a system. So military struggle is not the method of re-establishing the Caliphate.

– Also, can you give me your views on Hizb ut-Tahrir?

Most Islamic groups that were founded after the fall of the Caliphate recognize the importance of re-establishing al Caliphate again.

There was a time during the decades of the eighties and nineties when the Salafi’s, Ikhwaan, Jamaat Islami, HT, Jihad groups and even some of the sufi’s talked about Caliphate.

Since then and because of the fact that the West has made it clear that it doesn’t like that idea and would not tolerate it, some groups have backed off completely from any talk of Caliphate while others toned it down.

Only a few remained steadfast in their call to establish the Islamic system again.

The proposed methods that Islamic groups presented for re-establishing al Caliphate are:

  1. Through tarbiyyah and then somehow when our condition changes the Caliphate will be re-established again. While others say we will do tarbiyyah until the ummah is ready and then we will fight the enemies of Allah.
  2. By reaching to power through participating in the democratic system.
  3. The HT method of raising the awareness of the ummah of the importance of Caliphate, educating the Muslims on politics, and searching for nusrah.
  4. Fighting in path of Allah in order to establish the religion of Allah.

– The proponents of the first method have never given the ummah any benchmark to when we have done sufficient tarbiyyah to move on to the stage of implementation and therefore will remain in a perpetual state of tarbiyyah while negating the duty of Jihad.

They also miss the point that tarbiyyah is within one generation and not multigenerational. Meaning the change that Rasulullah brought which started with dawa and ended with jihad was within the lifetime of one generation.

It all happened within 23 years. Every other successful change in the ummah occurred within one generation. History is a testimony to this.

– The promoters of change by participation in democratic elections started out by stating that democracy is kufr and we do not believe in it but we are using it as a vehicle to reach to power and after we reach to power we will implement Islam.

This is what I heard from every single leading member of Ikhwaan in the late eighties and early nineties. I clearly remember the public discussions that were held on this issue because the Salafi’s back then were very much against Ikhwaan on this point.

I also remember clearly the private discussion I had with some of the shuyukh of ikhwaan who would reiterate the same point again and again: Democracy is un-Islamic and we are participating in elections but our intentions are to change the system from within.

There are three problems with this method:

First: It is a deception and a lie to use democracy and claim to be adherents to the democratic system but not believe in it.

Now deception is acceptable against the enemy if the Muslims are in a state of war with the them. The problem is that the particular groups that are involved in the democratic process do not believe that they are in a state of war with the disbelievers but believe that there is a covenant between the Muslims and the disbelievers.

So if we are in a covenant with the disbelievers then it is not allowed to use deception against them and it is not allowed to lie to them. That’s the first problem.

The next problem is that when you repeat a lie long enough you end up believing it. For those who knew these groups from the eighties it is strange for them to see how much they have changed over time.

Now they are saying and I have heard this more than once from their prominent members that now we genuinely do believe in the democratic system:

“We believe in the ballot not bullet. And if the ballot decides that a secular or disbelieving party wins we will accept that.”

As Muslims we should not subject Islam to the whims of the people, “if they chose it we implement it, if they don’t we accept the choice of the masses”.

Our position is that we will implement the rule of Allah on earth by the tip of the sword whether the masses like it or not. We will not subject Sharia rule to popularity contests. Rasulullah says:

“I was sent with the sword until Allah alone is worshiped.”

That path, the path of Rasulullah, is the path we should follow.

The final problem is that the Muslims’ method is not a method of infiltration. Muslims do not try to infiltrate the system and work from within. It is just not our way. It is the way of the Jews and the hypocrites but not the way of the Muslims.

We are honest and straightforward with friend and foe. We make our intentions open and we declare our dawah publicly, “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

We do not want to infiltrate the system whether in America or in a Muslim country. The Jews are the ones who have infiltrated every government they lived under whether it was al-Andalus and the Ottoman Caliphate or the Western governments of today.

They have a hidden agenda, we don’t. The Jews and their brethren, the hypocrites, tried to infiltrate the government of Rasulullah and were exposed by Quran:

“And a faction of the People of the Scripture say [to each other], “Believe in that which was revealed to the believers at the beginning of the day and reject it at its end that perhaps they will return [i.e., abandon their religion]”

So they would become believers and come in to the community only to leave it at the end of the day. Allah also talks about the hypocrites who would sit among the believers and convey what they hear to the Jews.

Therefore for those who say that we should be involved with the system and change it from within are not following the path of the Muslims and if their character is that of a Muslim they would fail because infiltration just doesn’t work with Muslim behavior.

But if they do succeed in infiltrating the system then that is proof that their character has become that of the Jews or the hypocrites and not that of the Muslims.

A point related to this is that those who come from Islamic backgrounds and have spent a long time working within the political systems of today end up becoming politicians, with all the negative meanings of the word: deceptive, changing colors, materialistic and Machiavellian in their methods.

They may have been bred in the Islamic movements’ strong tarbiyyiah programs but after a while in the political arena they become the wolves they were trying to change.

I have seen this with my own eyes happen to people that I know and as one leader of the Islamic movement in Yemen said: “We send them as sheep into a world of wolves only for them to come back to us as an eaten up skeleton.”

If you want a live example of what working from within the system produces look no further than Sudan and Turkey. The ruling parties in both countries started out as Islamists only to end up just like everyone else in their rotten and corrupt environments.

Regarding the method of HT which you specifically referred to in your question, I first came in contact with HT members from Jordan in the early nineties and found them to be argumentative but well-mannered and polite.

My first understanding of the Hizb was from them and they were core members of the group.

HT has played an important role in raising the awareness of the ummah to the matter of Caliphate. They also played a role in countering the false idea that politics and political awareness have nothing to do with Islam. However the method of HT to re-establish Caliphate is simply not going to work.

To wait for nusrah until it arrives is to wait for a miracle.

Tribes or military generals that are supposed to give nusrah and establish the religion of Allah are not going to be won over simply by discussions. They will only be won over when they see a group of believers living by what they say and sacrifice all that they own for the sake of Allah.

This is what will inspire others to join.

The two success stories of powerful people giving nusrah to the religion are some of the former officers of the Iraqi baath regime who joined the insurgency and the former president of Chechnya, Dudayev, who was a high ranking officer in the Soviet army.

Both these successful examples of nusra were not won over through debates, demonstrations and pamphlets but by them seeing a living example of men struggling in the path of Allah.

This leads me to the forth method of re-establishing Caliphate and that is through Jihad fi sabilillah.

The argument that you presented against this is that the only similar situation to our situation now is that of Rasulullah establishing an Islamic state first and then fighting Jihad.

You are neglecting a serious difference and that is when Rasulullah established Madina there was no Islamic land that was invaded.

Isn’t this a serious and major difference?

Today the Muslim world is under occupation and the statements of our scholars are clear that it becomes fardh ayn on every able Muslim to fight to free the Muslim land. When something is fardh ayn it is fardh ayn.

You cannot theorize or hypothesize otherwise. The ruling is clear and the implications of it are clear. So even if you do not believe Jihad to be the way to establish Caliphate you must agree that Jihad is fardh ayn and that is not where HT stands.

Also the jihad which is fardh ayn and is Jihad al dafa (defensive Jihad) does not require the one who wants to participate to seek the permission of the Imam, parents, husband, slave owner, or lender.
Also why should we argue on this point when we see the evidence of it in the real world.

The two most successful examples, even though far from perfect, of Islamic rule in this past decade were the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic courts in Somalia.

In both countries only these Muslim fighters brought peace, security and rule of law in both countries. Both movements reached to power not through elections or debates but through war. They did not fall because they were failures but they fell because the ummah failed them.

However, even though a battle here and there were lost but the war is not over.

If you follow the current events and look at them with an attentive eye you would realize that it is the enemy who is bleeding to death not the Muslim fighters. Pretty soon the scales will tip.

Because confusion usually surrounds what is meant by Jihad whether it is the Jihad al Nafs or Jihad of the sword I do not exclusively mean one or the other and I do not exclude one or the other.

What I mean by Jihad here is not just picking up a gun and fighting. Jihad is broader than that. What is meant by Jihad in this context is a total effort by the ummah to fight and defeat its enemy.

Rasulullah says: “Fight the disbelievers with your self, your wealth and your tongues.”

It is what Clausewitz would refer to as “total war” but with the Islamic rules of engagement. It is a battle in the battlefield and a battle for the hearts and minds of the people.

Source: anwar-alawlaki.com

The Collapse of America

January 24, 2010

The Collapse of American Power

In his famous book, The Collapse of British Power (1972), Correlli Barnett reports that in the opening days of World War II Great Britain only had enough gold and foreign exchange to finance war expenditures for a few months. The British turned to the Americans to finance their ability to wage war. Barnett writes that this dependency signaled the end of British power.

From their inception, America’s 21st century wars against Afghanistan and Iraq have been red ink wars financed by foreigners, principally the Chinese and Japanese, who purchase the US Treasury bonds that the US government issues to finance its red ink budgets.

The Bush administration forecasts a 0 billion federal budget deficit for this year, an indication that, as the US saving rate is approximately zero, the US is not only dependent on foreigners to finance its wars but also dependent on foreigners to finance part of the US government’s domestic expenditures. Foreign borrowing is paying US government salaries–perhaps that of the President himself–or funding the expenditures of the various cabinet departments. Financially, the US is not an independent country.

The Bush administration’s 0 billion deficit forecast is based on the unrealistic assumption of 2.7% GDP growth in 2008, whereas in actual fact the US economy has fallen into a recession that could be severe. There will be no 2.7% growth, and the actual deficit will be substantially larger than 0 billion.

Just as the government’s budget is in disarray, so is the US dollar which continues to decline in value in relation to other currencies. The dollar is under pressure not only from budget deficits, but also from very large trade deficits and from inflation expectations resulting from the Federal Reserve’s effort to stabilize the very troubled financial system with large injections of liquidity.

A troubled currency and financial system and large budget and trade deficits do not present an attractive face to creditors. Yet Washington in its hubris seems to believe that the US can forever rely on the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis to finance America’s life beyond its means. Imagine the shock when the day arrives that a US Treasury auction of new debt instruments is not fully subscribed.

The US has squandered 0 billion dollars on a war that serves no American purpose. Moreover, the 0 billion is only the out-of-pocket costs. It does not include the replacement cost of the destroyed equipment, the future costs of care for veterans, the cost of the interests on the loans that have financed the war, or the lost US GDP from diverting scarce resources to war. Experts who are not part of the government’s spin machine estimate the cost of the Iraq war to be as much as trillion.

The Republican candidate for President said he would be content to continue the war for 100 years. With what resources? When America’s creditors consider our behavior they see total fiscal irresponsibility. They see a deluded country that acts as if it is a privilege for foreigners to lend to it, and a deluded country that believes that foreigners will continue to accumulate US debt until the end of time.

The fact of the matter is that the US is bankrupt. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the US and head of the Government Accountability Office, in his December 17, 2007, report to the US Congress on the financial statements of the US government noted that “the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding assets) and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2007.” In everyday language, the US government cannot pass an audit.

Moreover, the GAO report pointed out that the accrued liabilities of the federal government “totaled approximately trillion as of September 30, 2007.” No funds have been set aside against this mind boggling liability.

Just so the reader understands, trillion is ,000 billion.

Frustrated by speaking to deaf ears, Walker recently resigned as head of the Government Accountability Office.

As of March 17, 2008, one Swiss franc is worth more than dollar. In 1970, the exchange rate was 4.2 Swiss francs to the dollar. In 1970, purchased 360 Japanese yen. Today dollar purchases less than 100 yen.

If you were a creditor, would you want to hold debt in a currency that has such a poor record against the currency of a small island country that was nuked and defeated in WW II, or against a small landlocked European country that clings to its independence and is not a member of the EU?

Would you want to hold the debt of a country whose imports exceed its industrial production? According to the latest US statistics as reported in the February 28 issue of Manufacturing and Technology News, in 2007 imports were 14 percent of US GDP and US manufacturing comprised 12% of US GDP. A country whose imports exceed its industrial production cannot close its trade deficit by exporting more.

The dollar has even collapsed in value against the euro, the currency of a make-believe country that does not exist: the European Union. France, Germany, Italy, England and the other members of the EU still exist as sovereign nations. England even retains its own currency. Yet the euro hits new highs daily against the dollar.

Noam Chomsky recently wrote that America thinks that it owns the world. That is definitely the view of the neoconized Bush administration. But the fact of the matter is that the US owes the world. The US “superpower” cannot even finance its own domestic operations, much less its gratuitous wars except via the kindness of foreigners to lend it money that cannot be repaid.

The US will never repay the loans. The American economy has been devastated by offshoring, by foreign competition, and by the importation of foreigners on work visas, while it holds to a free trade ideology that benefits corporate fat cats and shareholders at the expense of American labor. The dollar is failing in its role as reserve currency and will soon be abandoned.

When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to pay its bills by borrowing more from foreigners.

I sometimes wonder if the bankrupt “superpower” will be able to scrape together the resources to bring home the troops stationed in its hundreds of bases overseas, or whether they will just be abandoned.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration

The Battle of Hearts and Minds

January 24, 2010

Sheikh Awlaki: ”The Battle of Hearts and Minds”

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful!

All praise is to Allah and peace and blessings on our Prophet Muhammad and his righteous companions and followers

Dear brothers and sisters

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

All praise is to Allah the Lord of the Worlds, we ask Allah Almighty to accept all our efforts. We ask Allah Almighty that he provides us with beneficial knowledge.

As was announced that the topic of this lecture is the “Battle of Hearts and Minds”, and I started by, reading to you a quote from a report from Rand Institute in 2007 which states that:

  • “The struggle under way throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of ideas, its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world”.

So there is the struggle of ideas going on, right now, in the Muslim world.

And according to the Defense department, the US Defense Department in its quadrennial defense review report:

  • “The United states is involved in a war that is both a battle of arms and a battle of ideas. A war in which, ultimate victory, will be achieved only when extremist ideologies are discredited in the eyes of their host populations and passive supporters”.

So according to Rand and according to the Pentagon and truth fully so, there is a struggle of ideas going on in the Muslim world, but what is their position regarding this internal affair, this affair that concerns Muslims, this battle of ideas between those who want to follow Islam as it was reveled to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah on him), they want to follow Islam in its entirety and those who want to pick and chose from Islam, they want to follow Islam selectively. Now, this issue is not new with Muslims, In every age, there are Ahl-Haq (people on the Right Path – KC), and there are those who want to deviate from the true path, through out our history this was a struggle that Allah destined to remain and it even existed among the believing nations before us.

For example, with Banu Israel (Children of Israel – KC), there were those who held on to the truth and then there were those whom Allah Almighty said about in Quran:
“They change the meanings of the words”.
(Surah 5. The Table, The Table Spread, 13).

So, they would take the words of the Bible and they would change it. And some of that was done to please the authorities of the time, because we know that Bani Israel lived under various nations. For example they lived under the Roman rule, and that time the Romans were pagan. And they lived under the rules of the kings of Babel, and they were pagans too. And according to a story mentioned in Tafseer (Explanation of the Quran – KC), that at a particular time some of the Rabbis of Bani Israel gave a Fatwa to the King of Babylon allowing him to have a forbidden relationship, but they gave him such a fatwa to please that king. So they changed the rule of Allah the Almighty, in order to please a human being!

So this conflict of ideas, that is going on in the Muslim world, what are these non-Muslims doing about it! According to the US news and World report:

  • “Today Washington is fighting back after repeated missteps since the 911 attacks, the US government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched, since the height of the cold war. From military psychological operations teams and CIA covert operatives to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself.”

Now hear this again “The US is trying to change Islam itself!!!”. Without any shame, they are openly stating that we have a desire not only to influence the Muslim societies but we want to change the religion itself! Probably at the time of Bani Israel those Rabbis who were changing the book of Allah never dared to say so openly! These, without even hiding it, are saying that we want to change Islam, yes we do!

And then the article carries on to say that:

  • “In at least two dozen countries, Washington has quietly funded Islamic radio and TV shows, course work in Muslim schools, Muslim think tanks, political workshops or other programs that promote moderate Islam. Federal aid is going to restore Mosques, publish Quran and even build Islamic schools”.

Well as we see here, they are trying to promote this modern Islam, modern according to their definition, and they are spending millions of dollars to do so.

Bothers and sisters, when a Muslim, a true Muslim, hears this, he hears that non-Muslims who have no knowledge about the religion, who do not believe in Allah Almighty who don’t believe in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and don’t take Quran as the book of Allah, when a Muslim hears that such a people, are openly claiming that we want to change your religion, this should make any Muslim who has any love of Allah Almighty angry!

How dare you?! And who are you?! To tell us what Islam is and isn’t. In fact we even find that President Bush is standing in front of the microphone, teaching us about Islam, giving us Khutbah (sermon – KC) about Islam. In an address he gave in 2002, he asserted, “Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people round the world and has made brothers and sisters of every race it is a faith based upon love not hate”.

Now his statement is true, I mean that Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people around the world and it has made brothers and sisters of every race and is a religion that is based upon love not hate. I mean that the statement to some extent is right. But who is Bush to tell us what Islam is and isn’t? Who gave him the authority, to speak for Islam?

And, praise is to Allah we found that some Muslims at the time were happy and proud that Bush has spoken in this way about Islam. But the issue shows the arrogance and the condescending view that these Kuffar (unbelievers – KC) have, they think that we are in need of somebody to tell us what Islam is and what it isn’t. In fact, this condescending view didn’t go unnoticed even from some non-Muslim commentators.

One of them said, sarcastically that the

  • “Political leadership collectively appears to have acquired an instant post graduate degree in Islamic studies enabling them to lecture the population concerning the true nature of Islam”.

In another report by Rand, and by the way, Rand is a sixteen hundred employee nonprofit organization that provides analysis to the US Department of Defense. So it is connected to the Pentagon and some how Rand Cooperation has taken in liking, lately, on this issue of “Battle of minds and hearts” and they have written more than one publication on this topic. And I will, during this talk, quote from some of their publications.

In this report titled “Civil democratic Islam” by Sheryl Bernard, she is a Jew married to an apostate, it can’t get any worse! Her husband is Zalmai Khaleel Zad, the apostate if he ever was a Muslim, who held some very high posts as you know in the US administration. He was an ambassador to the UN at one point, ambassador to Afghanistan, ambassador to Iraq, so they are putting him in some pretty sensitive posts!

So this Sheryl Bernard is his wife, she published her report, for Rand titled “Civil Democratic Islam” so from the title you can see what kind of Islam they want! What kind of Islam they want to force upon us! And by the way, they are willing to go to the extent of sending their armies to enforce on us their particular version of Islam that we are supposed to follow. Brothers, praise is to Allah, Muslims should stand up and unite against such arrogance!

Some of her recommendations, she said that, she is talking about these moderate Muslims

  • “Publish and Distribute their works at subsidized costs”,

Before I go any further, who is the moderate Muslim, according to them? Well, they have even provided a list to define, who is a moderate Muslim and who is not; you know they have pretty detailed work! Let’s see here who is the moderate Muslim according to them.

“Characteristics of moderate Muslims” this is from Rand publication

1) Democracy

So a moderate Muslim is who believes in democracy and believes in the democratic system.

Now, there are some Muslims who adopt democracy and they say that Shura (Islamic government system. The Shura Council is the council of elite Muslim scholars that are consulted by the Emir in the matters of the State – KC), the Islamic system of Shura, is similar to democracy, so we could use the term democracy as Muslims, in reality we believe in Shura, but they say it is more appealing for the West, when we talk about democracy, because they don’t understand the Islamic concept of Shura. I am quoting to you what some Muslims believe and what some Muslims say. And they believe that they could get the aid and the assistance of the West to change the dictatorship that exists in the Muslim world if they mark themselves as people who want to bring in democracy and there is a serious problem with that, because

1) Democracy isn’t Islamic, democracy is a system and Islam has brought us a completely different system. And a few in reality, believe in the system of the Islamic state and Shura, then say Shura call it what it is and don’t call it democracy. That’s number one.

2) This trick is not going to pass on these people at Rand because they have given a detailed definition of what democracy do they expect from a moderate Muslim!

3) So they say and I am quoting here “A commitment to democracy as understood in the liberal western tradition”

So don’t tell me democracy, as I understand it from Islamic point of view. No! That is not satisfactory! What we want is a commitment to democracy as understood in the western liberal tradition!

And they went further to say “Support for democracy implies opposition to the concept of the Islamic state”

So a moderate Muslim, is a Muslim who believes in a democratic system that is opposed to the Islamic state!

And then they say

“It follows from the above that for a group to declare itself democratic, in the sense of favoring elections as the vehicle for establishing government as in the case of the present Egyptian Muslim brotherhood is not enough.”

2) The second characteristic of this moderate Muslim is “acceptance of non-sectarian sources of law”

Meaning you follow man made law willingly and openly and they say here in the report “the dividing line between moderate Muslims and radical Islamist is whether Sharia should apply”

So to them any Muslim who wants Sharia (Laws revealed by Allah) to apply, is an extremist and a moderate Muslim is a Muslim willing to accept French law or the British law or International law or call it whatever, as long as it is manmade.

3) The third characteristic of a moderate Muslim is “respect for the rights of women and religious minorities”

Now we believe in rights of women and we believe in rights of religious minorities, but not according to their definition. According to their definition, if there is an Islamic state that enforces hijab, that is extremism. If it charges the Christians and Jews jizyah (tax) they are extremists!

4) And then the fourth characteristic of a moderate Muslim is “opposition to terrorism and illegitimate violence”

So a Muslim who defends his lands, a Muslim who refuses occupation, a Muslim who wants to live according to Islamic rule, is an extremist. And the moderate Muslim is a Muslim, who invites the US army to come and invade his land, and is happy to follow manmade laws and is a person who has no honor and dignity to defend himself against aggression. This is a moderate Muslim!

So from what you see, a moderate Muslim to them, is in reality a non-Muslim! Because according to these four definitions, the definitions that they gave, this is Kufr this is not Islam! So from now on, I am not going to call it a moderate Muslim but I think a more appropriate term would be a “Rand Muslim”.

Then they have a questionnaire, to hand over to a Muslim for him to answer, and then they would categorize him as being a moderate or being an extremist, and praise be to Allah, you would not fail to see the arrogance in all of this and the condescending view they have of Muslims, here they are testing our Aqidah (Belief, Imaan, Faith), they are testing our faith and they are giving us the scores!

The questionnaire is:

  • “Does the group or individual support or condone violence, if it does not support or condone violence now, has it supported it or condoned it in the past”

So they are not going to even leave you alone if you speak against violence now. If you have a history of violence in the past then you are going to be held responsible about that.

Next question,

  • “Does it support democracy, and if so does it define democracy broadly in terms of individual rights?”

Following question,

  • “Does it support internationally recognized human rights?”

Next question,

  • “Does it make any exceptions? For example, regarding freedom of religion”

So if you want to enforce the law of Riddah (apostasy) then that’s extremism!

  • “Does it believe that changing religions is an individual right?”

So if a Muslim wants to become a Jew, if a Muslim wants to become a Christian, if a Muslim wants to worship a cow, or a monkey or a snake, they should have the right to do so! If a Muslim who was guided to the straight path and honored by becoming Muslim and he knew Allah the Almighty and he followed Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), if such a person whom Allah Almighty has blessed, wants to worship a cow after that, he should have the right to do so!

  • “Does it believe that the state should enforce the criminal law component of Sharia?”

So there should be no Hudood (Plural of Hadd, legal limits that have punishments in the Islamic law)!

  • “Does it believe that the state should believe the civil law component of Sharia?”

Regarding for example, marriage issues, polygamy.

  • “Or does it believe there should be non-Sharia options?”

Praise is to Allah! What are we talking about here? In a vegetable market buying potatoes and onions?! What are you talking about non-Sharia options? No country in the world, gives you options regarding law. There is one law, regarding every issue. Here they want us to have options, so you walk in to court and you are handed out a multiple-choice question ‘Which law do you want to follow’!!!

Allah Almighty says in this ayah

“But no, by thy Lord, they can have no real faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions but accept them with the fullest conviction”.
(Surah 4. The Women, 65).

No Muslim is a Muslim, if he does not accept the law of Allah Almighty. No Muslim, is a Muslim if he refuses to accept the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

And then the questionnaire carries on

  • “Does it believe that numbers of religious minorities should be entitled to the same rights as Muslims? Does it believe that a member of religious minority could hold high political office in a Muslim majority country?”

And we answer no to that question; they cannot hold high office because Allah Almighty

says,

“O you who believe, take not into your intimacy, those outside your ranks, they will not fail to corrupt you, they only desire your ruin. Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths and what their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the signs if you have wisdom”.
(Surah 3. The Family of Imran, 118).

So this ayah does not allow us to take the Jews and the Christians as bitanah, as advisors, or to put them in high office.

The questionnaire carries on to state

  • “Does it believe that members of religious minorities are entitled to build and run institutions of their faith in Muslim majority countries?”

Now the Islamic law regarding that is they are allowed to have their original Synagogues and Churches but they are not allowed to build any new ones as according to the codes regarding Ahl Az Zimmah (People of the Book living in the Lands of).

And then,

  • “Does it accept any legal system based on non-sectarian legal principles?”

So the whole thing is Kufr! That is what makes for them a moderate Muslim!

We go back to the recommendations of this Sheryl Bernard her first recommendation is,

Muslims under the Shariah “We should publish and distribute the works of Rand Muslims at subsidized costs”

This is to promote the falsehood!

Her next recommendation,

  • “Encourage them to write for mass audiences and for the youth”

Because they recognize that the mass, the masses in the Muslim world can discern the truth and they know who speaks for them and who doesn’t.

And they understand that the danger comes from the youth because the youth are the ones who stand for al-Haq (The truth). Ibrahim (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a youth, when he destroyed the idols. And we know from the story of the cave in Surah Kahf (Kahf meaning Cave, A chapter in the Quran), that those men who went in to the cave were youth. And we know from the Seerah (Life Story of the Prophet) that the early followers of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were youth. So now she is encouraging the deviance of the youth!

Her next recommendation,

  • “Introduce their views into the curriculum of the Islamic education”

And they have already taken some concrete steps in that direction, they have ruined the curriculum in many Muslim countries, entire sections were wiped out and changed, any thing that talks about Jihad, talks about Hudood, talks about the rules of Allah have been taken out of the curriculum!

Next recommendation:

  • “Facilitate and encourage an awareness of their pre and non-Islamic culture, in the media and the curricula of relevant countries”

So for example lets revive the Pharoic civilization. Let us talk about the Pharaohs and lets present them in a positive light. And lets talk about their civilization and their achievements and the development that they achieved in those early days, let that take place, instead of talking about the Islamic civilization! And lets revive the local culture of the societies before Islam! So lets talk about pre-Islamic Arabia and Arabic nationalism! Lets talk about the history of the Berber people in the North Africa. And let us talk about the Raman and Greek history of al-Sham (Syria). That’s why we see there is great attention given by archeologists to the pre-Islamic history of the Middle East. They talk a lot about Mesopotamia and about Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs.

We should be ware of this, and we should not have any pride in our pre-Islamic history! It is all Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) and it shouldn’t even be called a civilization because it is not! It is the path to Jahannam (Hell fire) it is Zulumaat, darkness upon darkness! And pharaoh is a symbol of evil; he should not be presented in any positive light.

When Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed with his army next to Diyar Thamuud (A tribe from those that passed who were destroyed by a punishment from Allah), the dwellings of Thamuud, and some of the Sahabas (Companions) wanted to go in, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not allow them to. Why? So that they should not be impressed with what they see and he told them

  • “Do not enter into their dwellings except if you going to weep and cry (to the faith that befell them)”.

It should be taken as a lesson. And when they drew water out of the well in Thamuud, and they used it for the dough for the bread, Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told them to feed this dough to their animals and not to eat from it themselves, and not to drink from the well of the people of Thamuud. This is to establish a barrier between us and these Kuffar.

Her next recommendation,

  • “Encourage the popularity and acceptance of Sufism”

So she wants to promote Tassawuf (Sufism) not because of her love of Tassawuf itself, but because of its position on Jihad (Fighting in the way of Allah) in the path of Allah, because of its non-violence, but would they promote for example the Tassawuf of Umar al Mukhtar, or some of the other movements that existed in North Africa or in the sub-continent?

And then under the title of Confront and oppose the Fundamentalists she has a few recommendations,

The first,

  • “Reveal their linkages to illegal groups and activities”

Next,

  • “Publicize the consequences of their violent acts”

Now, in war there are people who are gonna be killed and some of them are innocent, that is the nature of war, but Muslims, try their best, to avoid killing innocents and there are strict rules that were laid out by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) regarding Jihad in the path of Allah. For example, non-fighting women and elderly and the monks should not be killed, trees and plants should not be burnt and cut down etc.

What she is talking about here, is that we should take the unintentional accidents that happen with the Mujahideen (Holy Islamic fighters) in the path of Allah, for example some innocent people will be killed, and let us blow it out of proportion and make a big deal out of it. And when the US army kills and bombs entire residences and kills everybody inside it women, children and elderly, keep that aside and not talk about it, and forget about it, and if it becomes revealed to the world then we will find an excuse! However, if the Muslims in their fight in the path of Allah commit a mistake or an unintentional accident happened lets make a big deal out of it and blow it out of proportion. And we see this happening all the time, to the extent that now it is imprinted in the minds of people, that Muslims are violent people who have no regards what so ever, for the rights of innocent human beings. Why? Because this is a fallacy that has been spread by the Western media, this is the agenda of the West; it is to put the Muslim in such a light. But any descent human being, with the least amount of intelligence, would be able to see, that it is the US now who is killing innocents in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and else where throwing bombs indiscriminately in areas of Muslim population.

In the embargo that was placed on Iraq prior to the war, more than one million have died, and now we have an entire generation, of Iraqis who is living the poverty caused by such an embargo, and the spread of diseases that was brought by that embargo.

Her next recommendation,

  • “Avoid showing respect, or admiration, for the violent feats of the fundamentalists, extremists and terrorists.”

And then look at what she says,

  • “Caste them as disturbed, and cowardly not as evil heroes”

Some times you would show respect for your enemy because of a certain quality that he holds, for example, the west could not hide their admiration for Salahuddin, his chivalry his courage! Throughout history we find that war has erupted between different nations and peoples, nevertheless, the enemy would show the other side some respect and some admiration. In particular eras they would say, for example “Yes it is true that these are our enemies but we need to speak the word of truth, they are courageous”. “Yes it is true that these are our enemies but nevertheless, they have a point” things like that.

According to Bernard, we are not supposed to show such an admiration, we should never even caste them as “evil heroes”! And then she specifically wanted them to be presented or caste as disturbed, and cowardly. And this “cowardly” thing, we have been hearing it again and again. And I am amazed to see that some Muslims, like parrots, are repeating this accusation, and praise is to Allah, I fail to understand how, the Israeli soldier wearing his bullet proof vest, and his steel helmet, cowering behind the pile of sand bags and still runs away from the stones thrown by Palestinian children is courageous! While the Palestinian children charging at the soldiers full speed, armed with nothing but rocks and wearing nothing but trousers and t-shirts are cowards! I fail to understand that!

And the American “heroic” soldiers, fighting from the comfort of their armored Bradlees and Strikers but nevertheless boiling inside layers of bullet proof gear in the boiling heat of the Iraqi summer, are “courageous” while the Iraqi Mujahideen armed with nothing but the light weapons of Guerilla war-fare are “cowards”!

And what I really fail to understand, is how can the martyr, the Shaheed, who willingly and happily, hands over his soul to Allah, who walks towards his faith, with pleasure, and faces death with a smile, what I fail to understand is how can you call such a person a “coward”!

But that is what they have been called. And that is what the parrots in the Muslim world have been repeating, that these peoples are cowards.

And then she goes on to say,

  • “Encourage journalists to investigate, issues of corruption, hypocrisy, and immorality, in fundamentalist and terrorist circles”

Well she could have also said, lets fake up such things against them, and take them to court and sentence them to ridiculous sentences in jail for such fake accusations! Imam Jameel Ameen in America was sentenced to life, because he was accused of killing a police officer!

Humeidan at Turki, the head of al-Basheer publications in Demver Colorado was sentenced to life, because he was accused of raping his servant!

And we could go on and on with a list of people whom the US government has faked against them false accusations just to liquidate them, and to get them out of the scene! Take for example, the story of Captain Yee, the Imam at Guantanamo. Allah knows what the reason was, even though he was a marine soldier, and is an employee and is with the US government, some how they didn’t take a liking to him for one reason or another. So they accused him in the beginning, of espionage, of passing over classified information to Syria! When that didn’t hold up, praise is to Allah, what they accused him with? Of pornographic material on his laptop! And the crime is, that this laptop is government owned property so how could he have pornography on it! And they accused him of adultery, and they tried to ruin his family, and then in the end nothing held up so all of the charges against them were dropped!

In this article by US news and world report, says

  • “but individual CIA stations overseas are making some gusty and innovative moves, among them pouring money in to neutralizing militant anta US preachers and recruiters” And then they say, “If you found out, that Mullah Omar, is on one street corner doing this, you set up Mullah Bradley on the other street corner to counter it”.

Well, I wonder how many Mullah Bradlees they have in the Muslim world now!

And then she says

  • “Encourage divisions amongst fundamentalists”

Dear brothers and sisters we are not only victims, of US military and political aggression, but we are also victims of US lies!

They have been lying about our brothers, charging them with false accusations, until they put hatred of them in our hearts, and they have planted the seeds of disunity amongst us!

And now she is stating openly that we want to encourage divisions among fundamentalists!

Take for example, whenever an Islamic group tries to enforce the law of Allah Almighty, how they try to ruin their reputation! And unfortunately, this lie is believed by many Muslims! Because they are victims of this western media and US lies. We need to be aware! We need to be careful. And we shouldn’t rely on their sources, when it comes to information about our Muslim brethren! Take the information from valid sources.

Allah Almighty says

If a Fasiq -a corrupt Muslim! – Brings you information fatabayyanu (Surah 49. The Dwellings, verse 26- “O ye who believe! If a sinner comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth…”)-you need to check- if this information is correct, what if the source is not a Fasiq but a Kafir? So we need to be very careful on what we hear!

For example, when the Taliban were ruling over Afghanistan, you heard a lot of things about them, there was a lot of lies about them in the media, this is so the Ummah would hate them, it is to try to plant the seeds of disunity among us. And when the Islamic rule was applied in Somalia, what did they say about them too? So Muslims, we need to be very careful.

We talked about some of the recommendations that were in the Rand report and how to deal with this issue of separating between the modernists or the Rand Muslims, and the extremists or the real Muslims, true Muslims.

And these efforts have been going on since 9/11, not to say that there was nothing of this sort before, but 9/11 gave it some more importance, and as I mentioned to you from the US News and World report says

  • “after repeated missteps since the 9/11 attacks, the US government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the cold war”.

So the emphasis on this issue of “The Battle of Ideas” has been post 9/11.

So there is a good seven years now, of the US putting its intelligence resources, financial resources, human resources, into changing Islam, what are the results?

Brothers and sisters, if the British Empire, the greatest empire of its time, dominated the sea, the US military, in contrast, dominates at every level- land, sea, air and space!

The US spends more than the next 14 countries combined, accounting for almost 50 % of global defense spending. And the US also spends more on defense research and development than the rest of world put together!

So the US, the strongest force of our time, whose army is spanning the globe, is spending millions into this effort nevertheless it still cannot defeat the true Muslims and can still not win in this war of ideas!

In an article, in the Washington Post, Shibli Talhami, a member of a White house appointed advisory group and public diplomacy and Brookings institute scholar, said

  • “its worst than failure. Failing means you tried and didn’t get better but at this point, three years after September 11 you can say that there wasn’t even much of an attempt and today Arab and Muslim attitudes towards the US and the degree of distrust in the US are far worse than they were 3 years ago, Bin Laden is winning by default!”

So they are failing, and Miss Bernard and her cronies at Rand and Pentagon should know that their plan would fail because Allah is the best of planners! And that the fundamentalists and extremists, whom they despise, are not only going to win in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they will continue their march, until they drag your people, the Jews, out of the Holy Land and plant their black banners on the roof tops of Jerusalem. Their efforts are a failure and Allah Almighty says,
“surely those who disbelieve, spend their wealth to hinder people away from the path of Allah, so they shall spend it, and then it shall be to them an intense regret, then, they shall be over come and those who disbelieve, shall be driven together to Hell”.
(Surah 8. The Spoils of War, 36)

They will spend millions of dollars, and it will be fruitless! And then in the end they will lose, and then after that they will be in Hell-Fire!

The results in the realm of ideas, is more important brothers and sisters, it is more important than the victories, of the Mujahideen in the battlefields. It is more important to talk about the methodology that they carry. Because when Allah Almighty talked about the people of the Trench in Surah al Burooj, they didn’t win in the battlefield, they lost, and they were killed. The king, dug for them trenches and they were burnt alive. But because they held on fast to the truth, because they were steadfast, Allah Almighty said,

“That is the great victory”.

So we should be more concerned, about what is in the hearts and minds of Muslims rather than what happens on the battlefield!

In this area, brothers and sister, praise is to Allah, even though it is true, that many Muslims might be deceived by this plan of the US, there were many Muslims who were asleep before, are probably by now they could be declared brain dead, but on the other hand, it is amazing to see the revival, specially among the youth. The clarity of thought and the maturity of understanding that we find in some youth today is amazing!

Specially, if you talk about some youth in the West, who are second or third generation Muslims, they are carrying on to clear understanding of Islam! It’s amazing to see that! It

“Allah Almighty brings life out of death”

These are living in the Den of the Lion, they are subjected, they are the first line of defense in this war of ideas and they are subjected to the brunt of it! Nevertheless, they are holding on to the truth!

The understanding that they have, of their responsibility as Muslims, and their willingness, to fulfill these duties, their understanding of Wala’ and Bara’ (Allegiance and acquittal), their understanding of the importance of establishing the rule of Allah on earth, and establishing the Islamic Khilafah, all of this is amazing to see! How many Muslims are waking up, from their sleep, and in other areas other than the area of ideas and also including the areas of hearts and minds, we find that, praise is to Allah,

If Allah Almighty wants a thing, then he will provide for it the means.

We find that the US has fell into blunders that are amazing! For example, this invasion, this American invasion of Iraq, is a total disaster for the US.

A US foreign service officer, states that this “series of outcomes makes Bush’s invasion of Iraq a fiasco without parallel in American foreign policy since Vietnam, and the end is not in sight”. That’s right! The end is not in sight! You have only seen the beginning!

And we find out that now seven years after 9/11, there are Muslims who are on Al Haq in Afghanistan, there are Muslims who are on Al Haq in Iraq, there are Muslims who are on Al Haq in Chechnya, there are Muslims who are on Al Haq in Palestine, there are Muslims who are on Al Haq in Somalia. That wasn’t the case prior to September 11; things are improving for the Muslims.

Bush’s invasion of Iraq, what has it brought?! It brought with it an establishment, of the new plies of an Islamic state, an unintentional outcome, in fact this is exactly what they wanted to prevent form happening! Because of their mislead action, in fact, it is a trap set by Allah Almighty, because America of today is the Pharaoh of yesterday. And for every Pharaoh their will be a Musa (Peace be upon him)-Moses), and just as Pharaoh calculated his steps and planned his moves, nevertheless, he would commit fatal mistakes, because Allah Almighty wanted to give Musa and the people of Bani Israel victory! We are seeing the same thing happening today with America, they have dug for themselves a hole and fell into it, and they are unable to get out!

A recent event is the announcement of the establishment of an Islamic State in Iraq, in Baghdad- the capital of the longest serving Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate), of the descendents of al Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). We know that Baghdad was established by the Abbasids- the Abbasid Khilafah, and they made Baghdad their capitol, and it served as the capitol for few centuries, a period of enlightenment and civilization in the Muslim world. Baghdad at that time was the greatest city in the World. So the announcement of the establishment of an Islamic State in Iraq, in Baghdad, the capital, of the Abbasid Khilafah, with the current head of that state being a descendant, of Hussein bin Ali (Descendant of Hussein bin Ali- refers to descendant of the Prophet (peace be upon him) carries a lot of importance.

It is a matter, which has either passed the West or they are intentionally trying to ignore it.

Now whether this State survives to expand into the next Muslim Khilafah or is destroyed by the immense conspiracy against the rise of any Islamic State, I believe this to be a monumental event. Now we are not going to hang our hopes on anyone or anything, that’s not the way of Muslims. Because Muslims, generation after generation, they come and go. I mean that the fate of Islam didn’t even depend on the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed away Abu Bakr as Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) told the Muslims,
If Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) dies or is killed are you gonna retreat back, are you going to leave your religion?
(Surah 3. The Family of Imran, 144).

So now when I am talking about this Islamic state I am saying that we don’t know about its future, it could expand or it could be crushed. However, the declaration of it in it self, is an important event. And many Muslims unfortunately are not aware, of the importance of this event, whether it succeeds or not, it represents a move of the idea, from the theoretical realm to the real world. The idea of establishing the Islamic rule and establishing Khilafah on earth, now is not any more a talk, it is action! And it is a reflection of the fact that this time, the Mujahideen are not going to do the work and fight the fight only to let some one else bear the fruit of their effort. But that their intention is not only to drive out the invaders from their lands just to have a hypocrite filled in his place, but they posses, a project of an Islamic state followed by the return of the system of Khilafah!

Brothers and sisters, we are inching forward to the final stage of the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

Finally it will be Khilafah on the path of Prophet hood
(Narrated by Numan Bin Basheer, Musnad Ahmad)

Now the Americans have been mum about this Islamic state in Iraq. They have studied the concept of Khilafah, and they realize the vitality of it, and they realize the danger it poses to them and to their imperial agenda. So if the majority of Muslims today are deep asleep with their eyes shut and their ears stuffed why turn their attention to it! Thus they are trying their best to keep the news of it shut, even though they are the with first hand knowledge of it, due to the US military being in direct contact with the forces of the State. In fact they are going as far as claiming as the Head of this State as a fictitious figure. Now the Islamic state in Iraq is stating that they are fighting a combined force of a one million strong nevertheless they are still holding firm.

This idea of Khilafah is picking up steam in the West because now they see the danger of it; they see that the Muslims are going towards that goal of establishing the Islamic State again so we find out that there is newfound interest in it. For some time they forgot about that idea or they kept it on the backburner but suddenly they are all talking about it.

For example, Bush he said in October 2005,

  • “the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic Empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia”.

He even mentions Spain coz he knows about al-Andalus (Islamic Spain).

And on September 5th 2006 he said,

  • “This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic Empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle-East and South-East Asia” and then he said “we know this because al-Qaeda has told us” these are the words of Bush.

Donald Rumsfield said,

  • “Iraq would serve as the base of the new Islamic Caliphate to extend throughout the Middle-East and which would threaten the legitimate governments in Europe and Africa and Asia. This is their plan! They have said so! We make a terrible mistake if we fail to listen and learn”.

Tony Blair, he referred to the need to confront an evil ideology that included

  • “the establishment of effectively Taliban states and Sharia law in the Arab world in route to the one Caliphate of all Muslim nations”.

And finally we have statements form General David Patrious, after this recent surge in US troops in Iraq. He was trying to justify why we have demanded more troops, he said

  • “it is to disrupt al-Qaeda in its ability to conduct sensational attacks and to try to continue that cycle of violence which they have been trying to do all along. In addition, they are attempting to try to establish a real al-Qaeda sanctuary in Iraq, a Caliphate”.

So now all these people are talking about, al-Khilafah because they see it as a real threat, something that is turning in from an idea to a reality!

So brothers and sisters, Yes, we should stand up and defend our religion against this arrogant interference!

Yes, we should stand up and declare the truth and fight for the truth, but we should also be confident that no matter what the enemies of Allah do, victory is on the side of the Muslims. Because in the hadith al Qudsi Allah Almighty says,

“Who ever takes, my Awliya’, my friends as enemies, then I will wage war against them”
(Bukhari :: Book 8 :: Volume 76 :: Hadith 509).

America has taken the Awliya’ of Allah as enemies; therefore they will be fighting Allah Almighty. And the result and outcome is known!

But how are we to counter that? Yes, the religion of Allah will be victorious but we want to have a part in that, we want to share in reward! We don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines and watching as spectators!

If the US is openly stating unashamed that it is bent on distorting Islam then it is our duty to step up our efforts in defending our religion from this distortion. We should, brothers and sisters, present the Islamic point of view on the contested issues, we should speak clearly and loudly about our view concerning the Islamic State, our view concerning the dominance and the rule of Allah Almighty over the Land, our view concerning Khilafah. We should speak out our view concerning democracy, and how it is classified in Islam, as an un-Islamic system! We should speak about the Islamic alternative of Shura, and what it represents. We should talk about our view concerning Hudood, the criminal law, in Islam we should speak about issues such as polygamy, such as women’s rights such as human rights, where do we stand, regarding these issues, what is our positions? We should speak unapologetically and honestly about these issues and make it clear for the Muslim masses lest they are deceived by this agenda of the West.

Number two,

We should be ware of anything American!

They are willing to use everything in their arsenal for their ulterior motives! This article, US News and World report states that “among the ideas using music, comics, poetry, and the Internet to get across America’s view to the Arab world “. They can use everything, so we need to be very careful!

Number three,

If these people at Rand have said that they want to discredit the true Muslims and want to suppress the Haq that they posses and that they want to, as she states over here, “encouraging journalists to investigate issues of corruption hypocrisy and immorality in fundamentalists and extremists circles” and the Defense Department’s quadrennial defense review report, says that “we want to discredit the extremists ideologies”.

It becomes our duty to promote the scholars and the Da’es (preachers) who are speaking the truth! If they want to discredit them then we want to promote them. If they want to suppress the truth that they speak, we want this truth to prevail we want it to spread. And it becomes a duty on every Muslim because, remember you are standing in front of a very resourceful nation and it is heading a coalition of other nations and Allah Almighty says

“Prepare for them”

So it is our duty just as they are intending to change our religion and promote falsehood and to turn us to Rand Muslims, we need to promote Al Haq.

Number four,

We need to spread out the material of al-Haq. Anything that promotes the truth we should promote it, we should spread it out, and we should spend from our wealth in this effort.

Number five,

We should practice the Jihad of the word and Jihad of wealth. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says

“Wage jihad against the disbelievers with your self, and with your wealth, and with your word”

And spreading Al Haq is a form, this Jihad in the path of Allah.

And finally brothers and sisters,

We should develop the awareness of the Muslims of their true identity. If they are trying to attach us to our pre-Islamic past, we should spread out information about our history, about who we are! And we should also establish the concept of Ummah, that we are part of an Ummah, and this needs to go beyond the nation state and the nationalism that exists in the world today or the tribalism that existed in the world yesterday!

We should look at our selves’ as one nation. Different colors, different races, different languages, but we are one Ummah and this should take precedence to any other association that we have!

So brothers and sisters, we should not take it for granted that since Allah Almighty is going to give victory to the Ummah that we don’t have to do our part. NO, we should stand up and do our part if we want to be part of the Ta’ifah-al-Mansurah, the Saved sect the Firqah- an-Najiyah, because now the Bida’ (innovation) are not going to be spread by limited resourced groups, but are going to be funded by the US government and their allies. So now in this battle of ideas and it is the responsibility of the people of Haq, no matter how few they are, to present the truth to the World!

Great Game in Caucasus: Bad Moves by Uncle Sam

January 24, 2010
CaucasusAnalysis-Tribune Also in this section

The great game in the Caucasus: bad moves by Uncle Sam

The tale of what the Bush Administration is up to in the Caucasus is slowly filtering out, although the US press has largely deep-sixed the story. The recent Georgia-Russia war was just one move in a chess game aimed at cornering the energy reserves of Central Asia, extending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Moscow’s vulnerable southern border, and ending Russia’s control of the Black Sea. Georgia was just a pawn-an expendable one at that- in a high stakes game.

While the White House and some in the European Union (EU) represent the recent war as one between an increasingly powerful Russia reasserting itself in its former empire versus a small, democratic nation trying to recover two of its former provinces, that story is fraying a bit. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was recently condemned by the EU’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for undemocratic practices, and a recent NATO analysis of the war supports the Russian charge that Tbilisi started the whole affair. The maneuvers that led to the war, however, have gone largely unreported.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US moved into Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s richest energy producer. US oil companies, including Chevron, showed up in an effort to pry Kazakhstan away from its leading partners, China and Russia. Kazakh President Nurusultan Nazabayev was wined and dined, campaigning to get his country to send its oil through the trans-Caucasus Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, thus bypassing Russia and putting China’s energy jugular in Western hands.

The US put a full-court press on oil-rich Azerbaijan as well.

Georgia was on the chess board because the BTC runs thorough that country’s south. The US cemented control over the pipeline by helping to sponsor the “Rose Revolution” that brought Saakashvili to power in 2003.

But there was more than oil at stake in all this.

Starting almost a decade ago, the US began pressuring fellow NATO member Turkey to modify or abrogate a rather obscure treaty called the Montreux Convention, a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey the right to restrict the passage of warships through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles. The Convention has allowed Turkey and Russia to control the Black Sea and to prevent any foreign power from establishing a major presence there.

The US, which was not a party to the original treaty, has pressed Turkey to let it turn the Black Sea into a NATO lake. Turkey is a NATO member, as are Bulgaria and Rumania. The US already has military bases in Romania. If the Bush Administration had succeeded in bringing the Ukraine and Georgia into the Alliance, NATO would have checkmated the Russian fleet at Sevastopol, restricting its access to the Mediterranean and isolating it from the Middle East.

However, the Americans play a lousy game of chess, particularly if some of the pieces on its side of the board have different agendas.

Take Turkey, for instance.

Ankara has not only shown no inclination to dump the Montreux Convention, it has proposed a “Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Pact” that would sideline NATO in favor of a settlement by regional powers. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented the proposal to Moscow shortly after the war.

“The chief value in the Turkish initiative,” said Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov, is that it is “common sense” and assumes that “countries belonging to the region themselves should decide how to conduct affairs there.”

Lavrov went on to add two other “regional” issues that could be dealt with using a similar framework: Iraq and Iran.

That the Turkish proposal caught the Americans by surprise is an indication of how the US failed to understand how complex the game of chess is in that region of the world. Turkey is indeed a member of NATO, but it also has its own national interests to consider.

While Turkish trade with Georgia is billion a year, it’s almost billion with Russia. Turkey also gets 70 per cent of its natural gas from Russia. Turkey and Russia have long dominated the Black Sea, and both see it as central to their economic and security interests. If the US moves large numbers of warships into the area, it won’t just be the Russians who lose control of that body of water.

Neither are the Turks eager to modify international treaties like the Montreux Convention. Doing so, writes M.K. Bhadrakumar, a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service and a former ambassador in the region, “would open a Pandora’s Box. It might well turn out to be a step towards reopening the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, the cornerstone which erected the modern Turkish state out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire.”

According to Bhadrakumar, the US plan was to bring Kazakhstan into NATO as well. The Kazakh-Russian border is the longest land border shared by any two nations in the world. “It would be a nightmare for Russian security if NATO were to gain a foothold in Kazakhstan,” he says.

In short, what the US is up to is the 21st century’s version of the “Great Game,” the competition that pitted 19th century imperial powers against one another in a bid to control Central Asia and the Middle East.

The move to surround Russia and hinder China’s access to energy is part of the Bush Administration’s 2002 “West Point Doctrine,” a strategic posture aimed at preventing the rise of any economic or military competitors.

When US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently said that Russia was facing international isolation over the Georgia war, she was whistling past the graveyard. Rather than being isolated, the Russians have been lining up allies among the very states the US had hoped would join it in ringing the Russians with newly recruited NATO allies.

During the recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe, Kazakh President Nurusultan Nazarbayev assured the Russians they could rely on Kazakhstan for support. “I am amazed that the West simply ignored the fact that Georgian armed forces attacked the peaceful city of Tskhinvali,” said Nazarbayev, “Kazakhstan understands all the measures that have been taken [by Russia] and supports them.”

The SCO is made up of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Azerbaijan, another major target for the US, has kept quiet on the Georgian War, but announced that it was reducing the amount of oil and gas it was shipping through the BTC pipelines and increasing its shipments through Russia and Iran. “We knew there was a risk of political turmoil in Georgia, but we did not expect war,” Elhar Nasirov, vice-president of Azerbaijan’s state oil company, Socar, told the Financial Times. “It’s not a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket, especially when that basket is so fragile.”

If both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan balk at using the BTC, it could not only derail US strategy in the region, but the pipeline itself.

While NATO has tried to put up a united front on Georgia, the Alliance is deeply split between the US, Britain, Poland and the Baltic States on one side, and France, Germany, Italy, and Spain on the other. In part, the reluctance of the latter group to join Washington’s crusade against Moscow is based on self-interest. Russia is an important trading partner and provides Europe with much of its energy.

But a number of European countries are also having serious doubts about Georgia’s leader. According to Der Spiegel, NATO intelligence sources back the Russian account of the war, not Georgia’s. “Five weeks after the war in the Caucasus the mood is shifting against Georgian President Saakashvilli,” the newspaper wrote on Sept. 15.

This shift in sentiment has even been voiced in the US Congress, although it has yet to be reported in any major US media. Addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee Sept. 9, Senator Hillary Clinton said it was not “smart” to isolate Russia over the war and pointedly asked, “Did we embolden the Georgians in any way?” Clinton called for a commission to look into the origins of the war, echoing a similar call by Europe’s foreign ministers meeting in the French city of Avignon.

At a meeting of the EU’s inter-governmental commission in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said it was important to “strengthen the partnership between the European Union and Russia, and France and Russia.”

While a Harris Poll shows that some Europeans are now “more concerned” with Russia than they were before the war, the same poll shows the US is still considered a far more serious “threat to global stability.” The poll also indicates overwhelming opposition in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Britain to increasing military spending in the aftermath of the Georgian war. Indeed, any government that presses for a more aggressive posture toward Russia, or knuckes under to Washington’s pressure to increase military spending, is likely to find itself out of power.

The Georgian war, like the Iraq war, were disasters brought on by a combination of imperial arrogance and fundamental cluelessness. The US now finds itself locked into a military stalemate in Iraq and Afghanistan, increasingly isolated in the Middle East and Central Asia, and enmeshed in one of the greatest financial meltdowns in its history.