We are in a WORLD WAR and yet we do not notice it
16 May 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Over the past few weeks reports have abounded about the widening berth
of the forces of global jihad. On Tuesday, The New York Times reported
that al-Qaida linked groups are operating in Africa from the Western
Sahara to the Horn of Africa. The jihadis in countries like Niger, Chad
and Mali are being financed, trained and indoctrinated by religious
authorities from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
The recent elections in Indonesia ended with neither major party
receiving much more than one fifth of the popular vote. In Indonesia's
parliamentary system this means that the small Islamic parties will be
able to exert great influence over the new government which will need to
bring them into the governing coalition to rule
In Nigeria this week Muslim mobs brandishing machetes butchered some
thirty Christians in the streets of the city of Kano. The panicked
Christians ran for shelter in police stations as they watched their
co-religionists butchered and set aflame before their eyes.
The problems in Nigeria began in 1999 after elections brought an end to
military rule in the oil rich country. Today 11 of Nigeria's 36 states
are governed by Sharia law. Rights of women and non-Muslims in these
areas have been summarily destroyed. Nigeria's turn to jihad has been
spurred on by foreign Arabs. Palestinians, Saudis, Syrians and Sudanese
have all been acting as advisers to the mullahs in Nigeria and have been
actively funding and training the Muslim militias that have killed
thousands of Christians there over the past few years.
In the Philippines, President Gloria Arroyo has given de facto autonomy
over large swathes of the country to an al-Qaida linked group, the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front operating in the southern parts of the
archipelago dominated by the country's Muslim minority. The MILF too is
supported by the Saudis and other Arab states with money, arms and jihad
Both western intelligence agencies and casual observers are casting
worried glances at Europe itself. With Western Europe's large and
increasingly extremist Muslim minorities demanding cultural autonomy
while preaching and funding and training men for jihad, many EU member
states are looking more and more like Islamic countries everyday.
All of this should be taken into account when we look at the bloody toll
of the Palestinian offensive in Gaza and when we observe American
confusion in Iraq today. It should be taken into account because we must
realize that our enemies are engaged in a world war against the
non-Muslim world. When we consider our daily battles on our limited
terrain we must not allow our perceptions to be distorted by that
directly before us.
Yet undermine our perceptive powers we have. Although the Palestinians,
like their Iranian and Hizbullah overlords have consistently stated that
their aim is to destroy Israel in stages, we Israelis refuse to see the
overall picture of their strategy. They execute Tali Hatuel and her
daughters on the day of the Likud poll and we fail to understand the
message. It is not, "Get out of Gaza, or else." It is, "Regardless of
what you desire, we will push you out of Gaza as we pushed you out of
Lebanon and as we will push you out of the rest of Palestine that you
refer to as Israel."
But we don't see it that way. Our press, like our beleaguered and vain
politicians, pushes a different story. In their story, there is no
enemy, only Israel. There is no jihad, only settlers provocatively
daring to live in their homes and soldiers carrying too much explosive
material in their armored personnel carriers and tanks. It is the
settlers who "endanger" their children and the soldiers who placed too
much TNT in their APCs who are responsible for their deaths.
We do not see news analyses of Palestinian societal derangement that
manifests itself in cannibalism. We do not see debates of what an
Israeli defeat in Gaza means to a society bred from the cradle to the
grave on global jihad and its requisite genocide of the Jewish people in
the Land of Israel and beyond.
Indeed, we see no discussion of Gaza as part of a larger whole - whether
that whole be the entire Land of Israel or the entire non-Muslim world.
Because we limit our gaze with super telephoto lenses to see only that
immediately before us, our picture of the war being waged against us is
taken up almost entirely by ourselves with the enemy barely visible at
the outer edges of the frame.
Rather than learning from our mistakes, over the past month or so we
have seen our American allies repeat them in Iraq. There, the US has
limited its gaze to itself. Can the US forces enter into sacred Shiite
towns or not? Can US forces engage in house to house battles, risking
civilian casualties in Fallujah or not? Can the US empower its allies
and weaken its enemies in Iraq without being perceived (by itself) as
imperialistic? Can the US continue its occupation of Iraq and campaign
to bring freedom to this malformed Arab state when a handful of its
soldiers besmirch the honor of their uniforms by abusing Iraqi enemy
prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison?
The questions here are not turned to the enemy that transforms sacred
cities into armed camps and hides behind civilians, rendering them
either fellow terrorists or hostages. The question, why would the US
send 135,000 US troops to liberate Iraq only to have them turn it over
to the same UN supported Ba'athist forces they were brought to Iraq to
defeat is resoundingly ignored.
The confused Bush administration is not asked why the president should
seek the approval of the Arab world for America's actions or forgiveness
for its failings. It is not asked this even though, as the American
scholar Fuad Ajami pointed out this week in The Wall Street Journal, the
Arabs preferred Saddam's butchers to the American liberators and prefer
to see Iraq revert to pan-Arab fascism and tyranny to its emerging as a
Indeed in the recent weeks of American Israeli-style navel gazing on
Iraq, we see little questioning of what US retreats in Fallujah and
hesitancy in Najaf do to the forces of jihad throughout the world. There
is little note paid to the fact that in the attack on foreign workers in
Yanbu, Saudi Arabia and the beginning of the month, the body of one of
the American victims was tied to the terrorists' vehicle and dragged
through the streets of the city as the terrorists invoked the lynching
of US contractors in Fallujah in late March to the crowd that formed
In the US tendency towards Israeli style self-obsession, we see them
like us, buying into the psychological warfare of the enemy aimed at
forcing their retreat. So it is that in the barbaric butchering of Nick
Berg, the American press reports as fact the terrorists' contention that
Berg's beheading was retribution for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu
Of course this is a lie. Daniel Pearl was beheaded before the US invaded
Iraq. The workers in Yanbu were murdered a year after the US pulled its
military forces out of Saudi Arabia. The US contractors were lynched
before the Marines went into Fallujah.
When we pay attention to our enemies and see the scope of their
ambitions and depth of their hatred we must come to a revolutionary
conclusion. We, Israelis, Americans, and indeed all non-fascistic
Muslims constitute the frontline in the war wherever we are. It was not
US military deployment in Saudi Arabia that precipitated the September
11 attacks anymore than it was the Israeli presence in Lebanon or in
Gaza or Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem that precipitated the
Palestinian-led jihad against Israel. It is our existence that provokes
Our enemies, the forces of global jihad, be they Palestinian or
Jordanian, Saudi, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian or Iraqi use all
the means at their disposal to wage their war against us. From their
television and radio stations and newspapers they incite for our
destruction and feed us fictions of our own culpability to both
strengthen their forces' will to fight us and weaken our will to defend
In the UN, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference
and on countless other international stages they seek to criminalize us
for our crime of defending our existence. In this they find accomplices
among our own self-absorbed elites who are only too happy to blame the
war being waged against us on ourselves.
When we limit our gaze to ourselves not only do we fail to take notice
of the nature of the war, we craft national policies that harm both
ourselves and our allies. In Israel, our self-obsession has brought
about plan after plan all of which have weakened us and our allies in
the global struggle. From the Oslo initiative to the retreat from
Lebanon to Sharon's pullout plan from Gaza and parts of Samaria we have
hurt ourselves and our allies.
We have hurt ourselves by weakening our ability to recognize our enemies
as such seeing them rather as erstwhile peace partners. We have hurt
ourselves by discrediting our own right to live unmolested as large
swathes of our elites have preferred our enemies the Palestinians to our
own citizens in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
In behaving as though the Palestinian branch of the global jihad is
engaging in a war over a few kilometers in Gaza, Judea and Samaria
rather than playing a central role in the global jihad against
non-Muslims, we are making it harder for our allies, first and foremost
the Americans, to see the true nature of the war they too are fighting.
If it is only Israeli settlers who are preventing peace by living in
mobile homes in Judea and Samaria then perhaps it is only America in its
"arrogance" that is preventing the jihadis from coming to a meeting of
the minds with the West.
As the jihad spreads throughout the world, we must stop finally with our
self-destructive self-absorption. The butchers in Zeitoun who kicked the
remains of our soldiers like footballs on Tuesday, like the butchers in
Baghdad, Karachi, Riyadh and beyond who kill with barbaric ecstasy and
primordial hatred do so not because of anything we have done. They do so
because they are barbarians. And if we do not wish to be destroyed, we
must do everything to destroy them and nothing to give them hope for
victory against us.