By David J. Jonsson
The Sword of Islam may not take on the form of war and or terrorism, but take the form of political action, bloodless coups, finance and media propaganda. The actions are to achieve the same goal--the establishment of the Islamic Kingdom of God on Earth and implementation of Shariah law. In the case of Thailand it was a 'bloodless' coup led by Muslim Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin ostensibly to remove a corrupt democratically elected government. As Time Magazine (Asia) on September 25 reported Gen. Sonthi was born near Bangkok, he's the first Muslim in this predominantly Buddhist nation to hold the position. Sonthi is a descendant of Thailand's first Islamic spiritual leader, and his mother was a lady-in-waiting at the royal court. Whether this will lead to an Islamic government is unknown.
In any case the events do not encourage the spread of democracy in the Asia Pacific region. The coup leaders broadcast on September 19 that they have suspended the constitution and dissolved the Cabinet, Senate and the constitutional court. In most ministries, permanent secretaries will take over temporarily, they said. The Associated Press on September 26, 2006 stated that 'The United States has growing misgivings about the behavior of the military men who took power in Thailand and wants them to make good quickly on their promises to move back toward democracy, the State Department said Tuesday' 'Our concern is that Thailand get back on the pathway to democracy,' McCormack said. 'The actions taken in this coup were clearly a setback for Thai democracy.' U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped up initial criticism, telling the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Thailand needs 'to get a civilian government and they need to get to elections and get back on a democratic path very, very quickly.'
Hopefully, the public and the Administration will recognize that events occurring worldwide are linked and take action.
Al-Qaradhawi's (Al-Qaradawi) Plan for the Fall of Rome
The high price of oil funds the Anti-Americanism and Islamist actions worldwide. The high price also funds the war between the Shiites and Sunnis in their effort to reestablish their competing caliphates. The current account and foreign trade deficits of the U.S. combined with the lack of commitment of the U.S. to take seriously a plan for energy independence contributes to lack of ability to address the defense of freedom and liberty. See my prior article: The Origins of the Next Great War are Visible.
Although the consensus of the press and the administration names Islamist countries as members of 'Axis of Evil', based on events occurring, it may appear that enemy of the hegemony of West in reality includes the members of Leftist /Marxist -- Islamist Alliance. As we note from recent events the support of Iran by Russia, China and Venezuela. Russia is willing to use its oil, natural resources and weapons supply to achieve geopolitical control while the Islamists use religion and China may use its 1,000bn of foreign exchange. The goal remains the same--to create a new world totalitarian government. Which raises the question: Are the Islamists the pawns of Russia and China or visa versa or are they really an 'Unholy Alliance'?
The funding for the Anti-American cabal comes largely from the high prices paid for oil. OPEC is not only worried about investor activity in oil markets, but also about preserving high export prices, which underpin government budgets in member countries. Without the high oil prices the countries could not support their social programs and would become targets for revolution. With the availability of adequate funds from oil, the countries can also maintain their stranglehold on the media and restrict progress on human rights and religious freedom.
Many OPEC producers have embarked on big spending programs in recent years banking on the higher oil price. OPEC producers also would not be able to support their growing populations without the higher oil prices. Russia also remembers that the over production of oil, and hence decline of oil price and over extension of military actions for example in Afghanistan led to the fall of the Soviet Union when they ran out of money. These events may have had an impact on the recent actions of Russia to attempt to slow the development of Sakhalin oil projects of Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon/Mobil, etc.
The Arab Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (AOPEC) countries also have a dilemma as to production level and hence oil price. The high oil price supports the further action of Shiite Iran and the growth of the strength for a Shiite Caliphate in the Shiite Crescent including Iraq and potentially into Kuwait and Eastern Saudi Arabia.
The price of oil and the wealth generated for Iran may not be sufficient as reported by Gareth Smyth in Tehran in his article in the Financial Times of September 27, 2006: Iran's petroleum wealth fails to ease growing economic disquiet. 'In the first days of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, the cost of a kilogram of chicken has risen about 10 per cent in Tehran. While price increases in the shops do not make international headlines - unlike Iran's nuclear program - they are disappointing Iranians who were told by President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad to expect a ziafat-e ramezan, or Ramadan banquet.'
'Domestic criticism of the president, even from fellow fundamentalists, now focuses on the economy. Sales of crude oil bring in 80 per cent of the country's foreign exchange and 60 per cent of government revenues, so relatively high oil prices give the president the resources for a program of provincial development and wealth redistribution. But critics, especially those in Iran's private sector, say he is flying in the face of economic reality with slogans of 'social justice' designed to revive the ideals of the 1979 revolution but which, in fact, mask higher inflation and rising unemployment.'
America's addiction to abundant foreign oil and the possibility of reduced prices also reduce America's desire become energy independent. This is also a goal of the National Oil Companies, Islamists, Leftist and Marxists.
The second major factor is the Trillion Dollar Question facing China in determining how to deploy its foreign exchange riches as raised by Richard McGregor in a Financial Times article on September 25. 'Within the next few weeks, China's reserves are due to top $1,000bn - a record for any country, let alone a developing nation like China.' Such reserves present a potential problem for the U.S. and also prevent negative actions against China and their support of Iran.
To understand the thinking of Al-Qaeda and economics it is important to review Osama bin Laden's speech released on October 29, 2004, as broadcast by Al-Sahab Institute for Media Production, which is known to produce Al-Qa'ida's video messages. The translation is given at Memri Special Dispatch Series - No. 811 November 5, 2004 No.811: The Full Version of Osama bin Laden's Speech.
'As previously mentioned, it was easy for us to provoke this administration and to drag it [after us]. It was enough for us to send two Jihad fighters to the farthest east to hoist a rag on which 'Al-Qa'ida' was written -- that was enough to cause generals to rush off to this place, thereby causing America human and financial and political losses, without it accomplishing anything worthy of mention, apart from giving business to [the generals'] private corporations. Besides, we gained experience in guerilla warfare and in conducting a war of attrition in our fight with the iniquitous, great power, that is, when we conducted a war of attrition against Russia with Jihad fighters for 10 years until they went bankrupt, with Allah's grace; as a result, they were forced to withdraw in defeat, all praise and thanks to Allah. We are continuing in the same policy -- to make America bleed profusely to the point of bankruptcy, Allah willing. And that is not too difficult for Allah.' [Emphasis added]
'Whoever says that Al-Qa'ida triumphed over the White House administration, or that the White House administration lost this war -- this is not entirely accurate, for if we look carefully at the results, it is impossible to say that Al-Qa'ida is the only cause for these amazing gains. The White House policy, which strove to open war fronts so as to give business to their various corporations -- be they in the field of armament, of oil, or of construction -- also helped in accomplishing these astonishing achievements for Al-Qa'ida. It appeared to some analysts and diplomats as though we and the White House play as one team to score a goal against the United States of America, even though our intentions differ. Such ideas, and some others, were pointed out by a British diplomat in the course of a lecture at the Royal Institute for International Affairs; for example, that Al-Qa'ida spent $500,000 on the event [9/11] while America lost in the event and its subsequent effects more than 500 billion dollars; that is to say that each of Al-Qa'ida's dollars defeated one million American dollars, thanks to Allah's grace. This is in addition to the fact that America lost a large number of jobs, and as for the [federal] deficit, it lost a record number estimated at a trillion dollars.'
'Even more serious for America is the fact that the Jihad fighters have recently forced Bush to resort to an emergency budget in order to continue the fighting in Afghanistan and in Iraq, which proves the success of the plan of bleeding [America] to the point of bankruptcy, Allah willing.'
In the Financial Times article on September 28, 2006 by Alex Barker and Stephen Fidler, World military forces face overstretch, they discuss the severity of meeting the needs of military action worldwide.
Military analysts are talking of overstretch in the world's largest military: the US has more than 140,000 troops in Iraq at least into next year, and 20,000 in Afghanistan. But the word is now being widely used elsewhere.
Jeremy Black, a professor of history at the University of Exeter, says Britain's forces are overstretched. 'There has been a mismatch between [government] aspirations and the ability to execute,' he says.
Senior military officers describe the UK military as stretched by commitments that include 8,500 troops in Iraq and the Gulf, 5,600 in Afghanistan and 8,500 in Northern Ireland. The new chief of the army last month described it as 'running hot' and a quarter of the 102,000-strong army was deployed on operations and other military tasks, according to a July parliamentary report.
In my recent article: Structural Changes -- Destruction Of The U.S. Dollar I discussed the potential impact on the economy. Martin Wolf in the editorial in the Financial Times of September 27, 2006 America could slow down the world continues the analysis; 'In particular, a combination of weakening US demand, a tumbling dollar, intractable inflation and a bout of protectionism may threaten our happy story.'
'At present, perhaps one-seventh of the rest of the world's gross savings (and a higher proportion of its net savings) are being absorbed by the US current-account deficit. This excess of savings over investment in the rest of the world is not the result of high US or global real interest rates. On the contrary, real interest rates are astonishingly low. The rest of the world's surplus savings and consequent demand for US assets are driving the US current account deficits, rather than the other way round.'
Financial events and oil price are significant in war to maintain freedom and liberty.
Beware of the dog that is not barking. At present I am concerned about the dog that is not barking. In my opinion, a number of events of intimidation have recently occurred that silence the dogs. A goal of the Islamists and in some cases the Leftist/Marxist -- Islamist Alliance has undertaken a program to silence the dogs. The goal through both a program of political correctness (PCism) and attempts to have Western Countries accept Shariah law and prevent any negative comments about Islam. This raises some very interesting questions; it seems that a non-Muslim speaking specifically against Islam in a non-Islamic state such as Germany should be held to the same legal statues of Shariah law as applied to non-Muslims in an Islamic country. This brings us to the case of Pope Benedict XVI's comments. Does this mean that Germany is now already considered to be part of Dar al-Islam (The Land of Islam) as is all of Western Europe and therefore the Pope is understood to be a dhimmis--a non-Muslim subject of an Islamic state. Non-Islamic lands are considered the Dar al-harb, the (house of war), until they submit to Islamic rule and enter the Dar al-Islam. This would then apply to all Christians living in occupied Europe and hence in fact, the Muslims consider that the Caliphate already exists. Understanding this would help us to understand the enemy.
Daniel Pipes in article of September 26, 2006, Intimidating the West, from Rushdie to Benedict and Gregory Borse in his article Misunderstanding Islam called attention to these issues in depth.
There is little or no reciprocity by Muslims and the Anti-West countries increase their restrictions on freedom of press.
'The obvious incidents started with Salman Rushdie's novel in 1989, Satanic Verses which prompted Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a death edict against him and his publishers, on the grounds that the book 'is against Islam, the Prophet, and the Qur'an.' The cartoon wars resulting from the Danish Newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishing twelve cartoons of Muhammad and attempts to cause the Pope Benedict XVI to apologize for his comments on Islam are also acts of intimidation.'
According to Bertrand Benoit in an article in the Financial Times on September 27, 2006, Uproar as opera is dropped due to Islamist reprisal fears: 'Indignation erupted across Germany's political spectrum yesterday after a renowned opera house said it had dropped a controversial production of Mozart's Idomeneo from its program because it feared becoming a target of Islamist extremists. The cancellation late on Monday was prompted by concerns that a scene written into this production of the opera, in which the prophet Mohammed's severed head is brandished on stage, could be viewed as blasphemous. It follows angry reactions around the Islamic world to a lecture by Pope Benedict XVI two weeks ago, in which he was accused of drawing a link between Islam and violence.'
Wolfgang Schąßuble, interior minister, attacked the decision by Berlin's Deutsche Oper not to show the 200-year-old work as 'crazy', 'ridiculous' and 'unacceptable'. Bernd Neumann, culture minister, said it showed 'the democratic culture of free speech is in danger'.
In Daniel Pipes' Weblog of September 11, Islamists Threaten Civil War in Great Britain -- A Smart Idea? he comments:
'I noted the jujitsu-like ability of British Muslim leaders to turn the threat of terrorism to their advantage in 'Piggybacking on Terror in Britain.' But the specifics documented there pale in comparison to the aggressive comments just made by Muhammad Abdul Bari, head of the Muslim Council of Britain. The Daily Mail recounts:
'Britain will face have to deal with up to two million Islamic terrorists unless there is an end to 'demonizing' of Muslims, the leader of the most influential Muslim organization has said. Treating all Muslims as if they were terrorists will encourage large numbers to become terrorists. ... Dr Bari declared: 'Some police officers and sections of the media are demonizing Muslims, treating them as if they are all terrorists, and that encourages other people to do the same. If that demonization continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists, 700,000 of them in London. 'If you attack a whole community, it becomes despondent and aggressive.''
Pipes goes on to comment: 'It remains to be seen how effective this aggressive tactic will be. I am inclined to give it poor prospects, as non-Muslims will likely reject the implicit threat -- give us special treatment or we will wage a civil war on you. Moreover, were such a civil war actually to come to pass, Muslims being a small minority could not realistically hope to win it. (September 11, 2006)'
Although the Muslims may not be able to win a 'civil war', the threat will cause tourists and investors to consider avoiding London and therefore cause financial consequences. 700,000 Muslims can have a significant political impact. The propaganda goal is to reduce the will of West through intimidation to face the real enemy.
It goes further in the recent increased restrictions of free speech and press in Russia and China. As reported by Carin Zissis in her September 25th Council on Foreign Affairs article:China: Pressing for More Control, China caused an uproar in Western media this month when it announced new press restrictions, dictating that foreign news agencies must distribute their stories through the state-controlled Xinhua news agency. The move targets wire services like Reuters and Bloomberg that provide financial information directly to clients (Asia Times), and is part of a recent surge in protectionist provisions (TIME) limiting international companies in China from doing business ranging from real estate investment to mergers acquisitions. Chinese officials responded to Western criticism by defending the new regulations (NYT), saying they are a means to standardize the news and not a way for Xinhua to get a cut of the wires' profits. Premier Wen Jiaobao backtracked on the measures (BBC) during a visit to London when he said Beijing 'will ensure the freedom and rights of the foreign news media.'
While following the coup, Thailand's military regime has tightened an already iron grip on the nation, pursuing political opponents, arresting dissidents and intensifying media controls. Thailand's ruling generals further banned all political activities and imposed tough new curbs on the media, including a ban on expressions of public opinion, as they tightened their grip on power two days after a bloodless coup.
While in Italy, Muslim activist Adel Smith filed a lawsuit against Fallaci, charging that some passages in her book, 'The Strength of Reason,' were offensive to Islam. Smith's lawyer cited a phrase from the book that refers to Islam as 'a pool ... that never purifies.' In the Associated Press article on September 15, 2006, Embattled Italian writer Oriana Fallaci dies at 76, 'The trial opened in June -- she did not appear in court -- and was still going on when she died.' ... 'In indicting her last year, an Italian judge cited a passage of the book that reads: 'To be under the illusion that there is a good Islam and a bad Islam or not to understand that Islam is only one ... is against reason.'
'I have expressed my opinion through the written word through my books, that is all,' Fallaci told The Associated Press after the indictment.
In the book, she accused Europe of having sold its soul to what Fallaci described as an Islamic invasion. It also took the Catholic Church to task for being what she considers too weak before the Muslim world.
Describing Europe as 'Eurabia,' Fallaci said the continent 'has sold itself and sells itself to the enemy like a prostitute.'
'Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam,' she wrote.
According to USINFO.State.Gov in their July 20, 2006 release: Sharp Deterioration in Press Freedom Reported in Venezuela, 'The climate for press freedom and free speech in Venezuela has 'deteriorated sharply,' reports the Miami-based Inter-American Press Association (IAPA).'
'In a July 19 statement, an IAPA delegation that just returned from a three-day visit to Venezuela said repression of the press is marked by restrictive legislation, prosecution of journalists in the courts and harassment of news media.'
As we see the development of the Shiite Crescent emerging from Iran and potentially stretching from China to the Mediterranean into a Caliphate, so we see the potential for the an emerging Sunni Caliphate in South East Asia. A number of strategists are considering where the next front on the 'War on Terror' will be emerging. There are other parts of the world that have been ignored for far to long. Is it just a coincidence that the leader of the Coup was the Muslim Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin? If the Sunnis recognized that a new caliphate was being created centered in the Persian Gulf, the need to establish a counterpoint needed to be created, the logical option was in the Sunni dominated South East Asia.
It is important to review briefly the history of the rivalry between the Shiites and the Sunni to understand the potential desire of the Sunnis to reestablish a caliphate in South East Asia to counter the developments in the Shiite Crescent. The Shiite-Sunni divide starts with early Islamic history with the killing of Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, the third Imam and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in 680. For further study see: The Clash of Ideologies: The Making of the Christian and Islamic Worlds.
It was the dispute over succession in the seventh century and this death that ignited the chasm between the Sunni branch of Islam and the Shiites. The conflicts continued with the coming to power of the Umayyads [the first Islamic dynasty (661-750)] and the Abbasids [second of two great dynasties (750-1258) who came to power under the auspices of a Shiite movement].
Essentially the Shiites lost the battle for the political leadership of the Muslim world and became a dissident community. Two major empires replaced the Islamic caliphate, the Safavids in Iran who were Shiite [came to power in 1501] and the Ottomans in Turkey that controlled the Arab world and were Sunni. The Ottoma-Safavid rivalry became a surrogate for the Shiite-Sunni rivalry and the Ottomans lasted far longer. The Ottoman caliphate lasted until 1924.
The anniversary of his death is called Ashoura, a day of mourning and religious observance for Shiite Muslims with some flagellating themselves. Shiites consider Hussain as the rightful successor of the Prophet Muhammad and his death and commemoration is considered as a struggle against oppression. An excellent source for further study is: God's Rule - Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought by Patricia Crone.
The rise of a potential caliphate in East Asia takes on added significance when we recognize the close association between Chavez of Venezuela and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Further increasing the risk for the Sunni faction's goal of reconstructing a caliphate was that the Russian military recently held its annual RUBEZH ('Border') maneuver in the Caspian Sea region. (Reference MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1296 September 22, 2006) 'The Iranian website Baztab, affiliated with Expediency Council Secretary and former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai, presented the maneuver, based on a report in the Central Asian press, as aiming to prepare the Russian army to respond to a possible U.S. military assault on Iran.'
'The maneuver, called 'RUBEZH 2006,' [which included] 2,500 troops from the armed forces of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, was held the week of (August 24-29) in the port of Aqtau, [Kazakhstan]... on the basis of the 'Collective Security Treaty' [CST]. Uzbekistan participated, as an observer in this exercise; Belarus and Armenia did not take part in it.'
'In parallel with the Aqtau maneuver, the armed forces of Kazakhstan and China conducted joint military operations in Kazakhstan in the context of the Shanghai Cooperation Pact (SCO). These military operations revealed more clearly the signs of cooperation and military-security coordination between the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the member states of the Collective Security Treaty.'
'Iran, which is a member with observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), continues to maintain informal relations with the Collective Security Treaty.'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad closed his speech to the United Nations on September 19, with a disturbing heart felt appeal/prayer, which is a warning to the West:¨›'I am emphatically declare that today's world more than ever before longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity, and above all longs for the perfect, righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.¨›[The Twelfth Imam] Oh Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and¨›salvation.¨› Bestow upon humanity that thirst for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers among those who strive for his return and his cause.'
Such events thus link further Iran and their goal for a Shiite Caliphate with the 'Collective Security Treaty' countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Countries. The battle for the Shiite Caliphate continues to rage in Iraq between the Sunni and Shiite factions. Loss of Sunni influence in Iraq, would open the Iranian push through Kuwait and Eastern Saudi Arabia and much of the Persian Gulf.
The Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN) provides a logical base for a second caliphate to build. ASEAN countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam with a combined population of 592,000. The ASEAN countries are culturally rich. It includes more Muslims than any other geopolitical entity. About 240 million Muslims live mostly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Buddhism constitutes the main religion of mainland Southeast Asia and there are about 170 million Buddhists in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. Roman Catholicism is predominant in the Philippines. Bringing Thailand under Islamist rule would provide a logical stepping-stone for the fall of other countries with significant Muslim populations. The first East Asia Summit (December 2005 -- the U.S. was not invited to participate.) was participated in by ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand.
Today, about 100 years after Thailand annexed the mostly ethnic Malay Muslim region, 'mujahideen' holy warriors yearn for a separate state ruled by Islamic Shariah law in a lush, tropical region where Islamists are waging similar insurgencies in the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere. Will the coup reduce tensions or allow the formation of an Islamic state?
The West must pay attention to the developments happening in South East Asia and particularly the events surrounding the Coup in Thailand. If left unchecked (existing terrorist and revolutionary movements) the repercussions will be physically far reaching. They will have a sound and secure base (more likely, bases) from which to export terror 'round the world', and potential control of a number of shipping lanes (Oil Transit Choke Points) throughout the area.
The war waging against the Pope potentially indicate a second front directed at the Rome and the Vatican. The Islamist actions against the Pope are being used to unite the forces against the Vatican and an assault against Europe.
To put the war against the Pope and the battle for Rome, I refer back to the statements of Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi and Other Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome as reported in the MEMRI Special Dispatch of December 6, 2002, No. 447.
'Al-Qaradhawi: 'Islam will Return to Europe as a Conqueror' 'In a fatwa posted on the website www.islamonline.net, in response to a reader's question, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi wrote of the 'signs of the victory of Islam,' citing a well-known Hadith: '... The Prophet Muhammad was asked: 'What city will be conquered first, Constantinople or Romiyya?' He answered: 'The city of Hirqil [i.e. the Byzantine emperor Heraclius] will be conquered first' - that is, Constantinople... Romiyya is the city called today 'Rome,' the capital of Italy. The city of Hirqil [that is, Constantinople] was conquered by the young 23-year-old Ottoman Muhammad bin Morad, known in history as Muhammad the Conqueror, in 1453. The other city, Romiyya, remains, and we hope and believe [that it too will be conquered].'
'This means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice - once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens.'
'Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi qualified his statement: 'I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology...'
What appear on the surface to be disconnected events can be collected to present a coherent picture. The goal remains the same--removing the position of the United States as the remaining Super Power and replacing it with a totalitarian state. The relation between economic factors, terrorism, war and energy are potent factors that must be addressed in a comprehensive way. We remain dangerously ignorant of the enemy we face.