Monday, 23 June 2014

Is Tony Blair or Islam to Blame for Iraq?

I have no love for Tony Blair (or for Barack Obama or the 'neo-cons'). Nonetheless, what has Tony Blair got to do with Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, southern Thailand, Yemen, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria and all the other hells Muslims are creating for themselves in the world?

What is surprising is the number of people on the Right who are falling into the leftist/ Muslim trap of blaming others for Muslim violence and Islamic fanaticism – or at least they've done so in the case of Iraq.

Has everyone bought into the leftist 'narrative' (a favourite word of leftist automata) on Iraq? Take Son of Dave Spart's (i.e., Owen Jones) recent article on the events in Iraq ("We anti-war protesters were right"). From the beginning to the end it is a perverse example of the blame game. And guess who's to blame. That's right, not ISIS or Iraqi Muslims generally. Not in the slightest. Not in any way whatsoever. Muslims are never to blame when in comes to the racist Left, which sees all Muslims as children who are incapable of behaving humanely or decently. Instead it's all the fault of Blair, or Bush, or the 'neo-cons', or global warming (as The Guardian and Noam Chomsky have it), or whoever. Basically, because Owen Jones is an International Socialist, then evidently (to him) it has to be – it simply must be! – the fault of Western capitalism and its 'imperialist' endeavours. Such is crudity and anti-capitalist monomania of Owen Jones's Dave Spart politics.

Yes, it may be absolutely true that Tony Blair shouldn't have intervened in 2003. It may also be true that he's a power-mad lunatic who wanted (or wants) to go down in in history as a Great Statesman. Nonetheless, what he did, he did 14 years ago. Sure, we stayed in Iraq until 2009/11; though in 2007 Blair resigned and then more or less disappeared from the political scene.

So the violence is still happening not because of Blair, or Obama, or Bush, or the Balfour Declaration, or the neo-cons, etc. It's mainly – though not exclusively – to do with Islam, Arab tribal culture (which is itself largely a product of Islam) and the fact that violence has always been the first resort in Iraq and in most other Muslim countries. And that was the case well before Obama, Blair, Bush or any other Western leader made their silly mistakes. It goes back 1,400 years.

Are Muslims children? Do they have free will and conscience? Are they responsible for their own actions? Yes? Good. Then we should stop blaming all that Muslim violence and Islamic fanaticism on Western adults and Western actions. We should stop the (inverted/ 'positive') racism. Muslims are responsible for what they do; just as all adults are.

Despite all that, the Left also conveniently forgets that the 'invasion' in 2003 was partly in response to prior Iraqi violence. In other words, there was massive violence in Iraq before 2003. And there has been massive violence in Iraq after 2003. Is a picture beginning to emerge yet?

In any case, how many US and UK troops should be sacrificed for this brand new cause? As many as died in 2009, or in 2006, or in 2003/4?

You see, most Muslims in Iraq don't want Western-style democracy. They don't want 'Western values'. Full stop. The vast majority of Muslims in Iraq (as elsewhere) want one of two things:

i) Either an Islamic Shia/ Sunni state.

ii) Or a 'strong man' leader to keep sectarian chaos under wraps and, therefore, the nation state in one piece. (Someone like Saddam Hussein, perhaps. Or maybe someone like Bashar Assad or the Egyptian leaders Mubarak and now El-Sisi.)

Ally With Iran?

So what about the US Government seeking an alliance with Iran (or vice versa)?
When the Shia (or their leaders) cooperated with the US government and troops between 2003 and 2006, they did so only in order to defeat the Sunnis and thus substitute the Sunni hegemony with a Shia hegemony. Therefore once they gained power, they did to the Sunnis exactly what the Sunnis had done to them. And of course another consequence of this was that Iraq became much closer to Iran.

This meant that Iran was one of the winners of American intervention in 2003; as it will be again if the US cooperates with Iran to destroy ISIS.

That leaves a question: Why the hell does the US Government think that an Islamic group of up to 15,000 soldiers (ISIS) is more dangerous than an Islamic theocratic state (which may have nuclear weapons in the future) of over 77million (Iraq: 36 million)? Not to forget that Iran is also a state which has trained and funded Islamic terrorist groups throughout the world, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

Sure, this may be acceptable Realpolitik. Aligning with Iran may well be the strategic thing to do. Nonetheless, the US and UK should be very careful about Iran's forthcoming taqiyya (or bullshi*). Indeed what will happen when – or if – Iran gains complete control of Iraq (up until recently, it almost had)? That in itself will prove to be a threat to the West. However, it will also be a threat to Sunni Saudi Arabia, Sunni Jordan, Sunni Kuwait and even, more indirectly, Sunni Turkey. In other words, the Sunni prophesies of a 'Shia arc' encircling Sunni Muslims may well come to pass. That in itself could cause a level of violence which far surpasses what we have seen from ISIS simply because this scenario could bring about a war between states, not only between militias and jihadists.

Iraqi Islam or Iraqi Culture?

Keeping on that military theme.

People have been saying that if we still had a military presence in Iraq, or even if we had 'properly trained the Iraqis', etc., then the jihadists (ISIS) wouldn't have been able to attack and overrun cities as it has done. Perhaps; though would any of that have stopped Islamic terrorism in Iraq? It didn't when US and UK troops were there: not entirely anyway. And what about the Muslim outrage (from Jordan to Birmingham) at the kuffar presence in an Islamic land? For example, it has been said (by both bin Osama bin Laden himself and by outside commentators) that bin Laden set up al-Qaeda primarily – though not exclusively (at first) – to do something about the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia and other 'Islamic lands' (i.e., it wasn't all about Afghanistan).

We pulled out of Iraq in 2011. That was three years ago. Yes, there was violence after 2003. But there was a hell of lot of violence in Iraq before 2003. Sure, Saddam Hussein's violence in Iraq was of a different kind. Nonetheless, he killed up to one million of his own citizens well outside the theatre of war. He also went to war with Iran: a war in which over a million died. Above and beyond all that, he carried out ethnic cleansing and gassed the Kurds. (The number of deaths caused by Saddam Hussein's regime is still higher than the post-2003 death-toll.)

So what we have here, it can be said, is an Arab problem – not just an Iraqi problem. In fact what we have is an Islamic problem: many Iraqis aren't even Arabs. The Iraqis include Kurds, Iranians/ Persians, Turkomen and whatnot. What all these ethnic groups (the ones involved in the violence) have in common is Islam.

In addition, making a distinction between being an Arab and being a Muslim is pretty bogus anyway because most Arabs have been Muslim for over a thousand years.

Yes, that neat little distinction we often hear between culture and religion – in this case between Arab culture and Islam – is almost entirely bogus. As it is when the distinction is made about Pakistan – a non-Arab country – in the case of Islam versus Pakistani 'honour killings', ethnic violence, etc.

Islam is a cultural phenomenon. It has been the most important part of Arab culture, as well as of Pakistani culture (even though Indian Muslims didn't get their own state until 1947), for over a thousand years. So that neat and very convenient distinction between Islam and culture (propagated by Western – mainly leftist – academics) simply doesn't work. It effectively amounts to one massive escape-route for Islam.
To repeat: when a culture (or an area, or an ethnic group) has been Islamic for over a thousand years, that neat little distinction between religion (Islam) and culture simply cannot be maintained.

Notes on American Thinker Comments

1) I agree that ISIS wouldn't be doing what it is doing today if Saddam Hussein were still around. Nonetheless, the point is that you can't blame a Western leader's na├»ve or megalomaniac actions for the fact that Iraqi Muslims choose violence before any other option.

To take an admittedly extreme example. Say that person X says something critical about Muhammad on the BBC and Muslims riots in England are a response. In those riots ten people are killed. Now it could be easily said that person X is to blame for those riots and deaths. That is, if he hadn't made critical remarks about Muhammad then those people wouldn't have been killed. So does that mean that no one should ever criticise Muhammad because it may cause Muslims to kill people? Is person X really to blame for those deaths? Or are Muslims to blame because they carried out the killings?

If person X's word were to blame for the deaths, then all criticisms of Muhammad could cause similar deaths. Thus, on that kind of reasoning, a self-imposed sharia blasphemy law would be required. That is, an eternal critical silence on Islam and Muhammad.

The same is true when action is taken against Muslim countries which are a threat to the West because they allow terrorists - who've been active in the West - to thrive; or even those who murder their own people in their millions. All Western action in these countries may cause Muslims to kill each other in the name of Islam. Does that automatically mean that we shouldn't have intervened? Or does that simply mean that Islam itself is a incendiary religion?

2) I mention tribal culture above and of course tribes existed in Arabia before Islam and Muhammad. Nonetheless, if Arabian tribal culture had not been fused with Muhammad and Islam, it wouldn't still be a major force.

Islam is Arabic and Arabia was tribal at the time of Muhammad. Thus Islam's tribal (or Arabian) culture has been passed on through the generations.

It's highly likely that Arabic (or Arabian) tribal culture would be defunct by the now if it had not be fused with Islam.

That's why I said "largely". On top of that, England was still pretty tribal in the 7th century too; as it was before.

3) There is no "Iraqi people". However, many - mainly Western! - Muslims stress the "artificiality of Arab states" (created, of course, by Europeans) and yearn for a Caliphate of all Muslims (all Sunni or all Shia Muslims?). But that wouldn't work either because even though Arab states are artificial (all states are, in a sense, artificial), those peoples aren't artificial. The states are artificial; though the tribal, ethnic and religious rivalries are very real. How would a Caliphate sort all that out? It wouldn't. Except if the Caliphate treated these many peoples, tribes and Islamic sects as Saddam Hussein treated them. (And as Caliphates - such as the Ottoman Empire - have treated them in the past.)

Not even an exclusively Sunni or Shia Caliphate will work because there will still be rival tribes and sects within Sunni or Shia Islam.

The nation state may actually a good idea when you think of the (Islamic) alternatives.

4) The people who commit the violence are responsible for the violence. If we don't believe that then we'll have Leftists blaming Blair and Bush (as well as other people with white skin), Sunnis blaming Shia (and Blair), Shia blaming Sunni (and Blair), nationalist Iraqis blaming Islamists and terrorists, Islamists and terrorists blaming Iraqi nationalists... and Hamas blaming "Zionists".

5) On the one hand, people can criticise Islam in strong terms. And on the other hand, those very same people may blame Bush and Blair for what's going on in 2014.

In many respects there was more violence under Saddam than after. Even if Blair and Bush made a massive mistake in intervening in Iraq, they didn't make Iraq violent. They simply made it violent in a different way.

At Saddam Hussein's low point, he was murdering up to 30,00 of his own people a month in his prisons. That's far more than have been killed by ISIS. 

There is something wrong with Iraq. And that would be the case even if Blair and Blush hadn't intervened.Before 2003, there was the Iran-Iraq war. There was the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds and southern Shia too. As well as the deaths in the prisons. Why is what's happening today worse than that? The only big difference I can see is that the Western media is focused on what's happening with ISIS and that's also because of the Blair-Bush intervention of 2003.

6) Nothing I've said denies that ISIS could spread the terror abroad. Incidentally, Saddam himself financed terrorists of various kinds, which is not to say that the situation is not worse today.

So I agree that Blair might have made it worse for the West.

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