Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No Thanks, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian duplicity remains a serious threat to America's war against Islamist violent jihad. The New York Sun carries a story today about the Kingdom's release of 1,500 Al Qaeda members from custody on the jihadists' promise not to do violence on the Arabian Peninsula.

The jihadists were released after they were declared reformed by a special committee in Saudi Arabia that is deprogramming prisoners from their violent ideology, known as takfir. But as with all things Saudi, things are not necessarily what they seem.
"The ideology of takfir is prevalent in both fundamentalist interpretations of Sunni and Shiite Islam, and it holds that there are separate rules that allow Muslims to kill, lie to, and steal from nonbelievers.

"While the Saudi state has at times been targeted by Muslims embracing the philosophy of takfir, its mosques and Ministry of Culture and Information also have been exporting the strain of Islam that encourages this doctrine." (Here.)
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is behind the recent return to Pakistan of so-called opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. A story from the New York Times News Service does a favor by reminding us why the return of Sharif to Pakistan might not necessarily be the blow for democracy that opponents of Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule might hope.
"[Sharif] is best remembered here [Islamabad] and in Washington as the Pakistani leader who brought the world a nuclear Pakistan, flirted with war with India and forged strong ties to religious conservatives. His tenure was marred by charges of rampant corruption and run-ins with the courts and the media as well." (Here.)
If strongman Musharraf loses power, democracy will not necessarily triumph. And if Saudi Arabia is pushing Sharif on Pakistan, it's a good bet that he will side with Islamists.

Past revolutions around the world teach us that the party that replaces the strongman is the one that has the guns. Islamists in Pakistan have proven their willingness to use guns to achieve their ends. The question for Pakistan is whether any guns will line up on the side of democrats. If Musharraf goes, where will the Army go? And if Saudi Arabia's ally takes power in Pakistan with an Islamist government, where will America's army go?



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