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All no doubt true - and not without parallel, such as the Gulf money spent on K-Street to gin up support for U.S. intervention in the Balkan's civil wars. I'd respectfully suggest, though, that what Congress did in 1998 was little more than declare publicly what was already U.S. policy. Under Bush I, the U.S. was already providing covert support to Iraqi opposition groups. This policy was followed by the Clinton admin, and culminated in the failed coups of 1994 and 1996 - the latter a debacle every bit as bad as the Bay of Pigs ... or worse, if it was timed to coincide with the '96 election. And as for the reports of a third coup attempt in late 2000 ... allahu a`lam. All which is to say, to my mind there seems to be a great deal of continuity as regard the end sought by U.S. policy makers in Iraq, i.e., regime change. What discontinuity there was concerned the means to obtain that end. And if blame's to be affixed, I happily blame everyone involved - left, right, DoD, IC, Congress, and the Executive, esp. Bush, less for starting the Iraq war than for losing it. Iraq was a godawful mess under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, and it's a godawful mess under Obama, and it's getting worse. I'm rather old fashioned when it comes to bad men. It's best if they belong to us. And for those that don't, if they mind their manners, let 'em be. Clinton, Bush II, and Obama — the lot of 'em are teary-eyed do-gooders. Cheers
> "Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 and the money flow increased dramatically. GW Bush’s AUMF came in 2002." Money flow increased in 1998, indeed — after two disastrous efforts by the U.S. intelligence community to overthrow the Iraqi government, as I'm sure our host knows all too well. The U.S. waged war against Iraq first with its spies, then with its Iraqi opposition, and then finally with its military. When the dust has settled, the puddles gore have been cleaned up, and FOIA requests begin to be answered, who knows what historians will discover ... but I doubt that it will be any discontinuity in U.S. policy. Who knows, perhaps historians will also one day learn why Damascus has complained for decades about NATO's support for the Syrian Ikhwan — among them, Atta's old friends in Germany, coddled by the BND until today and delisted on the eve of the current bloodletting in Syria. Nice article. Thanks
> '"Jihad studies" -- or whatever you want to call it -- is a multi-disciplinary by nature. Think about it. A scholar NEEDS advanced foreign language skills, a strong background in regional history, cultural knowledge, etc.' Thanks for your thoughtful response. The prerequisites you describe are, I'd suggest, common to textually-oriented fields in general, modern or pre-modern. They're hard won skills, to be sure, but they're the same skills one needs to do many other types of research, from the history of Scouting in Lebanon in the 1960s, to the intellectual history of Azhar under Nasser. I don't think method is the basis of the distinction you want to make -- and I admit that there is a distinction, and that it's important. To illustrate, among more recent works on the Global Jihad, I've learned much from academic works like Lacroix's study on the Sahwa, Brian Williams' articles on Central Asia, Cees Wiebes' history of intelligence during the war in Bosnia, but also from travel narratives, war memoirs, and autobiographies, as well as journalists (broadly defined), such as Hecimovic, Raman, Berger. I suspect that you'd regard all such contributions as important, and that you read them yourself, but that you'd not classify many of them as Jihad Studies. Perhaps you'd included Raman or Berger. More typical, though, would be the contributions of Fishman & Felter, Lia, Hegghammer, etc. What then is the difference? I don't think it's one of method, but of granularity, and whether and to what extent one can do something practical with the results. Wiebes, e.g., is an historian, and is concerned with states and their policies more than individual men, their ideas, and their nefarious schemes. Now then, if one is thinking about how best to kill bad guys in Kunar, or arrest them in Durham NC, Wiebes is just not going to help you much. His interests are too abstract, while his subject matter is too stale. For the messy work of daily CT, one needs work that mucks around in the messy details of the lives of guys still alive. While all this may be true, I don't know if it's terribly useful when one is thinking about how best to foster certain types of research. If one wishes to encourage younger scholars to do more granular research, for instance, I don't think one needs new institutions or new disciplines. Younger scholars have needs that are far more basic, not least, continuing to eat. 1. Publication venues -- peer-reviewed and with U.S. academic presses. The typical CT venues are more likely to be read by more people, but they'll not help in the least with tenure and promotion. 2. Access to data -- Young scholars need to write, a lot, and they don't have a lot of time to collect new data. Without access to sources, there's not much they can write about. So too, if sources are doled out one or two at a time, they can't write fast enough. DoD and DoJ could do a lot to help. As it is, they sit on their data. DoJ, especially, likely has no idea how much they've seized over the last few decades. But try getting access to it with FOIA, even in cases that stem from the early 1990s. 3. Grant money. Young scholars are poor, usually dirt poor. They also do not typically have access to discretionary research budgets. They must apply for Fulbright and SSRC grants. You can't use that money to do just anything. It's almost always for more traditional, area-studies projects. If one wants younger scholars to work on other sorts of projects, feed them. Cheers!
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2012 on On Reading Zawahiri at Making Sense of Jihad
With respect, American academicians have been trying to understand Muslim militancy, for at least two generations. And there is, I'd suggest, an institutional context for their work: in departments of history, religious studies, area studies. I'm looking at a dozen shelves full of books on the subject right now, from all the standard academic presses. While work on militancy is not as widespread as economic or diplomatic history, it's certainly respected. Based on what I've seen, getting a tenure-track position is no harder than any other subfield. On the other hand, the majority of academicians probably don't think it possible to understand militancy apart from an intimate knowledge of its context. This is why they tend to be pretty dismissive of the typical War College thesis. Take Zawahiri, for instance. He's well-read, articulate, and participating in political debates ongoing since the early decades of the 20th c. He's also engaged in a lively dialogue with an ancient legal tradition and its modern interpreters. At the same time, Zawahiri grows out of a particular moment in Egyptian history and lived a life that intersected with momentous regional changes. For such reasons, work on Zawahiri simply cannot be undertaken without an intimate knowledge of a whole lot of other things. You've got to know your fiqh, the Brotherhood, the Nasserites, the sahwa, and so on. This is why, too, graduate programs are structured as they are. I suspect the problem is not so much that the academy is not interested in militancy. Rather, they are asking questions about it that don't overlap well with the interests of folks whose jobs are focused on domestic and national security. At the same time, given the political realities of academia, a sizable portion of researchers may well be more sympathetic to Zawahiri than to folks in the Marine Corps. If we set such people to one side, I suspect there are still quite a few out there who either don't know that their services are needed or wish they could help, but don't know how to do so. Others may not work on militancy, but still have unique skills: those who work on medieval Arabic manuscripts, for instance, could do miracles with the Harmony documents -- after they stopped shouting about the work done by the translators supplied by Hamas, and laughing at the work of poor Mo, who translates by day and stocks shelves at 7-11 by night. (I'm still wondering which of the two gravely noted re one of the documents, that the expression 'worshipers of cows' was possibly a coded reference to a sinister AQ plot, rather than a slur on Hindus.) Keep in mind, too, that military bases and the wilds of D.C. are as foreign to most academics as the Ottoman archives or the wilds of eastern Turkey are to the average Marine or FBI agent.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2012 on On Reading Zawahiri at Making Sense of Jihad
"... ducking bombs from a culture that creates nothing ..." — Well now, my dear Pamela, let's give the Devil his due. It's wrong to say that modern Arab civilization has created nothing. 1. They've revolutionized airport security. Remember: When Nixon was still president, we were allowed to ride planes as casually as we now ride the bus. No IDs. No naked x-rays. No feeling up the lovely ladies. What a drag it must have been, back in the olden days, to work security. 2. They've perfected internal explosives. It takes a special sort of mind to think of using the rectum for something so practical as killing Allah's enemies. 3. And most proudly, through the slow accumulation of incremental advances, they've perfect the "self-propelled smart bomb," vulgarly known as the suicide bomber, more properly termed "the omnicide bomber". Don't forget to thank one of the pioneering members of the PLO and its franchises -- next time you're humiliated, berated, or sexually assaulted, or even just made to empty your bladder. "2 ounces or less, Miss. That's the rule."
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2011 on Israel Develops Cancer Vaccine at Atlas Shrugs
Dear Paula, you make important argument. Please I will make correction. I mean boys and girls .. 1 visa for each boy .. 1 visa for each girl. This should be the US law. If not enough girls for having 50% of visas .. no more visas for boys. "Sorry, Saudi boy, no visa for you. You go home and bring your sister." Perhaps we will give 4 tests to students who want visa. 1. We will make doctors give blood test for jihadi virus in brain. If student has virus or antibodies to virus meaning past infection, no visa!! 2. We will examine clothing and how student is looking. If we see boy's ankles, no visa!! (Short leg of pants mean crazy salafi) If we no see girl's face, no visa!! If we see fist long beard on boy or on girl, no visa!! (sharia beard must be fist long) If we see fake zabiba, no visa!! Zabiba is sign (small injury) on forehead made from praying. Some good old Muslim men will have zabiba.. Young Jihadi makes fake zabiba .. hit face with brick or burn with hot iron. Coward jihadi make zabiba with lady makeup.. big trouble for making zabiba in same place from day to day. 3. We will make student who wants visa give small kiss to man with kibba (small Jewish hat). If student can not kiss the man even little kiss on cheek .. no visa!! 4. We will make student say one sentence.. "Greatest revolutionary thinker in all history is Thomas Jefferson sallallahu alaihi wasallam." If student can not give the greatest Muslim blessing on Jefferson, no visa!! > ali
Toggle Commented May 17, 2011 on Spit Jihad at Atlas Shrugs
Believe me... Only Islamic revolutionaries want sharia!!! Only Islamic revolutionaries say sharia is just law!!! Maybe sharia was not very bad in middle age. Maybe at least sharia was better than no law. But in modern world Muslims must fighting or fleeing sharia, and especially for women and non-Muslims. Many stupid young Muslim people who say sharia is just only mean they want what is justice and how that they will have rule by laws ... instead of the corruption and bribery we have for government now. They are stupid people. They do not know anything about the real sharia. Not about women. Not about punishment of the criminals. Not about how Muslims no longer are Muslims if they make little joke about Islam or make little joke about imam. Non-Muslim people cannot live justly in nation with real sharia. Women have no equality in nation with real sharia. No one can have real sharia and democracy or freedom or human rights. Muslim nation with real sharia can have no peace with non-Muslim nations ... for them the sharia has only the jihad, and the jizia, and the zimma... In Lebanon, if Muslim man says he wants sharia, if he knows what real sharia is, everyone know that he is Islamic revolutionary. He wants caliphate. (And he wants his party to be ruling the caliphate!!!) And there is no difference between him and between fish food Usama... or death doctor Zawahiri... or Baghdad butcher Zarqawi. All them want only to bring Arab people back to middle ages... even though we are only slowly beginning to leave middle ages... in our mentalities and economies and governments and families.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2011 on Spit Jihad at Atlas Shrugs
> Turki and Mohammed > It is shame on us to send our kids to USA. > We should be sending them to UK or Australia. I lived in all three countries. I will tell you. If compared to UK and Australia, US loves Arabs. Australia and English are nice people and it is beautiful countries, but there are many who do not like the Arabs. And why this happen??? There are many very bad and criminal Arabs and many who not work but live from government money and many who do not have official papers for immigration. If these people live in my country, we Lebanese would hate them and arrest them and make them leave, or maybe we do something worse. EDL is club of nice lads if compare to angry Lebanese lads! I tell you, I am Arab and I have two mates in EDL. We drink beer and we watch football, and we talk bad things about criminal Arabs. I am now two years in US. I never meet any US person who hate Islam or hate Arab peoples. I never one time see this. US people love to meet strangers. More easy for visitor to make friends with people here than in UK and Aussie land. US people do not care if you are rich or poor, or who your family is? US people do not care what is man's religion, only how he live his life and if he work hard. The US she only don't like the insane Arabs. Or the Arabs who think they most noble race in world. Or the Arabs who tell lies about her and say she most evil in whole world. Or the Arabs who break her laws. Or the Arabs who kill her people. Maybe instead that you cry like baby girls you say thank you to US for help she give the Arab and Muslim people!!! Remember Bosnia!!! Remember USSR in Afghanistan!!! Remember Kuwait!!! Remember it is she who protect us now from Iran!!! Remember all the money she give Arab people to develop economy!!! Remember she helps Arab people have peace with Israel people. Who feeds the Palestine? Who helps Palestinians grow up and maybe they one day become state? Arab people we forget that it was UN makes Israel, not US. And we forget it was Europe not US who make colonies in Arab lands. US broke some of those colonies and help Arab countries be free. US is true revolutionary. All we do is that we bite US hand like crazy dog. Every time she do good to us we bite her hand. Maybe instead that you cry like little baby girls you say sorry for what Saudi people do it to US!!! Like stupid spitting Saudi ladies ... Like stupid Saudi student in Texas who build bomb ... (He is very stupid Saudi student ... he buy parts for bomb through mail!!! Hahaha!!!) Like stupid Saudi boys who kill US soldier in Iraq ... Like stupid Saudi boys who flight airplanes into buildings... Like stupid Saudi who is now feeding the fish!!! My plan is send more Saudi boys to US for that they can meet nice girls. (and see them!!!) And then maybe they not be too crazy. My plan is the best medicine for the jihad virus in wahhabi brain of Saudi boys. My plan also teach Saudi boys good manners, so they will have good manners around ladies. O Turki and Mohammed, why will US give honor to Arabs? what we do to earn that honor? We make world's best terrorists? Usama is most famous Arab in modern age!!! We Arabs are most primitive countries in world. We cannot feed our own people. And if no oil, Arab countries are still medieval. This is bad. But it will be even more bad. Very soon in our economy we will be lowest in the world. Yes, it is true. It is not much time before Arab lands have lower economy than Africa! Our failure is not from some Zionist entity. Or from world conspiracy to destroy Islam. Our failure is from ourselves. If you want people respect Arabs, teach our brothers to do things to earn respect. Make something. Build something. Sell something. Invest something. Help world's people. And what you want? You want US people respect the horse she lose the race!!! Instead that you be little crying baby girls, maybe you thinking upon why we the Arabs have no good Arab university where we send our sons!!! The US community colleges are better than our best universities.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2011 on Spit Jihad at Atlas Shrugs
This is an unjust mistake. She was not making a hate crime. She was looking for love. You see, it is little known fact that Saudi women they spit when they are in heat -- like the camel. This is true. Many scientific articles are written on it. Now you will please to understand why the Saudi husband makes his wives wear bags on their faces. Do you want to look at that? I think not! As we say in Arabic: Let us pray that her husband is blind. Lebanese women, on the other hand.... Almost as beautiful as the women of Texas. > ali
Toggle Commented May 17, 2011 on Spit Jihad at Atlas Shrugs
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May 17, 2011