Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dhimmi John Esposito - Don't Worry About the Caliphate

Today, Daniel Pipes had another article about the Mohammedeans' goal for a world caliphate. But don't worry about that, says Esposito, the favorite bitch in the Georgetown Middle East Madrassah (aka whorehouse.) Note how Bumiller at NY Times pooh-poohs the threat. We'll keep an eye on Ms. Bumiller as her 'education' grows.

Daniel Pipes Weblog (Caliphate)

NY Times

White House Letter

21st-Century Warnings of a Threat Rooted in the 7th

Published: December 12, 2005

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said it in a speech last Monday in Washington and again on Thursday on PBS. Eric S. Edelman, the under secretary of defense for policy, said it the week before in a round table at the Council on Foreign Relations. Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said it in October in speeches in New York and Los Angeles. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American commander in the Middle East, said it in September in hearings on Capitol Hill.

Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the first members of the Bush administration to say it, at a campaign stop in Lake Elmo, Minn., in September 2004.

The word getting the workout from the nation's top guns these days is "caliphate" - the term for the seventh-century Islamic empire that spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain, then ended with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. The term can also refer to other caliphates, including the one declared by the Ottoman Turks that ended in 1924.

Specialists on Islam say the word is a mysterious and ominous one for many Americans, and that the administration knows it. "They recognize that there's a lot of resonance when they use the term 'caliphate,' " said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and now a scholar at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said that the word had an "almost instinctive fearful impact."

So now, Mr. Cheney and others warn, Al Qaeda's ultimate goal is the re-establishment of the caliphate, with calamitous consequences for the United States. As Mr. Cheney put it in Lake Elmo, referring to Osama bin Laden and his followers: "They talk about wanting to re-establish what you could refer to as the seventh-century caliphate" to be "governed by Sharia law, the most rigid interpretation of the Koran."

Or as Mr. Rumsfeld put it on Monday: "Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East, and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia."

General Abizaid was dire, too. "They will try to re-establish a caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world," he told the House Armed Services Committee in September, adding that the caliphate's goals would include the destruction of Israel. "Just as we had the opportunity to learn what the Nazis were going to do, from Hitler's world in 'Mein Kampf,' " General Abizaid said, "we need to learn what these people intend to do from their own words."

A number of scholars and former government officials take strong issue with the administration's warning about a new caliphate, and compare it to the fear of communism spread during the Cold War. They say that although Al Qaeda's statements do indeed describe a caliphate as a goal, the administration is exaggerating the magnitude of the threat as it seeks to gain support for its policies in Iraq.

In the view of John L. Esposito, an Islamic studies professor at Georgetown University [and the Mohammedeans' favorite bitch at the Georgetown Madrassah and Whorehouse], there is a difference between the ability of small bands of terrorists to commit attacks across the world and achieving global conquest.

"It is certainly correct to say that these people have a global design, but the administration ought to frame it realistically," said Mr. Esposito, the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown. "Otherwise they can actually be playing into the hands of the Osama bin Ladens of the world because they raise this to a threat that is exponentially beyond anything that Osama bin Laden can deliver."

Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, said Al Qaeda was not leading a movement that threatened to mobilize the vast majority of Muslims. A recent poll Mr. Telhami conducted with Zogby International of 3,900 people in six countries - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon - found that only 6 percent sympathized with Al Qaeda's goal of seeking an Islamic state.

The notion that Al Qaeda could create a new caliphate, he said, is simply wrong. "There's no chance in the world that they'll succeed," he said. "It's a silly threat." (On the other hand, more than 30 percent in Mr. Telhami's poll said they sympathized with Al Qaeda, because the group stood up to America.)

The term "caliphate" has been used internally by policy hawks in the Pentagon since the planning stages for the war in Iraq, but the administration's public use of the word has increased this summer and fall, around the time that American forces obtained a letter from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 leader in Al Qaeda, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The 6,000-word letter, dated early in July, called for the establishment of a militant Islamic caliphate across Iraq before Al Qaeda's moving on to Syria, Lebanon and Egypt and then a battle against Israel.

In recent weeks, the administration's use of "caliphate" has only intensified, as Mr. Bush has begun a campaign of speeches to try to regain support for the war. He himself has never publicly used the term, although he has repeatedly described the caliphate, as he did in a speech last week when he said that the terrorists want to try to establish "a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain."

Six days earlier, Mr. Edelman, the under secretary of defense, made it clear. "Iraq's future will either embolden terrorists and expand their reach and ability to re-establish a caliphate, or it will deal them a crippling blow," he said. "For us, failure in Iraq is just not an option."


Here's a clue for Ms. Bumiller. Over 50% of the Muslim world is illiterate. The vast majority of Muslims have little knowledge beyond the basics (pray 5 times a day, God has predetermined their life, hate the Jews, infidels should be their slaves, etc.) Most of them are ignorant of much of the Qur'an, Hadiths and Sunnah. Gee, that sounds like Ms. Bumiller.


American Crusader said...

I'm glad you mentioned the Ottoman Turks. They once controlled a vast Islamic empire. Historically the leader of the Turks was called the "caliphate" and was the most powerful Islamic ruler until the mid-1920s Surprisingly this Turks often had fairly good relationships with European governments... particularly the French which led to a flowering of Turkish literature, art, and architecture. Although Sharia law was the official law, the Turks used secular law wherever it was more practical. The Turks are ethnically different from the Arabs which often led to conflict. After the Crimean War and then joining the Central Powers in World War I, Turkey lost most of its empire. I know this was a little off subject, but I wanted to bring something up.
If there ever was to be a new caliphate established, it would have to overcome religious differences (Shi'ite, Sunni, Druze and others) and also ethnic differences (Turks, Arabs, Persians and countless others).
I don't see this ever happening.. I don't believe many Sunni Muslims could ever back someone like the Ayatollah Khomeini and nor do I see any Shi'ite Muslims backing a Sunni leadership.
Islam is great when it comes to attacking other cultures/countries, but when it comes to bringing about an Islamic consensus... it won't happen. There is no one to unite all the factions. Great post John.

John Sobieski said...

From what I read, all the caliphates were in turmoil and constant conflicts. Like all empires, they collapse, but they can certainly cause a lot of grief even if they do not attain their global caliphate.