Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why aren't Saudi ground troops fighting IS?

Saudi [fn 1], Qatari, and Emirati ground troops don't fight against the Islamic State [IS] and their war has ended. They should.  IS is bent on their destruction, and they are all set against IS' effort to establish the Caliphate, once the most powerful institution in the world, now withered away.  

At its hight, in around 1000 ce, Arabs were the most tolerant, educated people in the world, honoring learning above all things, and Islam was the basis for their wise toleration.  They were also the most powerful.  

The withering away has laid bare the inner rigidity of the religion, as the auto a fe and the present animosity toward women and gays does for the Christians and the Buddhist massacres of Muslims in Burma is doing now.

And the young and the assertive of the Arabs dream of a return to yesteryear.  It is a worthy dream.  IS and its adherence to Wahhabism is not a worthy way to achieve it.

A US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015. Six F-15Es are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and counter-IS missions in Iraq and Syria.  (photo by REUTERS)

Al Monitor raises an important question.  The question is often raised by Republican presidential candidates.  If the candidates are more than Pander bears they should know the answer.

Al Monitor's answer, posted after the jump, is that the Arabs are stuck in a quagmire of their own devising against impoverished, starving, defenseless Yemen and cannot be diverted to even bomb IS.

The answer is unconvincing:
the bombing never had a strategic justification: Yemeni never posed a threat to the House of Saud.
One of the main combatants is former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh, for 30 years the president of Yemen and a close friend and supporter of the Saudi and the US.  Salhe was allowed to leave Yemen, forced out by public outcry, under an agreement engineered by the US and the Saudi, taking with him some $20 to $60 Billion of Yemeni money [Yemen's Saleh Worth $60 Billion Says UN Sanctions Panel - UN Tribune], money which he is now using to fund revolution in Yemen, but not one aimed at the Saudi.

Saleh and George Bush

Yet the Saudi have exhausted their substantial stockpile of sophisticated bombs and its supporters, Britain and the US, have given  it $1.3 Billion in a new supply of smart bombs.  HRW urges halt to US bomb sales to Saudi over Yemen.  
And see Arab coalition accused of war crimes in Yemen - Al Jazeera English, reprinted after the jump.  [fn 2]

The Saudi are not fighting IS because:

1) They fear IS military power.

In April 2015 Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey for military support to defend against an IS attack.    Pakistan's parliament formally declined.  Egypt and  Turkey have made no public response.
The reason for fear is plain:  IS is now in control of Anbar Province, Iraq [see ISIS has arrested 500 civilians in Anbar since May]; only  desert separates Anbar from Mecca, the most holy of holy places to the world's Muslim community.

.See Newsweek, ISIS Aims to Occupy Mecca 

Mecca pilgrims

To get a sense of the importance of Mecca to Muslims throughout the world see   The Great Journey (2004) (director  Ismaël Ferroukhi  - IMDb.  Highly recommended.
Control of Mecca would destroy the House of Saud.   
It would also consolidate IS' claim to have formed the Caliphate,long a dream of Arabs, and much to to the distress of Saudi clergy. 

Not good from Saudi point of view. Western, Indian, and Chinese oil giants would not like to negotiate oil prices with representatives of the Islamic State.

Another reason that the Saudi don't fight IS is:

2.  IS and Saudi Arabia are co-religionists, alone in a world of infidels.

The official Saudi religion and the official religion of IS is Wahhabism. Qatar is the only other state to embrace Wahhabism, and that only in a more tolerant form.

Saudi Arabia has for decades tried to convert other peoples to Wahhabism. The have established many madrassas in many countries, with teachers ["talib": hence, "Taliban"'] expressly for that purpose.  The effort has been unsuccessful, because most people, if they have a choice, will not choose to be governed by Sharia, rigidly enforced.

There would be great trouble with the clergy in Saudi Arabia if it were to go to war agains a co-religionists, especially as IS is a jihad, carrying out one of  the duties of Muslims convert unbelievers, at the pint of gun if necessary.  For uses of "jihad", see Jihad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  The Islamic States takes the duty very seriously.  For the Saudi, millions of dollars have been pent to fund radical Salafi fighters in Syria, which is one reason Syria is such a mess.

Many people in the world believe that IS carries the duty to convert unbelievers too far:

The Arab Empire, 632-1258, was a golden age for Arabs and for the world.  Peoples from India to Spain came under Arab control and many converted to Islam.  The custom then was to force conversion under pain of death in both he Arab world an the Western world. For more on the Islamic Golden Aage see Islamic Golden Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥaytham (Arabic: أبو علي، الحسن بن الحسن بن الهيثم‎; c. 965 – c. 1040 ce) is the world's first scientist, the discovery of the scientific method that changed the world.  Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī played a significant role in the development of algebra, algorithms, and Hindu-Arabic numerals.

Girih tiles arranged inquasicrystal order, an example of the advancements during the Islamic Golden Age.  From Wikipedia. 
(Muslims and Christians alike are forbidden to erect graven images.  Muslims traditionally take the injunction seriously;  Christians . . . 


The first Saudi state was founded in 1725.  The US was founded 50 years later.  Saudi history is complex, and Islamic Scholars, particularly Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab and his descendants were central. 
Wahhabism is in its laws much like the Bible's Old Testament.  Many Christians believe that the Bible is the Inerrant Word of Almighty God, but most do not take the Old Testament laws seriously. 
Sharia, the Muslim Book of Laws, is similar to the Old Testament's laws and indeed much is derived from he Old Testament.  
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab and his followers insist that Sharia be fully and rigidly followed as it was when first formulated, so the situation is much as if Tennessee were to insist that the Old Testament laws were followed.   
If they were permitted, punishments would then include the stoning of rebellious children; enslavement of Mexicans and Canadians; stoning adulterers or throwing them off cliffs; hanging, whipping, and then crucifying the dead bodies of Gays; sequestering uunmarried women  and requiringthem to be fully covered in public; depriving women of education, work, driving licenses, voting rights, the right to own property; believing a fatwa that the sun goes around he earth, and many other things.  The Wahhabist belief is too easy to satirize; and dangerous.
And . . .

Syrian Salafi couple in Love

The human capacity to adjust to a variety of situations astounds me.

Jihadists by birth:

Take care whom you wish to kill.

[fn 1]  This blog frequently focuses on Sadi Arabia.  It is certainly the richest of Muslim counties, but its population and area are mall compare to other Muslim countries.  See  Muslim world - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Except for India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, China and Russia, the majority of the population in the following countries are Muslim.[74]
  • IndiaIndia171,012,000 (13.6%)
  • IranIran74,819,000 (99.6%)
  • IraqIraq31,108,000 (98.9%)
  • YemenYemen24,023,000 (99.0%)
  • SyriaSyria20,895,000 (92.8%)
  • NigerNiger15,627,000 (98.3%)
Muslims live in, but also have an official status in the following regions:
  • South Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and theMaldives
  • East Asia: parts of China (Ningxia)
The countries of Southwest Asia, and some in Northern and Northeastern Africa are considered part of the Greater Middle East. In ChechnyaDagestanKabardino-Balkaria,Karachay–CherkessiaIngushetiaTatarstanBashkortostanin Russia, Muslims are in the majority.

[fn. 2]  Al Jazeera is a Qatari publication, owned in part by former US Vice President Al Gore.  Qatar is one of three Wahhabist countries in the World:  Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State being the other two.

Al Jazzera
Arab coalition accused of war crimes in Yemen
Amnesty International seeks halt to arms transfers to coalition members, citing evidence of "unlawful air strikes".
07 Oct 2015 04:53 GMT | War & Conflict, Middle East, Yemen

The Houthi stronghold of Saudi has been hit hard during the conflict [File: Reuters]

Amnesty International has accused the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen of carrying out unlawful air strikes, some of which amount to war crimes.
The UK-based rights group on Wednesday called for the suspension of transfers of certain arms to members of the coalition, which launched an air campaign against Houthi rebels in March.
Amnesty said in a report that it had examined 13 deadly air strikes by the coalition, assembled by Saudi Arabia, that had killed about 100 civilians, including 59 children. 
"This report uncovers yet more evidence of unlawful air strikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, some of which amount to war crimes. It demonstrates in harrowing detail how crucial it is to stop arms being used to commit serious violations of this kind," said Amnesty's Donatella Rovera, who headed the group's fact-finding mission to Yemen.
"The USA and other states exporting weapons to any of the parties to the Yemen conflict have a responsibility to ensure that the arms transfers they authorize are not facilitating serious violations of international humanitarian law."
Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates are participating in the coalition.
Cluster bombs
Amnesty said its researchers had found remnants of two types of internationally banned cluster bombs as it investigated attacks on Saudi, a Houthi stronghold in northeastern Yemen.
Another rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, in August accused Saudi forces of using cluster bombs in Yemen.
The claim was then denied by a spokesman for the coalition. 
Saudi Arabia accused of cluster-bomb attacks in Yemen
Amnesty also said cases had been documented of civilians who were not directly participating in hostilities but were killed or injured while asleep or carrying out their daily activities.
It said that in at least four of the air strikes investigated, "Homes attacked were struck more than once, suggesting that they had been the intended targets despite no evidence they were being used for military purposes.”
Another Amnesty report, published in August, condemned both sides in the conflict over the killing of civilians.
Yemen's war pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces fighting on the side of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Arab coalition is seeking to reinstate Hadi and his government.
More than 2,300 civilians have been killed in the conflict since March, the UN Human Rights office said late September.
Pro-Houthi forces have been accused of indiscriminately shelling populated areas in violation of the laws of war, killing civilians.

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