Saturday, July 24, 2004

Here's Your Arab "Solidarity"

Guess who the latest victim of the murderous thugs "resistance fighters" happens to be?

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 23 - For the first time in the conflict in Iraq, insurgents here have kidnapped a diplomat, identified Friday as the third-ranking official at the Egyptian Embassy here, in a continuing spate of abductions aimed at American allies and nations that might assist the new interim Iraqi government.

Kidnappers here have apparently been emboldened by the Philippine government's decision to withdraw its 51 troops in Iraq in exchange for the life of a Filipino truck driver. Two days after the final Filipino soldier left on Monday, insurgents kidnapped seven more truck drivers - three from Kenya, three from India and one from Egypt - and threatened to behead one every three days unless their demands were met.

On Friday, the Arab news channel Al Jazeera showed a man identified as Muhammad Mamdouh Qutb, of the Egyptian Embassy here, seated in a chair before six men dressed in black, at least one of them armed, with white headbands. The kidnappers, calling themselves the Lions of God Battalions in Iraq, demanded that Egyptians not assist American forces in Iraq.

Earlier this week, the new Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, met in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Nazif, who said his country would help Iraq combat terrorism and asked in return that Egyptian companies be allowed to pay a role in reconstructing Iraq.

Al Jazeera reported that Mr. Qutb's kidnappers said in a videotape, "The abduction was in response to comments by Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif that Egypt is ready to offer its security experience to the temporary Iraqi government."

[............]

The issue of hostage taking, as well as beheading, has divided the many groups opposing the American military presence in Iraq, with several that have encouraged resistance against the Americans drawing the line at taking and killing hostages.

On Friday, the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who lead an uprising against American forces in April, rejected beheading hostages as a tactic of resistance. "We denounce those who decapitate prisoners," Mr. Sadr said at the main mosque in Kufa, south of Baghdad. "Islamic law does not permit them to do this, and anyone who does can be counted a criminal and be punished if seized."

It was the first time in two months that Mr. Sadr, who had gone into hiding to escape arrest by American troops, had delivered one of his usually fiery sermons in public, and his appearance seemed to underscore the shifting political ground in Iraq as the new government seeks to contain the violence here. (emphasis added)
I said Gloria "Idiot" Arroyo's craven attitude would be paid for in the blood of far many more men than the one she saved, and how true that is proving to be already! Al Jazeera has had a grand old time portraying these bloodthirsty brutes as if they were merely noble Arabs resisting Western imperialists, so it'll be interesting to see how they play up this latest kidnapping. One good thing that will come of America's handing over the reigns to the Iraqis is that there'll no longer be half as much room for Arab propaganda channels like Al Jazeera to continue to spill their bile without having some of it splash on their very own viewers.

I think it's really telling that Moqtada al Sadr, of all people, has come out publicly to condemn the kidnappings and beheadings that are taking place. The NYT reporter interprets it as mere political posturing, but I think there's more to it than that. This insurgency is looking more and more like an attempt by the Sunni minority to obtain by force what it could never have under a democratic government, namely a monopoly on power to which it feels entitled by right, having enjoyed it for so long without interruption.