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Confronting the Wahhabis

By Stephen Schwartz - December 19, 2006 12:00 AM

"The dogs bark, the caravan moves on."

That Middle Eastern proverb could well describe the events surrounding production of the world's most-hyped dud firecracker, the Iraq Study Group Report. After immense agonies in the mainstream media (MSM), those like myself who predicted the report, once released, would largely be ignored by President George W. Bush, are being proven right and neoconservatives who support a continued commitment to the transformation of Iraq have exhibited renewed influence.

Only a couple of lines in the report were worthy of comment. One appears on page 29 of the printed version: "Funding for the Sunni insurgency (sic) comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia." This was the first time anybody connected to the U.S. government acknowledged something known throughout the Muslim world. That is, Sunni terrorism in Iraq is not an insurgency, but an invasion; the "foreign fighters" are mainly Saudi, as revealed when their deaths are covered in Saudi media, replete with photographs of the "martyrs."

But this obscure comment was overlooked by most of the MSM, which is also befuddled by the recent sudden departure of Ambassador Turki al-Faisal from his post in the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington. The MSM and a large part of the American government scratch their heads, barely capable of imagining that the revelation of the Saudi financing of Sunni terrorists in Iraq and the resignation of the kingdom's man in the U.S. would have anything in common.

Yet they are linked. Liberal reformers in the milieu of Saudi King Abdullah point out that Abdullah has called for an end to sectarian fighting in Iraq and has demanded that Shia Muslims no longer be called unbelievers by the Wahhabi clerics that still function, unfortunately, as the official interpreters of Islam in the Saudi kingdom. Abdullah has promised to spend $450 million on an ultra-modern security fence along the Saudi-Iraqi border. Ambassador Turki, it is said, supports Abdullah in these worthy goals.

But King Abdullah and the overwhelming Saudi majority, who want to live in a normal country, are opposed by the Wahhabi-line faction in the royal family. The pro-Wahhabi clique is led by three individuals: Prince Sultan Ibn Abd al-Aziz, minister of defense; Prince Bandar, predecessor of Turki as ambassador to Washington; and Sultan's brother, Prince Nayef. Nayef is notorious for having been the first prominent figure in the Muslim world to try to blame the atrocities of September 11, 2001 on Israel. He is deeply feared both inside and outside Saudi Arabia for his extremism.

Saudi sources indicate that King Abdullah is assembling his forces for a decisive confrontation with the reactionaries. Part of the Wahhabi-line strategy is to depict a U.S. leadership in conflict with King Abdullah, to undermine the monarch's credibility. That is why different versions of a meeting between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and King Abdullah, late last month, circulate in the MSM and the blogosphere.

According to credible reports, Cheney urged Abdullah to stiffen action against Saudi-Wahhabi involvement in the Iraqi bloodletting. According to unreliable gadflies, King Abdullah commanded Cheney's presence, to demand that the U.S. immediately attack Iran. But the claim that King Abdullah summoned and berated Cheney does not ring true. King Abdullah is too polite, and Cheney does not take such orders, according to those who know both men.

Many leading clerics and intellectuals among Sunni Muslims indicate that King Abdullah has effectively told the Wahhabis that they will no longer receive official subsidies, and must end their violent jihad around the world. The greatest impact of this development may be seen in Iraq, but Wahhabis everywhere have begun to worry about their future. In a totalitarian system like Wahhabism, the weakest links snap first. And the beginning of the end for them may now be visible in the Muslim Balkans.

That the crisis of Wahhabi credibility would become manifest simultaneously in Washington, Baghdad, and Sarajevo might seem counter-intuitive to many Westerners, especially given that the former Yugoslavia is considered by foreigners to be marginal and insignificant. But for those who know the Islamic world, it makes perfect sense. The Saudis have tried for almost 15 years to use the difficulties of Bosnian and other local Islamic folk to drive the Balkan Muslims away from their traditional, spiritual, and peaceful form of Islam into Wahhabi radicalism. But Wahhabi agitators who went to ex-Yugoslavia to sow discord and reap recruits for terror have begun to show deep anxiety about the loss of their Saudi support, and now act in an ever more provocative and aggressive manner.

For their part, the Balkan Muslims are demonstrating an attitude of disgust and repudiation toward their alleged Saudi patrons, such that the Muslim Balkans may become the first "Wahhabi-free zone" in the global Islamic community, or umma. Months ago, Bosnian chief Islamic cleric Mustafa Ceric issued a document readable here, stating, "the most perilous force destabilizing the umma presently is from the inside." The Bosnians, according to Ceric, are "determined in [their] intention to protect the originality of the centuries-long tradition of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina."

In October 2006, imam Dzemo Redzematovic, leader of the Slavic Muslim minority in newly-independent Montenegro denounced the Wahhabis for "introducing a new approach to Islamic rules [that] is unnecessary and negative because it creates a rift among the believers" and "claims some exclusive right to interpret Islamic rules."

The Wahhabis had lost their chance in Bosnia-Hercegovina but were under close scrutiny in Montenegro. They were also active over the border, in southern Serbia. On November 3, as described here, a group of fanatics disrupted Friday prayers at a mosque in the town of Novipazar, assailing the imam for refusing to follow their "guidance." In the ensuing affray, two local Muslims allegedly replaced "the weapons of criticism" with "the criticism of weapons," and the Wahhabis were met with gunfire. Iraq, it seemed, had come to ex-Yugoslavia.

I was in Sarajevo when this incident occurred, and the outrage of the local Muslims against the Wahhabi interlopers was palpable then and has grown more aggravated since. Bosnian Muslim intellectuals became more militant in their anti-Wahhabi idiom. On November 18, a distinguished professor of Arabic at the University of Sarajevo, Esad Durakovic, wrote, "The snowball called Wahhabism has been rolling down the Bosnian hill, but it is still not certain which side is going to be struck by the avalanche.... Wahhabi efforts are extremely decisive and resolute... the response has to be more appropriate and urgent... Wahhabis are wrong when they think that they can act as a Taliban in Europe (just as they are wrong about everything else)... We have to act immediately." (translation here)

A week later, on November 25, Professor Resid Hafizovic of the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo was even bolder. An outstanding Balkan scholar of Sufism or Islamic spirituality, Hafizovic dramatically warned, "They Are Coming for Our Children." He accused the Wahhabis forthrightly:

"They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, medresas, and academia, everywhere."

Hafizovic identified the Wahhabi trail of blood traced through the past decade "Recognizing it as a continuation of the inferno in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Palestine, the most powerful civil and religious authorities... should immediately take responsibility for preventing the hell Wahhabis are constructing in this country."

Questioned on Bosnian television about the country's receipt of aid from Saudi Arabia during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, Hafizovic said: "I would be very pleased if a full stop were put once and for all to the talk of the great and fabulous aid that Saudi Arabia has given [us]... Because we have to pay. The Saudis and their envoys keep asking us to pay... the price is such that we have to sell our people, our religion, our 500 years of religious and cultural tradition and legacy. And this is precisely what they want: our minds, our hearts, our souls... Let us put an end to this story once and for all and say: Dear [Saudi] gentlemen, if you keep rubbing our noses in the aid - and you are - we will give it back to you." Hafizovic and other Bosnian Muslim clerics and intellectuals call Wahhabism a virus.

Given these developments, global eradication of the Wahhabi virus may be in sight.

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27 Comments

contra Wahhabis
This will be an amusing kind of irony and very humiliating for euroland liberals who don't even have the backbone to fight for their survival, that it might turn out to be these jugo-muslims that fight back against the crappy wahabis. And it might also turn out to be that in the US the ones who fight back, might be the ones liberals mock so much, the christian fundamentalists.

Hope this is right
I hope this is right. I have often thought until the Saudis reign in the fanatics this will continue. Better to use a anti-biotic than to use surgery...

NeoCons Are No Different Than The Wahhabis - Both Should Die Out Together
You NeoCons are just as rigid and fundamentalist in a sick, violent way, as Wahhabis practicioners. Both of you are dinosaurs and I can't tell that Wahhabis are any worse than you sicko's. You support a racist/religious war in Iraq and Afghanistan and you're cowards who won't fight in the war yourself but send young and dumb American small-town rednecks to fight for your racism and die for it. No different than the Saudi's sending young fundamentalists to die for their racist/religious war, is it?

You're both older citizens and already dead in the head and the heart; scrambling for fresh plastic toys so you can take it home and "snort" it, in the privacy of your own self-maintained jail-cell (home).

Drug addicts (prescription tranqs and booze and sick religion) and perverts who get off on the pain that our children must endure, 80,000 coming home with life-altering wounds, many of which are vegetables from severe brain damage. I know of a couple of ex-Soldiers already in this small town I just moved to in Hawaii. Both gunshot wounds to the head; their lives virtually over, though their bodies are still young. And you NeoCons turn your backs on these young soldiers-turned vegetables, once they are back "home" they have a hard time paying their medical bills and who is going to take care of them for their rest of their lives?? Not you phoney Patriot NeoCons, that's for sure.

Their lives were demanded by you NeoCon cannibals and your worship of religious/race wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You took their lives for your self-hatred.

Shame on your fake Libertarians and NeoCons. Neither are patriots; you're all cowards who sacrifice our children for your race hatred and self-hatred and phone Patriotism.

Cowards.

Shameful cowards.

Since Baker, Clinton, Bush Sr, Wilson, etc were all in the pay of the Saudis
Its doubtful that any real challenge will be mounted to the Saudis for their bahavior. One wonders how many legal firms, lobbyists and our politicians are in the pay of the shieks.

Loon Alert!
What disordered prose, excessive metaphors, trite and blovial.

Aren't you being generous Superheater?
Its as if all the Left's castrati decided to demonstrate at once why they cannot sing baritone.

We could save ourselves a lot of grief
We liberated Granada from the Cubans.
We liberated Panama from Noriega.
We liberated Kuwait from Saddam.
We liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban.
We liberated Iraq from Saddam.

We could save ourselves a lot of grief if we would liberate Saudi Arabia.

Deranged
This person pops up to utter some mentally ill stuff about us all being racists and then vanishes again. He is not worthy of reply and I think he is a fake. Nobody can really think like that can they?

There may be another reason why we treat the Saudis with kid gloves
The Saudis produced enough oil in the 1980's to drive the world price below the cost of production of oil in the USSR. The resulting loss of foreign earnings was a major contributing factor to the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Did the Saudis just decide to do this on their own? I doubt it, but we'll probably never know for sure.

The Saudi's are doing it their way
You didn't get the point that the new king does not care much for the Wahhabis?

And this king was in charge of the real security forces before he became king. The ones trained by Blackwater, I think.

Saudi Arabia is not a monolith anymore than is the USA.

So we help our friends and try to lessen the influences of our enemies.

It could be a postive sign that the religious police must have civil police escort to protect them from the people.

And that was the best part of this crap
Christmas-time must be giving you some serious feelings of good will. This guys is a lying (never server and never left his basement), racist (or worse, if you don't agree with him you are a racist; that is just pure hatred of everything, probably even self) nutcase. Bugboy needs to find a hobby; one that is less irritating and more constructive.

Shunning
It is time to return to this practice.

Good point
But this was under the dead king and it is questionable whethr the Saudis would cooperate with us again unless their interests were threatened directly.

Interesting observation
I also noted that the current director of the military and the current director of the National Guard are both whabbis. If I had to bet who controlled the country I know which way I'd bet.

agreed

Consider recent history....
The House of Saud saved our assess in 1945 by meeting with FDR and agreeing to fuel the United States in return for military protection. The Allied invasion of North Africa and europe and the island hopping campaign in the Pacific may have been the greatest mechanized mobilization of human history and, amongst other factors, became a race to win the war before running out of oil. Whoever ran out of oil first was guaranteed to lose the war. A very simple calculus. While other arab shiekdoms made deals with the Axis powers, King Abd al Aziz, made a deal with us. It's very possible that implementation of the Marshal Plan could not have been possible without Saudi oil. For a snapshot see:

http://149.48.228.121/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saud/cron/

All treaties will eventually be broken, but since FDR, all U.S. presidents have mostly supported the agreement. That Wahhibism is still influential is a disgrace and is the anti-thesist of progressive society and civilization.

You overestimate Moslem oil production in history
Middle Eastern oil didn't significantly impact the world till the 1970s. In WWII the world's major oil producer was the US. Consider that the Gulf States sit on probably 25% of the world's oil reserves and have a population of perhaps 10 million people depending on how you define the areas. Its amazing that the world is willing to defer to a bunch of sheiks when it was Western money that developed the regions oil and brought the area out of the 14th century.

The Saudis are realists and believe they can buy not only influence but control. They have demonstratedthis with the US government.

All may be true, but...
we still needed more oil to win the war and we certainly could not allow the enemy have it.

WWII was about oil
To a great degree the Axis strategy was dictated by the lack of oil. If the Germans had access to the Caucasus and Middle East's oil they probably could have won if the US had not entered into the war. Oil is a mighty strategic concern and it is the weakness of some of our foes.

Open your eyes people.
Look as much as I like and respect the author the premise of this article is ridiculous.
Not that the Wahhabi idology is not evil it certainly is but Islam as a whole is an evil ideology pure and simple.
This is just one bad apple in a completely rotten barrel.
Islam is a religion of violence intimidation and death for non believers and even moderate believers.

This doesn’t mean there are not a few peaceful practitioners in the world.
I have no doubt the author would be a fine neighbor and good friend.
There were plenty of communists that never sent anyone to the gulag but it didn’t make their ideology any less evil.
There is no difference here.
Where ever you have Muslims in a large enough quantity you have the standard Muslim whacko behavior.
The more Muslims you gather the more likely someone is going to start a riot, blow up something, subjugate women, or kill scores of innocents because Allah told them too.
It is not a case of if it will happen only when it will happen.
It makes no difference which strain they happen to be.
Were all the cartoon rioters Wahhabis?
It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or a moderate Muslim you both are just as dead in the end.

Look at any country that has a majority of Muslims and or a Muslim government.
The list runs from kind of crappy to absolute hell on earth.
I’d like to believe as much as the author that the trouble with Islam stems from the Wahhabi pox but this is simply not the case.
The empirical evidence to the contrary is staggering.

Look at the Iranian president/nut job.
He is not a Wahhabi.
Does any thinking being need an explaination of how evil he is?
So what is the author’s excuse/reasoning for this vermin?
Another anomilty I suppose maybe he is a closet Wahhabi?

Islam is antithetical to freedom and peace.
Muslims by the millions wish death and distruction for the west.
What could be more clear?
Look around the world at the endless examples.
Ye shall know a tree by its fruit.
Anyone that thinks that fellow Muslims will regin in the loonies of Islam is beyond naïve.
The author is blinded by his ideology so I understand his blindness.
What in blazes is wrong with the rest of you?
It is astounding that people will buy this nonsense.

Islam does mean 'submit'
"Islam is antithetical to freedom and peace."

As Adam and Eve demonstrated, humans do not easily submit.

The message, as I understand it, from Christ is that He wants you to submit to God, but He won't force you.

The point of the exercise is to develop faith and faith cannot be forced.

And as a side, a libertarian form of government using a very limited force is most desired. Volunteers are preferred over conscripts.

Islam is a mechanism to govern...
Islam was historically an extremely effective tool in the hands of central governments to further their sovereign interests militarily.

However, since 1991 we have been in a Post Imperialist Era whereby military hegemony has been declared moot as an option. Islam as a mechanism to mobilize a society to wage war is simply anachronistic.

Christianity caught onto this reality 60 years ago and started transitioning itself into more of a moral commentator regarding governments rather than to be employed as a tool by any government to manage the behavior of its citizens.

The "religion" of Communism started that same shift away from Continuous Revolution motivating society. Russia and China already enjoy one-party republics (Russian democracy is a total sham and China is not even pretending) with market driven financial capitalism and moderate socialistic principles now only guiding the dialogue.

Islam will make a similar adjustment because Islam has no choice. Such sovereign states that make the mistake of over-reaching militarily will have the bejesus pounded out of them. And they sincerely know it. I don't think we have a long term problem with Iraq or Afghanistan, now. Iran and Saudi Arabia will either stop wasting their working capital on this foolishness sooner, they might run out of money if they wait until later or they could make a fatal mistake. In any case, this too shall pass. Because the military imperialism game is over. It has only been 15 years. We are still mopping up after winning the Cold War.

The War on Terror is like the War on Drugs. We might also declare a War on Stupidity. But at some point we run up against the limits of human biology. We need to get used to some noise level of anarchy and some amount of drug abuse. There will always be hustlers, thieves, rapists and killers too. And drunk drivers after midnight on the weekends. We need to protect our families.

I hope this author is right, but this seems optimistic to me
Clearly the Wahabbi poisoners hope to lead Islam toward a full scale hot war with Western Liberalism (in the Jeffersonian sense, not in the Kerry/Kennedy sense). I hope they will be driven back by saner voices in the Muslim world; but that outcome seems doubtful to me.

It will be enough if the Saudi Royals understand that they may buy some of our leaders, but they can't buy the mass of us, and our leaders will come around if push comes to shove.

Capital Idea
If Schwartz can use his powers of dialectical persuasion to prevail upon Cuba to invade Arabia ,displacing Fidel's folk would be a Grenadan cakewalk, and we could use a cakewalk about now

"get used to some noise level of anarchy "
How loud is a nuclear detonation, or release of small pox, or worse?

Marjon...
Merry Christmas!

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