April 25, 2009
Show Me the MullahBy Ed Thomas
I am struck by the lack of coverage in the media of the obvious beneficiary of the rise in Somali piracy. Let's just ask the question; who stands to gain from this phenomenon? It's pretty simple really. The piracy in the northern Indian Ocean raises large sums of money for fundamentalist Mullahs and puts a big hurt on Suez Canal traffic.
This piracy is a de facto extension of the strategy behind the assassination of Anwar Sadat and busloads of foreign tourists. This is an attack on world trade and the civilian government of a sovereign nation by a coordinated front of fanatic extremists. Who benefits?
B. Al Qaeda
D. Egyptian fundamentalist revolutionaries
The answer, of course, is E. All the above.
The Somali pirates have been painted as simple folks just out to make a few bucks to put shoes on their kids' feet. True, there are few better jobs available locally. But it has always been true that the chumps that go down to the sea in ships only get a fraction of the dough. The rest goes to the big boys.
In an a recent television interview I saw one of the successful pirates bemoan through his veil the fact that his safety and fortune were under constant attack by all and sundry, and that anybody that has profited from his trade might be killed by his own brother to get at the loot. Life in an impoverished and lawless land produces recruits for martyrdom. This is a variation on the martyr/suckers that the power brokers have hoodwinked elsewhere to perform the ultimate act of piety, i.e. killing foreign Infidels and/or Muslim civilians as they go about their everyday lives.
This piracy is a growing segment in a huge network that is relentlessly attacking the modern world. There must be some attraction to living in the Middle Ages that continues to elude me. My personal tastes abhor an authoritarian world in which blind faith trumps modern concepts of civil liberties, a world in which misogynistic concepts triumph over decency and respect, not to mention all power to the Fundamentalist Mullahs. O.K., O.K. I even like women that are smart, independent, and sassy.
Christianity has more than a few skeletons in its closet. The counter attack of the Crusaders against Muslim domination and expansion mostly defined the elusive frontier that still divides Christendom and the Islamic world. Let's conveniently forget that both religions were still pretty young and rambunctious. It was another saga in world history that was written in oceans of blood. I postulate that if Americans and Japanese can sit down and enjoy a meal of sushi and beer so soon after the unbelievable savagery that we so relentlessly and lately visited on each other, then it is not too soon for western culture and the tribes of Muhammad to break bread instead of heads.
Let's cut to the chase and the quick with a single stroke. Forces within the Arab world are seriously unhappy with pragmatic Egyptian leaders who are willing to deal with Israel as a sovereign State and live and let live. These same Egyptians are also willing to let their beliefs live side-by-side in harmony with the West. If more of the Middle East adopts the heretical path of peaceful coexistence that Egypt, Turkey, and reluctantly, a few other States have taken, then there exists a state of civil war within the Grand Sultanate. If Egypt and the other more reasonable forces are allowed to persist in their path of heresy then others might see the benefits of peace, prosperity, and co-existence. Guess who that pisses off?
As to the pawns of piracy and their relentless attacks on commerce on the high seas, it seems as though the world wants to treat them like all the other afflicted victims of modern times. The normal procedure is to rename the principals with politically correct sobriquets and dither incessantly and ineffectively on the misfortunes that others have forced upon them.
This piracy is more than simply a revenue stream. Do not underestimate the malignant intelligence and resourcefulness of the radical hierarchy. It is a perfect marriage between political goals and a flotilla comitatus fund-raiser. The crews are out for the money themselves, to be sure, but they act as privateers for the jihadi movement. If we can grasp that the pirates are minions of a sinister cartel out to sink the Egyptian government specifically and countries that allow progress, modernity, and the rule of internationally accepted law generally, then something other than the current catch and release foolishness must be done.
Egypt needs those canal revenues and the benefits of being a regional center for trade. Other primary targets are the more progressive governments of the Middle East, with Western interests as secondary targets. We must avoid fighting the enemies involved here on the terms and ground of their choosing and definition. The governments of the region that are the real targets must step up to the plate instead of using the military forces of the west as their proxies. This puts the real stakeholders in the field, (with our backing), to protect our mutual self interest.
If we can break this daisy chain of being a wicked terrorist piñata, wracked with western guilt, and quit being suckered into being the Great Satan, we could be an honest ally to our deserving regional friends, then we will have made much progress. The pirates are an enemy flotilla and must be treated as such. Keelhaul ‘em!