July 27, 2006

Global Jihad


From CNN: Al Qaeda: War with Israel is 'jihad'.

Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."

In a taped message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahiri said the terrorist organization would not stand idly by while "these (Israeli) shells burn our brothers.

"All the world is a battlefield open in front of us," said the Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama bin Laden.

"The war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires ... . It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahiri said. "We will attack everywhere." Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims until they were driven from the country at the turn of the 16th century.

Al-Zawahiri declared that Arab regimes were complicit in Israeli fighting against Hezbollah and the Palestinians.

"My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but also complicit...and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on God and fight your enemies...make yourselves martyrs."

From AP: Iranian volunteers set off for Lebanon.

Surrounded by yellow Hezbollah flags, more than 60 Iranian volunteers set off Wednesday to join what they called a holy war against Israeli forces in Lebanon. ...

Iran says it will not send regular forces to aid Hezbollah, but apparently it will not attempt to stop volunteer guerrillas. Iran and Syria are Hezbollah's main sponsors. ...

"We are just the first wave of Islamic warriors from Iran," said Amir Jalilinejad, chairman of the Student Justice Movement, a nongovernment group that helped recruit the fighters. "More will come from here and other Muslim nations around the world. Hezbollah needs our help."

Military service is mandatory in Iran and nearly every man has at least some basic training. Some hard-liners have more extensive drills as members of the Basiji corps, a paramilitary network linked to the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Other volunteers, such as 72-year-old Hasan Honavi, have combat experience from the 1980-88 war with Iraq.

"God made this decision for me," said Honavi, a grandfather and one of the oldest volunteers. "I still have fight left in me for a holy war."

The group, chanting and marching in military-style formation, assembled Wednesday in a part of Tehran's main cemetery that is reserved for war dead and other "martyrs."

They prayed on Persian carpets and linked hands, with their shoes and bags piled alongside. Few had any battle-type gear and some arrived in dress shoes or plastic sandals.

Some bowed before a memorial to Hezbollah-linked suicide bombers who carried out the 1983 blast at Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. servicemen. An almost simultaneous bombing killed 56 French peacekeepers. ...

"We cannot stand by and watch out Hezbollah brothers fight alone," said Komeil Baradaran, a 21-year-old Basiji member. "If we are to die in Lebanon, then we will go to heaven. It is our duty as Muslims to fight."

From the New York Sun: An Explicit Debt by Daniel Johnson.

A second key similarity between today's Islamists and past Arab nationalists relates less to ideology than to geopolitics. Both movements are more or less openly imperialist. As the historian Efraim Karsh convincingly shows in his new book "Islamic Imperialism," the pursuit of empire has been a constant theme since the time of Muhammad.

Both Islamists and Arab nationalists, however, deploy anti-imperialist rhetoric against Israel and the West. Ayatollah Khomeini notoriously denounced America as "the Great Satan" while attempting to annex his neighbor, Iraq. The purpose of Osama bin Laden's jihad on behalf of "oppressed Muslims" is to subject them to a universal Caliphate. Even as Nasser dreamt of what John Dulles called "an empire stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean," the Egyptian dictator posed as the champion of the "non-aligned" nations, struggling against European colonialism and superpower hegemony.

Posted by Forkum at July 27, 2006 04:54 PM