Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Revenge of the Mahdi

The latest article by's Justin Raimondo discusses an important issue: the timing of Islamic terrorist attacks. Starting of from the information that a captured al Qaeda "operative, described as 'credible' by British intelligence, told his debriefers that the attack would take place '60 days before the presidential election' on Nov. 2," Raimondo proceeds:
No one doubts for a moment the willingness or ability of the War Party to manipulate public opinion in an election season by ratcheting up its system of color-coded terror alerts. But seeing everything through this particular prism is typical Western "it's all about me" narcissism. It is blind to the reality that some people are not entirely focused on American politics, and that the terrorists come from a different mindset – one which recalls a long history of grievances against the West.

Al Qaeda is the spearhead of a movement that is still seething about the Muslims' loss of Spain, which Bin Laden refers to as "the tragedy of Andalusia." It is reactionary in the essential meaning of that much overused term: Bin Laden seeks vengeance for wrongs that, to any Westerner, seem ancient, and laughably archaic. We are faced with an invasion from the past, as 12th century Islamist warriors utilize 21st century technology to devastate the symbols of modernity.

The image of George W. Bush addressing the Republican national convention on Sept. 2, just as a few more "iconic" American buildings go up in flames, is more fodder for the kneejerk scoffers, who see everything in terms of the election. But that date has significance other than in terms of American politics: September 2 is also the 106th anniversary of the Battle of Omdurman, which marked the triumph of the British in the Sudan over an army of Islamic fundamentalists known as Mahdists. It is an anniversary fraught with significance for Osama bin Laden and his followers worldwide: the history behind it illustrates both the nature of the threat we face and the inability of the U.S. to effectively confront it.

Raimondo proceeds to inform us that:

The popular idea that the 9/11 date was chosen because "911" is the common U.S. emergency response number is typical of the ethnocentric mindset of Western universalists. That it is also the anniversary of the day Britain seized Palestine, in 1922, with the complicity of the League of Nations, would seem a bit more relevant. Anniversaries are a big deal to these fighters for antiquity: the August 7, 1998 simultaneous bombing of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya took place on the eighth anniversary of the entry of foreign troops onto Saudi soil. With targets in Britain as well as the U.S. apparently in Al Qaeda's sights, the September 2 date follows a similar pattern.

Come to think of it, forces willing to change the course of history to fit their nationalist and irredentist goals have been at work elsewhere, notably in the Balkans. All who wish to understand these movements may benefit from reading this article.

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