Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Terror Web

The New Yorker

A tip of the hat to Horace Jeffery Hodges for the link.

Here is an excerpt:

Al Andalus is the Arabic name for the portion of Spain that fell to Muslim armies after the invasion by the Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711. It includes not only the southern region of Andalusia, but most of the Iberian Peninsula. For the next eight hundred years, Al Andalus remained in Islamic hands. “You know of the Spanish crusade against Muslims, and that not much time has passed since the expulsion from Al Andalus and the tribunals of the Inquisition,” Fakhet says on the tape. He is referring to 1492, when Ferdinand and Isabella completed the reconquest of Spain, forcing Jews and Muslims to convert to Catholicism or leave the Iberian Peninsula. “Blood for blood!” he shouts. “Destruction for destruction!”

Were these the true goals of Al Qaeda? Were the besieged terrorists in Leganés simply struggling to get Spain out of Iraq, or were they also battling to regain the lost colonies of Islam? In other words, were these terrorists who might respond to negotiation or appeasement, or were they soldiers in a religious fight to the finish that had merely been paused for five hundred years?

Less than a month after 9/11, Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, had appeared on Al Jazeera. “We will not accept that the tragedy of Al Andalus will be repeated in Palestine,” Zawahiri said, drawing an analogy between the expulsion of the Moors from Iberia and the present-day plight of the Palestinians. The use of the archaic name Al Andalus left most Spaniards nonplussed. “We took it as a folkloric thing,” Ramón Pérez-Maura, an editor at ABC, told me. “We probably actually laughed.” This January, bin Laden issued a “Message to the Muslim People,” which was broadcast on Al Jazeera. He lamented the decline of the Islamic world: “It is enough to know that the economy of all Arab countries is weaker than the economy of one country that had once been part of our world when we used to truly adhere to Islam. That country is the lost Al Andalus.”


BV Comments: Those who think that people are basically the same everywhere should think again. As you can see above, the Islamo-terrorists are still smarting over the expulsion of Muslims from the Iberian peninsula over 500 years ago! These fanatics, wallowing in ressentiment, take a decidely long view of things. We Americans, by contrast, tend to think that "History is bunk" (Henry Ford)in the sense that what matters are not events in the distant past, but the present and what we can do in the present to influence the future. This is reflected in the American English slang phrase, 'He/she/it is history,' meaning something like, 'He/she/it no longer matters.'