The Washington Post should be registered under FARA

"…it is becoming evident that Mr. Erdogan's commitment to democratic principles and Western values is far from complete. As Turkey's prospects of joining the European Union have dimmed, the government's foreign policy has taken a nasty turn: Shrill denunciations of Israel have been accompanied by increasing coziness with the criminal rulers of Iran, Syria and Sudan."  Washpost editorial


It should be well established here now that I do not favor any US alliances with political Islamists.  They always seek to disguise their ultimate goals which are:

1- Establish a sharia law state.

2- Retain power at all costs

For Islamists all else is mere tactical maneuver.

Having said that, it is nevertheless clear that today's lead Washington Post editorial is a clumsy expression of neocon and Likudnik displeasure with Turkey's rather minimal show of independence of Israeli influence.

"Shrill denunciations of Israel have been accompanied by increasing coziness with the criminal rulers of Iran, Syria and Sudan"

The first underlined phrase reveals the true nature of the Post editorial page's displeasure.

The inclusion of the present Syrian government in this list of "bad boys" is particularly revealing.  Bashar Assad may be a lot of things, but "criminal" is a charge unproven.  In fact, he has consistently tried to follow a course leading to peace with Israel.  That attempt has been obstructed by both the US and Israeli governments.  A description of Bashar Assad as a "criminal" is an unproven act of libel by what has become an editorial page devoted to foreign interests.  pl

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39 Responses to The Washington Post should be registered under FARA

  1. JohnH says:

    Two of the “bad boys” just happen to be neighbors of Turkey. Of course, the US doesn’t care a whit about regional problems. But Turkey does. And it can’t really address regional water and demographic problems (Kurds) without talking to it neighbors.
    Unless the US starts to play a constructive role in the region, someone will inevitably step into the breach. In this case, it is Turkey.
    Israel should follow Turkey’s example, instead of vilifying them for their good neighbor policies.

  2. RAISER William says:

    Good comment on the Post article. Too bad your reasoned response doesn’t receive wider circulation.

  3. Patrick Lang says:

    William Raiser
    The right people read it. pl

  4. The Washington Post?
    This would mean Eugene Meyer:
    “Months later in 1933 he bought the Washington Post at a bankruptcy auction, the paper having been ruined by its spendthrift socialite owner, Ned McLean. Over the next twenty years, Meyer spent millions of dollars of his own money to keep the money-losing paper in business, while focusing on improving its quality; by the 1950s, it was finally consistently profitable and was increasingly recognized for good reporting and important editorials. As publisher, Meyer occasionally contributed to stories: his friendship with the British Ambassador, Lord Lothian, led to a Washington Post scoop on reporting of Edward VIII’s relationship with Wallis Simpson.”
    Note the references to the Lazard banking concern (“After college, Meyer went to work for Lazard Freres, where his father was a partner) and his chairmanship of the US Fed not to mention his close ties to the British (through Lazard etc)…and so on.
    Any wonder the Post puffed Tony Blair and New Labour not to mention its supporting Neoconism and the war in Iraq???
    US foreign policy in the Middle East must take into account Turkey, the Arab States, Iran, and Israel and find the proper balance to protect US interests.
    The Post would have the US operate on the basis of an Israel-centric foreign policy. Eugene Meyer would no doubt be pleased…

  5. Lysander says:

    Erdogan may personally be an “Islamist,” but the quandary for neocon thinkers goes well beyond that. The fact of the matter is, the interests of Turkey and those of Israel are no longer in alignment.
    After the Iraq war and the creation of a Kurdish semi-state, Turkey has taken a hit. Israel may view Kurdistan as a potential ally against Arabs, Iran or whatever, but Turkey views it as a threat to itself.
    Second, Iran and Turkey are not natural enemies. They have no territorial dispute and have not been at war in living memory. Iran has the natural gas Turkey needs and is a market for its goods. Win Win all around. And they both dislike the idea a Kurdish state.
    Add to that the war in Gaza and you get a Turkish public that is not happy with Israel at all.
    None of that will not change even if a military government takes over in Ankara.
    Now there is no advantage for Turkey in open hostility with Israel, but neither is the peas in a pod relationship neocons had assumed would exist forever.

  6. Jackie says:

    I agree that the Post should be registered under FARA. They rarely editorialize about what the U.S. needs. And frequently editorialize about what some other country would like us to do.

  7. Phil Giraldi says:

    Excellent commentary Colonel Lang. I read the same piece this morning and had the same reaction. When Erdogan had his encounter with Peres over the carnage in Gaza it was inevitable that we would soon be learning from our media that there is something wrong with Turkey. Sadly, for Fred Hiatt at the WP all US foreign policy revolves around Israel.

  8. The decline of WAPO and the quality decline of its PUNDITs continues to exasperate me. Over 70% of all WAPO revenues come from KAPLAN, now with a profit making Univeristy [a contradiction in terms IMO] and price gouging anxious students trying to ratchet up everything from their SATs to LSATs, and GREs! Too bad since once a great newspaper. I always liked the Evening Star even when delivering both that newspaper and WAPO on same day one AM and one PM! Paid for first year of college with the revenue as paper boy. Notice how seldom you see a bio of their pundits or what orgs they belong to or religious affiliation?

  9. N. M. Salamon says:

    I try to read newspapers and magazines from around the world [unfortuately english only] and the only paper which is worse than WAPO is the National in Canada, importing all USA neocons and add the local pro-israeli op-eds, in it the well being of the avarage Canadian is hardly noted!
    The Colonels analysis is very good on this issue!

  10. mo says:

    Political Islamists?
    Are not all devout Muslims “political” by default? And therefore is the suggestion that a devout Muslim should not become involved in politics lest the US break an alliance?
    Sharia law is the law of Islam and Muslims. I do not believe it is currently practiced properly in any Muslim country but having said that, if a political group wishes to establish Sharia and needs to disguise that intention, then it follows that the people do not want it.
    But if we are talking about the Muslim world, I would beg to differ with the “retain power at all costs” label – Hamas, Hizballah, the Brotherhood and Turkey’s the Justice and Development Party have all participated peacefully and legally in democratic elections and all have been on the receiving end of those actually wishing to retain power at all costs. Only in Iran can one actually point to “political Islamists” resorting to actions that can be described as retaining power at all costs.
    Ben Ali, Bouteflika, Mubarak, the Assads, the various Royal families of the Gulf, Gaddafi, the Hashemites, Suharto, Saddam – All of the above have carried out acts of various despicable and criminal nature in order to retain power at all costs and all of the above are as far from being Islamist as it is for someone born a Muslim. It may be redundant to say so, but all are now or have once been allies of the US. Are these the leaders you would really prefer us to live under?

  11. Patrick Lang says:

    Whoa! “Political Islamist” is FB Ali’s term. Go argue with him. I don’t like anyone who wants to create a theocracy. If that includes you, so be it. pl

  12. mo says:

    No argument Colonel, just my belief that the the word political is redundant.
    I don’t want a theocracy anywhere and especially not where I live – Political leaders need to understand people more than religion. If that leader happens to be learned in religion, thats fine but that should never be the defining factor as it is in Iran – And Sharia or not, I think Islam and Muslims, historically speaking, are on our side in that.
    I was merely pointing out that that its the non-Islamists that have proved themselves most eager to hold onto power at any costs in the Islamic world.

  13. Jackie says:

    What about the Catholic heiracy in this country trying to influence the health care debate, or any debate in this country? I’m not trying to be imprudent, it is the faith of my birth, but hasn’t been for a long time.

  14. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    The USG should be registered under FARA, as Americans are increasingly conned. For more info, see the Pentagon as well as DOJ, although I must confess the DC order of the COIF crowd on the taxpayers’ payroll has shown a little get up and go lately.
    That’s COIF, by the way, not COIN,. Different consonants in play, although I think in Georgetown, there is a constant mix of the COIF and COIN crowds. (At least to me, Fran Townsend, former DOJ, comes across as someone who was saw herself as well-coifed, and…who knows… she probably was well-coined in her day too, no?)
    Actually, it’s neo-COIF, neo-COIN, and neo-con, as in con the American people. May as well throw in the self-congratulatory Congress in the Georgetown con mix as well. But, at some point, Americans need to concede that they are responsible for this absurd connivance and conceit. Become less confused and take control. Start becoming a bit more conscious and, consequently, act with more conviction during these times of being increasingly conned.

  15. Kunuri says:

    It’ is ironic that the conceivers of the Greater Middle East Project, the neo-cons, have envisioned an Islamic Turkey, and now that Turkey is becoming rapidly Islamic and not fitting neatly into their template, another tenet of their ill guided ideology is proven to be established on entirely false premises.
    Erdogan and AKP has succeeded in transforming Turkey and the society in general over the last eight years they have been in power, and for the worse, I am afraid. AKP has tapped into the pious and relatively poor, conservative provincial electorate in the right moment in history and was able to obtain single party government. But the gilded image is rapidly waning. AKP’s attempt to solidify its hold on power, and as feared, to pull Turkey away from West and into the Islamist world under the guise of “Democratisation” and “Zero problem” policy with her neighbours is now exposed. Turkey is the oldest institutional democracy which happens to have a 99% Muslim population, but hardly an “Islamic Republic” as Iran.
    There has been large scale corruption, nepotism, censorship and intimidation of the press, intentional polarisation of the society along the lines of seculars and Muslims and worse of all, concentrated efforts to weaken the Army, which has over the most of the last century has acted as the safety valve in case Turkey is taken out of the path that Ataturk has laid out for her. The Turkish Army still is the most trusted institution in Turkey, despite several clumsy interventions in the past, however with wide popular support.
    In this respect, all the allegations in WP article are accurate as the “image is rapidly darkening”. but not because of her anti-Israel policies or relations with Iran, but because of the undemocratic and manipulative populism AKP is using to consolidate its power and the clumsy way it is handling foreign policy. Erdogan’s criticism of Israel somehow turned into open anti-semitism in Turkey in the course of last year. The Turkish born Israeli ambassador last week has been stoned and protested in a northern town where he was invited to give a lecture in the local university. The non-islamic and secular majority is watching with due concern as the EU dream fades away, democratic institutions are weakened and Fethullah Gulen continues to infiltrate all levels government and justice system including the police forces. Indeed, it looks bleak at the moment.
    On the upside, Turkey still has very strong Democratic institutions, die-hard seculars, a young and educated population and effective NGOs. Religious oriented, polarising ,anti West policies have been tried, and the danger is exposed. Turks are not happy, and will vote AKP out in the next legitimate election. AKP is not the only political entity in Turkey that can pursue an independent and constructive foreign policy in Middle East without following the neo-con line but not turning criticism into anti-Semitism, maintaining economic relationships with her non democratic neighbours, but not a accommodating them, and most important of all without sacrificing the dream of Ataturk for Turkey to take her place within the Western countries.

  16. Mike says:

    I do not favor any US alliances with political Islamists. They always seek to disguise their ultimate goals which are:
    1- Establish a sharia law state.
    2- Retain power at all costs
    For Islamists all else is mere tactical maneuver.

    It becomes important then, to have a clear definition of the term “political Islamist,” and an idea of which major players the definition applies to, does it not?

  17. Patrick Lang says:

    I say again. This is FB Ali’s distinction, that is the difference between “political” Islamists and “religious Islamists. He can explain it to you.
    For me, Islam remains a seamless garment and I do not think there are Islamists who are not inherent adversaries of the West. pl

  18. mo says:

    Why is it that people with an obvious agenda, like Kunkuri, cannot remain logical?
    Kunkuri, you are proud of Turkey’s democracy but not so much when the “wrong” people are elected? You are proud of democracy but criticise Erdogan for weakening “the Army, which has over the most of the last century has acted as the safety valve in case Turkey is taken out of the path that Ataturk ” – In other words, by staging a coup?
    Is that the democracy you want? A democracy that follows the beliefs of one man, who lived a century ago, over the wishes of the people who live there today? A democracy where the army can stage a coup whenever that course is veered from?
    And you think Erdogan is bad for Turkey?!
    And your concern for the Israeli ambassador is touching. I prefer Erdogan’s concern for the Palestinians myself.

  19. YT says:

    Re: “I try to read newspapers and magazines from around the world”.
    Salamon: You’ve obviously not read the s*** they publish in the c**k countries in my region. Utter bull**** propaganda pieces written by crony S.O.B.s. Bless the bastards ‘coz they’re bein’ forced to it…
    What’s the euphemism, “politically correct”?

  20. F5F5F5 says:

    One can argue that Islam is political in essence, as it is a religion but also a government and judicial system.
    However to me political islam is wanting to impose a degree or all of islamic law into society. Moderate islam seeks to reach this goal progressively through democratic institutions. Radical islam seeks to reach this goal through violence.
    In my book, moderate islam is an illusion as the sharia law will always supersede non-islamic law, or non-religious institutions, so the end result will still be a sharia state. And there is no turning back from a sharia state.

  21. Kunuri says:

    I don’t think you read my post carefully, surely as you have not read my posting pseudonym. It’s Kunuri, not Kunkuri….
    Your post lacks command and depth of basic facts about Turkey and bristles with so many biases, overt and latent, that an answer will be a waste of my time.

  22. A good argument can be made that all religions are political systems. The US rejected that notion and religion n general in protecting the government against religion in the Constitution.
    As to the Order of Coif, Sydney Smith in my time was the top 10% of each law schools graduating class. With 45% of all Law School grads never practicing law, perhaps the mix of Coif and COIN is irrestible. An ethically lawyer practicing law in my view has a tough go of it financially. Few clients care what the law allows but only want a signature with no fuss (really no rationale) allowing the client to do what he wants. Given financial pressures generally that is not hard to find a lawyer to signoff. The appeal of Jeffery Skilling of Enron is largey based on the defense that the lawyers and accountants signed off. Will be interesting to see what SCOTUS makes of that argument. Probably 5-4 that Skilling is right and goes free, IMO! President Bush also always found lawyers to sign off.

  23. frank durkee says:

    Perhaps it is time to reconsider Diederot’s comment ” that ” humankind will never be free until the last lawyer is hung with the guts of the last priest { rabbi, minister, Imnan, guru etc ].
    Any religious system expands to include the whole social fabric of any group, especialy when their is no real religious competition. Institutions and dogmas rise together.
    the constitutional genius wass to require a secular government and allow religious competition.

  24. curious says:

    I wish people stop freaking out when it comes to religion in faraway places.
    Islam/sharia/state. It’s not at all that odd. For ages state and religion are intertwined. The UK for eg. still has state religion complete with elaborate church ceremony when it comes to legitimizing its monarchy. Or think small remote villages in Ireland or Italy where rural live still follows religious habit from several centuries ago. All great empire has a tightly coupled religion and state. Religion and state legitimise each other and fuel each other ambition.
    The closest western analog to current state of islamic world form of government probably is Queen Isabel I de Castilla, Henry VIII of England. (Think how tightly religion was coupled to the empire. State is religion and religion is state. The laws are expression of that structure. Even Germany today has political party with names like CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union) And the state of germany often think of itself as the guardian of christiandom. This is a direct lineage to Carolingian empire.
    In Islamic world cases: a) population density never reaches the level of 17th century europe where it can sustain constant warfares. b) Islamic holy text/sunnah is a minimalist text, so it leaves big wiggle room for subsequent people to fill the gap (hadith). And this gap/interpretation guide/rudimentary legal framework/basic conflict resolution were good enough to sustain and maintain Islamic empire, preventing large total annihilation war ala 30 years war. c) It was stable for centuries until colonial era begun with introduction of modern warfare and mass media. d) Islam has no central authority ala ‘Pope’/Catholic church. It’s more like perpetual early church that never reaches 13th century scholasticism.
    So things that took 100-200 years in europe is hitting Islamic world hard in highly compressed time frame in second half of twentieth century. (hence the cliche blathering about Islam vs. modernity) Saudi for eg. at its core is a nomadic tribe covered with petro-dollar. It is nowhere near 21st century. Afghanistan political thought never really evolves beyond early 1900 when arm conflict turn worse and worse. Previously religious conflict in the Islamic world were never hit bad/intense enough to necessitate the development of state-religion separation. (simplistically the idea of seperating church duty to only about God vs. individual relationship and leave regulating individual to individual to state/democracy/laws)
    The founding fathers obviously notice the big wreck that is 16-18 century religious war in europe.
    Anyway, Islamic laws on war and peace are not equipped to deal with car bomb, mechanized war or nuclear devices. The war doctrine in it was written for horse back riding plus sword not thermonuclear exchange. It doesn’t envision effect of mass media or capability of instant total annihilation capability in the hand of one or two persons in the name of God.
    The good news, ignoring the quirky terminologies, Islamic jurisprudence (aka shariah law) at its core is pretty straight forward, it has a lot of similarities to common laws. Sooner or later somebody will declare the whole thing unworkable as general foundation of modern law.
    ya can read hadith here to get the basic sense of the mess. (you’ll be pretty much ahead of 80-90% of moslems in the world, since they are only allowed to read it in arabic. Think having to read all church documents in latin.)

  25. mo says:

    Maybe, inshAllah, when we can put a thousand years of Western enmity towards the Islamic world behind us, you will find “Islamists” who do not consider the West an adversary.
    Sharia law, when practiced properly, benefited the Islamic world (and the world at large). It was under Islamic law that the finest Universities where teaching the men that went on to start the renaissance. It was to Islamic law that persecuted people (including the Jews of Europe) fled to when they were persecuted in the West.
    Hey but thanks for the debate. And good luck with the next election. But bye the bye, anyone who thinks that the neo-con dream was an Islamic Turkey shouldn’t be spouting off about depths of basics facts.
    But thanks for wasting your time with an answer…

  26. Patrick Lang says:

    “a thousand years of Western enmity towards the Islamic world”
    Oh, come on. The early Muslim armies attacked the Byzantine state as the very motif of their existence and the Ummayad offensive reached the walls of Constantinople within a very few years.
    I have visited the masjid of Ayyub, the standard bearer of the Prophet. He fell before the walls of the city, and there it stands. pl

  27. mo says:

    I enter a debate with you Colonel on the history of the region at my own peril….but
    In the West it seems that the war between Byzantine and the Muslims is taught as an attack on Christendom itself.
    We on the other hand are taught that we were liberating the people, Jews and Christians, from a cruel and oppressive regime.
    I guess its each man and the history he believes. Saying that, I think you guys have evened the score out somewhat in the time since, no?

  28. Balint Somkuti says:

    You gotta be kidding. We were lucky enough to suffer only 150 yrs of turkish occupation. And I am not talking about the serbs, or the greeks who underwent it for 500 yrs. Show me a western paralell.
    OTOH the Türbe of Gül Baba still stands here in my city. The mosque in Pécs, Hungary also. What about christian temples and monuments in the islam world? And I consider myself NOT islamophobic.

  29. Bill Wade, NH says:

    From the BBC today:
    “The Washington Post daily newspaper is to shut its bureaux in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.”
    Guess not so many people are buying it, lol.

  30. Patrick Lang says:

    So, the Islamic expansion was an anti-colonial war of liberation for the subject peoples of the Byzantine empire?
    Was what is now Spain and Potugal similarly “liberated?”
    Were the Persians “liberated” as well? pl

  31. Patrick Lang says:

    Balint Sunkuti
    Actually, there are many Christian churches and shrines in Islamic territory. pl

  32. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    1. “1000 years”?
    The Moors invaded Iberia/Europe 711-718 AD during the Umayyad era. It took the Spanish until 1492 to complete the Reconquista.
    The First Crusade was launched in 1095, that is to say about 4 centuries after the Moors invaded Spain/Europe.
    Seems to me that the Europeans-Spanish-Christians did not want to remain “dhimmis” etc. and thus undertook the Reconquista. It may be true, as some historians claim, that Jews in Spain facilitated the Moorish takeover as they believed they would be treated better by the Moors as “dhimmis” than under the Spanish.
    “retain power”
    2. I recall that back in the 1980s Spanish security services recovered Islamist literature from Islamist terrorist cells which called for getting Spain back into the “dar al Islam” zone…
    I imagine there are some Islamist terrorists in France and elsewhere who can’t get over the Battle of Tours/Poitiers (732 AD).
    3. The Fourth Crusade (1202-04) was a strategic mistake for Europe as it fatally weakened the Byzantine state, a buffer zone on Europe’s eastern flank. The stage was thus set for the Turkish/Muslim takeover of the disintegrated remains of the former Byzantine state in 1453.
    4. Then we have the Ottoman seige of Vienna of 1529 by “Kanuni Suleiman” and then later the famous Battle of Vienna of 1683. This is not to mention the Porte’s long alien rule over swaths of Europe and the brutalities of Turco-Circassian rule over Muslim-Christian Egypt.
    Is it any wonder many Europeans are skeptical of Muslim Turkey being admitted to Euroland membership thus extending “Europe’s” borders to say Iraq.
    There is no single and authoritative codification of sharia. There are 4 major Sunni “schools” of law and one Shia. The extremist Islamists in today’s world have their own idiosyncratic ideas they wish to impose.
    See, for example, Knut S. Vikor, Between God and the Sultan. A History of Islamic Law (Oxford University Press, 2005). Vikor is the director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Bergen.
    The most outspoken opponents of Islamist hardliners and their call for their “sharia” I have met are female professionals (lawyers, businesswomen, academics, etc.) in Morocco and Tunisia.
    I suppose the young girls trying to attend school in Afghanistan and getting acid thrown in their faces for it by Taliban would also have something to say…

  33. mo says:

    I do not wish to be obtuse but I thought it was common knowledge that the Hispano-Roman population of Spain detested their Goth rulers and worked with the Moors (and some historians argue even invited them) in the invasion.
    Primarily we were discussing Islamic rather than Ottoman action. Yet, I don’t think the Magyars let you guys down in the same cross border antics you seem so unhappy about.
    Western parallels for 150 year occupations? Surely you jest?
    The First Crusade was launched in 1095 – That would make it nearly a thousand years now that the West and the Muslims have fought over the holy land.
    It wasn’t just the Jews who were abused in Spain as the Goths saw all the Hispanic population as beneath them. I believe that the notion of pointing the finger at just the Jews allowed the rest of the Hispanics to have a scapegoat (and the Jews were certainly the scapegoat of choice for medieval Europe).
    But its interesting that you argue against Islamic actions in Spain, an invasion that for its time was incredibly tolerant and open to the people, and do not for example mention what the Spanish did to the non-Christian population when they took the land back.
    But you want to use literature held by a few fanatics as evidence of the intentions of all Muslims? Or the actions of a backward bunch of Wahabists as to what Muslims believe Sharia law should be? I don’t wish to repeat myself but there is no country practicing anything close to Sharia – Certainly not the Taliban, nor the Iranians or the Saudis.

  34. Eagle In the Mountains says:

    Perhaps one of the learned could clarify something. I have heard that Erdogan’s party is not so much “Islamist” as “Ottomanist”. That is, much the way F.B. Ali defines “political Islam”, the agenda of Erdogan’s party is not so much to implement sharia etc. but to restore the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire. Anyone have any comment?

  35. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Yes the First Crusade was 1095 AD, but I was trying to make a point that the Muslim invasion of Spain/Europe had occurred about 400 years BEFORE that. Thus, aspects of conflict go back further than the 1000 years you mention and were initiated by the Muslim side. Also, as the French resisted as well at Poitiers I infer that many Europeans rejected falling under Islamic rule.
    That said, I can see why Sudanese, for example, under the Mahdi rallied against British colonialism. They saw the British takeover of Egypt and London’s tool, Khedive Tewfik, as a type of Christian crusade. The Senussi in North Africa seem to have had the same perception with regard to the French. And in Egypt, the rise of the National Movement and of the Muslim Brotherhood are both understandable given the colonial situation of the day.
    And thus it is understandable that some Afghans and Pakistanis, for example, might have similar reactions in today’s world. For this reason, among others IMO, it is not good policy for the United States to take unnecessary actions (such as invading Iraq in 2003) which are perceived in the Muslim world as neo-Colonialist emulating French and British 19th century imperialism against Islam.
    The United States had correct and positive relations with Muslim countries during the 18th and 19th century. The FIRST country to recognize the US was Morocco, a Muslim state and George Washington himself had positive correspondence with its ruler. We had good relations with Egypt, Oman, the Ottoman Porte, Morocco, Tunisia, and so on.
    In the original treaty we signed with Tunisia, the very first sentence reads: “God is infinite.” Thus symbolizing that there was no necessary divide preventing correct relations between our two countries owing to religious issues and differences.
    Today, thanks to the Neocons etal., one can argue we seem to be in the old Disraeli-Egypt mode (Bush Admin.) and Obama is looking like a latter day Gladstone of sorts dithering, half measures, vacillation yet imperialist in the end…so more occupations, protectorates, annexations on the way???
    Regarding early medieval Europe, an interesting treatment of the policy of the rulers toward Jews is Bernard S. Bachrach, Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe (U. Minnesota Press, 1977)
    On the point of Jews facilitating the Muslim takeover of Spain, my reference was to the claim in:
    Ballesteros y Beretta, Historia de Espana y sus Influences en la Historia Universal, Vol 2, part 2, 2nd ed. (Barcellona: Salvat Ed., 1944).
    Vikor handles the issue of Islamic Law in a balanced and thoughtful way, IMO, and explains how the complex issue of sharia is handled over time. My point that it has not been codified authoritatively was made to counter the assertion by extremists (Taliban, AQ, etal) of THEIR version of “sharia” as the only correct one.
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  36. mo says:

    I did not mean to infer that the West was totally to blame for every Western-Islamic conflict, although if we accept that the Hispanic-Romano population was complicit in the Moorish invasion then it is not so clear cut to say that it was initiated by the Moors.
    The main reason I do not believe that it was solely the Jews of Spain that collaborated with the Moors is that if you compare the size of the Moorish army, the area of land they initially conquered and the speed with which they did so, it is most likely that they were seen as liberators by most of the population – In our modern perceptions, of course the Moors should then have left but in those days you didn’t do regime change and hand the land back to the people (plus ca change).
    Like you point out, when there is no enmity from the West, the Muslim world has been quite happy to have good relations – And I do not think it is inherent for adherents to Islam to be anti-Western. Bar those like the Wahabis, who quite frankly are anti-anything that isn’t Wahabi, much of the anti-Western feeling in the Arab and Muslim world is very much down to Western behavior and its history.
    Yes we can point to Muslim actions against Byzantines, the Persians, the Venetians and the Spanish but the one thing common to all those is that they are ancient history now – While the Western enmity towards the Islamic world continues today.
    So therefore it is a tad unfair to say that Islamists are inherently anti-Western as the Colonel did, while the West is so busy occupying and subjugating so much of the Islamic world.
    re. Sharia law, I apologise for misunderstanding your point. Do you have a reference to Vikor’s work?

  37. Patrick Lang says:

    I have been paying some attention to your exchange with Cliff while engaged in the distressing dialogue with my former brothers and sisters in Christ.
    I must say that all this anachronistic talk of the “opression” of this or that population does not impress. It is alien to that time and place.
    I know that modern Muslims have their own narrative of these events but that narrative does not appear in “Futuh al-Buldan” (on which I wrote my thesis) or Tabari (Tarikh al-Mulukh).
    In fact all the wars of Islamic expansion were waged by them on the basis of the glorification of God and the expansion of the ‘Umma. Anything else was a secondary consideration.
    Islam and Christendom have been at war since the emergence of the Muslim armies from the Arabian Peninsula. You know that. Why deny it? There is no shame in that. There should be pride. The modernist explication is merely an accomodation of the heathen materialism of Oxbridge and Harvard.
    The United States is not at war with Islam. Israel and its friends are at war with Islam because of the “accident” of Geography. The United States is merely ignorant of history and much else. pl

  38. mo says:

    I’m not sure if oppression is ever alien, just the extent of it.
    But you are right. I did not mean for this to get into a historical debate about who did what to whom and when. My only point was history is never as clear cut as we are sometimes taught in school.
    It is only thanks to your site that I know that the United States is not at war with Islam. Unfortunately, Israel and its friends have such a sphere of influence and such an effect on the foreign policy of Western nations that it makes seem otherwise to those not lucky enough to become so much more informed by finding a site such as this.
    But I wasn’t trying to say that. What I was trying to to convey (unsuccessfully) was that it is unfair to say that Islamists are inherently against the West (if by Islamists we mean devout Muslims who are also political).
    Todays various wars and land issues do put the civilizations at loggerheads but it is political, not personal.
    But I’ll shut up already after I say again that, God willing, we can one day convince you of that…

  39. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The citation for Prof. Vikor’s book is:
    Knut S. Vikor, Between God and the Sultan. A History of Islamic Law (Oxford U Press, 2005).
    It seems balanced to me but I am NOT a Middle East specialist as I speak none of the local languages, and etc. I do, however, focus on US foreign policy toward various regions of the world.
    When I served on the staff of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee some time back, I always enjoyed our receptions, meetings, coffees, and etc. with visiting foreign dignitaries in our beautiful Committee Room in the US Capitol building. At that time, and for some years previous, in the main room, we had only one framed document to decorate the walls just next to the entry doorway. It was a copy of a friendly letter of George Washington to the ruler, Sidi Muhammad, of Morocco and the friendly reponse from the ruler. The symbolism here is that Morocco, a Muslim state, was the first country to recognize our Independence; he did this on Dec. 20, 1777. Thus it was appropriate for our Committee to have this particular exchange featured in that elegant room.
    I had to smile when we received H.M. King Hassan II of Morocco in our Committee Room. Interestingly, he brought along his own tea servers and we all had a round or two of mint tea compliments of HM! Senator Pell (D-RI) was chairman at that time.
    On the other hand, I was saddened but not surprised on a visit to Morocco several years ago to find the deep concern about our unnecessary invasion of Iraq. At one dinner in Casablanca, a very senior and influential businessman was frank to tell me of his disappointment in the US for its ME policy. He said that as a youth had had seen President Franklin Roosevelt on his WWII visit and later Ike’s state visit. But the Bush Administration’s ME policy was a profound disappointment and his attitude to the US had now changed.
    I might also suggest two other American Professors of interest:
    1. Majid Khadduri, who taught at Johns Hopkins and pioneered Middle East studies there. He wrote many books and some focusing on international relations and law.
    2. Professor Philip Hitti who taught at Princeton.
    These two professors and one or two more basically created academic Middle East studies in post-WWI America. Thus many of our diplomats and government officials were influenced by them directly or indirectly over the years.
    3. You might want to take a look at the Middle East Institute website. An old line traditional organization, it provides serious and balanced insight although the various Neocon operations/think tanks, unfortunately, have become dominant inside the Beltway.
    I would like to reemphasize Col. Lang’s point that we are NOT at war with Islam although Neocons and their ilk would have it thus.
    In my book, “Dark Crusade” (London: IB Tauris, 2009) I go into some detail about early constructive and positive US relations with Muslim countries and present some footnotes indicating books with considerable data on this. I then explain how Zionism — Christian and Jewish — came to cause problems. You might find my book of interest.

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