Excellent article

I don’t know why this article hasn’t been more widely noticed. Nir Rosen, a journalist for the NYTimes who is fluent in Arabic, went to Jordan and interviewed jihadis past and present, visited mosques, and generally brought back a vivid and interesting picture of what is going on there. It adds a lot of context to Israeli Gen. Naveh’s recent undiplomatic remarks about the danger to the present regime in Jordan, as well as giving a good picture of where the major players in Iraq today are coming from.

(The article doesn’t explain all the names as well as some articles do, though, so you may want to pop over to Wikipedia occasionally while reading it.)

Also, this article and Wednesday’s bombing of a major Shi’ite mosque in Iraq heighten the sense that a large civil war may be opening up in the Islamic world soon between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Governments of both stripes seem to have something to gain from it (Shi’ites to expand their realm of power into a stable base in Iraq and a “Shi’ite Crescent,” Sunnis to prevent this), and it looks like there’s no shortage of willing volunteers. A sufficiently cynical US could even use this to cover a retreat, although it would go counter to the work we’ve been (finally) doing successfully lately of building some real positive measures in Iraq.

Anyway, this suddenly much-deeper rift (after Wednesday) between Sunnis and Shi’ites is as big a deal as the Hamas victory a few weeks ago was. Middle East politics is reshaping itself Right Now; everything could change course at the drop of a (probably bomb-laden) hat. Keep your eyes on the news. (And updates from here will continue)

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Published in: on February 22, 2006 at 22:34  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. The Nir Rosen article recalled the Funeral for Jamis from Dune. The way that Zarqawi’s former acquaintances speak of him…
    “I was a friend of Jamis. When the hawk plane stooped upon us at Hole-In-The-Rock, it was Jamis who pulled me to safety.”
    I suppose art imitates life.

  2. The Nir Rosen article recalled the Funeral for Jamis from Dune. The way that Zarqawi’s former acquaintances speak of him…
    “I was a friend of Jamis. When the hawk plane stooped upon us at Hole-In-The-Rock, it was Jamis who pulled me to safety.”
    I suppose art imitates life.

  3. I think the Shi’ite/Sunni thing bodes to possibly be a Bigger deal than the Hamas victory, and I’m well aware of what a big deal the Hamas thing is. I have an extraordinary lack of enthusiasm for this turn of events, though the Apocalypistas are probably quite thrilled.

  4. I think the Shi’ite/Sunni thing bodes to possibly be a Bigger deal than the Hamas victory, and I’m well aware of what a big deal the Hamas thing is. I have an extraordinary lack of enthusiasm for this turn of events, though the Apocalypistas are probably quite thrilled.

  5. And I suppose that these are the lands that the Fremen came from; the Nabateans had their main center in what’s today Jordan.

  6. And I suppose that these are the lands that the Fremen came from; the Nabateans had their main center in what’s today Jordan.

  7. Indeed; it’s one of the few things that could really thoroughly make the Hamas victory irrelevant, if it doesn’t die down quickly. The U.S. probably has some ability to calm this down, if the commanders on the ground there put a very large-scale effort into it; but doing that will simply redirect everyone’s anger towards us instead. And it’s not at all clear that the U.S. has any incentive to do so.

  8. Indeed; it’s one of the few things that could really thoroughly make the Hamas victory irrelevant, if it doesn’t die down quickly. The U.S. probably has some ability to calm this down, if the commanders on the ground there put a very large-scale effort into it; but doing that will simply redirect everyone’s anger towards us instead. And it’s not at all clear that the U.S. has any incentive to do so.


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