It is a sad fact that many Muslims do not mind, and may even applaud, random murders of Hindus, Christians and Jews in foreign lands. Nor will attacks on Western interests in Muslim countries, for example Pakistan, arouse much outrage among Muslims. In its recent attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, however, al Qaeda (assuming that group was responsible) has done something quite different. It has embarked on the random murder of Arab Muslims. By doing so, I suspect that it has signed its own death warrant.
It is true, of course, that Islamist ideology calls for the overthrow of Muslim governments that do not bring about Sharia, theocratic Muslim rule. A recent communique allegedly from Osama bin Laden mentioned Saudi Arabia and Morocco, among others, as countries whose governments should be overthrown. But until now, al Qaeda has done little or nothing to realize this objective. It has had a tacit bargain with the House of Saud, in particular, whereby the Saudis have bought their peace by financing Wahabbism in general and al Qaeda in particular. Where Islamist groups have actually tried to overthrow a Muslim government, as in Algeria, they have not, to my knowledge, been led by al Qaeda or other international organizations, and they have been ruthlessly suppressed.
There has been much speculation about the sincerity of Saudi Arabia’s outrage over the Riyadh bombings. My guess is that the outrage is very sincere; in the Saudis’ minds, they have not only been attacked, they have been betrayed, somewhat as Stalin was not just attacked but double-crossed when Russia was invaded by Stalin’s ally, Hitler.
No one, anywhere, is willing to live with the threat of random explosions that kill and maim civilians in restaurants, malls, hotels and buses. Photographs of decapitated heads and severed limbs lying in the streets of Morocco will be disseminated throughout the Arab world. The only possible response by the rulers of Morocco and, I believe, Saudi Arabia, is a ruthless crackdown on the Islamofascists, which will be supported by virtually the entire population of both countries, and supported where necessary by other Arab governments who know their turn may come next. And the repression, when it comes–it appears to be underway already in Morocco–will not be restrained and humane like the Israelis’ response to homicide bombers. Nor will the crackdown concern itself unduly with fine distinctions between one Islamofascist group and another.
Is that assessment too optimistic? Maybe. But my guess is that by embarking on the random murder of Arabs, al Qaeda has committed suicide.
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