September 03, 2007


Fred Kagan has published one of the more interesting articles about Iraq from a hawkish perspective I have read for a while. His analysis of Al Quaeda itself and its ideology and the way that it differs from orthodox Islam is the bit in which I have most knowledge to support him and in emphasising the importance of takfir he is entirely right. He might add to that that in orthodox Sunni theology there is a fear of fitna (which we might roughly translate as anarchy) which means that Sunni theologians normally have advocated backing the Islamic government of the day. Al Quaeda's ideology has its roots in Said Qutb's thinking in Nasser's Egypt whose roots lie both as Kagan argues in Leninism and in some aspects of third world post-colonialist thinking but also in the response from the Arabs in the 14th Century to the Mongol invasion.

Kagan's article isn't perfect though. He thinks that violence is falling in Iraq, Juan Cole suggests that actually it is still going up. The argument about the surge isn't one I want to get into here- but Cole's disagreement should make one think about that part of Kagan's article. Having said that his description of what Bin Laden means is interesting and useful- read the article for that, if not necessarily for the analysis of Iraq's situation.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I found both the article and your thoughts on it very interesting. Funnily enough, I was just reading about Qutb in "The Islamist" [Ed Husain] today.