Islam and the US - A Coming Conflict

APR 2006

Note: this article was an analysis, and not a recommendation for any action.

We are on a course toward war with Iran and the world of Islam.  Bush, a devout, born-again Christian who claims to witness divine visions and talk with God is at the head of one party.  Ahmadinejad, a devout Shi’i Muslim who claims to witness divine visions and talk with God, is at the head of the other party.  Both are attributing their calls for conflict to divine inspiration.  Make no mistake, though, that this is not a war between Islam and Christendom, but rather between Islam and the United States of America, American institutions, American culture, American allies and American influence.  

Analysts believe that Ahmadinejad’s aggressive and often appallingly brazen actions are attributed to his belief and desire that the end of days are near. 

Analysts' sneaking suspicion is that Iran's president actually relishes a clash with the West in the conviction that it would rekindle the spirit of the Islamic revolution and hasten the appearance of the Hidden Imam - the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president's belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour - denied by the government but widely believed - is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a "contract" pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi.

Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.
Ibn Hasan is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.

Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable.  (The Telegraph, UK)

Who will win?

Facing an outside threat against Islam, Muslim brethren will, the world over, drop what they are doing, take up arms, and join together to fight.  They, though seldom a unified bunch (see wars against Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973), show that they can put aside their intra-faith differences and band together to prove a formidable force.  In the near future, when the conflict between the US and Islam is in full swing, a fatwa (religious decree) from Islam’s leaders will serve as a roistering call to action for the completion of the jihad.  Unlike the hollow platitudes of past fatwas, this one will be conclusive, results-oriented, and will reach into the hearts of even the most moderate of Muslims.  The United States may be the technologically most advanced country, sporting the most accurate weapons and the smartest bombs, the fastest warplanes and the most extensive battle plans, but if Afghanistan in the early nineties was any lesson, technology is no match for a blood-caked warrior’s religious fervor, with his eye on Paradise’s promise of 72 virgins.

The ‘USA’, however, is not a religious dogma, nor is it a united band of brothers.  It is richly polarized and fractious on a host of issues, such as politics, social beliefs, religions, lifestyles, credos, races, and motivations.  The American ‘way of life’ is the fragile muslin ribbon that weakly binds Americans together by centuries-old patriotic slogans and anthems – bromides that resound hollowly in the mouths of Americans who utter them without conviction.  This American ‘way of life’ is what motivates most.  This way of life is the convenience, the availability, the variety, the abundance, the freedom that we have come to take for granted, with a desultory wave of our hand.  Facing the threat of inconvenience, unavailability, monotony, shortage, and oppression, will Americans fight, surrender, or run? 

The jury is out, but my money is on the Muslims.

Who will lose?

No matter the outcome, the American people will lose.  Whether by death from terrorist attacks, or loss of loved ones in skirmishes in far-flung lands, or paralysis through fear, or increasingly eroded civil rights and personal freedoms, the American people, will become more and more withdrawn and enveloped in fear.

No walk in the park

The war in IRAQ has proven to be impossible to win, but supporters of the invasion take solace and find justification in the following:

These justifications are conspicuously absent, when applied to an attack on Iran.  The only justification is pure fear, but a substantial and justifiable fear.

The challenges the US will face in the conflict with Iran will far overshadow any difficulty they are experiencing in Iraq.  Every military strategist knows that no country can be invaded by planes and bombs.  Only boots and treads on the ground can occupy a country.  And an invading force far larger than the force in Iraq – by several multiples.  The war with Iran will be LOST DECISIVELY by the US; the Iranians are far angrier, more motivated, more desperate, more divinely-inspired, and have far less to lose than their American counterparts.  Unlike in Iraq, Iran does not feature such fractious elements who welcome alliance with the US invaders.  The Iranians will see the US attack as a catalyst for solidarity, all welcoming the opportunity to die, fighting against an invading infidel.

Read into the numbers

The Iranian population is 68 million-strong.  89% is Shi’ite – a sect that is leagues more volatile, intractable and violent than their Sunni brethren.  For an idea of how alarmingly unstable devout Shi’ites are, w­­atch any video footage of the Ashura where the believers engage in auto-flagellation with whips and knives, in an act of self-blame for the death of Hussein in his fight for the Caliphate in the 6th century. 

40% of the Iranian population is below the poverty line (poverty in Iran means: no electricity, no running water, open sewers, (and over 12% unemployment rate) adding to the existing sense of desperation and nothing-to-lose mentality.

Fully 60% (and increasing) of the population is under 40 years old.  The Iranian revolution was in 1979, meaning that 60% of Iranians were under 13 years old or not even born when the revolution began.  Resultantly, the ONLY REALITY for those who are 40 and under has been:

 - oppression
 - lack of civil rights and freedoms
 - fear
 - anti-west state-sponsored propaganda
 - little education beyond Koranic rote-learning
 - little exposure to the west
 - vicious hatred toward the west
 - a ‘divine’ mission to destroy the west, symbols of the west and institutions of the west

Nuclear Future

Iran recently reported successfully enriching uranium.  Dozens of underground facilities across Iran are currently in various states of construction, sized to EACH hold over 50,000 centrifuges for the purpose of enriching uranium hexafluoride gas.  Though the Iranian government insists that these are purely for the peaceful purpose of manufacturing low-grade enriched uranium to generate power, the facilities will have the capability to generate highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. 

They insist that their intentions are purely peaceful, generating nuclear energy to light their power grids – a declaration that rings hollow, considering the fact that petroleum is both very cheap and very plentiful in the Islamic state.

Recent reports from German and Israeli intelligence confirmed that in February 2006, Iran purchased and took receipt of eighteen BM-25s from North Korea.  The Russian-designed missiles have a range of around 1,500 miles, giving them a longer reach than the Iranian-made Shihab-4 missiles which are capable of hitting Israel.  According to German intelligence, the missiles are capable of carrying nuclear payloads and reaching cities in Germany and Italy from launch-sites in the Zagros mountains of far-western Iran.

One troubling fact that many have apparently forgotten is that Pakistan, America’s ‘ally’ in the war on terror, was directly involved in the selling of sensitive nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.  Abdul Qadeer Khan, a top Pakistani metallurgist and founder of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, admitted to selling extensive amounts of technology to the three rogue states.  Shortly after this came to light, President Pervez Musharraf pardoned Khan, proclaiming him a hero of Pakistan.

Pakistan, from the perspective of horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons, is a grave concern.  Pervez Musharraf bloodlessly took the helm of Pakistan amid economic and political chaos, drawing criticism from the US, for his ‘undemocratic’ approach.  His position in the eyes of US leadership, however, was cemented when he joined forces in the effort to purge Afghanistan of the Taliban regime and al-Qaida elements.  He also began a campaign of quashing Islamic opposition within his borders and closing Islamic schools.  While his image improved in the west, his list of mortal enemies in the radical Muslim world has lengthened.  Pakistan has porous borders, a disenfranchised radical Muslim population and an unstable government.  Beyond the sale of the sensitive nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, the far more ominous and lingering concern is the distinct possibility, and some may call an inevitability, that Pakistan and her nuclear weapons cache will fall under Taliban or al-Qaeda control.
                              
As tight as a sieve

The ever-increasing immigration woes that plague the US cast a bleak light on how porous the US borders are – whether with Mexico or with Canada, or in her numerous ports.  People can slip across the borders or through the ports with little danger of being detected.

US Coast Guard, Special Forces and CIA and FBI counter-terror analysts report:

Hundreds of operatives of al Qaeda are known to have illegally penetrated the United States in the last several years, mostly through American ports as stowaways in commercial sea containers. Many more are estimated to have slipped through unbeknownst to US authorities.

Senior Intelligence analysts elaborate, under conditions of anonymity:

Some of the stowaways arrive complete with arms or explosives, the nature of which - conventional, radioactive, chemical or biological - the US authorities are at great pains to keep dark. However, shipping sources reported that witnesses had seen suspect containers appearing to be quarantined after their al Qaeda infiltrators were killed, suggesting the suspected presence of toxic substances. 

The threat applies equally to the international container traffic that carries much of the world’s lifeblood. Experts have opined that a “dirty bomb” exploding in a container at sea would stop the world’s container traffic cold until a credible security system for sea-going containers was in place.

In some of the stowaway containers, US counter-terror authorities were dismayed to find uniforms of American dockworkers and even [uniforms of] US Coast Guards, along with the appropriate tags and ID for free access to port facilities, including off-limits sections. Groups of 5 to 7 of these men dressed as port workers have been sighted hurrying over to waiting vans and driving off at speed.

US Coast Guard, Special Forces and CIA and FBI counter-terror units routinely conduct massive manhunts to fend off the multi-tentacled al Qaeda invasion. Some sources report firefights between hunters and terrorists trapped in sea containers, in which between 15 and 25 terrorists may have died. In Miami and Savanna, containers with secret human burdens were unloaded from incoming vessels. Anti-terror squads shifted the boxes to a quiet corner of the harbor, drilled holes in their sides and filled them with gas and smoke bombs. The stowaways suffocated to death.

For all their efforts, the US hunters have not apprehended a single live al -Qaeda terrorist landing by sea.

Strike to the heart

No intelligence or FBI experts are able to even speculate as to where these al-Qaeda agents are now hiding.  Exactly one year after the destruction of the twin towers, Navy SEALS and US NEST (Nuclear Emergency Security Team) diverted Liberian-registered freighter Palermo Senator that steamed into New York, searching the ship’s 2600 containers with armed teams and Geiger counters – indications that the United States has strong suspicions that al-Qaeda has nuclear weapons.  Debka Intelligence File reports:

Suspicion was first aroused when unexplained noises issued from several cargo holds after The Palermo Senator docked in New York. The ship was diverted to Port Newark, New Jersey, to be checked for stowaways. When low radiation traces were detected, it was escorted six miles (10 kilometers) out to sea for further examination.

Counter-terrorism and maritime sources report that US authorities became alarmed when they learned that the ship had taken on its container cargo for the United States at the Italian hub port of Gioia Tauro – a port on the “high risk” watch list of US counter-terrorism agencies and the US Coast Guard, due to its lack of security and hub for small container ships from the Black Sea, Mediterranean, Middle East, North Africa and Italy use the port, which has the distinction of having been revealed as the preferred transit point for al Qaeda fighters, senior commanders, weapons and nuclear, chemical -- and possibly biological – materials on the move.  It turned out to be a false alarm, though officials would not comment on sightings that alleged stowaways were taken away by SEAL and Coast Guard operatives.
On September 30, 2001, a 43-year-old Egyptian stowaway named Rigk Amid Farid had been caught at Gioia Touro port aboard the German vessel Ipex Emperor. He was ensconced in a container that had been converted into a luxurious suite complete with a comfortable bed, small kitchen, cellular telephones and enough food, water and batteries for three weeks. Canadian passports and entry permits for security men and mechanics to New York’s Kennedy airport, Newark airport and O’Hare airport in Chicago were also discovered in his suite.

An investigation showed the container-suite had been loaded on the Ipex Emperor at Egypt’s Port Said and painted over to disguise it as the property of the giant Danish Maersk Sealand container company, which it replaced.

With Europe still asleep at the wheel five weeks after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, an Italian court ordered the stowaway released on bail. He disappeared without a trace, denying authorities a golden opportunity to discover how al Qaeda’s human cargo container scheme worked.

When the same sort of unexplained noises emitted from containers aboard the Palermo Senator, the FBI agents’ first thought was that they had finally found the 40-man al Qaeda terrorist squad reported heading for Los Angeles by ship and never traced.

The decision to order the ship to Port Newark and call up NEST was taken to ward off any risk of a mega-terror attack on New York during the 9/11 commemoration ceremonies.

The US government’s sending the Nuclear Emergency Security Team underscores the fear that radioactive materials for the assembly of radiological dispersal devices (‘dirty’ bombs) are being smuggled into the country.  Captured al-Qaida operatives have elaborated upon such plans – not simply for deployment in large urban centers but in small towns in the heartland of America.  This would dovetail with their existing plans to strike fear in the heartland of America by coordinated attacks on the food and water supply, petroleum storage facilities, rail transport systems, power grids, nuclear power facilities, canals, shipping lanes, shopping malls and more – plans on which top al-Qaida leaders publicly call for action.

Who is among us?

Residing inside the United States, according to Census and immigration experts, are nearly 7,000,000 Muslims – of those are approximately 1,000,000 Iranians.  The Muslim population’s deafening silence, in reaction to the September 11th attacks was a clear lesson on where the Muslim community’s loyalties lie.  What will happen when the conclusive Jihad Fatwa is declared?

What is the true source of terror?

The prospect of terrorist attacks – whether by dirty bombs, airplanes hurtling into high-rises, or tainted water supply – are, in my opinion not what ultimately terrorizes the populace.  The ultimate terror is the breakdown of social order – making your neighbor your greatest source of suspicion and fear – and your worst and most immediate enemy.  Seemingly civilized, peaceable citizens, facing the threat of water or food shortage, separation from their family, or bodily injury, can show that they can easily set aside their social norms of politeness, goodwill, and respect for their fellow man, and become red-eyed animals, hell-bent on survival.  Many, facing food shortages, would choose to stockpile weapons, rather than food, declaring that with weapons, they have all the food they need. 

Accounts of murder, raping, and looting in the wake of the Katrina disaster are a resonating testament to the primal undercurrents that reside in many of the people around us.  Whether those crimes stem from fear or opportunity is inconsequential.  Couple these underpinnings with an angry, racially polarized populace, and one thing becomes disturbingly apparent:

Social order is fragile.