Arabian Nightmares
Saudi Arabia and the Trouble with Terrorism
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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    All of this alarm over ISIS and Islamic sectarian violence is foolish. The backward Islamic culture is facing massive changes, and change always brings out reactionaries. The best place for these Jihadists to focus their rage is on each other, so the Shiite vs Sunni sectarian fight is beneficial to the west, as it consumes resources that would otherwise be used to murder innocent westerners. This is the strategy known as “Divide and Conquer”, that was use with such success by the Byzantine empire against the barbarians on its borders. The US with its weakest president in history isn’t in a position to do anything else anyway. Not that there is really anything western cultures can do to help Islamic cultures to advance, but we had planted a seed of Democracy in Iraq which Obama couldn’t wait to abandon, that would have provided an example for other Islamics to follow.

    • El Gringo

      While I shed no tears for jihadi on jihadi violence, the problem is that more extremists are created than eliminated. The siren song of jihad calls impressionable young men from all over the West, radicalizes them, and trains them. These jihadists then return to their adopted countries, committed to spreading their extremism either through their own proselytizing or, more worrisome, through terror attacks.

      The other problem with letting the sectarian fighting continue on its own logical path is that it will destabilize the entire region. If the U.S. just lets this go the fighting will spread throughout the entire Middle East and most likely spill over into North Africa, Turkey, and South and East Asia. That is definitely NOT beneficial to the West.

      I agree it’s tempting to sit back with a bottle of bourbon and a fat cigar and just watch the place burn but that will, in the long run, cost far more than the price of limiting the fighting.

      I think the main issue for the West is that it cannot believe that there is no simple solution here. This story does not have a happy ending. It’s a bad situation, with bad options and the West has to choose which bad option is the least bad.

  • Peter

    Saudi Arabia fighting extremists? Is this the same Saudi Arabia that funds Wahabi mosques all over the world? The same Saudi Arabia that does not allow women to drive? Or to travel or get surgery without the permission and company of an adult male relative? I guess the definition of extremism depends on what your definition of “is” is.

  • Duperray

    Even if Saudi Arabia anti-terrorist action might not be enough, it is anyway far more than western “democratic states” do: At least they have identified their n°1 Enemy.
    While western states do not even have the courage to tell who it is, bowing more and more in front of accumulated non-democratic requests of the (visible) internal conqueror.

  • Peripatetic

    Many posts on the AI feed have claimed that it is the clash between Sunni and Shi’a that is the primary dynamic in the Middle East. Many other posts (like this one) have claimed that it is the clash between extremists (Islamists) and moderates that is the primary dynamic in the Middle East. It would be great to have an essay that weaves together this warp and woof into a grand, comprehensible narrative.

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