Paying the Danegeld

Monday, September 17, 2007
Wretchard offers a precis concerning what I have long considered to be an accurate view of the actuality of the violent arm of islam. I was particularly struck by this:
Thinking of al-Qaeda as a religion like Buddhism will take one down the wrong path. It's easier to understand it as a gang, with territories, local bosses, rackets, internal rivalries, and a secret culture which requires you to be "made". Al-Qaeda is in fact linked to gangs. It operates an actual narcotics trade in Afghanistan. It performs contract hits on behalf of clients and subcontracts hits to independent operators. It does everything gangs do and very little that religions, as we know it, undertake.
Although Wretchard is focusing upon Al Queada, he could have used the PLO or Hamas or Hezbollah in the same manner that the Camorra, Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita and Mafia are interchangeable regarding intent. The common element is pecuniary gain for the leadership based upon extortion backed by the threat of violence (as opposed to the threat of disclosure).

It appears that the Shiite sheiks are as amenable as their Sunni cousins to the grant of autonomy within their fiefdoms backed by the money "necessary" to convert their gangs of hoodlums into recognized militia. The Iraqi government is paying off the sheiks in Anbaristan to the tune of $120 million, what will the Shia sheiks require to provide "peace"? After all, the oil fields lie within the area which they "protect".

I have some reservations concerning the adoption of "Gaza/West Bank - The Model" as a means "forward" in Iraq. Paying the Danegeld never really got rid of the Danes.


loner said...

Charles Krauthammer got it right at the end of last week:

His [General David Petraeus] testimony, steady and forthright, bought him the time to achieve his "realistic chance" of success. Not the unified, democratic Iraq we had hoped for the day Saddam Hussein's statue came down, but a radically decentralized Iraq with enough regional autonomy and self-sufficiency to produce a tolerable stalemated coexistence between contending forces.

That, I think, is what we're going for now. The time was bought for him by his testimony and, more importantly, by the elections in November 2004 and November 2006 and he has until the winners in November 2008 take their Oaths of Office to achieve this new "stability" for Iraq and the region. I've written it before and I'll write it again: Godspeed.

Rick Ballard said...

It hinges upon the rapacity of the Shia sheiks to a large extent. They aren't as well versed in the waylaying of caravans as their Sunni cousins and may overplay their hands (or descend to the Fatah/Hamas level) for a bit. Toss in the Iranians and we may see ongoing turmoil for a while yet. At least Anbaristan and Kurdistan are settling down. It may be that Baghdad has undergone sufficient ethnic cleansing to satisfy the Shia and allow for a focus on AQ hunting.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

The wild card here is the Iranians. A decentralized stalemate will not be able to muster sufficient will and organizational skills to resist Iranian incursions (whether overt or covert). It is a strange fallacy to believe that this is all about us, Bush, and the Iraqis. There are a lot of other players, including Russia, China, and Venezuela, lurking on the sides of this hoping we shall fail.

Skookumchuk said...


It is a strange fallacy to believe that this is all about us...

But that is what Americans do.

loner said...


Nonetheless, that's what I think we're trying to achieve and, no, I'm not sure that it's any more attainable than a unified, democratic Iraq. To quote Ringo: It don't come easy.

On the other hand, voting out Republicans and voting in Democrats next November don't come hard.

loner said...

Or should that be "November after next"? "This" seemed the right adjective for November 2007.

Luther McLeod said...

Key remark, I think, MHA. If I were conspiracy minded I might see all of them sharing the same bed. United in their common interest of destroying American. Then will the wild run free.

Skook, it isn't just what we do, it is what we have to do if we are to survive. It really is 'all about us'.

Well loner, everyone's minds will likely be made up by 'this' November :)

tet said...

Wow, when I read loner's comment at 9:55, I found myself wondering which of the Posleen books that quote was from.....

Way too much SF lately.