Monday, February 27, 2006

Maybe We Have A War At Last

The enemy has changed tactics. Al Qaeda has in the past week blown up a holy site of Shia Islam and attacked a large Saudi oil complex. Changes of tactic which are overdue and may work really well for Al Qaedas stated aims.

The attack in Iraq has seriously dented the progress to democracy and promoted religious division. For the past 2 years Al Qaeda (a violent Sunni group) has been attempting to create division with attacks on Shia weddings and Shia markets and Shia queues. These attacks have merely caused a ripple of antagonism and in turn a response of Shia run death squads against Sunni (including Al Qaeda) - a conflict the Shia in Iraq were bound to win. These prior attacks lacked profile, were a background noise and people can get used to anything if it is kept at a constant level. Al Qaeda needed something like this, it defines the difference between the Shia who cry for vengeance and the Sunni who will be innocent victims of reprisal. It is a masterstroke of a tactic.

The attack on the Saudi oil refinery is a very surprising. This attack makes it seem Al Qaeda might actually be serious, for until this point Al Qaeda has fought the most pathetic rebellion possible. They have shouted of ridding the Muslim world of Western influence, but left unscathed the only thing in the Muslim world that the West gives a damn about. They talked of overthrowing the venal, corrupt regimes of the Gulf, but attacked foreigners and peasants who are of no consequence to these regimes. These actions are like those of the old time Klan in the Southern USA - illegal but not even slightly anti-regime. This prior behaviour makes Al Qaeda false revolutionaries, but a successful attack against the oil industry would actually make the West and the regimes hurt.

If Al Qaeda is truly serious (yet to be determined) and can provoke civil war in Iraq and hurt the oil industry in the Gulf then a war, a clash of civilisations, is on.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Freedom of Expression

The West embraces freedom, because freedom makes the West powerful. Being free is also a nice thing to be, but that is secondary.

Freedom to do anything we please allows for innovation and experimentation - the two things that drive growth. There is no one to say what is wrong, no G*d to appease. If it works use it, because if you don't then someone else will.

If we limit ourselves then we will be surpassed. And who wants to live as one of a losing culture. Respecting others beliefs is a good thing to do so we can sell stuff. Respecting others cultures by limiting ourselves is suicidal.

The Islamic religion is too all pervasive and strict. It limits the Muslims to being less than they can be. The most successful Muslim nations are in India and Malaysia and the West, where they are free to make their own choices.

We should always apologise for Danish Cartoons and the like, because it will help us sell stuff. However we should never, ever mean it.