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Monday, November 16, 2009

Never defend an Islamic country

Harvard's Middle East Strategy blog has a fascinating post entitled "How the Saudis radicalized US troops." The bottom line ought to make Americans think about whether it's worth stationing US troops in Islamic countries at all.
The genesis of radical Islamic thinking within the military was in the 1990-91 Gulf War, when nearly half a million soldiers and marines were deployed in Saudi Arabia to liberate Kuwait and defend the oil kingdom from Saddam Hussein’s aggression. While the Saudis were adamantly opposed to any expression of religious practice by their guests, including a ban on Christmas carols, bible classes and Christian and Jewish prayers, they embarked on a well-orchestrated and generously funded effort sponsored by the Saudi government to convert as many American military members as possible to Islam.

According to General Norman Schwarzkopf’s aide Rick Francona,
Saudi officers appeared to have been directed by their senior military or religious leadership to spot and assess potential converts to Islam among American military members. Once a particular American was ‘targeted,’ […] a few Saudi military officers, including a military imam, would attempt to meet the American in either a purely social setting or at least outside of the work area. These approaches usually included fairly generous gifts and of course, literature about Islam. The gifts included expensive briefcases, pens, books and other personal items. Americans who decided to convert to Islam were rewarded handsomely […] including all expenses paid trips to Mecca, and payments as high as $30,000.
The commander of Saudi forces in the Gulf, Prince Khaled bin Sultan bragged in his memoir that more than 2,000 American troops converted to Islam through this campaign. “These Muslim troops are now the messengers of Islam in the U.S. forces,” said Dr. Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips, a Jamaican-born convert to Islam (1972) who worked during the Gulf war under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force while converting U.S. troops to Islam in his spare time. After the war, Phillips moved to the United States to “set up Islamic chapters in the U.S. Defense Department.”

Nearly two decades have passed since the Saudi conversion campaign, and most of the converts may no longer be in uniforms. But the seeds sown during the Gulf War have germinated, creating scores of radicalized Americans who are a threat to their comrades in uniforms as well as to their civilian communities.
Read the whole thing.


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Ivan said...

It was Saudi Arabia again that pulled the wool over the Americans' eyes over the intentions of the Pakistanis and their Afghan pupils in the 80's and 90's. The willful blindness that successive largely Republican Adminstrations displayed over the Saudis and their machinations ensured that the Americans would have no coherent policy in dealing with the Sunni Muslim inspired terorrism. Time has taken care of Pakistan, it is on its way to being a rump-state. When the Saudis get their comeuppance in turn as they must, I'll be among the celebrants.


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