War and oil in the UK papers (long)

From: Glenn Morton (glenn.morton@btinternet.com)
Date: Sun Sep 08 2002 - 22:26:39 EDT

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    This week there was a fascinating series of articles in UK newspapers,
    especially one from the Daily Telegraph, which, I am told, is a favorite of
    the the Tories (conservatives) here in the UK. I note this because of what
    that article says about the relations between the West and the Arabic world
    concerning Iraq. There are several item which should be noted prior to
    discussing the Telegraph articles. First concerns the intellectual
    isolation of the Arabic world. An editorial in another UK paper this week
    noted:

    ìBut the truth is found in a recent report on the Arab world prepared by the
    United Nations Development Fund and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social
    Development. The report is the outcome of 30 Arab researchersí efforts for
    over a year. It portrays the real picture of the 22 Arab countries with
    their 280 million people (the same population as the United States).
            ìThe report says Arab people enjoy the least freedom compared
    to any other
    region in the worldóless even than sub-Saharan Africa. It says that Arab
    women get the least opportunity to participate in the economic and political
    activities compared to any other place in the world. The level of education
    among Arab women literally is the lowest in the world. More than 50 per cent
    are illiterate, in a culture that venerates its religious books.
            ìOne of the most revealing aspects of the report is the dangerous
    backwardness of the Arab nations in the field of education and science.
    Their per capita spending on scientific research is the lowest in the world.
    In 1996, it was 0.4 per cent of the gross national product, which is
    one-third of what tiny Cuba spent. By contrast, Israel allocated 6.35 per
    cent of its GNP for research. Only 0.5 per cent of Arabs have access to the
    internet, again the lowest in the world. More than 65 million Arab people,
    which accounts for 43 per cent of the entire Arab population, are
    illiterateóa fact that for ever locks the region into poverty. The total
    number of works translated into Arabic in the last ten centuries is the same
    as the number of books translated annually into Spanish. This pitiful number
    of 220 books translated into Arabic ever year is only one-fifth of the works
    translated into Greek. Remember that, and you understand the genesis of the
    misconceptions and hatreds of the west in Arab society.î
            ìAs a result of this intellectual isolation, economic growth
    in the Arab
    zone over the last 20 years has averaged 0.5 per cent. At this rate, it
    takes 140 years to double the national income in these countries, while it
    takes only ten years in most other parts of the world. Although oil-rich
    nations form part of the Arab region, the entire output of the 22 nations is
    less than that of Spain, which has only one-seventh of their population.î
    ìRegime Change Vital to Stability of the Arab World,î The Scotsman, Sept. 7,
    2002, p. 15

    This lack of economic activity in the Arabic world leads to extreme
    frustration and to the extermization of political views. Also in the
    Scotsman this week was this, about Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11
    highjackers. The thing to note is the lack of economic opportunity for this
    obviously smart college graduate and the views he probably held about the
    world :

            ìAt Cairo University, Attaís faculty had been a hotbed of
    fundamentalism
    and the Engineers Syndicate he joined in 1990 was controlled by the Muslim
    Brotherhood. Atta had the sort of profile the Brothers were looking for: a
    smart, upwardly-mobile young man with a technical specialization but no
    place to go. His personal advancement in Egypt was blocked due to his family
    not having the right connections. He loved his country but, like his father,
    hated his governmentís ties with America. Egyptian education would not have
    provided him with a balanced view of history to say the least.
            ìíHe would have been taught the anti-historical Islamic view that
    everything before Islam is cancelled and after Islam, the world is divided
    into truth versus falsehood,í an expert on Egyptian education told me. He
    would have acquired the view that the world was divided into the House of
    Islam, in which Muslim government rules and Muslim law prevails, and the
    House of war, the rest of the world, still ruled by infidels. When Atta
    began living in Hamburg, did he see his benign environment as a House of
    War? Did he recoil from it?î Elena Lappin, ìInside an Enigma: With the
    hijack leader in Hamburg,î The Scotsman, Sept 7, 2002, p. 12

    This combination of intellectual isolation, lack of economic opportunity and
    a single viewpoint, reinforced by the agreement of all of one's neighbors,
    makes for a situation in which the US is damned if it does and damned if it
    doesn't take care of Saddam. If Saddam is allowed weapons of mass
    destruction we have a high risk of taking a hit via his support of
    terrorism. The technological optimism which we in the 21st century have
    and of which we spoke yesterday may not always solve our problems. We have
    the idea that given our technolgoical edge that the US will have its way
    with the Arabic world. Put in historical perspective we have some
    interesting comments in other papers.

            ìAbout 500 years ago, as the modern nation states were
    forming in western
    Europe, there occurred a series of changes in the art of warfare that later
    historians would term ëthe military revolutioní.
            ìStanding national armies, of enormous size and paid for by
    the national
    taxes, became increasingly professional. Drill was practiced and discipline
    enforced. Gunpowder steadily made its way on to the battlefield, in the form
    of large artillery pieces and (especially) hand-held guns.
            ìMonarchs such as Philip II of Spain, Elizabeth I of England
    and Gustavus
    Adolphus of Sweden acquired a monopoly of power at home. Lesser potentates,
    and feudal baronies, were eclipsed. Non-European peoples in the Americas and
    Asia were overwhelmed. A new era in world history had begun.
            ìIn the grand sweep of history, this was neither the first nor the last
    ëmilitary revolutioní. The mid-19th century also witnessed one, in the
    coming of railroads and rifles on land and steam-driven ironclads at sea.
    The interwar yearsówith the development of tanks, radar, amphibious warfare
    and aircraft carriersówere another.
            ìSo it is not surprising that many strategic experts today
    have described
    the changes in the art of warfare in recent times as a new military
    revolution. In their words, a revolution in military affairs has taken
    place.
            ìThis military revolution is almost entirely driven by the
    USóthat is, by
    the peculiar interaction of its Pentagon planners, its military/industrial
    complex and Silicon Valley high technology, together with the political
    desire to be successful in war without taking heavy casualties. The key
    element is a massive investment in new, precision weaponry, supported by
    detection and command-and-control systems.î
            ìWe are now familiar with the fact that the Pentagonís budget
    is equal to
    the combined military budgets of the next 12 or 15 nationsóin other words,
    the US accounts for 40-45 per cent of all the defence spending of the worldí
    s 189 states. Furthermore, as a gloomy Russian military expert observed to
    me recently, the Pentagonís research and development budget may be as much
    as 70-80 per cent of all the globeís defence-related R&D.î
    ìIt is no wonder, then, that the more pessimistic forecasts of likely US
    troop casualties before the Gulf war, and before the recent Afghan campaign,
    proved to be so wrong. Paul Kennedy, ìPower and Terror,î Financial Times,
    Sept 3, 2002, p. 18

    This technological edge has allowed the US military to take surprisingly few
    casualties during the past two wars.

    ìWhen a single Ranger can point a laser-beam at a Taliban position on the
    opposite mountainside, and bombs from a B-52 can promptly follow that beam
    to the target, the casualties of war are all on one side. A century ago, the
    English poet Hilaire Belloc, writing of the British armyís machinegun defeat
    of the Mahdiís forces in the Sudan, quipped: ëWhatever happens, we have got/
    The Maxim gun, and they have not.î Substitute ëAwacs aircraft; or
    ëprecision-guided missilesí for ëMaxim guní and the words still ring true.î
    Paul Kennedy, ìPower and Terror,î Financial Times, Sept 3, 2002, p. 18

    It is doubtful again that the US will take huge casualties but we might reap
    some things which are equally bad. If we take out Saddam, we might change
    the Arabic world forever as is evidenced on the pages of the conservative
    Daily Telegraph. The article was written by a journalist who traveled
    through the Arabic world, from Cairo to Beirut to Damascus. HEre is a
    smattering of quotations from that article:

    The Grand Mufti of Cairo said:
            ìBut, bin Laden apart, were there not Muslims who were terrorists: the
    zealots who killed Christians in Pakistan, the lunatic fringe in Britain?
    ìOf course, there are some Muslim terrorists,í retorted the Mufti, ëbut that
    is true of all religions and not just Islam. Look at Ireland, for example,
    or Bosnia, where a million Muslims have been slaughtered by Christians. But
    what is happening now is that the West is terrorizing the entire Muslim
    world.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph,
    Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 15

    He is correct but it doesn't address the issue of how Islam stops these
    guys.

            ìWhatever we in the West may feel about Islam after September
    11, Muslims
    now see themselves as the misunderstood, persecuted and despised underdogs
    of the world. ëNinety per cent are low in morale, in identity, in their fear
    of the future,í a prominent British Muslim, Imam Abduljalil Sajid, told me
    before I left for Cairo. ëIslam is a victim. Ninety per cent of the trouble
    spots in the world are Muslim, 90 per cent of refugees are Muslim, 90 per
    cent of onslaughts are against MuslimsóPalestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Gujarat,
    Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Libya.î
            ìíWe feel deeply the humiliation, the marginalisation of the
    whole Muslim
    world,í agreed Dr Zaki Badawi, chairman of Britainís Council of Imams and
    Mosques. ëMuslim countries are so divided, so small, so irrelevant. Look at
    life in them. We are the most backward among nations, and the poorest.
    Almost the whole of Islam belongs to the Third World. Parts of the Middle
    East may have enormous oil resources but, even there, it is the West that
    ultimately controls them.î
            ìíAnd the more we are painted as enemies of the West, the
    more it becomes
    open season on Muslims. We are made to feel beleaguered throughout. The mood
    in the Islamic world is sullen and angry. An invasion of Iraq would only
    fuel that anger and persuade more and more people to commit violence against
    the Americans. It would be the spark which finally set the Middle East
    ablaze.î
            ìThe suicide bombing culture has already spread to Egypt. The
    government in
    Cairo has already arrested several young people who wanted to act against
    Israel. If this goes on, they will not be able to retrain them. Even if
    weapons inspectors are allowed into Iraq, the Americans will still use any
    pretext to invade, as part of their policy to dominate the world. They feel
    they can do whatever they like.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim
    World, The Daily Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 15

    Having grown up in a part of the US which is often considered irrelevant and
    a backwater, I know a small part of the feeling of these people. One wants
    to be part of a great people and at the center of the intellectual world.
    Most of us will never be there even within our own disciplines. But the
    feeling that one is irrelevant makes one wish to do something to get
    attention.

    The comment above about the West controlling their oil is in one real sense
    true. Fiona Venn writes of the increase in Arabic oil exporters income after
    the 1973 oil crisis. Because of their intellectual isolation, the Arabic
    world simply can't absorb the money they earn by selling oil:

    ìTaken together, the oil-exporting countries saw a dramatic surge in their
    foreign exchange surplus, from 6 billion dollars in 1973 to 60 billion in
    1974 and 107 billion in 1980. Moreover, as a consequence of budget
    surpluses, the countries of OPEC built up large foreign assets. By the end
    of 1978, Saudi Arabiaís foreign assets amounted to 60 billion dollars, and
    in Venezuela the national budget went from 14 billion bolivas in 1973 to 42
    billion bolivas in 1974.
            ìGiven that, with few exceptions, the recipients of the so-called
    ëpetrodollarsí were developing countries with little existing industry,
    there was considerable concern about the abilities of their economies to
    absorb the vastly increased oil revenues, and also about the strategies
    likely to be adopted by their governments, when investing surplus funds that
    could not be absorbed by their domestic economies. However, this phenomenon
    did not have as negative an impact as was predicted at the time. Fortunately
    for the West, many leading oil-producing states had relatively small
    populations and lacked the necessary resources, labour and skill to develop
    alternative economic activities. Their funds were therefore in many cases
    funneled back into the West, in payment for goods, most of which had to be
    imported, for services, which the advanced West was in the best position to
    provide or through investment...." Fiona Venn, The Oil Crisis, (London:
    Pearson Education, 2002, p. 156-157

    Thus, their money has been funneled back to invest in the West and creates
    Western jobs, not Arabic jobs, which reinforces their powerlessness.

            ìDr. Muhammad abu Laylah, Professor of Islamic Studies in
    English at the Al
    Azhar University in Cairo, said he had simply been unable to sleep at night
    because he was so deeply depressed by the way Muslims were being humiliated
    at the hands of Sharon. ëThe Egyptian people are boiling,í he added.
    ëEverywhere beneath the surface there is psychological chaos, mental
    discomfortóand we see no solution.íî Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim
    World, The Daily Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 16

            ìInevitably, the talk turned to politics, ëTo be really
    honest,í said Mona,
    ëpeople were sort of delighted by September 11. Many regarded it as the
    beginning of the downfall of American hegemony. They thought, ëTheyíre not
    impregnable after allí. We had hit New York, and the symbolism of that took
    over from the immensity of the crime.
            ìíThe mood in the Muslim world is one of depression and apathy, because
    people feel they canít change anything and despair of their pusillanimous
    leaders. We feel such an inheritance of being persecuted, oppressed and
    colonised. If the Americans invaded Iraq, that would be just the latest
    example. The superpowers rule our lives. We are doomed, we feel. This is our
    fate.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph,
    Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 18

            ìThe British have gone,í said his predecessor as editor,
    Gamil Mattar, ëbut
    we still feel colonised. Our president Mubarak goes off to Washington in
    March every year, like the head of a subsidiary company reporting to
    corporate headquarters. And it is not only him. Musharraf in Pakistan is
    exactly the same. They would not admit that they are client creatures, but
    they are. We canít do anything on our own. The boss is always there.
            ìíThe Americans are always telling our rulers what to do and
    the message is
    always the sameótoe the line, have democracy, have privatization, join us in
    the war against terrorism. The irony is that Bush and yourselves are asking
    us to join that war at a time when public opinion here feels that in
    reality, it is a war against Islam. And people like Mubarak and Musharraf
    feel that, if they donít toe the line, the Americans would topple their
    governments. Just like the Iraqis, weíd get economic and military
      sanctions.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 17

    Nagia
    ìOver lunch, her eldest son, Mostapha, a young architect, tells me of his
    fears. ëI feel very insecure,í he said. ëThere is something being plotted
    against Islam. We are slowly being swallowed by the Americans. A few years
    ago, they were in Somalia, supposedly peacekeeping, Then there was the Gulf
    war. Now theyíre in Afghanistan and threatening to go into Iraq. Gradually,
    they are going back to the old system of military dictatorship.î Graham
    Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3,
    2002, p. 15-17, p. 17

    ìWas I wrong, I asked, in detecting a great sense of powerlessness in the
    Muslim world? That was largely true, Fadlallah agreed. It was partly because
    America was the comrade of Israel, partly because most of the rulers in the
    Arab and Muslim worlds had not really been elected by their people and did
    not represent them. They ruled through intelligence agencies and emergency
    laws, not democracy.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 18

    The real question I see is how do we deal in a fair way with peoples who
    have such a different world view, and different preferred outcomes of world
    history. How is the Christian to behave towards a people who believe the
    best outcome of world history is the demise of Christianity as we know it
    (see quote above about what Atta was taught)?

            ìIn Egypt, it soon became patently obvious that the Islamic
    world is deeply
    imbued with religion in a way that has not been true of Western Europe for a
    very long time. Egyptians, who are among the most pious of Muslims, talk
    about religion as naturally as we talk about the weather, and always in
    terms of its application to behaviour.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the
    Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 16

    Al Azhar is a university which was founded 300 years prior to the founding
    of Oxford. It is the largest and oldest university in the world. And it is
    special.

            ìSo, what is so special about Al Azhar, apart from its age and enormous
    sizeó350,000 students, 100,000 of them women? Certainly not the buildings,
    many of which are concrete blocks of a particularly unattractive kind. What
    makes this university really unusual is that, to be a student there, you
    have to be able to recite the entire Koran by heartóall 114 chapters and
    6,000 verses of it.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 16

    How many seminaries require this of the Bible? Without a doubt the effort
    required to perform that task requires a dedication seldom seen today in
    Christianity. And without a doubt it will affect how one sees the world.
    And it raises a philosophical question of whether a technological society
    can be deeply religious at the same time. Are the two mutually incompatible?
    Technology gives man a feeling of god-like control decreasing his dependence
    upon God; and the lack of such technological control makes one want to
    depend upon God. Is this why the 'backwaters' of the US are more religious
    than the educational and cultural centers of the country? Such religiousity
    and dedication to one's religion will most assuredly affect the way events
    in the world are viewed.

    Latifa Fahmy, a student
            ìíIn this part of the world,í she said, ëwe were really hurt by what
    happened in New York, but, at the same time, a lot of people were happy, not
    only that it could happen to the great superpower, but also that it was done
    by someone like bin Laden. The Americans have all the technology and he didn
    ít even have a computer, yet he could humble them.î
            ìThe reaction was much the same throughout the Muslim world.
    The favourite
    name for newly born male children in the city of Kano in northern Nigeria is
    now Osama.
            ìíPart of the trouble,í Latifa Fahmy went on, ëis that the
    West looks down
    on Muslims. They think of us as a lower form of human being. On September
    11, I picked up the telephone to a close American colleague here, asked
    whether heíd been able to contact his family and whether there was anything
    I could do for him.
            ìíThe line was silent for a long time and then he said,
    rather coldly, ëWe
    must get together and have coffee some time.í His attitude, I felt, was
    ëthat it should come to this, a member of the great superpower being asked
    by Latifa whether she could do anything for him!íî Graham Turner, ìTravels
    in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p.
    17

            ìIf they invade Iraq, they will lose even more credibility
    than they have
    lost already because, by doing that, they will be helping Saddam Hussein to
    become more popular. Many people in the Arab world do not like Saddam, but,
    if his country is threatened by the Americans, he will become a hero because
    he has been threatened by the great superpower.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in
    the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 17

    Two things of real interest to Christians:

    At the mosque on Friday
            ìAs we waited for the prayers to begin, the muezzin was telling, in his
    sing-song voice, the story of Jesusís mother, Mary, who is a revered figure
    in the Koran. She was sad, he said, that she herself could not become a
    prophet, but accepted the fact and so God blessed her. She was visited by an
    angel who told her that she would bear a son without having a husband. When
    Jesus was born, many people criticised her, but Jesus defended her and
    declared: ëI am a prophet of God and was born without a father.í
            ìI was much moved to hear the story of the Virgin Birth told
    so reverently
    in a mosque and wondered how many Anglicansónot to mention their
    bishopsóactually believe it any more, as the Muslims in the Salah ed-Deen so
    plainly do.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 17
            ìThe conversation, almost inevitably turns to religion. God, Muhieddine
    [mayor of 1/3 of Beirutógrm]insists, did not have a son, though Muslims had
    always revered Jesus as a great prophet. Nor, in their belief was Jesus
    crucified, ëbecause God does not allow His honourable prophets to be killed
    as criminalsí.
            ìWhat actually happened was that God changed the face of the
    traitor Judasó
    ëGod-magicí, said Muhieddineóso that when the Roman soldiers looked at him,
    they thought it was Jesus. As for the Christian Holy Spirit, that was the
    angel Gabriel, whom God dispatched on all kinds of missions.î Graham Turner,
    ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p.
    17-19, p. 18

            ìBut, Muhieddine [mayor of 1/3 of Beirutógrm] added, whereas
    the Prophet
    Mohammed died and was buried, many Muslims believed that Jesus was ëraised
    to the skies and will come again to bring justice to the earthí. Not the
    sort of conversation you expect to have with the average British mayor, even
    when he is off-duty.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 18

    All of the above seems to produce a hatred of the West which is amazing.

            ìNor was the hatred limited to Muslim extremists. ëLook,í he
    went on, ëI
    have a friend whose wife leads a western life. She dances, she drinks, she
    wears revealing clothes, but she said to me, ëIf they open the borders, I
    will go and blow myself up in Palestineí. That woman doesnít even know how
    to pray, but she has seen so many sad pictures on televisionóand Arabs feel
    they will never regain their honour if they do not get involved.î Graham
    Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4,
    2002, p. 17-19, p. 17

            ìíThe culture of hate is so widespread now that, if you stand against
    violence, you feel that people are talking behind your back. You wonder if
    they will start to say that you have been planted by Mossad or the CIA.íî
    Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept
    4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 17

    Muhieddine [mayor of 1/3 of Beirutógrm]
            ìíAnd what,í he went on, ëis the alternative to bin Laden? I
    have no answer
    to that. We may not agree with him, but maybe his is the best way. If we
    fight, the Israelis donít like it. If we donít fight they do nothing.
    Moderates like us have talked about the situation for 50 years and achieved
    nothing. He arrives and, in five minutes, changes the world.î Graham Turner,
    ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p.
    17-19, p. 18

    In the Guardian similar things are being reported:

            "What is most chilling is that the hawks in the Bush
    administration must
    know the risks involved. They must be aware of the anti-American feeling
    throughout the Middle East. They must be aware of the fear in Egypt and
    Saudi Arabia that a war against Iraq could unleash revolutions, disposing of
    prowestern governments, and replacing them with populist anti-American
    Islamist fundamentalist regimes. We should all remember the Islamist
    revolution in Iran. The Shah was backed by the Americans, but he couldn't
    stand against the will of the people. And it is because I am sure that they
    fully understand the consequences of their actions, that I am most afraid. I
    am drawn to the conclusion that they must want to create such mayhem." Mo
    Mowlam, "The Real Goal is the Seizure of Saudi Oil," The Guardian Sept 5,
    2002, p. 24

    And how is the Christian to deal with the injustice done to Palestinian
    Arabs many of whom were given 30 minutes to vacate their property. The
    hatred from the act of confiscation and continued settlement building is
    something that is unjust. In the blind support for Israel for eschatological
    reasons, we often overlook those who were hurt in our desire to see prophecy
    fulfilled and the Lord's return.

            ìíWhether the Israelis like it or not,í said Abu Mohammed, ëIsrael is
    founded on a very great injustice. In 1993, I went back there to visit my
    brother and saw our old home and land, yet I had no right to my property, I
    could not take one olive or one fig from my trees. We are powerless to do
    anything. That is why our desperate people resort to suicide bombing. It is
    like Samson in the Old Testament, who vowed that he would destroy the Temple
    and take others with him.íî Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The
    Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 18

    Spiritual advisor to Hisbollah, Ayatollah Sayyid Fadlallah
    ìí I was not the one who launched the idea of so-called suicide bombings,í
    Fadlallah went on, ëbut I have certainly argued in favour of them. I do,
    though make a distinction between them and attacks that target people in a
    state of peaceówhich was why I opposed what happened on September 11.î
    Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept
    4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 18

    The worry that this hatred could overthrow pro-Western governments and
    replace them with Islamic militant governments is a real possibility. The
    Saudi's are against the invasion for a couple of reasons: the mood of their
    population and the possible lack of income due to their loss of control of
    the price of oil for the near term. The Saudi's are afraid that a
    post-Saddam Iraq will be used to pump oil and drop the price of oil, helping
    Bush, but hurting them. A lack of oil income will put severe pressure on an
    already pressurized Saudi government. The average Saudi income has plummeted
    by 2/3 since 1980. In December of last year, Saudi youths were involved in a
    riot which included anti-Saud and anti-US rhetoric. Without government
    social programs, the Saudi's would already have fallen. But interestingly,
    two decisions they took have set up the present situation. First, the deal
    they made with the Clerics after the 1979 capture of the Grand Mosque by
    radicals:

            ìThe lesson was emphasized in November 1979 when the Grand
    Mosque at Mecca
    was seized by a group of men led by a Saudi dissident, Juhayaman ben
    Muhammad bin Sayf al-Utaybi, protesting against what he saw as religious
    laxity within the kingdom. There was unrest in the oil-rich province of
    Hasa, a region with a predominantly Shia population. In may respects the
    Mecca Rebellion was a failure: no spontaneous mass uprising accompanied the
    seizure of the Kaíba, while the religious establishment of Saudi Arabia
    supported the royal family and authorized the storming of the Grand Mosque.
    However, in response to this, Crown Prince Fahd strengthened the position of
    religious leaders in education, gave more authority to the Morality Police
    and partially reduced the trend towards centralized government by shifting
    more influence to the provinces. As was pointed out at the time, the Saudis
    had experienced at least some of the same forces of instability as in Iran,
    including ësuddenly acquired riches, overambitious development plans, an
    enlarged military establishment armed with all kinds of new weapons, a great
    influx of foreigners, and the growth of new groups seeking political
    expression.í Certainly, the Mecca Rebellion, taken with earlier signs of
    concern within the kingdom at the pace of modernization, encouraged the
    Saudi Government to stress traditional values and increase the authority of
    the religious establishment, the Iranian equivalent of whom had proved so
    potent a source of opposition. The growth of Islamic fundamentalism
    challenged the common assumption that, as a developing country became more
    modern, it would become more secular.î Fiona Venn, The Oil Crisis, (London:
    Pearson Education, 2002, p. 92

    Bin Laden was a product of the Saudi theological teaching--the first
    mistake. The second mistake was the Saudi support of bin Laden to have him
    attack elsewhere. This also has brought this present situation upon them.
    We wouldn't be considering attacking Iraq had it not been for 9/11. And in
    order to gain Russian support in the Security Council, the US will have to
    guarantee that Russia will get repaid the 20 billion dollars which the
    Iraqis owe them. That means that the US must have the post Iraq regime pump
    and sell oil. 20 billion dollars is about 1 year of Iraqi pre-1991
    production, about 1 billion barrels. In order to repay the Russians AND
    rebuild Iraq, the oil spigots must be opened and that will depress the price
    of oil. Lower prices of oil for the short term, will mean a cessation of
    exploration (and probably my retirement about 10 years earlier than I wish)
    and paradoxically bringing the peak of world oil production slightly earlier
    than it otherwise might have been. This is because if exploration ceases for
    a while, the natural decline in existing fields will mean some of them are
    abandoned before the smaller surrounding prospects are developed, meaning a
    lower ultimate recovery from a given basin will be the case. The decline in
    oil price will be great for the economy, indeed, the stock market has gone
    up after each war was won (100% after WWII; 17% after Korea; 20% after the
    Gulf War; and 7% after Afghanistan. The Sunday Times, Sept 8, 2002, Money
    Section p. 1)

    Two things of real interest to Christians. It seems that the Muslims believe
    the historical truth of our Bible more than many Christians do:

    At the mosque on Friday
            ìAs we waited for the prayers to begin, the muezzin was telling, in his
    sing-song voice, the story of Jesusís mother, Mary, who is a revered figure
    in the Koran. She was sad, he said, that she herself could not become a
    prophet, but accepted the fact and so God blessed her. She was visited by an
    angel who told her that she would bear a son without having a husband. When
    Jesus was born, many people criticised her, but Jesus defended her and
    declared: ëI am a prophet of God and was born without a father.í
            ìI was much moved to hear the story of the Virgin Birth told
    so reverently
    in a mosque and wondered how many Anglicansónot to mention their
    bishopsóactually believe it any more, as the Muslims in the Salah ed-Deen so
    plainly do.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Tues. Sept 3, 2002, p. 15-17, p. 17

            ìThe conversation, almost inevitably turns to religion. God, Muhieddine
    [mayor of 1/3 of Beirutógrm]insists, did not have a son, though Muslims had
    always revered Jesus as a great prophet. Nor, in their belief was Jesus
    crucified, ëbecause God does not allow His honourable prophets to be killed
    as criminalsí.
            ìWhat actually happened was that God changed the face of the
    traitor Judasó
    ëGod-magicí, said Muhieddineóso that when the Roman soldiers looked at him,
    they thought it was Jesus. As for the Christian Holy Spirit, that was the
    angel Gabriel, whom God dispatched on all kinds of missions.î Graham Turner,
    ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p.
    17-19, p. 18

            ìBut, Muhieddine [mayor of 1/3 of Beirutógrm] added, whereas
    the Prophet
    Mohammed died and was buried, many Muslims believed that Jesus was ëraised
    to the skies and will come again to bring justice to the earthí. Not the
    sort of conversation you expect to have with the average British mayor, even
    when he is off-duty.î Graham Turner, ìTravels in the Muslim World, The Daily
    Telegraph, Wed.. Sept 4, 2002, p. 17-19, p. 18

    Into this climate we go, the results will not always be what we expect. We
    are damnd if we do and damned if we don't. I am not saying that we shouldn't
    go after Saddam. What I am saying is that we will probably get Saddam and
    many other things we didn't want as well.

    glenn

    see http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm
    for lots of creation/evolution information
    anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
    personal stories of struggle



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