I’ve got no idea what was going through Omar Mateen‘s mind when he decided he was a terrorist. But I do know how people tend to justify anger and violence. I know that the justifications sometimes become motivation. And I’m certain that our modern culture of global, politically-inflamed and monetary-policy-fueled violence should be discussed.
It’s easy to see why people react against “The Religion of Peace,” and why people of that faith want to defend their faith.
But with so much obvious ignorance and disastrously bad policy (have ANY of our government’s promises or justifications for warfare turned out to be true?), we’re past-due for a look at both OUR history, and our allies…including the one that seems off-the-table, taboo, and the Name Never Spoken: Saudi Arabia.
Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab (1703 – 1792) was a Sunni Muslim cleric who rejected modern culture and technology, and sought to purify and distill Islam to the faith and practices of the Salaf. In other words, he wanted people to live in the year 700.
This was not a very popular idea among the very many Muslims who liked the advances made in the intervening thousand years.
Putting it more plainly, many wanted him dead. So the cleric sought out the protection of a well-known desert warrior/ emir, Muhammad ibn Saud.
It turned out that Wahhab’s ideas of religious discipline and zeal fit very well with Saud’s ideas of military conquest and political domination. They legitimized each other, in effect; and so they created a dynasty that endures to today.
But this militarized religion in the form of Wahhabism and the House of Saud had pretty powerful enemies within the prevailing Ottoman Empire. So the Ottomans eventually (albeit violently) contained Saudi Arabia’s inherent military expansionist zeal.
Through all this, however, Ottomans and Europeans were also fighting each other. It was mostly the British who started a practice of deceit and division to ally with opposing factions to disrupt the empire.
After the Young Turk Revolution and during WWI is when the young archaeologist T.E. Lawrence was pushed into Britain’s assymetric engagement to bring down the Ottoman Empire.
Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB DSO FAS, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” was an amazing guy; and not just because the multilingual soldier/ archaeologist/ writer liked motorcycles. Mostly, it’s because he was both a key historical figure, and a Cassandric chronicler of our current problems in the Middle East.
During the revolution/fall of the Ottoman Empire, Lawrence tried to help the Egyptian-led Hashemite forces make a stable, peaceful transition to the modern world. But England was, at first unbeknownst to Lawrence, also subsidizing the opposing faction of Muslims in Riyad…the House of Saud.
“The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster.” – “Report on Mesopotamia” The Sunday Times (22 August 1920) (does this seem familar somehow?)
Lawrence’s axis of Egyptian/Syrian Arabs did most of the real dismantling of the old Empire while the House of Saud/Wahhabis pretty much rebuilt in the background (and certainly avoided the forces helped/led by T.E. Lawrence).
With the increasing importance of oil, and the ready sources of it in his grasp, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdul-Rahman al Faisal al Saud became more than just a military force.
So the British then did in that conflict what the USA has done ever since…they funded, equipped and aided two sides of a revolution against a third entity, and ended up picking the worst side.
So it was the Wahhabist Saudi faction that gained the real power from the post-revolution/ post-WWI power struggles…because western powers took their side.
To make the long story short, Saudi Arabia became nobody’s friend, but everybody’s ally; especially since FDR signed a deal with the Saudis, and Nixon based the dollar on their oil trade.
Richer by far than the dissipating Rothchilds, as heavily armed as they want to be, and to seal their imperviousness to our domestic production, we just gave the Wahhabis our biggest oil refinery in Port Arthur Texas.
Global imperialism and concomitantly devalued currency wrecked the British Empire, so the USA has now taken on Britain’s role of self-destructing meddler-bully.
We’ve become both puppet and puppeteer, both thug and serf. The middle east is a divided, angry wreck because we made it that way over the past one-hundred years.
What’s next? What would you do if you were a non-Saudi in the Middle East? What should you do as a USA citizen?
Consider what Lawrence wrote as applicable to all of us:
“Whether they are fit for independence or not remains to be tried. Merit is no qualification for freedom. Bulgars, Afghans, and Tahitans have it. Freedom is enjoyed when you are so well armed, or so turbulent, or inhabit a country so thorny that the expense of your neighbour’s occupying you is greater than the profit.” – “Letter to the Editor” The Times (22 July 1920)