Al Shabaab’s Sarajevo in Nairobi

There is a profound moral dimension to the photos and videos coming out of Kenya.

They are showing a multiracial civilization — an up-scale mall is the commercial epitome of modern civilization — under attack with multiracial cops and generally black African military saving multiracial civilians from faceless terrorist barbarians.

There is a huge message about the nature of our terrorist enemy that will resonate with the Western public in much the same way that pictures and video from Sarajevo did in the 1990s vis-a-vis the Serbs.

This Al Shabaab atrocity for publicity and fund raising will cost them and their Islamist co-belligerents far more in the long run.

Dehumanization works both ways.

51 thoughts on “Al Shabaab’s Sarajevo in Nairobi”

  1. I’ve been following the story on the Daily Mail since saturday morning(my time) and the comments about some of the people in the pictures by family members has done more to provide information on who some of the people are and what happened to them, I’ve never seen that happen before. I read the Daily Mail because they comprehensively cover stories from all over America, stuff our lamestream media doesn’t or won’t, they present a pretty unbiased assortment. However their fact checker and whoever doesn’t do the editing need to be fired.

  2. If institutional islam and its adherents around the world do not take control of these fanatics, they will have made the same mistake of arrogant ignorance that led the subjects of the emperor to attack Pearl Harbor, or the demented lunatic in Berlin to declare war on the west and then attack Russia all in a few months.

    And the end results, when they go that one step too far, which they certainly will unless restrained from within islam itself, will be to endure the unendurable, just as the divine emperor had to suddenly accept that he was mortal.

    They just don’t understand what they’re fooling with, and when it’s too late, they won’t have any chance to do anything other than accept their fate.

  3. This Al Shabaab atrocity for publicity and fund raising will cost them and their Islamist co-belligerents far more in the long run.

    There is a public message, I will agree. But for the Jihadi’s it will be considered a victory, in that it spreads terror. It may be a test run, a successful one; and the tactic may well be replicated. Including in Europe and here.

    But there is not anything in the Ummah that as Veryretired says:

    If institutional islam and its adherents around the world do not take control of these fanatics

    that has the power or the inclination to take control and limit the actions of Al Shahaab or any similar groups.

    That leaves action from outside the Ummah to stop them. What political and coercive institutions and entities exist currently that might take the appropriate actions to make such attacks counterproductive to the Jihad? Given the nature of what the West has become, I don’t see any, at least until the cost of doing nothing becomes prohibitive to those institutions despite their desire to avoid it.

    We are a long way from seeing the beginning of the end of this.

    Subotai Bahadur

  4. Most terrorism in the recent past, including attacks on airports (Rome, Vienna, Lod) which are at least as important as shopping malls, passed with little effect on the the various socialist causes advocated by the terrorists. And the anti-American terrorists of the 1960s (Weathermen, et. al.) have absolutely won the mind space.

    Left a word out: multicultural faceless terrorist barbarians. Or was that early report wrong?

  5. More than 2 years since bin Laden was killed, 2 years of al qaeda and terrorism on the run and waning away. And yet across the globe terrorist organizations still strike against their desired targets and they still hit.

    Right this very minute in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt there are effectively civil wars raging with terrorist forces playing key roles. Then look at the Westgate center attacks, the battle of Zamboanga city, the Bengazi embassy attack, the temporary occupation of northern Mali by terrorist forces, the attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And just within the past month dozens of civilians have been killed in separate terrorist attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Kenya, and Somalia.

    Remember Somalia, where 2 decades ago American forces received some humiliation and the American administration at the time decided to run away with its tail tucked between its legs because it didn’t have the stomach to deal with the seriousness of the problems there. And imagine the bizarre turn of events where instead of magically shriveling up and going away the problems of Somalia became even more serious due to neglect. Spawning widespread piracy that threatened some of the most important shipping lanes of the world. Spawning terrorist organizations capable of fielding thousands of soldiers and of routinely undertaking car bomb attacks or mass shootings where dozens or hundreds are killed.

    I get the sense that the current administration is banking on a similar strategy to that employed 2 decades ago. Withdraw and hope for the best. Hope beyond hope that the problem goes away. That drone strikes and “unbelievably small” bombings from afar can turn the tide.

    That’s not how it’s going to work out. We’re faced with another black hawk down situation. Another Dar es Salaam & Nairobi embassy bombing. The forces of radical, militant islamic are entrenched across a truly frightening array of countries spanning multiple continents. If we refuse to confront them, if we refuse to aid our allies, is it reasonable to assume that everything will magically turn out for the best? That somehow the trend of the last 2 decades will reverse? That countries such as Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and Turkey which are teetering on the brink of chaos will not be magnets for the enemies of western values and those forces will not attempt to take advantage to the maximum degree possible?

  6. The American people get a vote, regardless of our elites fecklessness.

    There will be a tipping point.

    It took five years of Bush screwing up Iraq and the Democratic Party/media complex going rabid to get us from 9/11 to a Democratic Senate and the market meltdown to get us Obama.

    The situation is now ripe for such a tipping point to come again.

  7. I get the sense that the current administration is banking on a similar strategy to that employed 2 decades ago. Withdraw and hope for the best. Hope beyond hope that the problem goes away. That drone strikes and “unbelievably small” bombings from afar can turn the tide.

    That’s the plan. It’s augmented by a campaign of trying to buy off supposedly moderate Islamists in the hope of thereby somehow constraining more hostile Islamists.

    Just as Obama has taken us back to the failed economic policies of the 1930s and 1960s/70s, so he is taking us back to failed security policies of the 1930s and 1970s/80s/90s. We respond with talk and appeasement to deadly attacks.

    I was in an airport a few days ago. Very crowded. There was an abandoned suitcase next to a check-in machine. Someone reported it to the airline. Ten minutes later a TSA guy came and stood around. Ten minutes after that a couple of cops came and stood around. Of course it turned out to be nothing but the response to it wasn’t adequate. It’s been like this for several years. Everyone knows it. On all levels, it’s as though we are racing to make ourselves vulnerable.

  8. The Sultanknish blog had a relevant article today titled: “The Gang Religion of Islam.” Since I am a complete computer dunce, I couldn’t post a link but it is well worth checking out. Warning: it is very politically incorrect!

  9. Why would anyone assume that this administration intends to do anything to stand in the way of rampant radical Islam? They won’t even utter the words! On the contrary, this administration seems to go out of its way to support, either directly or indirectly, those forces that hate Western ideals the most. Unfortunately, the majority of our politicians, even if they do understand and fear the dangers facing us from the vast network of radical Islamists around the world, do not have the moral courage to stand up and act decisively in our defense.

  10. Subotai Bahadur,

    Atrocities like Beslan and Nairobi are profoundly dehumanizing Islam in the eyes of non-Mulims.

    What happens in terms of the political ground Western leaders stand upon when we get loose Syrian nerve gas in a Turkish, French, or German up-scale mall? Or, God forbid, some place like the Mall of the America’s?

    The American people get a vote and American elites have been destroying their own credibility in the American People’s eyes by coddling and trying to hide the dysfunctions of Islam. Obama’s fecklessness in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, and “work-place violence” at Ft Hood is attaching itself to the entire DC bipartisan establishment.

    This will have consequences, if we get a Walter Russell Mead “Jacksonian-Style” public reaction to a future Jihadist atrocity at home.

    George W. Bush knew enough to give that Jacksonian reaction a lightning rod to strike when he stood on the pile of the WTC in 2001 and gave his impromptu bull-horn speech, pointing us all at Afghanistan.

    Obama hasn’t a clue if lightning strikes a second time. And no understanding of the moral dimensions of the Jacksonian reaction, if someone in his Administration gave him a clue on a silver platter.

  11. Even if Beslan and Nairobi dehumanizes Islam in the eyes of infidels, it may take centuries before the effects are made manifest. The laogai and the gulag and the Holodomor have barely made a dent in the attractiveness of Socialism, and that ideology is but one-eighth the age of Islam.

  12. In as far as the USA is multicultural, note that there are no Jacksonian Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and darn few Jacksonian adherents in the nomenklatura. Soon the possibility of a Jacksonian reaction will be impossible.

  13. Trent, 0bama himself will be the lightning rod and he’ll take the entire dhimmicrap party with him.

    Eris, there are more Jacksonians than you think among blacks and Hispanics, especially the Hispanics.

  14. Erisguy,

    Walter Russell Mead defined Jacksonians as both ethnic groups — predominently White Scots-Irish with an assimilated Italian, Irish, East European immigrants — and as a public tribal identity. An identity which Blacks and increasingly Hispanics are assimilating into and white Northern Europeans feel in times of war.

    What we discovered with Syria is that Jacksonians will not turn out _for Obama_ to fight a foreign enemy abroad.

    That says nothing about whether Jacksonians would turn out against Obama and his elite followers following a 9/11 class foreign terrorist hit at home.

  15. I think that we’re pretty close to Trent’s tipping point. From the comments on the Daily Mail coverage of the Westlake story, it doesn’t look like the ordinary Brits are inclined to cut any more slack to the Islamists. Oh, the elites are as supine as ever, but ordinary citizens are just PO’ed. I’ll also bet that the Kenyans are in a towering fury, too. I’ll be damned surprised if the Kenyan authorities capture any Al-Shabaabists live.

    I wonder if this isn’t Al Shabaab’s Beslan, in a way. The Beslan school atrocity cost the Chechens any shred of sympathy from outsiders – and maybe even with other Chechens and Russians. I do remember reading stories about Russian activities in Chechnya which were vaguely sympathetic in that ‘hey – they a proud minority getting a bad deal from Russia’ but all that came to a screeching halt after Beslan.

  16. It is a culture turning from scattered shamanistic religions to a unifying faith. It’s really the culture the region has that determines it’s reactions to events, not so much the religion relativity recently adopted.

    It’s the third leg of the tripod that make up the ‘people of the book’. The Jewish religion, the Christian faith and Islam all share a rich heritage but Islam is the most recent and has converted some of the most primitive people on earth.

    Islam is no more a gangster religion than is Christianity. They remember the Crusades even if you don’t.

  17. Sgt. Mom,

    Islam is the home of Barbarian death cults. Death Cults kill because they exult in death, sadism and depravity.

    This 2004 David Brookes NY Times piece on Beslan makes clear what it is we are fighting.

    …We should by now have become used to the death cult that is thriving at the fringes of the Muslim world. This is the cult of people who are proud to declare, “You love life, but we love death.” This is the cult that sent waves of defenseless children to be mowed down on the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war, that trains kindergartners to become bombs, that fetishizes death, that sends people off joyfully to commit mass murder.
    This cult attaches itself to a political cause but parasitically strangles it. The death cult has strangled the dream of a Palestinian state.
    The suicide bombers have not brought peace to Palestine; they’ve brought reprisals. The car bombers are not pushing the U.S. out of Iraq; they’re forcing us to stay longer. The death cult is now strangling the Chechen cause, and will bring not independence but blood.
    But that’s the idea. Because the death cult is not really about the cause it purports to serve. It’s about the sheer pleasure of killing and dying.
    It’s about massacring people while in a state of spiritual loftiness. It’s about experiencing the total freedom of barbarism -freedom even from human nature, which says, Love children, and Love life. It’s about the joy of sadism and suicide.


    …This death cult has no reason and is beyond negotiation. This is what makes it so frightening. This is what causes so many to engage in a sort of mental diversion. They don’t want to confront this horror. So they rush off in search of more comprehensible things to hate.

  18. Trent Telenko Says:
    September 24th, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I don’t doubt that there will be an EVENTUAL Jacksonian reaction here. However, it will only happen after one …or more, maybe many more… mass attacks here on American soil.

    The American people really doesn’t have that much control over what the government does. Congress does nothing but what the President wants, Constitution or law notwithstanding. The Institutional Republicans refuse to stand and fight Obama on anything. Yesterday and today may end up being where the Republicans break up, in fact. McConnell and Cornyn have sided with Reid and Obama to fund Obamacare, and a schism may be in progress. The Democrats do as they are told. The government spies on every aspect of our lives, and the Executive Branch targets the political enemies of the Democrats with impunity. Vote fraud is rampant, and the Republican Party has signed an agreement never to oppose it.

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans will try to prevent any reaction to such attacks with all the force at their command, inside or outside the law. Such a Jacksonian reaction would threaten their monopoly on domestic power. In fact, we can expect the first of the attacks to result in tighter domestic controls on dissent.

    Islamists [who are the majority of Muslims] will cheer the attacks. They feel no shame at killing any infidel, and consider it counting coup for all Muslims. If Europe or Israel is hit, it will not affect American politics, except to cheer the Left in the latter case.

    The eventual Jacksonian reaction will have to be outside normal political means. Which may be necessary, and desirable at the time, but will change the nature of what we are as a country and society forever.

    The eventual Jacksonian reaction may well be along the line of what Richard Fernandez at BELMONT CLUB wrote years ago in THE THREE CONJECTURES:

    But the Golden Hour is gone, and we are no longer even the country we were 10 years ago when this was written.

    YMMV, of course. I would prefer your path was correct, but I can’t see it.

    Subotai Bahadur

  19. Latin Christendom, when such a creature still existed, remembered the Crusades very well. It was the first time in 465 years they’d been able to launch a counter-offensive against a religion whose shock troops had subjugated its wealthier half (Africa, Hispania, Sicilia) and entrepreneurially ravaged the coasts of Francia and Italia with impunity, especially during the Crisis of the Ninth Century, western Europe’s darkest period.

    The counter-surge started with the Romans. The Roman Emperor John Tzimiskes came within a hair’s breadth of reclaiming Jerusalem for Rome in 975. If not for the Bulgars, Basil II (The Bulgar-slayer) might have regained the Holy Land for the empire at the end of the 10th century. Then came Mazinkert in 1071 and the loss of Asia Minor to the Seljuks. It was Mazinkert that led the Roman emperor Alexius Comenius to request soldiers from a resurgent Latin Christendom and that led to the first Crusade. The Turks, first the Seljuks and then the Mamlukes and Ottomans, drove back the Crusaders, destroyed the Roman Empire in 1453, drove deep into Central Europe and resumed ravaging the coasts of Europe, even conducting slave raids as far as England and Ireland. Henry, Duke of Viseu, decided to outflank the Muslim resurgence and sent his ships south to try and link up with the Powerful Prester John rumored to be accessible from there. This Portuguese initiative, coupled with the emergence of new military tactics centered on the miraculous socket bayonet and practiced by Eugene, Prince of Savoy, blunted and then reversed this second Muslim surge. When Allenby entered Jerusalem on 12/11/1917, it was the closest that an English army had come to Jerusalem in 726 years.

  20. I actually agree with Pengun on this one. Judaism and Christianity have behaved badly in the past but have since evolved. As things are going Islam will either 1) take over, 2) become increasingly backward, isolated and impotent if it throws itself into jihad and refuses to adapt to modernity while other cultures continue to advance, or 3) adapt, modernize, abandon the goal of universal domination, and ultimately coexist with the non-Muslim world. Option 1 isn’t going to happen. One hopes the Muslim world will throw off the jihadists and choose modernity sooner rather than later. It is going to be difficult. We can help them and ourselves by recognizing distinctions between Muslims and supporting the pro-western and reform-minded ones. The Left fails to do this when it denies the seriousness of the threat to us from radical Islam. The Right fails to do this when it lumps all Muslims and Islamic doctrines together and condemns them.

  21. It is going to take many more atrocities by Islam, but eventually the choice will be clear–them, or us.
    the US needs to outlaw Islam as a political death cult, not a rel[gion. we need to expel non-citizen Muslims, end Muslim tourism, and offer incentives for citizen Muslims to expatriate. then, put Islam on clear notice that further attacks will lead to the vaporization of their holy cities,and land clearing methods.

  22. Subotai Bahadur said —

    >>The eventual Jacksonian reaction will have to be outside normal political means.
    >>Which may be necessary, and desirable at the time, but will change the nature of
    >>what we are as a country and society forever.

    The term of art for that is civil war.

    There is no denying that there are factions in America whose only concern is power, power derived from their world view (See the Federal Courts, NGO’s like the environmental movement, and Federal bureaucracy) and the positions they hold as long as those worldview hold.

    Whatever the objective reality.

    And those factions will do everything they can to keep those power perks, whatever the election outcomes.

    The historical precedent for that was the Slaveholding faction of the American Republic — people whom Walter Russell Mead refers to as “Davidsonian” after Jeff Davis — from 1820 – 1865.

    But we are not there…yet.

    Whether we get to that sort of impass awaits upon events.

    I am placing no bets on that score. My Magic Eight-Ball says “Future cloudy, ask again later.”

  23. I guess I just don’t know what to make of the endless, plaintive cries of woe and defeat that I see so often on various blogs and other media.

    Perhaps it is a function of the mythology we have fantasized around ourselves as these peaceful, non-aggressive, oh so moral people who would never do anything awful and terrible.

    That is a childish, nonsensical fairy tale which might be soothing to young children, and those ultra-good types who are always looking down their noses at the ishy mean and nasty stuff in the world.

    Western civilization, for well or ill, and heaven knows it has been some of both, is the most assertive, dangerous, and coldly violent culture that has ever bestrode this earth.

    For some odd reason, even after several centuries of conquests, pillaging, warfare beyond the feverish dreams of the ancients’ greatest warriors, and attempts at extermination of various groups that were out of favor at different times, both our enemies and some of our own people seem to live in this twilight zone that sees us as made up of harmless shopkeepers and passive farmers.

    While I can somewhat understand the need of our enemies to believe we are weak and timid, even in the face of all the historical evidence to the contrary, I have decided that the reason so many in the commentariat think this way is the simple fact that they so rarely associate with ordinary, blue collar, working stiffs who don’t give a flying poke about all the latest pc drivel that infects the elites, but think, and speak, in very basic and non-nuanced ways.

    The guys I have worked with, and had lunch with, and generally hung out with most of my life are not consumed by elitist angst and moral confusion.

    “More rubble, less trouble” is the moderate opinion, and things get rougher from there. Show these men and women a smoking hole where one of our cities once stood, because some islamic lunatic managed to sneak an atomic device into the country, and there will be no stopping them until there is nothing left of that threat anywhere in the world.

    When I say that islam must reform itself, and quickly, it is not for our sake, but theirs. It may cause us a century of guilt and self-reproach, as the end of the Pacific war has for some in our society, or other aspects of our history have for many of us, but that will not resurrect the islamic dead, nor rebuild and restore the countries shattered and devastated as we pursued our vengeance.

    One fearful day, if these wanton attacks are not controlled by the cultures and religious groups from which they spring, they will have cause to hear again the ominous words of a famous admiral, “I fear that that all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve.”

  24. All,

    I suggest you all go read the following columns from Tom holsinger from the fall of 2002.

    They are very useful in defining the Jacksonian reaction I fear in response to feckless American political leadership and death cult Islamists striking America at home.

    Two American Traditions in the War On Terror
    by Tom Holsinger
    October 28, 2002

    The Bush Administration and American Nationalism
    by Tom Holsinger
    November 20, 2002

    The World’s Coming Encounter With Andrew Jackson
    by Tom Holsinger
    November 28, 2002

  25. “They remember the Crusades even if you don’t.”

    I’m sure they do. Perhaps this time they will lose. I, for one, will rejoice when not just Spain, but all the lands blighted by Islam are freed and restored to the True Faith.

  26. Islam is both duplicitous and barbaric.

    Even if Islam was able to reform with a “new testament” of some sort (and that ain’t gonna happen) we “others” could not live with it’s old testament.

    The major strength Islam has is the discipline it gives to support it’s adherents. It provides a life-path, a simple healthy structure for life for a simple person/group in a harsh environ. That is not sufficient merit, though, to define an acceptable way of belief and life. I don’t think we “others” can live with their duplictness and barbarity that is part and parcel of their religion. The “win at any cost to the others” mentality is clearly a step back to medieval gangsterism.

    IMO the only reasonable move for a rational Muslim is to get out. Find another religion, if one needs God and structure in one’s life.

  27. “Islam is no more a gangster religion than is Christianity. They remember the Crusades even if you don’t.”

    The Crusades, as others have pointed out, were a belated reaction to centuries of Muslim pillage and massacre.

  28. Islam doesn’t need a Reformation. As ibn Khaldun demonstrated, Islam, especially in ibn Khaldun’s native Maghreb, follows a fairly consistent boom-bust cycle of Reformation/Counter-Reformation:

    1. Self appointed preacher man living on edge of desert preaches that the sinful people must turn to the pure original Islam.
    2. The locals find religion and, with their new fervency, they start warring on their more lackadaisical co-religionists living along the coasts and in the cities.
    3. They defeat the effeminate coastal and city dwellers and take over.
    4. The fleshbots of the cities make them lose their cohesion and sink into corruption.
    5. Rinse.
    6. Wash.
    7. Repeat.

    Wahabism, with its freelance self-appointed prayer leaders and state-church integration, is very much in a Reformation mold with al-Wahhab cast in the Luther role and ibn Saud cast in the Elector Frederick III of Saxony role. The difference is that a later ibn Saud was told by ARAMCO that he’d been living on a sea of black gold all this time and all you needed to extract it was to stick a straw in the sand. After that, the Sauds had the opportunity to do all sorts of things, including launching a global Reformation along local lines.

    The problem is less the software architecture of Islam and more the Arab firmware its embedded in. The Arabs reintroduced tribalism to parts of the Near East and Africa where it had been extinct for centuries along with Islam. The pernicious thing about our enabling of the House of Saud through our petrodollars is that the particular Islam they export comes with the most primeval of Arab tribalism.

  29. The problem is less the software architecture of Islam and more the Arab firmware its embedded in. The Arabs reintroduced tribalism to parts of the Near East and Africa where it had been extinct for centuries along with Islam. The pernicious thing about our enabling of the House of Saud through our petrodollars is that the particular Islam they export comes with the most primeval of Arab tribalism.


    Islam is not a challenge to the West or modernity. The real trouble is the endogamous community family and lack of literacy and education for women. Here is how that plays out in Syrian society:

    “Syrian life centers on the extended family. The individual’s loyalty to his family is nearly absolute and usually overrides all other obligations. Except in the more sophisticated urban circles, the individual’s social standing depends on his family background. Although status is changing within the emerging middle class, ascribed rather than achieved status still regulates the average Syrian’s life. His honor and dignity are tied to the good repute of his kin group and, especially, to that of its women….

    “Because of the cohesiveness of religious and ethnic groups, they universally encourage endogamy, or the marriage of members within the group. Lineages, or groups of families tracing descent to a common ancestor, also strive for endogamy, although this is in fact less common, despite its theoretical desirability. Viewed as a practical bond between families, marriage often has political and economic overtones even among the poor….

    Being a good family member includes automatic loyalty to kinsmen as well. Syrians employed in modern bureaucratic positions, such as government officials, therefore find impersonal impartiality difficult because its conflicts with the deeply held value of family solidarity…

    Syrians have no similar ingrained feelings of loyalty toward a job, an employer, a coworker, or even a friend.

    Women are viewed as weaker than men in mind, body, and spirit and therefore in need of male protection, particularly protection from nonrelated men. The honor of men depends largely on that of their women, and especially on that of their sisters; consequently, the conduct of women is expected to be circumspect, modest, and decorous, with their virtue above reproach. Veiling is rarely practiced in villages or tribes, but in towns and cities keeping one’s women secluded and veiled was traditionally considered a sign of elevated status. In the mid-1980s, the practice of wearing the veil was quite rare among young women in cities; however, the wearing of the hijab (a scarf covering the hair) was much more common. Wearing the hijab was sometimes more a symbol of Islamic affiliation than a token of modesty, and the garment underwent a revival in the 1980s as a subtle protest against the secular Baath regime. For this reason, the government discouraged the wearing of such Islamic apparel.

    “The traditional code invests men as members of family groups with a highly valuable but easily damaged honor (ird). The slightest implication of unavenged impropriety on the part of the women in his family or of male infractions of the code of honesty and hospitality could irreparably destroy the honor of a family. In particular, female virginity before marriage and sexual fidelity afterward are essential to the maintenance of honor. In the case of a discovered transgression, the men of a family were traditionally bound to kill the offending woman, although in modern times she is more likely to be banished to a town or city where she is not known.

    Well, that is the Arab world order. As with so many other peoples, they have trouble distangling their religion from the social structure it has been adapted to.

    The problem was never Islam. It is everything the Arabs have tied along with it.

    Problem is (for them) this old world is dying. Every aspect of it is under attack. Last week, before the Nairobi attack, War Nerd suggested that malls were a particularly conspicuous assault on old Arab society:

    The truth about the clash of civilizations you hear people discussing is that it’s all the other way: The Mall is invading Islam, the Mall is taking over. There isn’t any Sharia Law in North Carolina, but there damn well are US-style malls in even the most conservative Islamic countries.

    In Najran, in the most remote corner of Saudi Arabia, a state so afraid of Western contamination that it doesn’t even issue tourist visas, there is a mall. And, when I lived there, you could watch —literally watch—the conflict between Sharia Law and Mall culture, five times a day.

    The mall was anchored by a huge market, HyperPanda, complete with its own cheery green and red logo. HyperPanda sold everything from camel meat to iPods. It was pretty much the only place in town where you could walk around without attracting the attention of the police, risking your life at a pedestrian crossing, or dying of heatstroke.

    It was such a huge relief to come out of that sun and into the wide, cool, tinted-glass mall. The sun hurts in Najran, and the landscape has no color but army khaki, burnt sienna, ochre—all the least-favorite crayons in the box. You go in the mall and the logos of all the high-end retailers of Europe and Asia wink at you, and there are even chairs and benches for the tired grandmother to slump in while the kids try their skate-shoes on the marble floors. No one is contesting the space with you, for once. The sweat dries, you feel more benevolent as you relax, no longer fighting other drivers for the right to continue living. You’re almost anonymous, a very rare thing in places like Najran…..

    All this, only eight miles from the Yemen border. It’s amazing, actually. Amazing that the regime tolerates it at all, because as jihadis know, or sense, all social change is corrosive, and worse still, unpredictably corrosive, eating away at norms that don’t seem to have any direct connection to the change itself.

    HyperPanda’s most direct affront to the culture is that it provides an attractive nuisance, in insurance terms, to the adolescent population. Malls draw teens in Najran just like they do in Minnesota. But the Mutaween have taken a, shall we say, proactive stance toward that fact in Najran.

    The Mutaween (“Society for the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice”) has hundreds of men, and even a few women, working in Najran. Some wear the big beards and special headdress, but others are in disguise. And what these undercover morality police do, mostly, is patrol HyperPanda to see if boys are talking to girls, or looking at girls, or throwing girls little folded-up slips of paper with their cell phone numbers. That last one is perhaps the greatest threat to morality in town, and HyperPanda is the scene of most such crimes. The Mutaween mount multi-cop surveillance routines, with some disguised as Malays or Filipinos, to detect any instances of heterosexual contact at the mall.

    The culture, the law, are very clear. No pre-marital fooling around, and that includes flirting at HyperPanda. Mall rules are very clear too: It’s an obvious place for boys and girls to check each other out. When mall meets culture, hijinks ensue—and murders sometimes follow, with the male relatives of the girl who’s been compromised at HyperPanda hunting down and killing the boy who accosted her.

    Ten years ago, the mall didn’t exist. Cell phones, the other contributor to the delinquency of minors in Najran, have only been around for 20 years, like the internet that gives girls notions of romance, thanks to the South Korean soap operas they all watch.

    Everything is tilting toward the mall, away from the old rules, and the resistance is always futile, and worse yet, ridiculous. Every day one piece of this resistance breaks away. Yesterday it was the new head of the Mutaween admitting that there’s no Scriptural basis for forbidding women to drive.

    That will infuriate men in Saudi, because as devout as they consider themselves to be, this was never just a religious argument. Orthodoxy never is; it’s always what’s comfortable and familiar. It would be news to these guys, watching the old world crumble, that people in South Dakota are afraid that “creeping Sharia” is about to creep its way into Fargo, presumably on insulated booties.

    Kids in Najran already hate the Mutaween. They see kids flirting on TV from the west, and cops chasing grownup criminals, and it strikes them as ridiculous that so many cops devote all their time to the prevention of flirting. Now that the King has ordered the Mutaween to be nice, hate will turn to contempt. Pieces of the old walls will start falling even faster.

    It’s hard to see how defensive jihad is, when you come from the homeland of the malls. At first, when you get to a place like Najran, you notice how alien and annoying everything is, how unlike California. Slowly you begin to realize that all the ingredients of California are being added to the mix.

    It’s amazing how well most people handle this very volatile, unstable mix. When people are flooded with so much alien culture and technology, you’d expect wilder upheavals than we’re getting, especially in rural patriarchies like the one that used to operate unchallenged in Saudi Arabia. It’s not a surprise—not at all—that a fraction of the young males from there joined up for jihad. The real surprise is that there are so few of them.

    (Readers may also be interested in reading Emmanuel Tod’s thought on how total the destruction of Arab society is turning out to be)/

    Some people make the mistake of thinking these terrorist attacks are about Westerners or Christians. They are not – and with the exception those against Israel – never have been. Jihadism isn’t about destroying the West – it is about creating an Ummah that has no West in it.

    William Freehling asked how a radical minority of a minority could lead the United States into Civil War. They too had a domestic society radically different from those around it, subject to cultural incursions from the outside, apparently doomed to the forces of history, and fatally weak to the claim that it was oppressive and immoral. So who did this people under assault, the most radical (or perhaps arch-conservative?) slavers, hate the most? Freehling’s answer: Other southerners! They loathed and feared the followers of Jefferson, Southern gentry who sat rich and fine on their plantations, but discontent in their hearts with the tyrants they were. The fire-brands of the South hated those who had no gut for slavery. These weaker elements of Southern society forced its most trenchant elements to extremes:

    “Perptualists [who believed slavery should be saved or extended] early discovered that apologists [like Jefferson] could neither be forced into consolidations of the institution nor forced away from increasing its vulnerabilities. The result was early loss of proslavery opportunities and early emergence of crimped and contained slave power.

    The second and third generation of slave holding perpetualists drew the proper conclusion. If the South was ever to be a South, actively warring against anti-slavery, Jeffersonians passive failure to man the barricades had to be contested as aggressively as apologists’ tame attempts to chip away at the institution Thomas Jefferson epitomized why fire-eaters had to rally the irresolute. Such necessity profoundly shaped Southern extremist politics.”

    How do you keep your own slave holders in line? How do you keep the South united against the moral assault from the outside?

    Everything in your power to create a world divided into ‘us’ vs ‘them,’ anything that will force moderates and the apathetic to pick a side. Even if it means war.

    It is a tactic old as time. And it is a tactic we see repeated here today. If the ummah is ever to be a Ummah then the moderates must be forced to pick a side. If that comes at the cost of de-humanizing ‘Muslims in eyes of the rest of the world’ – well, all the better, right?

  30. I see you omitted the nuttier and anti-American parts of Brecher’s essay.

    “Everything in your power to create a world divided into ‘us’ vs ‘them,’ anything that will force moderates and the apathetic to pick a side. Even if it means war.”

    Worked for the Founding Fathers. What was that incident called? “The Shot Heard Round the World.”

    Trickery must be why the military wing of the slave party staged a pro-slave rebellion in upstate New York in 1859. Oh, wait. It wasn’t New York, it was Virginia. And it wasn’t the pro-slavers, it was the anti-slavers. I guess the South really did have violent enemies. If only their enemies had been fire-brands, e.g., loudmouths, instead of violent murderers this whole thing could have been settled peaceably. Oh, well: some things are possible, others are not.

    “discontent in their hearts with the tyrants they were”

    Since Jefferson was a tyrant, I suggest we stop teaching his writings and replace that awful, old, out-of-datae, hard-to-understand Constitution he supported with a more modern, streamlined set of Laws supporting Social Justice. That’ll learn us.

    Modernity certainly has condemned older societies to death. Ours soon, too. Perhaps we should stage our own Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to start an anti-Socialist World War which will free the world.

  31. Greer: “Islam doesn’t need a Reformation. As ibn Khaldun demonstrated, Islam, especially in ibn Khaldun’s native Maghreb, follows a fairly consistent boom-bust cycle of Reformation/Counter-Reformation:”

    Isn’t it the foundation of beliefs, the Koran, that sanctions and guides the cycle of jihads? That is the constant. The song remains the same and true believers, young zealots, will be (even if only periodically) guided by the old way. Apparently these youngsters are attracted to it, even, to some degree, in the “homeland of the mall”….at least for the nearer future.

    People may wax (like contemporary Christians) and wane in their adherence to a creed but if the creed doesn’t change or the software isn’t adaptable enough it keeps repeating the old, unproductive, solution. Assuming that coexistence with others is the goal basic reformation of basic Islamic belief seems necessary.

    “who did this people under assault, the most radical (or perhaps arch-conservative?) slavers, hate the most? Freehling’s answer: Other southerners! ”

    Well, no, probably not. The “other southerners” were just a convenient and available piece of the puzzle. Slavers didn’t have much chance of influencing abolitionists in the north for example.

  32. “The problem is less the software architecture of Islam and more the Arab firmware its embedded in. The Arabs reintroduced tribalism to parts of the Near East and Africa where it had been extinct for centuries along with Islam.”

    Tribalism and the supremacy of the extended family or clan, according to Rebecca West in “Black Lamb and Gray Falcon”, is also a consequence of failed government. The Turks did not provide a functioning government in Serbia, so the Serbs, unlike their close kin across the border in Austrian Croatia, developed a culture much like the Arabs with all security based on the clan. It was a sort of experiment of nature. The Arabs were always a tribal culture but Islam, because of its Arab origins, created something much like this in other Muslim cultures that had had functioning government before Islam.

    Most of these Muslim counties of the Middle East were part of the Ottoman Empire and the Turks were never much interested in governing those distant parts of the empire. In fact, even the inner parts of the empire were largely administered by Greeks who had undergone a superficial “conversion.” Most denizens of the Muslim Umma were on their own in matters we would consider part of functional governance and tribalism resulted. We learned how hard it is to change this in Iraq.

  33. The Ottoman system was sort of decentralized feudalism

    As long as the tribes kept their members in line and paid taxes, they were allowed certain degrees of autonomy. Occasionally, to keep things properly aligned (after a disruption usually caused by European or Russian encroachments, developments, and innovations) warfare amongst the tribes was facilitated and encouraged with the result normally being Christians on the receiving end of ethnic cleansings.

  34. Yes, Christians, Jews, Moslems, pagans (of all kinds) have behaved badly at one time or another. This cannot be escaped. Only Utopian ideologies believe people and government can be perfected. We’ve seen how many millions have been killed in pursuit of crackpot Jew-free, kulak-free, infidel-free, bourgoise-free utopias.

    One question to answer though is: does the ideology or religion condemn or approve of the evils done in its name? When Christians and Jews maltreat others, they do so in defiance of their ethical precepts. When Moslems and Socialists rape, murder, plunder etc., they do so because their relgion/ideology commands them to do it. Never forget that in 1943, European National Socialists and International Socialists re-instituted slavery from the Bay of Biscane to the Bering Sea. Even during the European Socialist Civil War (1941-45), all socialist states ran death camps to exterminate their domestic opponents. Slavery and mass murder are at the heart of progressivism.

    If Christianity stands condemed because of Crusades and the Inquistion, then Socialism is condemned for its warmongering, the holodomor, the laogai, and the gulag. Let us rid the world of socialism/progressivism, by far the most mass-murdering ideology, before we rid the world of Islam.

    Islam might be reformed. Socialism cannot be: it has yet to own up to its crimes. (Compare, for example, the Pope on the medieval persecution of Jews with Hobsbawm on glorious socialist future.)


    Sgt. Mom can speak more clearly to Hispanic Jacksonianism in the military. I grew up in south Texas and was in ROTC. Hispanic “Jacksonianism” is related to their pride. Whether or not that pride will be invoked for USA is another matter. I prefer to refer to reality: I have not seen a Hispanic Jacksonian war conducted on behalf of the USA. Possible? Sure. How possible? I don’t know—and neither does anyone else.

  35. I tend to agree that modernism and synarchism (or their last gasps) are just as great a threat if not greater.

    Timothy Furnish this morning addresses the issue of Christians in the Middle East and the tacit approval of their persecution by Western Elites:

    “Obama may not be a practicing Muslim, but is it any wonder that so many Americans suspect he might be? He rarely attends church, and both his policies and closest advisers are pro-Muslim—most notably his DCI, Brennan, who publicly lies about jihad’s Islamic origins and orthodoxy. Even the National Park Service under Obama is putting out mendacious videos extolling Islam. Why? Perhaps the best and most succinct explanation is that the American Left—of which Obama is the apotheosis (and messianic figure)—is still convinced that Christianity is the great enemy of Reason and “progress,” and no amount of Islamic misogyny, polygamy, decapitation and murder will convince them otherwise.”

  36. Thanks for the link to SultanKnish. That is the most plausible description of Islam I have seen. More briefly, a friend called it “Sanctified Pillage”. This is a meme which needs to spread, and spread it will.
    “Islam,this absurd theology of an immoral bedouin,is a rotting corpse which poisons our lives”- Ataturk.

    I would strongly recommend “Did Mohammad Exist?” by Robert Spencer. This is likely a synthetic religion created, after the fact, to legitimize conquests that had already taken place. This is a religion which cannot be reformed in our sense. Or, more accurately, it has been reformed many times, the last being Wahabbism.

    There is hope,though. I suspect,if and when the current regime in Iran collapses, Islam will be as popular there as Catholicism is in France , Ireland, or Quebec today. Islam relies on intimidating bigotry; without that ,it dies.

    Note,I an not equating Catholicism with Islam. Islam has no ethical content.

    According to sultanknish, the Dar al Islam is no more peaceful the Dar al Harb. Islam fails on its own terms.

    Thank-you for this great forum, which allows intelligent debate. One cold never hope for this from the legacy media.

  37. “Hispanic “Jacksonianism” is related to their pride. Whether or not that pride will be invoked for USA is another matter”

    I interview and examine recruits for the military. A lot of them are Hispanic. Some are probably seeking citizenship. Some are unemployed. When I see a kid who is 17, he is usually applying for the Marines. These kids, and a lot are Hispanic, have straight arrow high school records. The older guys are often joining the Army. Some of those have been turned down by the Marines. For example, the Marines, contrary to mythology, have strict limits on tattoos.

    Of course, this is Los Angeles where it seems everybody is Hispanic but there is a high percentage of recruits that are. How they do, I don’t know but it would be interesting. Of course, we will never hear due to PC.

  38. Write Note:

    The WordPress platform for Chicago Boyz has gotten wonky again. My latest history Friday post won’t have a comment section until the issue is dealt with.

    Feel free to comment on that post here until then.

  39. Really fascinating work.
    Going straight to the source and digging around is not something that seems in fashion nowadays with aggregators and wikis all over the place, but you’re proving that it’s not only the best way to go but, due to the winner’s narrative fallacy, it may be the only way to go.
    It’s interesting, like you say, that the military is constantly re-fighting this internal struggle of doctrines between tactical close combat and centralized long range bombardment.

  40. Trent, fascinating article. You REALLY need to consolidate these WW2 essays into a book or two. I’d be interested in anything you have to write about the Naval aircraft in the Pacific. I had an uncle who flew Corsairs in the Marines in 1943-1945.

  41. Joe,

    We will see.

    I am doing my best to keep up the publication of one-a-week.

    After a year there will be enough for a book.

  42. New attacks across the world by islamic terrorists and al qaeda affiliates. 75 civilians killed in Nigeria by boko haram in separate attacks, one at a college. Al-shabab attacked Kenyan towns near the Somali border, killing a handful of civilians. Sophisticated terrorists masquerading as Indian soldiers attacked soldiers and police in India, killing 9. Another bomb in Pakistan killed 19 civilians.

    It’s fantastic that al qaeda and international terrorism have been conclusively defeated by the death of one man, bin laden, and no longer have any significant impact on peoples’ lives or on geopolitics.

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