WHO WON? WHO’S NEXT?
This is the Overnight Open Thread!
WHO WON? WHO’S NEXT?
This is the Overnight Open Thread!
Many of the Israel is going to attack Iran any nano second theorists claims that Israel was planning to use Georgia as a springboard to attack Iran. This turns out to be hogwash. Although Israel and Georgia had close ties, it all changed in the months leading up to the Russian-Georgian war. In the spring of 2008 as tensions where rising between Georgia and Russia over Ossetia a nd Abkazia, Israel had cancelled arms sales to that nation. The Israelis felt better ties with Russia were more important than ties with Georgia.
“From 2006 up until the [2008 Russia-Georgia] war, there was a real love affair,” notes Brenda Shaffer, an American-Israeli social scientist and Caucasus expert at the University of Haifa. “Georgia became one of the most popular destinations of Israeli tourists. Tickets to Georgian cultural performances would sell out [in Israel], and President [Mikheil] Saakashvili was an admired leader.”
Beneath the superficial similarities between the two countries, by 2008 Israel and Georgia’s national interests were increasingly at odds. Russia, Georgia’s archnemesis and patron to the separatist regimes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, had become a swing vote on U.N. sanctions against Iran. Israel, which has viewed the Iranian nuclear program as a potentially existential threat, was eager to peel away one of Tehran’s most important partners. For Israel, the choice between Moscow and Tbilisi was no choice at all.
Up until the 2008 war, Israeli defense firms were involved extensively in the Georgian military’s modernization program and were routinely hailed by Georgian officials. But just days before fighting broke out, Israel halted defense deals with Georgia and, only a few months later, opted to sell arms to Russia instead. This apparent act of realpolitik drew the ire of Georgian officials, including then-State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili, a Georgian Jew and ex-resident of Israel. Now the Georgian ambassador to the U.S., Yakobashvili called the move “a disgrace.”
Meanwhile, Tbilisi’s objections to Israel’s realignment with Russia were quickly outweighed by the tangible benefits to Israel of the shift. Though Russia had agreed to sell Iran advanced S-300 anti-aircraft batteries — a potentially enormous capability upgrade for Iran’s air defenses — Moscow repeatedly delayed delivery until finally canceling the contract in 2010. The move roughly coincided with the signing of an Israeli-Russian military agreement.
Mark Katz, a political scientist at George Mason University and a specialist on Russia-Middle East relations, sees Israel and Russia’s improving ties as a natural progression buoyed by Israel’s large Russian-speaking immigrant population.
“Russians and Israelis both feel threatened by Islamic radicalism. Unlike many Western governments, both Russia and Israel are wary of the Arab Spring,” says Katz, who believes that, if anything, further Israel-Russia strategic alignment is hampered by Kremlin politics. “Russia and Israel have growing trade, security, cultural and human ties. The more democratic Russia becomes, the more likely these ties are to grow.”
Meanwhile, Georgia has been busily cultivating its own ties to Iran (.pdf), expanding trade, dropping visa requirements and even defending Iran’s right to nuclear energy. To the surprise of many, Georgia also recently insisted on inviting Iranian observers to joint U.S.-Georgian military exercises.
Israel and Georgia’s sharply divergent paths suggest that today’s mutual wariness is no short-term hiccup, but a function of conflicting interests. For Israel, Iran is an existential threat, while Russia is a necessary partner. For Georgia, Russia is the threat and Iran the partner.
My opinion of the Russia-Georgia war was that it was stupid since both are Christian Orthodox nations. Both share some blame for the war and it was unnecessary. Israel clearly acted in her strategic interest and moved closer to Russia. Both nations are not fans of the Arab Spring which has installed Islamist governments in power across the Arab world.
This proves that nations don’t have permanent allies, but permanent interests. Good relations with Russia is better for Israel than being allied with Georgia.
Some very interesting changes are occurring:
This was clear at the Lisbon summit, where Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was treated as the guest of honor, and NATO went further than ever to placate Russia’s concerns over the alliance. It invited Russia to help build a missile-defense umbrella over Europe, a system that Russia has always seen as a threat to its arsenals. And in the new “strategic concept” that NATO adopted on Nov. 20 — its first in 10 years — the alliance declared for the first time that “NATO is not a threat to Russia.”
“The fact that we are talking to Russia about common threats and the chance to cooperate with Russia on missile defense is an extremely important step,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the summit. “That could be proof that the Cold War has finally come to an end.”
Turkey, which had seemed to present a potential sticking point, dropped its objections to a common missile defense system when it was satisfied that no country, particularly Iran, would be named as a principal threat. Turkey also wanted money to buy anti-missile components.
(Washington Times, 11/23/10, p. A3)
OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR JON KYL
November 23, 2010
Hon. Senator Jon Kyl
730 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
We regret to make this letter public, but time is of the essence, and we were afraid that otherwise it wouldn’t be brought to your attention before the quickly approaching end of the “lame duck” Congress.
In a curious departure from regular Senate procedure (one Senator, one voice) your voice can count for more than one and in fact decide the outcome of an issue crucial to U.S. security and U.S. – Russia relations. Several Republican senators have indicated that they will be guided by you in voting on START ratification, thus putting all burden of responsibility for making a historical decision on you.
While this is within your procedural prerogatives as a Senator — and a measure of your colleagues’ respect for your judgment — we respectfully suggest you reconsider using your considerable influence in this matter.
If you recall, it was the late Paul Weyrich and us who helped organize your trip to Moscow about twenty years ago, as the Soviet Union collapsed. We also helped bring other prominent Republicans to Moscow, like Vice-President Dan Quayle, Senator Phil Graham, Congressman Henry Hyde, and many others. At that time we all had great expectations for Russia, liberated from communism, to evolve into one of America’s strongest and most reliable allies. So the purpose of those trips was to see the situation on the ground and generate some ideas for the success of that vision.
Well, twenty years on our goals are far from being realized, much to our regret. If you believe many of our fellow Republicans the main fault for this spectacular failure lies with the Clinton administration, as was clear by about the year 2000.
At that time, the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert formed the Advisory Group on Russia chaired by Christopher Cox, Chairman of the House Policy Committee. The membership of that committee read like a Who’s Who of the Republican Party in Congress, including heads of the most important committees.
The report of that group, titled “Russia’s Road to Corruption,” was a devastating analysis of the work of Clinton and his top advisors on Russia policy – Al Gore, Strobe Talbott, and Laurence Summers, the men who had squandered away a historic opportunity to bring Russia on our side.
The 100+-page-long report is fascinating reading; it is readily available on the Internet at http://www.fas.org/news/russia/2000/russia/index.html though for some reason it mysteriously disappeared from the original site, http://policy.house.gov/russia
We wish we could indeed put all the blame on the Democrats, but have eight years of George Bush brought us closer to our original vision? Unfortunately, in those years US – Russia relations reached their lowest point since the end of communism. Now, after 9/11 there was a real chance to repair the damage done in the nineties. At that time Putin did everything Bush was asking for in his attempt to defeat the Taliban. Naturally, Moscow expected some kind of positive gesture from Washington in return. Instead, it got NATO Eastern expansion, the US unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty, “color revolutions” in countries along Russia’s borders clearly instigated from the outside, a democracy promotion crusade, a pipeline policy intended to sap Russia’s energy revenues, arming Georgia to the teeth, and worst of all, a push for former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO.
As we all know, Bush policies did not bring too many dividends to America. We have an astronomical national debt, close to ten percent unemployment, two endless and pretty hopeless wars, the rise of militant Islam, and many other problems including, quite unnecessarily, ever worsening U.S. – Russian relations.
We should admit that Obama’s administration “Reset” policy with Russia started to turn things around, and the ratification of START treaty would be a logical step in this direction. It will also help reduce the two countries’ nuclear stockpiles thus enhancing U.S. national security, as stated by practically all current and living former U.S. Defense and State secretaries, Pentagon and NATO top brass, and the expert community. Over and above this, it may offer yet another chance for U.S. to engage Russia, still a nuclear superpower despite all the setbacks it has suffered, and clearly the biggest, most populous and arguably most powerful country in Europe.
Twenty years ago the Russian government’s stated objective was a formal alliance with the United States and NATO. Russia pursued a strongly pro-American foreign policy, while the United States enjoyed unprecedented affection and admiration among masses of ordinary Russians. Today, U.S. – Russia relations have been practically shattered but, as the recent NATO summit in Lisbon shows, there is a thrust to move towards achieving the same goal that many of us dreamed of after the collapse of communism.
It just happens that the fate of this treaty is in your hands. Knowing you we are sure you will look at this matter not from a narrow partisan view but as a statesman with a great vision for the welfare and security of the United States and mankind. Do what’s right for America: Ratify the treaty.
Warm regards and Happy Thanksgiving,
American University in Moscow
James George Jatras
Former Foreign Policy Analyist, U.S. Senate Republican Policy Comittee
Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer
• The reality is, despite what anybody says, I as secretary of defense and the entire uniformed leadership of the American military believe that this treaty is in our national security interest.
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense
• So, I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security. I believe it enhances and ensures that security. And I hope the Senate will ratify it quickly.
Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff
• Today marks a fresh start in NATO-Russia relations. For the first time in history, NATO countries and Russia will be cooperating to defend themselves. Our security is indivisible. We share important interests and face the same threats to our common security.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary-General at the November 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon
• The fact that we are talking to Russia about common threats and the chance to cooperate with Russia on missile defense is an extremely important step. That could be proof that the Cold War has finally come to an end.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
The passage below might elucidate how the Arabs and later the Turks viewed the dhimmi/rayah, and how this perspective was a direct outgrowth from the peripatetic lifestyle correctly associated with these two national groups…
The nomad’s energies are suddenly diverted from herding cattle to governing an empire; and, like all human beings, he sets out to solve the new problem with which he is confronted by applying to it his own particular experience of the past. He thinks of himself as still a herdsman, though no longer of animals but of men, and, in order to keep these ‘human cattle’ (a less docile herd than sheep and cows) under control, he selects and trains ‘human watch-dogs’ to help him and takes greater pains over their breeding and education than his ancestors took, on the steppes, in providing themselves with animal auxiliaries…In detail the method of nomadic empires has been to treat the majority of their sedentary subjects as ‘human cattle’ who are to be periodically milked and shorn and are to be kept in order by a ferocious repression at the first symptoms of insubordination, but are otherwise allowed to live their own lives in their own way; and to control these ‘human cattle’ through the agency of a small, select body of ‘watch-dog’ slaves recruited partly from prisoners-of-war, partly from the victims of professional slave-raiders and slave-dealers, and partly from children who are rounded-up periodically from the ‘human herd’ in order to be broken-in by their master [devcirme, meaning "tribute in blood"], with no more compunction than a shepherd feels in separating the lamb from its mother or the calf from the cow.
Turkey, Arnold Joseph Toynbee and Kenneth Porter Kirkwood, p. 19, Scribner, 1927
Likewise, from early Islamic historiography, we read that Soleiman ibn-e Abdolmaleck said of the Zoroastrians of formerly-Sassanid Persia, now integrated into the Rashidun Caliphate…
Milk the Persians and once their milk dries, suck their blood.
The blood metaphor is hardly new in regards to the attributed sayings of the earliest generations of imperial Muslims; on the battlefield, Khalid ibn al-Walid, the “Sword of Allah”, addressed his Eastern Roman equivalent thusly…
Now then, embrace Islam so that you may be safe, or else make a treaty of protection for yourself and your people and agree to pay jizya. Otherwise, do not at all blame anyone but yourself, for I have brought you a people who love death as you love life.
The annals of a medieval Armenian chronicler, Ghewond, records a similar line as having been spoken by Muhammad prior to his death…
Go against the countries and put them under your rule, for the plenty of the world has been given to us for our enjoyment. Eat the meat of the select ones of the countries, and drink the blood of the mighty.
By “drinking blood” is not meant literal vampirism, but the subjugation and exploitation of unbelievers under the theocratic tyranny enjoined by Allah and Muhammad in the Koran and Sunna, imposed by the Caliph, the “viceregent of Allah on Earth”, in order to ensure the obedience of the Slaves of Allah and the chastisement of the heathens, either through death or surrender to a state of perpetual wretchedness…
Narrated Jubair bin Haiya: ‘Umar sent the Muslims to the great countries to fight the pagans…When we reached the land of the enemy, the representative of Khosrau came out with forty-thousand warriors, and an interpreter got up saying, “Let one of you talk to me!” Al-Mughira replied, “Ask whatever you wish.” The other asked, “Who are you?” Al-Mughira replied, “We are some people from the Arabs; we led a hard, miserable, disastrous life: we used to suck the hides and the date stones from hunger; we used to wear clothes made up of fur of camels and hair of goats, and to worship trees and stones. While we were in this state, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earths, Elevated is His Remembrance and Majestic is His Highness, sent to us from among ourselves a Prophet whose father and mother are known to us. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:– “Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master.”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4 Book 53 Number 386
In these final prescriptive revelations, binding for all time, not to be abrogated until the Hour of Resurrection, Allah and Muhammad have determined that the true believers shall rule over the entire world and enforce divine laws, while those who persist in idolatry will be their dejected, abused slaves in perpetuity, whose laborious fruits will, through excessive taxation, be made the ongoing booty of the elect, gradually reducing the “reprobate” to misery, as Maimonides describes in his Iggeret Teiman (“Epistle to the Jews of Yemen”)…
Remember, my coreligionists, that on account of the vast number of our sins God has hurled us into the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us, as God has forewarned us: Our enemies themselves shall judge us [Deut. 32:31]. Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase, and hate us as much as they. Therefore, when David king of Israel of blessed memory, inspired by the Holy Spirit, envisaged the future tribulations of Israel, he bewailed and lamented their lot only in the kingdom of Ishmael, and prayed on their behalf for their deliverance in the verse: Woe is me, that I live with Meshekh, that I dwell among the clans of Kedar [Ps. 120:5]. Note the distinction between Kedar and the children of Ishmael, for the Madman is of the lineage of the children of Kedar, as they readily admit. Daniel also alludes to our humiliation and degradation like the dust in threshing [2 Kings 13:7], suffered only at the hands of the Arabs, may they be speedily vanquished, when he says: And it made fall to the earth some of the host, yea of the stars, some of which it trampled [Dan. 8:10]. Although we are dishonored by them beyond human endurance, and have to put up with their fabrications, yet we behave like him of whom the prophet said: But I am like a deaf man, unhearing, like a dumb man who cannot speak up [Ps. 38:14]. Similarly, our sages instructed us to bear the prevarications and lies of Ishmael in silence. They found it in a cryptic allusion to this attitude in the names of his sons, Mishma, Dumah, and Massa, which have been interpreted to mean listen, be silent, and endure. We have acquiesced, both young and old, to inure ourselves to humiliation, as Isaiah instructed us: I offered my backs to the floggers, and my cheeks to those who tore out my hair [Isa. 50:6]. All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment and pressure, which well-nigh crush us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition, as David describes: I am all peace; but when I speak, they are for war [Ps. 120:7]. Most certainly therefore if we start trouble, and claim power from them absurdly and preposterously, we surely give ourselves up to destruction.
The second Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, is reputed to have said of the dhimmis under his domain…
Our children will live off them indefinitely for as long as they survive and these people will remain slaves to the adherents of Islam for as long as the latter endure. Therefore, strike them with the poll-tax.
These statements, of course, are congruent with authentic ahadith which exort the true believer to exploit the dhimmi — in fact, to “milk [the dhimmi] dry” through excessive taxation, the notorious jizya ‘alaa l-jamaajim (literally “the penalty on skulls”) and its associated extortion called kharaj ‘al-ard (i.e., “the land tax”, because dhimmis are unable to legally own property in the legal sense we understand — all conquered land is either ghanimaat [if taken by force] or fai’ [if taken without force] and is legally under the ownership of the mu’minin, so that the original kaffir inhabitants must pay the ruling caste in order to continue to live and work upon the land which was previously theirs but henceforth expropriated from them and redistributed to the Ummat al-Muslimin as waqf land — a sacred endowment — for eternity)…
Narrated Juwairiya bin Qudama At-Tamimi: We said to ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, O Chief of the believers! Advise us.” He said, “I advise you to fulfill Allah’s Convention (made with the Dhimmis) as it is the convention of your Prophet and the source of the livelihood of your dependents (i.e. the taxes from the Dhimmis).
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4 Book 53 Number 388
The fiscal oppressions had the potential of being particularly tyrannical and dispiriting, as a record from the Jewish mercantile community in the Kalbid Emirate of Sicily (948-1053), found in the celebrated Cairo Geniza collection and subsequently quoted in Jeremy Johns’ Arabic administration in Norman Sicily: the royal diwan, painfully suggests…
They [the Jews] were sorry and preferred death to life. Most of them are poor and destitute. Through fear of the rulers, many went bankrupt, and unfortunately some fled overseas
Isaac ben Samuel, who sought refuge from the ravages of the Turcomen ghuzat in Israel through fleeing to Christian Italy and, later, Christian Spain, echoes Maimonides in expressing the sentiment of Jews regarding living under Islamic domination versus Christian domination, by invoking the authority of the Rabbis of the Talmud…
Rather beneath the yoke of Edom [Christendom] than that of Ishmael.
The dhimmi is to be debased, humiliated, brought low, made to be servile and obsequious towards his Muslim master.
Already within a century of the expansion of the Caliphate throughout 2/3 of Christendom, the conquerors began to fully assert the newly-forming fiqh of the deen of Islam, designed as it were as a vehicle for Arab imperialism, in order to to promote the superiority of the Arab Muslim male, first above Arab Muslim females, then non-Arab Muslims, then subjugated infidels, then enslaved infidels, then finally unsubjugated disbelievers and unrepentant apostates. The productive, mercantile peoples indigenous to the formerly-Roman and Sassanid and Visigoth land, who did not enter the fold of the Jamaat of Muhammad, were, in the name of an ideology whose most virulent adherents cause endless trouble today, mistreated beyond comprehension, and this, despite the initial “good treatment” after subjugation (because the conquerors, finding themselves unable initially to wield the strings of the complex infrastructure of a sedentary culture so different from theirs, had no other choice for this short period), became the norm for the following 12 or so centuries, continuing today. As Andre Servier, a pied-noir and and unapologetic critic of Islam, wrote in his infamous Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman…
Their [initial] prosperity [at the time of the conquest] was their undoing. A century later, as the result of a change of Muslim policy towards foreigners, we see the Copts, whose property had aroused envy, abominably robbed and treated as pariahs. It went to the length of their being compelled to wear blue turbans to distinguish them from Muslims, and of their priests being branded with a red-hot iron. Later still, when religious fanaticism had increased, they were reduced to such a pitiful condition that the greater part of them had to abandon their faith.
Today, as we know, the Copts, the indigenes of Egypt, which they term Kemet, constitute “officially” 8-10% of the total population, and the discrimination which they face has recently earned the attention of sincere-minded human rights activists, especially in the wake of the Nag Hammadi Massacre, committed on January 7th, 2010. The true believers, those who have achieved taqwa and who establish the “just” rulings enjoined in the Koran and Sunna, could not, and certainly several today cannot, bear the existence of a disbeliever whose life is not marred by misery and poverty — after all, how can one who venerates idols, who shares the hukm with Allah, who imposes al-munkar upon Allah’s helpless Slaves, be rewarded in spite of his sin in taking the bounty of Allah with such ingratitude?
Ismail ibn Kathir, student of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah, asserts that Paying Jizya is a Sign of Kufr and Disgrace.
Likewise, in Volume II of the Hanafi madh’hab jurisprudential manual al-Hedaya ["The Guidance", penned by Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani] we read that…
First, capitation-tax is a sort of punishment inflicted upon infidels for their obstinacy in infidelity, (as was before stated;) whence it is that it cannot be accepted of the infidel if he send it by the hands of a messenger, but must be exacted in a mortifying and humiliating manner, by the collector sitting and receiving it from him in a standing posture : (according to one tradition, the collector is to seize him by the throat, and shake him, saying, “Pay your tax, Zimmee!) – It is therefore evident that capitation-tax is a punishment; and where two punishments come together, they are compounded, in the same manner as in Hidd, or stated punishment. Secondly, capitation-tax is a substitute for destruction in respect to the infidels, and a substitute for personal aid in respect to the Muslims, (as was before observed;) – but it is a substitute for destruction with regard to the future, not with regard to the past, because infidels are liable to be put to death only in future, in consequence of future war, and not in the past. In the same manner, it is also a substitute and in the past.
From here, we note that the payment of jizya by the dhimmi preserves his life under the domination of the true believers, preventing any future resumption of the jihad against him and his property as long as he pays it and submits to the all-encompassing discriminatory regulations legislated in the Dhimma of Umar (numerous additions were made over the centuries, until it constituted a truly-extensive legal code)…
When you (Muslims) came to us we requested safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion. We made a condition on ourselves that we will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration nor use any of them for the purpose of enmity against Muslims. We will not prevent any Muslim from resting in our churches whether they come by day or night, and we will open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby. Those Muslims who come as guests, will enjoy boarding and food for three days. We will not allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims. We will not teach our children the Qur’an, publicize practices of Shirk, invite anyone to Shirk or prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so. We will respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them. We will not imitate their clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names, or ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons. We will not encrypt our stamps in Arabic, or sell liquor. We will have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist, refrain from erecting crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets. We will not sound the bells in our churches, except discretely, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets. We will not bury our dead next to Muslim dead, or buy servants who were captured by Muslims. We will be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.’ When I gave this document to `Umar, he added to it, `We will not beat any Muslim. These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion in return for safety and protection. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.
Whatever autonomy the dhimmis possessed, it was the autonomy of the Bantustan, which means that they were permitted to manage their internal affairs as long as such affairs remained completely private. In any and all interactions with the upper caste — that is, the Muslim citizenry — the dhimmi tributary-subjects must always defer to them in every circumstance, yielding to the every whim of the Muslim master; in all public situations the dhimmi is considered a marked inferior who can only be manumitted from his yoke through reversion to the deen of fitrah (the innate nature of mankind, i.e. Islam). The dhimmi, through payment of the jizya and subjection under the dhimma, is “rewarded” with aman (protection) on his life and property, but in exchange his rights are severely-diminished in the political and social and juridical and economic spheres, and he is made insecure because his rights and those of his millet (community) can be completely abrogated on account of a single misdemeanor in relation to the dhimma contract; this system is designed to keep the “weak in faith” from leaving Islam because seeing the degradation of the dhimmis assures the Muslim of the truth of his deen and the falsehood of those of the mushrikeen, designed to remind the dhimmis of the superiority in all realms of life of the deen of Allah over shirk and kufr, designed to punish the kuffar for their zulm against Allah and Muhammad, and designed to prevent the disbelievers from waging acts of fasad which would bring about the rule of taghut in place of shari’a and thus the feared victory of fitnah over tawheed. One of Allah’s 99 sacred names is al-Mudhill, the humiliator, the one who debases, and the dhimmi is, as a lower caste incapable of true citizenship, one who is often-intolerably humiliated, always a subject whose status resembles abject servitude, many of what we would (rightly) consider his basic rights being abrogated on virtue of his faith alone. As Malcolm MacColl writes in his 1897 study of the visibly-decaying Ottoman Caliphate, The Sultan and the Powers…
Now among the irrevocable doctrines of the Sacred Law are the following:–If the Rayah refuse to become a Musulman he must choose between the cruel alternatives of death or tribute. If he become a Zimmi or Tributary it must be on certain painful and degrading conditions, of which the following will suffice as specimens:–He must pay a yearly capitation tax for the permission to live, and the form of receipt says that the tax is a ransom for the permission to wear his head that year; so that, if he is in arrear with his taxes, as the ruined Armenians are now, his life is forfeited. The Rayah’s evidence cannot be recieved in a court of law against a Musulman, He is not allowed to bear or possess arms. He must provide three days’ gratuitous hospitality for every Musulman official or traveller who asks for it. Travelling pashas and their retinue of rapacious servants, the ruffianly police, tax-gatherers, Bashi-Bazouks, dirty Dervishes, &c., are thus mercilessly quartered on the wretched Christians of Turkey, whose women (although this is not sanctioned by law) are at the mercy of these unwelcome guests. Should a Christian convert a Moslem to Christianity, both the Christian and the convert must suffer death. The Rayah must build no place of worship. If he obtain official sanction (which he never does without heavy bribes) he may repair or rebuild such places of worship as existed in the country when the Musulman conquerors took possession of it; but it must be on the same plan, sites, and dimensions as the old buildings.
It is sometimes said by persons who know nothing about the subject that the Musulmans of Turkey are more cruelly oppressed than the Christians. That is nonsense, for although Musulmans and Christians are all abominably oppressed under the horrible rule of the Sultan, there is this difference–that the Musulmans are oppressed contrary to law, and the Christians in obedience to the law. The former possess two remedies which are partially effective, and which are denied to the Christians: they possess arms, and can appeal to the law for protection. Moreover, the Christians, in addition to the disabilities which I have described, are subject to many taxes from which the Musulmans are free. I have mentioned the yearly capitation ransom tax. But they are liable to many other imposts which do not touch the Musulmans–for instance, forced labour ad libitum and a tax on every Christian, from three months old to the day of his death, to provide a substitute in the army, from which the Christians are by law excluded. In brief, the Christians throughout Turkey are obliged–according to the unanimous testimony of British Consuls–to pay in legal taxation 67 per cent.of the produce of their soil and toil. There are, of course, innumerable extortions in addition. So that the wretched Christians could not manage to eke out even their miserable existence except by means of cheating and bribery. And then, forsooth, highly virtuous writers and speakers in England, who have never experienced any oppression or injustice, take up their song and parable against the servile and degraded character of the Christian subjects of the porte! Who degraded them in so far as they are degraded? How many of their critics and slanderers would endure torture, death, dishonour, and barbarous death in defence of their faith, or of any doctrine in principle, or cause whatsoever? Yet that is what the Christians of Turkey have done for centuries…
I have sometimes been called a fanatic on the subject of Islam. I am no fanatic on that or on any other subject. I am an advocate of religious freedom in the widest sense consistent with the inalienable rights of mankind. My toleration ceases where the religious doctrines of one man invade the aboriginal rights of another, as they do, and have ever done, in every state, without exception, where Islam has ruled supreme. The non-Musulman can never obtain the rights of citizenship, but is irrevocably doomed to a most cruel and degrading servitude, under Musulman rule. It is no answer to this to point to Christians and Jews occupying high posts under the Sultan, who is obliged to make use of them for lack of competent Musulmans, or because he finds it good policy to employ them. It sometimes happened under the serf system in Russia that a landlord educated one of his serfs and employed him to manage his property, or permitted him to strike out a career for himself. But that did not affect the condition of the serfs in general, or even of the emancipated serf, unless he was really manumitted. So in Turkey. The rare exceptions prove the rule as regards the mass; and even the privileges of the few can be withdrawn in a moment. They have no rights. The Sultan’s present Ambassador in London, like his two predecessors is a Christian; but he is not, and cannot be, a citizen of the Ottoman Empire, for the only gate to that citizenship is the profession of Islam. The Turkish Ambassador, though a Greek Christian, is simply a Rayah advanced to a high position by the arbitrary will of the Sultan, just as a slave on an American plantation might have been by his master, and his case proves absolutely nothing as to the legal status of the non-Musulman. Indeed, the position of the Rayah is worse than that of the slave on an American plantation or in the Roman Empire; for the American planter or the Roman slave-owner could have made, and sometimes did make, his slave a freeman. But even the Sultan cannot make a single Rayah in his dominions a freeman, since that is a privilege reserved to the Musulman alone. It is because our statesmen and ambassadors have been ignorant of this fundamental fact that their policy in Turkey, from Lord Stratford de Redcliffe downwards, has been such an abject and disastrous failure. I have been preaching this truth for years, and some among us are at last beginning to recognise it. It was refreshing to read in the Morning Post, of last September 17, a leading article which clearly grasped the situation, as the following extract will show:–
Just as in the Christian West living things are divided into human beings and brute beasts, so where the Moslem is the master they are divided into believers and infidels, and the infidel human being is regarded as little better than the brute. And just as in a Christian country if the cattle become dangerous they would be slaughtered wholesale for the safety of the community, so in Turkey, whenever the Rayahs, have been thought to be dangerous, a clearance of them has been made. It is impracticable in a Mohammedan country to appeal to a principle of humanity, for that would be to assert a brotherhood between man and man, which it is the essence of the Mohammedan religion to deny. In a Mohammedan State the Christian can have no part, for his recognition would imply the negation of Islam. Accordingly, the most competent judges, Ranke, the historian of the modern changes in Turkey, and Moltke, the shrewd observer of the beginnings of the modern period, explained long ago that the security for the Rayahs could never be had until they were placed under their own rulers and withdrawn from the authority of the Turks.
The above assessment refers to the former Sunni Sultanate based in Constantinople, governed by the sons of Osman Ghazi, from whence the the term “Ottoman” is derived. In lands under the Shari’a as interpreted under Shi’ism, such as within the Qajar dynasty of Persia, the plight of non-Muslims was greatly exacerbated by the doctrine of najasun, whereby Jews, Zoroastrians, and Christians — called “gavours” –were deemed not only spiritually but also physically filthy; this, naturally, served to segregate them further from society than even under the dhimma legislation in Sunnidom. The Romanian Jew J. J. Benjamin observed of the Jews living under Shi’a authority…
They are obliged to live in a separate part of town…; for they are considered as unclean creatures… Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mobs with stones and dirt… For the same reason, they are prohibited to go out when it rains; for it is said the rain would wash dirt off them, which would sully the feet of the Mussulmans… If a Jew is recognized as such in the streets, he is subjected to the greatest insults. The passers-by spit in his face, and sometimes beat him… unmercifully… If a Jew enters a shop for anything, he is forbidden to inspect the goods… Should his hand incautiously touch the goods, he must take them at any price the seller chooses to ask for them… Sometimes the Persians intrude into the dwellings of the Jews and take possession of whatever please them. Should the owner make the least opposition in defense of his property, he incurs the danger of atoning for it with his life… If… a Jew shows himself in the street during the three days of the Katel (Muharram)…, he is sure to be murdered.
The actual legal decrees pertaining to dhimmis bolsters the observations of this seminal traveler and historian; in 1892, in Qajar-ruled Hamadan, Jews were obligated to submit to the following abasements [hat-tip for this one to Dr. Andrew Bostom -- many thanks]…
1. The Jews are forbidden to leave their houses when it rains or snows [to prevent the impurity of the Jews being transmitted to the Shiite Muslims]
2. Jewish women are obliged to expose their faces in public [like prostitutes].
3. They must cover themselves with a two colored izar (an izar is a big piece of material with which eastern women are obliged to cover themselves when leaving their houses].
4. The men must not wear fine clothes, the only material being permitted them being a blue cotton fabric.
5. They are forbidden to wear matching shoes.
6. Every Jew is obliged to wear a piece of red cloth on his chest.
7. A Jew must never overtake a Muslim on a public street.
8. He is forbidden to talk loudly to a Muslim.
9. A Jewish creditor of a Muslim must claim his debt in a quavering and respectful manner.
10. If a Muslim insults a Jew, the latter must drop his head and remain silent.
11. A Jew who buys meat must wrap and conceal it carefully from Muslims.
12. It is forbidden to build fine edifices.
13. It is forbidden for him to have a house higher than that of his Muslim neighbor.
14. Neither must he use plaster for whitewashing.
15. The entrance of his house must be low.
16. The Jew cannot put on his coat; he must be satisfied to carry it rolled under his arm.
17. It is forbidden for him to cut his beard, or even to trim it slightly with scissors.
18. It is forbidden for Jews to leave the town or enjoy the fresh air of the countryside.
19. It is forbidden for Jewish doctors to ride on horseback [this right was generally forbidden to all non-Muslims, except doctors].
20. A Jew suspected of drinking spirits must not appear in the street; if he does he should be put to death immediately.
21. Weddings must be celebrated in the greatest secrecy.
22. Jews must not consume good fruit.
Refusing to follow these dehumanizing strictures, as stated above, renders one’s life and possessions mubaa’ — that is, lawful to be shed and looted respectively by Allah’s Chosen; one cannot reasonably doubt the effects of literally declaring non-Muslims as najasun in not only supplementing but actively increasing the pariah-ization of the kuffar, under Shi’a sovereignty…
Returning back to admittedly-more dominant and equally-worrisome Sunnidom –
Lastly, the Turkophile-Islamophile Abdolonyme Ubicini had no qualms about describing the plight of the dhimmi as it was, empirically (hat-tip to Bat Ye’or)…
The history of enslaved peoples is the same everywhere, or rather, they have no history. The years, the centuries pass without bringing any change to their situation. Generations come and go in silence. One might think they are afraid to awaken their masters, asleep alongside them. However, if you examine them closely you discover that this immobility is only superficial. A silent and constant agitation grips them. Life has entirely withdrawn into the heart. They resemble those rivers which have disappeared underground; if you put your ear to the earth, you can hear the muffled sound of their waters; then they re—emerge intact a few leagues away. Such is the state of the Christian populations of Turkey under Ottoman rule.
Here’s another great piece from Michael Totten, in which he gets to the bottom of The Truth About Russia in Georgia.
TBILISI, GEORGIA – Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.
Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn’t start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.
Regional expert, German native, and former European Commission official Patrick Worms was recently hired by the Georgian government as a media advisor, and he explained to me exactly what happened when I met him in downtown Tbilisi. You should always be careful with the version of events told by someone on government payroll even when the government is friendly as democratic as Georgia’s. I was lucky, though, that another regional expert, author and academic Thomas Goltz, was present during Worms’ briefing to me and signed off on it as completely accurate aside from one tiny quibble.
(Hat tip:Cult Leader@LGF)
The McCain campaign couldn’t have asked for a more angry, arrogant Democrat as Obama’s VP: Breaking: Obama selects Joe Biden as his VP running mate.
So the recent events in Georgia involving Russian troops sent shock waves all the way down Chicago’s Michigan Avenue to Obama headquarters. He decided to call in one of the Senate’s top foreign policy experts to counter another of the Senate’s top foreign policy experts.
Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrats’ about-to-be presidential nominee, has chosen a fellow senator, Joe Biden of Delaware, as his about-to-be running mate for the Nov. 4 general election.
Two high-ranking Democratic Party officials have confirmed the choice of the veteran to The Times. Republican reaction is included at the end of this item.
(Hat tip: nancy@LGF)
Michael Totten has filed a Report from Tbilisi at City Journal.
Senator John McCain may have overstated things a bit when, shortly after the war started, he said, “We are all Georgians now.” But apparently even rank-and-file Russian soldiers view the Georgians and Americans as allies. Likewise, these simple Georgian country women seem to understand who their friends and enemies are. “I am very thankful to the West,” Maya said as her eyes welled up with tears. “They support us so much. We thought we were alone. I am so thankful for the support we have from the United States and from the West. The support is very important for us.” She tried hard to maintain her dignity and not cry in front of me, a foreign reporter in fresh clothes and carrying an expensive camera. “The West saved the capital. They were moving to Tbilisi. There was one night that was very dangerous. The Russian tanks were very close to the capital. I don’t know what happened, but they moved the tanks back.” And my translator, whose husband works for Georgia’s ministry of foreign affairs, made a similar guess that the West helped save the capital. “The night they came close to Tbilisi,” she said, “Bush and McCain made their strongest speeches yet. The Russians seemed to back down. Bush and McCain have been very good for us.”
(Hat Tip:Charles the Fraud)
The Russian government continues issuing statements about “pulling back” from Georgia, but the Russian military is digging in.
SACHKHERE, Georgia (AP) — Russian forces on Wednesday built a sentry post just 30 miles from the Georgian capital, appearing to dig in to positions deep inside Georgia despite pledges to pull back to areas mandated by a cease-fire signed by both countries.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says his troops will complete their pullback by Friday, but few signs of movement have been seen other than the departure of a small contingent that have held the strategically key city of Gori. …
Russian soldiers were setting up camp Wednesday in at least three positions in west-central Georgia. Further east, soldiers were building a sentry post of timber on a hill outside Igoeti, 30 miles from Tbilisi and the closest point to the capital where Russian troops have maintained a significant presence.
(Charles the Coward)
Russia has taken a group of Georgian troops prisoner in the port city of Poti, and seized American Humvees.
POTI, Georgia – Russian soldiers took about 20 Georgian troops prisoner at a key Black Sea port in western Georgia on Tuesday, blindfolding them and holding them at gunpoint, and commandeered American Humvees awaiting shipment back to the United States.
(Hat tip: Charles the Coward)
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