Thursday, September 14, 2006

France and the US : "Crusader nations"

The news is not really surprising:
Ayman al-Zawahiri has asked the GSPC -- the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat -- to sow fear "in the hearts of the traitors and the apostate sons of France" and to crush the "pillars of the Crusader alliance." (BBC)
The GSPC is apparently an offspring of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which aims at establishing an Islamic state in Algeria and committed a series of terrorist attacks in France in the mid-90s.
Apparently, last year, the GSPC singled out France as its "enemy number one" and issued a call for action against the country and recently, they pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden.
If you think France and the U.S. do not have much in common, well according to al-Zawahiri, they do:
"We pray to God that they will be a thorn in the side of the American and French crusaders and their allies," urging the group to become "a bone in the throat of the American and French crusaders".
Who would have thought France and the US had "crusades" in common?
The irony is that the terrorists have used the French law against religious symbols in schools to accuse France of all evils and rally "muslim brothers" - even though that law is a an extension of secular humanism. The war in Afghanistan and the support of the non-democratic government in Algeria are also used to rally terrorists. Finally, Zawahiri has denounced the role of France in Lebanon and the drafting of Resolution 1701. There too, France and the US are seen as all the same.
In any case, you can never win with those guys anyway and we all know that. Granted, those fanatics only represent a tiny fraction of Islam but they don't need to be many to instill fear. We probably just need to keep our heads cool and learn to live with the idea that terrorism will be part of our near future.

NOTE: What is a bit more surprising is that the news of the threat against France only came out in the media today (in Le Figaro) when it was part of the video released on Monday. Why only 4 days later?
The other point is that we are only 8 months away from the presidential elections in France. Remember Spain? I wonder how that is going to play out. In the same way that Bush and the Republicans benefit from the fear of terrorism, Nicolas Sarkozy and the conservative party UMP will benefit from this piece of news.


At 10:01, Anonymous Bartleby said...

C'mon, how does it work out that this is Sarkozy's fault? Is there a right-wing conspiracy to entrap well-intentioned leaders of the Muslim "community" (whatever that is) into making remarks which could be unfairly construed as aggressive? And is terrorism an imaginary problem that will go away if we vote for the left, or avoid all subjects that might give offense to any and all aggrieve-able parties (remember the fall-out from the pig-squealing contest?)?

At 12:38, Blogger Joker & Thief said...

No one said it is Sarkozy's "fault". I don't believe in conspiracy theories anyway. What is true is that when it comes to terrorism, people tend to feel that the right is tougher and more likely to protect them. When people are scared, the liberal agenda just doesn't do it for them. So while it is not Sarkozy's fault, he will benefit from it and al Qaeda may have a political agenda of its own. There is no reason why they shoudn't read the press either.
My take is that a tougher approach is what they want. In their eyes, it proves that Muslims are martyrs and justifies their actions.
Terrorism is a real problem indeed but inflamentory remarks by politicans (or the Pope) only hurts the cause of moderate Muslims. It also gets a lot of other Muslims angry - even if only a tiny fraction of them cross the threshold and become terrorists.
Terrorism will not go away, whether we vote for the left or the right. the idea is certainly not to be politically correct and "avoid all subjects that might give offense to any and all aggrieve-able parties" but one has to be a wise and somewhat sensitive to the current tensions and the growing cultural divide. The Pope may hahe been right for instance in raising certain intellectual questions theoritically but it was certainly the wrong time to do so. His disconnect from the reality of this world is scary.His remarks only add fuel to the fire.
if there should be a terrorist attack in France though, I don't know who will definitely benefit since Sarkozy is at the helm right now. but if there were such an attack a few weeks or days before the elections, once he has probably reisigned to be in the full swing of the campaign, then he might benefit. (and I am not saying he would be responsible , I'm just saying this is something al Qaeda might consider). Hopefully that won't happen.


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