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America Stands in the Way of Islam... and America's culture insults the passionate beliefs of those Islamic followers true to their Koran. All the smiles, promises, and handshakes in the world don't change how religious fanatics in multiple Middle East nations view the U.S. To these fanatics, our government and especially our culture pushes lies, arrogance, evil, greed, and sexual immorality to the world. Our culture threatens the purity of Islam. When Islamic men and women make the decision to leave Middle East nations to become Americans, we are making apostates of their people.
It is only natural that religious fanatics would hate us, and with passion.
Trump in the headlines with the SaudisSo with Trump making several headline stories of his boosting ties with the Saudis, we have to ask ourselves as a nation...
Is Saudi Arabia an enemy to be feared or friend to be trusted?
The enemy of my enemy is my friend...The Middle East "swamp" is one that the United States seems to be trying to drain with mixed results. The recent move by The Saudis, Egypt and a host of regional states to cut off relations with Qatar has placed the United States and its intertwined agreements and previous alliances and relationships in a confusing position.
Qatar... New Hot Bed for Terrorists?Qatar is home to Al-Udeid Air Base a critical location from which US air and other support for the anti-ISIS campaign is launched. Qatar is being accused by the Sunni states of aiding ISIS as well as being an ally of Shia Iran. Qatar is also home to Al Jazeera, a worldwide news network and a financial hub for international investment. The war between the Saudi Kingdom and Iran takes new twists and turns almost daily and the United States finds itself mired deep in a religious war that confuses and entangles the Trump Administration endlessly.
Nineteen of the terrorists who flew airliners into American office buildings on 9/11/2001 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Osama Bin Ladin was a citizen of that nation. Yet, no retaliation against the Saudis was ever conducted, nor has official Saudi government involvement in the act been disclosed. Bin Ladin had been an influential member of the victorious Mujahiddeen which had expelled the Russian Army from Afghanistan in 1987; his family was heavily invested in American business and they were hastily flown out of the US right after the attacks.
To all intents and purposes, there is a civil war going on in Islam, This war has serious implications for America. Two factions are battling for dominance in the Middle East and the world and it is important to understand what is behind the headlines. Saudi Arabia and Iran represent two major differences in Islam.
Arabia in historyArabia is mentioned and referred to in the Bible. This is not the current Saudi or geographic Arabia but usually referred to a region far to the south of Israel. There has been much discussion about Mt. Sinai being located in Saudi Arabia but most scholars still reject these claims. The Queen of Sheba is generally agreed upon as to have been from Yemen, a nation bordering today's Saudi Kingdom and one in the midst of a civil war. King Solomon's extensive trade routes brought in riches from Arabia, Yemen and places located in this region. Herod the Great was an Idumean, from the Nabatean area and a convert to Judaism. Paul the Apostle, after being rejected and threatened in Syria fled to "Arabia" for almost ten years. His "Arabia" as most likely in Nabataea, a crossroads where Jews were living not allied with his former Pharisee brothers in Jerusalem.
The modern state of Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia is a comparatively new nation. Ibn Saud was a tribal and regional leader who after solidifying his gains and winning huge concessions from oil companies, became King of a dynasty that still rules this rich and almost legendary country. The state religion of Saudi Arabia is Islam and a particular sect called Salafi. Often referred to as Wahhabi after the 18th century Islamic reformer who considered that Sunni Islam has taken on practices he considered impure, the Saudis use the term Salafi. Competing Shia believers consider the Salafi a "vile sect" and much distrust and actual violence is directed against them. The ongoing conflict between the Saudis, their allies and Shia Iran has deep roots.
Ibn Saud was a wily desert chieftain who took great advantage of the oil companies (who thought they were doing the same to him). By 1932 ibn Saud had overcome rivals and established what has become the House of Saud. The holiest places in Islam, Mecca and Medina, are in the Kingdom and Muslims seeking to obey the requirement to make the "Haj", the pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca must comply with Saudi rules. The importance of Ibn Saud is clearly shown by the visit of President Roosevelt to solidify relations for much needed petroleum. Here the farseeing pragmatic personality of the Saud dynasty is clearly shown. Despite the extreme view towards infidels and Western culture, gradually the Saudis allowed technological and cultural inclusions such as communications and television into the realm. Governing by the unusually brutal Sharia laws which prescribe floggings, amputations, and beheadings for violations the dynasty walks a thin line in international relations.
No freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia -- ruled only by Shariah LawFreedom of religion is not included in Saudi Arabia's governing. In fact, the government of the Kingdom is fully based on the Quran, the Sunna, and Sharia Law; nowhere does the term "constitution" appear. Private observation of non-Muslim religions is permitted. US Forces based in Saudi Arabia during both Gulf Wars found themselves forced to observe Christmas in secret. Salafi sects such as in Saudi Arabia follow a version of Islam that differs from the Shia, who follows the 12th Imam, The Mahdi who is to return and lead the world to true Islam. There has been a century's long conflict between each sect, each seeing the other as heretical.
Iran: common the enemyIran has a driving belief in The Mahdi who will be revealed at a time of worldwide catastrophe to force the infidels to submit to Islam. The Salafi do not espouse so strong a view and are widely criticized for such. Will Saudi Arabia be part of Gog and Magog? In addition, Iran's Supreme Leader is considered to be the ruler in charge of Islam until the return of The Mahdi; this negates Saudi independence and places it under Shia domination. Article 5 of the Constitution openly declares this. How does the Salafi-Shia rivalry figure into the boiling caldron of the Middle East and the involvement of the United States? Our history of dealing with Middle Eastern nations in a framework of Western geopolitics, alliances and consumerism has failed miserably. Despite its adoption of Western educational, commercial and business models, Iran under the Shahs was overturned by the religious Ayatollahs.
Oil wealth has funded weapons of war, the spread of terrorismTo our eyes, an oppressive regime has turned technology and oil money into weapons of war and the partnership with North Korea has resulted in nuclear weapons for North Korea and most likely in secret for Iran. The persistent "Death to America" chants and the stated intent to destroy Israel did not deter the Obama Administration from openly advocating Iran as the US replacement in regional politics. The Quran gives full support to using deceit in dealing with infidels. Iran's support of terrorism and Jihadist groups has been acknowledged in most official quarters.
Saudi Arabia remains a mystery to most Western governments. On one hand, is the Salafi full integration of Sharia and Quran as official government practices, yet a gradual adoption of Western business and communication practices seems a contrast to the severe laws enforced internally.
Financing a terrorist attack on the U.S. / EuropeSince it only takes one rich Saudi to finance a terrorist group, the threat remains of just one Saudi with a connection to the next Osama Bin Laden, deciding that western culture is an insult, that it is an apostate threat to Saudi Arabia, and that something needs to be done about America.
With all that money in so many hands, this is a threat that continues in the modern day and not just something that brought about 9-1-1 and the fall of the Twin Towers as the world looked on.
Questions to consider about Saudi Arabia and future cooperation against Iran and ISISPerhaps one way to view all this is to still focus on Iran as the most likely source of anti-US and anti-Israel attacks.
The intent to bring about the arrival of the Mahdi, the support for violent terrorist groups and factions worldwide, and the mixture of technical, financial and international support in the major regions where they are in force, makes Iran the most likely choice for an Anti-Christ base (U.S. conservatives, especially Christians, are alarmed by Biblical warnings about a coming world war with Anti-Christian armies, which Radicial Islam is parading itself as a possible contender and causing a lot of alarm in multiple U.S. circles).
And then there's ISISThis is not to sideline ISIS. The Islamic State will eventually decline in geographic holdings but the violent and brutal type of Islam they practice will spread and has already begun to wage Jihad to such areas as the Philippines. Saudi Arabia seems to stand apart as a moderate international force and pragmatic ally of America and Israel as far as Iran is concerned. Yet the Salafi system of often brutal social rules and punishments will cause legitimate concerns.
Recently the Saudis concluded a multi-billion dollar weapons deal with the USA. As oil revenues decline the Saudis seek to develop alternative non-petro industries such as defense technologies. It remains to be seen how the Saudi Dynasty will continue its war with an aggressive and expansive Iran while remaining the center of the Islamic world through its control of Mecca and Medina.
Where's Trump going with the Saudis?How to work in a world of nonsectarian and secular business and still adhere to an extreme form of Islam, Salafi, will be among the challenges this complex "fiend" of the United States will face. Will the Saudis be America's friend and ally and are these handshakes with Trump sincere and well meaning in the long run? Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia's recent diplomatic "flirtation" with Russia shows their intent to run their own game.
The Saudi Dynasty's first priority is to survive and this means using duplicity where necessary or to their advantage. America needs to understand this capacity of the Islamic mindset and act accordingly and with caution.
And so you, I, and others should take the international circus with a grain of salt, understanding that we need to be prepared mentally, spiritually, and physically for the world of tomorrow and probable global conflict on a massive scale.
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