Apropos of this ridiculous exchange last night between Glenn Beck and Michael Scheuer, in which both fretted over whether the Obama administration is interested in using “as much violence as is necessary” to protect America, terrorism expert Thomas Hegghammer reports that an article in the extremist publication al-Sumud “confirms that jihadis feel threatened by Obama in their fight for Muslim hearts and minds.”
The two-page article (pp-18-19) is written by the Saudi sheikh Abd al-Aziz al-Julayyil and is actually taken from the latter’s website, which says the text was written on 17 May 2009.
Al-Julayyil starts off by saying he was motivated to write this article after observing a lot of optimism among Muslims over the arrival of the new US administration. He says he realises many will react to the headline (“Obama is more Dangerous than Bush”), for how can the Satanic Bush, who invaded Muslim countries and whose planes and tanks killed Muslim children, be less dangerous than Obama, who has declared he is not at war with Islam? [...]
[Al-Julayyil writes] that Bush’s follies actually benefited Muslims by inflicting significant damage to America. The most important fruit of Bush’s policies was the wake-up call it produced among Muslims in terms of realising the true nature of their enemy, reviving the creed of loyalty toward Muslims and dissociation from infidels, and raising the flag of jihad in several battlefields. Another benefit of the Bush era was the infamy suffered by America on the world stage and the demise of its false discourse on human rights; in the world’s eyes America itself became a proponent of oppression and a threat to human rights. Add to this the American economic and military decline.
In other words, and has been pointed out numerous times by numerous analysts, President Bush’s war on terror played right into Al Qaeda’s hands (conservatives called this “showing strength”.)
But, according to Heghammer, Al-Julayyil writes that now comes Obama “with his sly policies and his attempts to deceive the world, especially the Muslim world, with his professed love for peace and criticism of the policies of his predecessor.”
And many Muslims were duped by his sweet-talk and pinned their hopes on this man to lift the oppression from them.
This is extremely dangerous, al-Julayyil argues, because it is weakening their enmity toward America and makes them more positively inclined toward her future policies. It is numbing them, reducing their hatred toward infidels, and making them stop fighting.[...]
Al-Julayyil concludes: So beware of this cunning Satan, for he is more dangerous than the foolish Satan.
We saw some evidence of this recognition of the danger Obama posed to the extremists’ agenda last fall, when an Al Qaeda-affiliated website posted a message insisting that “Al Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election” because he would be more likely to continue the “failing march of his predecessor,” President Bush. Whereas Obama, they suspected, would be much less likely to spend trillions of dollars affirming Al Qaeda’s propaganda by treating them as the enemy in a “transcendental” apocalyptic struggle. This turns out to have been right.
Conservatives can bash Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world all they want, but the fact is that he is reaching many of the young Muslims who Bush alienated. And the extremists know it, and they’re scared. That’s what happens when you have a president who doesn’t confuse strength with macho grandstanding and counterproductive military intervention.
Go read Adam Serwer on the Beck-Scheuer exchange.