File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_2001/baudrillard.0109, message 34

Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 02:39:27 +0100 (BST)
Subject: More from Fisk 

Taliban finds few Muslim friends
 Middle East By Robert Fisk in Beirut
 18 September 2001
 They have been lining up in their condemnation.
Mullahs, sheikhs and
 sayeds, from Beirut to Tehran, are criticising last
week's assault on the United
 States, sending condolences and sympathy and – by
their actions –
 distancing themselves from the atrocity that millions
of Arab Muslims
 watched live on television.
 There is genuine outrage, true, but it would be as
well to place it in context.
 Because the Taliban, the shield of Osama bin Laden,
has almost as many
 enemies in the Middle East as it has in America.
 For two consecutive days, Sayed Mohamed Hussein
Fadlallah, the spiritual
 guide to the Hizbollah guerrilla movement – the group
that reinvented the art
 of suicide bombing against the Israeli occupation
army in Lebanon and
which Washington still blames for the kidnapping of
Americans in Beirut in
the 1980s – has been excoriating those responsible.
 "No religion justifies such an action," the Shia
Muslim cleric announced in
 Beirut. "It is not permissible to use innocent and
peaceful civilians as a card
 to change a specific policy." Muslims and Islamists
opposed American policy
 in the region – "which is totally biased in favour of
the Zionist enemy" – but
 they wanted to be friends with the American people,
the cleric said.
 Sheikh Abdul-Amir Qabalan, the vice-president of the
Higher Shia Muslim
 Council in Lebanon, insisted Islam was "a religion of
justice and equality and
 it condemns any attack on civilians and the
 Now this makes interesting reading. No such
condemnations followed the
 Palestinian suicide bombings that killed 15
civilians, including six children,
 in a Jerusalem pizzeria in August or the suicide
bombing that slaughtered 21
 Israeli teenagers in Tel Aviv. Hizbollah's satellite
groups were held
 responsible for the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in
Beirut in which more
 than 50 Lebanese civilians were killed.
 In Iran, whose boy soldiers perfected suicide attacks
on the Iraqi army in the
 1980-88 war and whose government has always supported
Palestinian suicide
 bombers, President Mohammad Khatami and his
conservative opponents
 condemned totally the New York and Washington
bombings. This is not  surprising.
 For in Tehran the rulers of Afghanistan have been
called the "black Taliban"
 for years, long before the US identified them as Mr
bin Laden's protectors.
 The Iranians, and, by extension, their Hizbollah
protégés, have long regarded
 the Taliban's "Wahabi" Sunni Muslim leaders as
obscurantists and potential
 "terrorists". At least two million Afghan refugees
are living in great poverty in eastern
 Iran, many of whom would have stayed at home were it
not for the Taliban's
 rule and the mass starvation that the Taliban has
done little to alleviate. Iran
 has now closed its border with Afghanistan to prevent
a further exodus of
 refugees and America has said that it would
"consider" inviting Iran to join a
 coalition against "world terrorism". Iran will most
certainly decline. The Saudis, of course, can scarcely
do anything but join in the chorus of
 condemnation. They helped to create the Taliban, to
legitimise its presence
 in Afghanistan and to fund and arm the so-called
students who destroyed
 most of the rival mujahedin groups who had been
pillaging Kabul and other
 great Afghan cities in the years that followed the
Soviet military withdrawal.
 Mr bin Laden is himself a Saudi – though one
officially deprived of his
 citizenship – and, as is becoming clearer, some of
the hijackers were Saudi
 citizens.In Egypt, Sunni Muslim clerics added their
own condemnation, although
 President Mubarak has been one of the few Middle
Eastern leaders to warn of
 the consequences of indiscriminate American
retaliation. He it was who
 warned just two short weeks ago that, unless a peace
was restored, he feared
 there would be "an explosion outside the region".
 Back in Lebanon, the Hizbollah itself issued a crafty
statement yesterday,
 regretting the loss of innocent lives in America but
warning Washington not to
 take advantage of the atrocities "to practise all
sorts of aggression and
 terrorism under the pretext of fighting aggression
and terrorism". 
 Also from the Middle East section

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