Wednesday, December 13, 2006
In this era of the Islamic Jihadi who intentionally use their own people as human shields, refuse to wear uniforms, torture any westerner the can get their hands on, it is past due to revisit the Geneva Convention or the Geneva Accords? The more you look, the more you realize the conventions were intended for a different time and for warfare fought by nations. Most people in the US believe the Geneva Conventions are a fixed set of rules for the conduct of war. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beginning in 1863, there have been four significant conventions and new protocols as late as 2005. Then you have those who signed and whether the conventions bind nations at war with non-signature nations. You can also sign with stated caveats. A second significant set of conventions called the Hague conventions beginning in 1907 established more rules on the conduct of war. Again some nations signed and some nations did not. Some had caveats. Some Hague articles were adopted into later Geneva conventions. All these conventions were germinated by atrocities and responsible nations attempting to address these atrocities with international regulations. There are also many other lesser-known conventions and treaties that have those who signed and those who did not. What consists today is a massively confusing and sometimes contradictory set of rules that can only be sorted out by lawyers. The American people have no idea what laws apply to us and in what circumstances. We rely on our politicians and the media to sort them out for us. A very risky thing to do.
These rules are more than guides. There are very serious penalties to violators, who are charged with war crimes. For example Slobodan Milošević found himself in clutches of a war crimes tribunal.
What are some common themes in the rules. First they govern signature nations. Look at the dates. What were the cultues of the world 120 years ago? The world was dominated nations. Warfare was conducted by nations. What else is there? Morality. Our nation expresses this culutural characterictic in a term called a just war. How extreme can these views be, see this site. Its severe restrictions are not legally binding but have an impact on the mindset and resolve of the American people. The rules of Geneva, Hague and just war weigh heavily on the rules of engagement that military is controlled by and held accountable. Violations are punishable offenses.
Jump forward to 2006, what is the nature of enemy combatants that threaten the lives of US citizens. Iraq and Iran are exceptions. A hostile Iraq no longer exists, it has been temporarily replaced with a domacracy that we support. But we are still fighting in Iraq. If not Iraqis who are we fighting? We are on record as fighting foreign insurgents, non Iraqis that are not nations and not even under the banner of recognized terror groups except Al-Qaeda.
But future conflicts will require the US to respond to more and more attacks by unrecogonized groups and groups that are recognized as terroists. They don’t recognize any nation, fly no flag but are definitely dependent on nations and private benefactors for money, arms, training and cover (travel documents). Our good friend Hugo is mass producing legal documents for any and all thugs who want to attack American citizens. Techically these would combatants treated as criminals if they were US citizens, which they are not.
But what about the culture of those who wish us dead? When someone wants you dead you had better understand who they are and what motivates them. Bush now calls them Islamofacists, a non legal term with regard to the Geneva convention. Also the term has no meaning in Islam. In fact Islamic groups, organizations, state sponsors and Geneva non signiture nations reside in a legal vacuum.
So lets all take a short course in all thing Islam. Islam is a religion, a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an estimated 1.4 billion adherents, known as Muslims. Today, Muslims may be found throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Central Asia. Only about 20 percent of Muslims originate from Arab countries. Islam is the second largest religion in many European countries, such as France, which has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, and the United Kingdom.
Islamism is a set of political ideologies that hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to its interpretation of Islamic Law. For Islamists, the sharia has absolute priority over democracy and universal human rights.” Wahhabism is an Orthodox Islamic movement, named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). It is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and recently Western Iraq. It is now intellectual obsolete and has been replaced with Salafism. Salafis view the first three generations of Muslims, who are Muhammad's companions, and the two succeeding generations after them, the Tabi‘in and the Taba‘ at-Tabi‘in, as examples of how Islam should be practiced. This principle is derived from the following hadith by Muhammad: The people of my generation are the best, then those who follow them, and then whose who follow the latter (i.e. the first three generations of Muslims).
The closest analogy to Christians and Jews is Orthodoxy or the extreme groups within these cultures. So far we have Islam that dominates the culture of the Middle East. We also know that Islam is not monolithic. Like Christianity a great schism occurred early on resulting in Sunnis and Shiites. The word Sunni comes from the word sunna, which means the tradition of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. They represent the branch of Islam that came through the caliphate, which started with Abu Bakr.
Shiites Shi'a believe that at any given time, a certain leader titled The Imam of Time, is the Guardian of all Muslims.
A Twelver Shi'a Imam is a Guide in all religious and worldly matters, and is believed to have been Divinely appointed. A Sunni Caliph, on the other hand, is appointed by a part of the community, and is mostly a temporal ruler, where the Quran is taken to be the only authority in all matters pertaining to religion.
Within Shi'ism, there are various sects that differ over the number of Imams, or path of succession. The issue of who is the rightful Imam has led to the growth of 3 sects within Shi'ism including: Twelvers, Ismailis & Zaidis. Twelver Shi'as cite various references from the Qur'an and reports, or Hadith, from Muhammad and the twelve Shi'a Imams with regards to the reappearance of Muhammad al-Mahdi who will, in accordance with God's command, bring justice and peace to the world by establishing Islam throughout the world. The prophet Muhammad is reported to have said:
What we have is a culture that is definitely not monolithic. Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world. 15% of all Muslims are Shi'a. Today there are an estimated 130 and 190 million Shi'a Muslims (including Twelvers, Ismailis, Zaydis) throughout the world, about three quarters of whom reside in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and India. Were it not for Radical Imams, the twelvers highjacking Iran there would be no Muslim nation seeking our demise. Approximately 80% of Shi'a are Twelvers and they are the largest Shi'a school of thought, predominant in Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain."During the last times, my people will be afflicted with terrible and unprecedented calamities and misfortunes from their rulers, so much so that this vast earth will appear small to them. Persecution and injustice will engulf the earth. The believers will find no shelter to seek refuge from these tortures and injustices. At such a time, God will raise from my progeny a man who will establish peace and justice on this earth in the same way as it had been filled with injustice and distress."
Shi'as believe that when Muhammad al-Mahdi will reappear, the prophet Jesus will also reappear and that he will pray behind al-Mahdi. Sunni Muslims do not consider Muhammad al-Mahdi to be the Mahdi. Many scholars even doubt that he existed at all and hold that the 11th Imam died at the age of 28 years without leaving any offspring, though some other believe that he existed. 
How strong is the rift between Sunnis and Shia.
“On the other hand, similar fatwas have not been issued by many prominent Sunni scholars or universities. A number of contemporary Sunni scholars such as Shaykh Dr Khaalid ibn ‘Ali al-Mushayqih (who released a fatwa regarding praying with the Shi'a) maintain that Shi'a are not considered as Muslims, unless they deny certain beliefs found in a number of Shi'a hadith books like al-kafi that are accepted by the majority of twelver Shi'a.”
Finally we come to the concept of Jihad, a very misunderstood term. What is known:
1. Ibn Rushd, in his Muqaddimāt, divides Jihad into four kinds:
"Jihad by the heart; Jihad by the tongue; Jihad by the hand and Jihad by the sword." He defines "Jihad by the tongue" as "to commend good conduct and forbid the wrong, like the type of Jihad Allah (swt) ordered us to fulfill against the hypocrites in His Words, “O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites” (Qur'an 9:73). So the Prophet (s) strove against the unbelievers by sword and against the hypocrites by tongue
Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war), the most common usage by Salafi Muslims and offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also known as Physical Jihad: This relates to the use of physical force in defense of Muslims against oppression and transgression by the enemies of Allah, Islam and Muslims. Allah commands that Muslims lead peaceful lives and not transgress against anyone. If they are persecuted and oppressed, the Qur'an recommends that they migrate to a more peaceful and tolerant land:
"Lo! Those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape persecution) and strive (Jahadu) in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy..." (2:218). If relocation is not possible, then Allah also requires Muslims to defend themselves against oppression by "fighting against those who fight against us." 2 The Qur'an states: "To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to defend themselves], because they are wronged - and verily, Allah is Most Powerful to give them victory." (22:39) 
2. Islamic scholars agree that Jihad should not be undertaken to gratify one’s whims nor to obtain wealth and riches. Many also consider that it must also not be undertaken to conquer territories and rule them or to acquire fame or to appease the emotions of communal support, partisanship and animosity. On the contrary, it should be undertaken only and only for the cause of Allah as is evident from the words. As in Qur'an:
Those who believe, fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Satan. So fight you against the friends of Satan. Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Satan
3. The Salafi jihadist movement has attracted rootless and or committed internationalist militants. They fight for the jihad, seeking to re-create the Muslim ummah and shariat to build an Islamic community. Simultaneously conservatives and radical, they form a global network that has attracted Muslims from around the world to fight jihad in Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. The salafi-jihadist movement in Central Asia and the Caucasus is more localized -- an expression of identity in areas such as Ferghana, villages in Daghestan, and upper Gharm valley. In Central Asia, the term "Wahabi" refers to fundamentalists who come from Pakistan or Afghanistan, but they are not necessarily a political movement. For example, Wahabis in Tajikistan do not recognize themselves as a political alignment. However, most Central Asian regimes use the term Wahabi more broadly to describe Islamic religious movements outside the states' control.
It is important to distinguish between the following groups, thought of (perhaps) as concentric circles or from the most extreme to the least:
· "Jihadist Salafis" - such as the followers of al-Qaeda and like-minded local groups;
· "Salafis" - those who believe that the imitation of the behavior of the Salaf-us-Saliheen (Prophet's Companion's Followers, and those who goes after them) should be the basis of the social order,
· "Islamists" - a still broader category,which includes anyone who thinks that the precepts of Islam - however interpreted - should be fundamental to the political and social order; and,
· "Discontented Muslims" - people who identify themselves as Muslims,and who are unhappy with their life prospects, with the justice of their societies,and/or with the state of the wider world
What else do we need to know. We had all better know who Hamas and Hezbollah are since they have become well organized, trained and equiped by Iran and Hezbollah acquitted themselves very well against Israel.
Hamas (Arabic: حركة حماس; acronym: Arabic: حركة المقاومة الاسلامية, or Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya or "Islamic Resistance Movement"; the Arabic acronym means "zeal") is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist organization that currently (since January 2006) forms the majority party of the Palestinian National Authority.
Hezbollah (Arabic: حزب الله ḥizb-allāh, meaning "party of God") is a Shi'a Islamist militant and political organization based in Lebanon. It follows a distinct version of Islamic Shia ideology developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Hezbollah began to take shape during the 1982 Lebanon War; on February 16, 1985 Sheik Ibrahim al-Amin publicly declared the group's manifesto, which included three goals:
· Eradication of Western imperialism in Lebanon,
· Transformation of Lebanon's multi-confessional state into an Islamic state,
· Complete destruction of the state of Israel.[
Hezbollah was largely formed with the aid of the Ayatollah Khomeini's followers in the early eighties in order to spread Islamic revolution and follows a distinct version of Islamic Shi'a ideology (“Willayat Al-Faqih”) developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Is there anyone who believes the Genava and Hague accords apply to to conflict between western cultures and Islamic cultures? I use culture vs nations because all the middle east arab Islamic nations are secular, except for Iran. Our enemies are Non nations, a mixture of Orthodox and moderate adherents, using suicide bombers as a tool against civilians. One thing it is not is clash between nations. It is a clash between cultures. Why did Khomeni choose to call Israel the little satan and the US the Great Satan. After reading the above you should be able to answer that youself.
Bush has a golden opportunity to Write a treaty that addresses the conduct of hostilities between cultures. I would invite everyone to Amman Jordan to develop new rules that both cultures will accept. If that is a blank sheet of paper, so be it. The west can write their own and sign them. The rules can never be the same, our cultures are miles apart. Do Islamic have a set of rules for war? Yes. See this site. A few are worth listing:
1. Sunni muslims believe that jihad can be declared by a political leader with the sanction of religious authorities, however the lack of such a central authority has created problems with the general acceptance of these declarations. The Shia hold that only a just Imam can declare jihad because he is infallible and will properly guide and ensure it's justness.
2. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi writes in his book Mizan that after Muhammad and his Companions, there is no concept in Islam obliging Muslims to wage war for propagation or implementation of Islam. The only valid basis for Jihad through arms is to end oppression when all other measures have failed. Islam only allows Jihad to be conducted by a Government with at least half the power of the enemy. Some Islamic scholars consider the later command only for a particular time.
4. The 20th Century Muslim scholar, Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi writes, "...the exegetists and jurists have drawn the principle that those who are non-combatants should not be killed during or after a war."
"'No prisoner should be put to the sword' is a very clear and unequivocal instruction given by the Prophet...'The Prophet has prohibited the killing of anyone who is tied or is in captivity.'"
5. From the hadith:
· "You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character, nor one who shouts in the markets. You do not return evil for evil, but excuse and forgive." - Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 362
· "Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman" (Abu Dawud).
· "Do not kill the monks in monasteries" or "Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship" (Musnad of Ibn Hanbal).
Islam expressly prohibits the killing of non-combatants, civilian women, children and the elderly, during war. The Quran states "make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates" (Qur'an 47:4). A discussion of the Islamic treatment of enemy prisoners of war can be found below.
7. Declaration of war
Islam prohibits surprise attacks and invasions. The Quran states,
If thou fearest treachery from any group, throw back (their covenant) to them, (so as to be) on equal terms: for Allah loveth not the treacherous. 8:58
This verse is interpreted to mean that Muslims must make a proper declaration of war prior to taking military action against trangressing enemies. This rule is not binding if the adversary has already started the war.
Furthermore, the Quran recounts the declaration of war of Muhammad to the pagans,
(This is a declaration of) immunity by Allah and His Messenger towards those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.
So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot weaken Allah and that Allah will bring disgrace to the unbelievers. (Quran 9:1-2)
Muslim scholars note that this verse expressly gives the enemies of Muhammad the time period of four months to reconsider their position and negotiate. Muslims are prohibited from opening hostilities without exhausting possibilites for peace.
We are not going to use suicide bombers. But there can be reciprocity. That if you insist on suicide bombers we can use xxxxx. If western civilians are legitmate targets then Westerners need not be confined to surgical methods to separate Islamic combatants from true civilians.
We have two years to create this accord. Or do we? Was the Iranian president two letters to Americans, one to the people the other to the government our 4 month warning? Baring a war in 4 months, when we leave Iraq absolute chaos will errupt.
These accords will be the greatest legacy any president can leave his successor, to remove the shackles of the obsolete accords from both our military and the moral clarity of the American and Western people.
Liberty or Death