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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Recent Saudi statement hurts Iraq

In a letter to the Iraqi people, 26 influential leaders of Saudi Arabia proclaimed it was their duty to “push back the assailants,” making the recent assault on the rebel-held city of Fallujah appear to be grounds for a holy war, according to The New York Post.
It is no coincidence the letter was released at the same time that American and Iraqi military forces prepared for the assault on Fallujah, a city that is headquarters to as many as 3,000 resistance men. In their letter, the Saudi scholars claimed that fighting the occupation force is considered an acceptable act of resistance and it is every Iraqi’s duty to support those who do so. By condoning the killing of American soldiers, the men who signed the letter have committed a crime against not only the United States, but Iraq as well.
Religion can be an extremely powerful source of motivation for any man, in some cases driving him to sacrifice himself for what he believes. It is not uncommon among the Iraqi militants to find men who are merely resisting the new government because that is the will of their respected religious leaders. Guided by misinformation, exaggeration and the malicious intent of some of those leaders, these men will end their lives detonating explosives in an attempt to kill as many soldiers as possible without hesitation. Now, in light of the recent call for jihad, or holy war, against the supposed assailants, some men who would have otherwise not gotten involved will die in vain as well, and much of the responsibility for their deaths will lie in the hands of those who encouraged them.
Among those responsible for promoting acts of violence against the United States is Sheik Safar al-Hawali, an old friend of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Al-Hawali is known for his radical views and was jailed in the 1990s for his criticism of American involvement in the Gulf War, according to the Gulf Daily News. Most likely, al-Hawali condoned attacks on the United States merely to satisfy his own vendetta.
“The Saudis, for their part, have a double stake in American failure in Iraq,” argues the Jerusalem Post, “they cannot abide the rise of a moderate, pro-Western Shi’ite government that will … highlight their oppression of the Shi’ites (and) the example of true democratic politics in the heart of the Arab world threatens Arab dictators.”
Apparently, the success of democracy in Iraq poses a serious threat to surrounding countries, and they have more than just religion to motivate them to prevent it from happening. This point is further verified by recent events in Iran, where The New York Times says, “The judiciary shut down more than 100 pro-democracy newspapers and journals in recent years.” Several Web sites supporting the Democratic President Khatami were blocked as well.
It seems safe to say that it would be in the best interest of the American soldiers and Iraqi people, as well as democracy itself, to silence these 26 Saudi scholars, preferably by imprisonment, before their calls for resistance become calls for retaliation.
Until then, Americans and Iraqis seeking peace in Iraq can take comfort in the word of General George S. Patton, who said, “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

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