At the recent attack on the US embassy in Yemen they chanted “O Jews, Khyber, Khyber. The army of Muhammad will return!” Observing their responses to violence from the Islamist world, President Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton compared to President Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice could not be more contrasted. Overt leaders like the Republicans are scrutinized according to their more public declarations. Covert leaders as in the Obama administration perceive their private declarations shield them. However, the death of the American Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens expresses the disdain this lawless war has for both overt and covert leaders of the American administration. The nature of this war is better reflected in the agreements Al Qaeda negotiated to launch their operations in the mountainous regions through which the Khyber pass links Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here the Pashtun people and their Taliban student fighters mount their continuing attacks; loyal only to those who provide their present temporal relief.
Climbing out of a bear pit with the bear may be easier than taming the beast outraged over social condition, legal imposition and moral composition. The insurgencies to which we subscribe are fueled by ideological benefactors intent to prevail over tribal culture and the American administration is complicit. In 630 CE Prophet Muhammad’s army defeated the Jews fortressed in the Khyber pass. The battle paved the way for the conquest of Mecca and the establishment of Islam. After the Prophet’s death, Caliph Omar marched on Jerusalem where Akiva, a Jewish convert to Islam, advised the location of the destroyed Jewish Temples where Omar built his shrine. The shrine was erected over the place of the Holy of Holies and a subsequently built church and exists today as the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
While Obama bows to Saudi Kings and the Bush family court their wealth, Sunni and Shiite blood flows in streets where ideology and culture clash, yet successive administrations have failed to recognize the importance of symbolic ‘game changing’ cues. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s latest demand for ‘red lines’ exposes the pathetic state of diplomacy in a modern world where enemies hide amongst friends to spit in the face of ideologists intent on dominating culture. When insurgency matters and life is cheap there is no end to the enemy! Complexity is rife and no more so than in the Jewish roots of the staunch Pashtun people, the symbolism of Caliph Omar’s shrine on the Temple Mount or the Saudi Kings Sunni reign over Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. Red lines are an absolute necessity in the face of such ambiguity especially when Shiite Iran is intent to prevail over Sunni Arabs including by proving their usefulness against Israel. No amount of coaxing, befriending, wheeling or dealing will contain the pent up anger and resentment that targets opposing ideology.
Covert operations of the Obama Administration intended to deliver planned results often play into the hands of cultural regimes that respond unexpectedly to make their insurgent views known. Such insurgency is the nature of modern terror, any opposition to it must be founded in unwavering support of suitable counter culture, yet American presidents repeatedly fail to recognize the importance of Israeli symbolism to American cultural survival. How much begging and pleading does Mr. Netanyahu need to offer to make the point? Not only are red lines on Iran important, red lines on pretty much everything else are equally important. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Europe, Russia and China you name it, every one of these countries must understand that America means business and Israel is its chosen example over anything else in the region. For those who have visited Israel, its more than 40% Muslim population is a microcosm of a future Germany, Italy, France, England and America, a future with rapidly expanding Islamic constituents. Are these countries going to function as judiciously and how will their cultures and cultural icons be preserved?
Preservation of cultural identity is the color of our modern world. We must retain the freedoms necessary to respect and regard that which best serves each regions constituent cultures allowing those cultures to flourish. Notwithstanding counter insurgencies, established cultures cannot withstand long term ideological imposition to behave covertly. The Meranos of Spain and Portugal who were persecuted to convert to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition still light candles in their kitchen cupboards before the Jewish Sabbath without knowing why they do it. It’s time for overt leadership to ensure the red lines are drawn and widely publicized so that the preservation of our rich human heritage can prevail and if President Obama doesn’t understand that, Prime Minister Netanyahu has an obligation to expose his weakness.