Saudi Scholars Urge Iraqi Insurgents to Fight

It’s nice to know that the beacon of democracy we set up in Iraq has spread its sweet light throughout the Middle East.

Prominent Saudi religious scholars urged Iraqis to support militants waging holy war against the U.S.-led coalition forces as American troops prepared Saturday for a major assault on the insurgent hotbed of Fallujah.

The 26 Saudi scholars and preachers said in an open letter to the Iraqi people that their appeal was prompted by “the extraordinary situation through which the Iraqis are passing which calls for unity and exchange of views.” The letter was posted on the Internet.

“At no time in history has a whole people been violated … by propaganda that’s been proved false,” Sheik Awad al-Qarni, one of the scholars, told Al-Arabiya TV.

“The U.S. forces are still destroying towns on the heads of their people and killing women and children. What’s going on in Iraq (news – web sites) is a result of the big crime of America’s occupation of Iraq.”

In their letter, the scholars stressed that armed attacks by militant Iraqi groups on U.S. troops and their allies in Iraq represent “legitimate” resistance.

The scholars were careful to direct their appeal to Iraqis only and stayed away from issuing a general, Muslim-wide call for holy war. They also identified the military as the target, one that is considered legitimate by many Arabs who view U.S. troops and their allies as occupiers.

We’re going to “win” in Fallujah, at least in the military sense. We’ll most likely raze it to the ground. But can we ultimately triumph over all this animosity, from within and outside of Iraq? After all, our winning formula from the very beginning was “hearts and minds.” At this point, no matter how good our original intentions — and I believe they were generally good — we have to face the fact that most of the people in the Middle East see us the way the Poles saw the Germans. Now, that isn’t fair; we’re doing many good things and trying to help in parts of Iraq. But it’s still how we are perceived by so many, and levelling Fallujah probably won’t help. Remember, the image of a naked prisoner wearing a hood is far more vivid and memorable than a photo of kids smiling by a newly built school.

The Discussion: 15 Comments

Check out the quotes in this piece from Foreign Affairs earlier this year. Given that Prince Nayaf is about 80, he’s learned his Anti-Americanism unusually late in life if Abu Ghraib inspired it.

November 6, 2004 @ 7:01 pm | Comment

I don’t think Abu Ghraib is responsble for the anti-Americanism in Saudi Arabia. But it sure radicalized a lot of Iraqis who could have been our friends.

November 6, 2004 @ 7:02 pm | Comment


I remember the statement “We have to destroy the village to save it”! T’was only “yesterday”.

November 6, 2004 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

By calling them Saudi Scholars people have imedietly branded them members of Islam, which to be fair they are, but don’t think that this is typical of Islam, most Muslim are pasafists and hate violence just like most non Muslims.

Maybe people should rise up against the US forces, they attacked an independant country over oil and for revenge while claiming that the country was a threat. They said that they would depose a wicked ruler, and in his place they have murdered, tortured, humiliated and imprverished tens of thousends of people. Iraq was probably better off under its old leader, at least it had running water, electricity and functioning schools, now people are afraid to step out of their houses.

Democracy means nothing if you don’t have the other freedoms that go with it, like self determination and freedom from oppression.

November 6, 2004 @ 8:56 pm | Comment

As there is only one democratic nation in the Middle East – Israel – it’s not like the Arabs to embrace that is going to give their people a voice, and to be part of the governmental process. The Sauds are frauds, and just protecting their own kingdom and religious asses when they are telling the Iraqis to raise their arms.

Hmmm, could it be that they are afraid that the US is going to take a long, hard look at their so-called allies, seeing where the terrorism funding is still coming from?

And, Richard, you know that the Arab street is better off with the dual villians of Israel and the US than looking in and seeing that their countries are tearing apart.

ACB, your comment isn’t even worth a full response beyond 300K+ people would disagree that Iraq was better off with Hussein, but they can’t talk … as they are part of the mass graves. And, go as a Kurd how great Hussein was for them – now, they’re not being guinea pigs for mustard gas.

November 6, 2004 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

Oh, one more thing ACB – no more $20K endowments for suicide bombers in Israel since Hussein was taken out.

But, most of the world doesn’t care about that.

November 6, 2004 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

Jeremy, the Saudis have long and profitable ties to the bush family. Are you implying our president associates with frauds and enemies of the US?

November 6, 2004 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

It’s not an implication, it’s the worst part about this administration.

BUT, it goes back to the devil we know, rather than the devil we don’t. We need the Saud family in power, or it’d be even worse religious zealots in power in Saudi Arabia. At least now the oil flows to the US.

November 6, 2004 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

And the suicide bombers are still going strong, I’m afraid. Not that taking Saddam out wasn’t good — I was always in favor of it. But we can’t pretend that we’ve reaped any great benefit from it, considering the horrific cost in dollars, lives, reputation, etc.

November 6, 2004 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

Suicide bombings in Israel are down close to 70 percent, mostly attributed to the Wall.

BTW, did you see the NRO article that Arafat has AIDS?

November 6, 2004 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

well, so far the American invasion of Iraq has cost 100,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly women and children, their lives.

Give us another year or so and we’ll give Saddam a run for his money.

November 7, 2004 @ 1:10 am | Comment

Jeremy, yes I know they’re down – but Saddam’s demise has nothing to do with that. Yes, saw the NRO article; I believe it, but for now it’s just gossip.

November 7, 2004 @ 8:43 am | Comment

Selma and Falluja

Everybody with half a wit knows that the coalition forces will produce a military victory in Falluja. From TPD: We’re going to “win” in Fallujah, at least in the military sense. We’ll most likely raze it to the ground. But…

November 7, 2004 @ 11:15 am | Comment

I am afraid there are 2 countries that will one day haunt American authorities – Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. One has the fighters born out of the madrasah, and the other the big bucks to finance whatever the Islamists have in mind.

Prince Nayef has always played footsie with the extremists – a quid pro quo arrangement between the Interior Minister of an unpopular ruling royal house and the ultra-clerics.

Sometimes I wonder why initially Osama had denied responsibility for 9/11 – here’s a muderous man who hasn’t been shy about (or afraid of) claiming credit for atrocities and terrorism – then was the golden opportunity to raise his status in the eyes of the extremists.

Being of a suspicious mind, I must admit I did suspect other Saudi extremist group(s) of commiting that attack. Osama was the perfect fall guy. Was the attribution of the 9/11 crime to Osama deliberately done to “save” (protect) the royal house of al Saud from American anger?

November 8, 2004 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

I guess you missed both the Saudi government’s repudiation of those 26 clerics, as well as the Saudi media’s condemnation.

Did you miss al-Zarkhawi’s complaint that the Saudi clerics weren’t giving him enough support?

November 29, 2004 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

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