The War of Civilizations

THE WAR OF CIVILIZATIONS….Marc Lynch analyzes the latest address from Osama bin Laden:

While much of the media commentary has been on specific points bin Laden made (Darfur, Palestine), the overwhelming preoccupation of the tape was in fact the need for Muslims to accept the reality of a ‘clash of civilizations.’….And as with the culture warriors of the West, bin Laden combines his opposition to this Crusader West with scorn for the Islamist moderates who he sees as the greatest threat to his own leadership of the Islamic umma.

….He’s really quite extreme in his denunciations of those Islamist moderates ? the worst, most dangerous of all Islam’s enemies in his eyes because they might mislead the umma. Even those who led the boycott against Denmark fell short ? he wants a boycott against America, since the Danish affront was only one case of a much wider problem in his view.

He’s similarly scathing about those calling for dialogue with the West (the Copenhagen conference, the Saudi government, most Arab regimes), and accuses a number of Saudi and Gulf figures of spreading apostacy with their writings and fatwas. The West only calls for dialogue to weaken and confuse the Muslims, according to bin Laden, and only understands the language of force; the clash of civilizations exists, in his telling, because the West has attacked and continues to assault Islam, which makes dialogue a fool’s game.

Well, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then we have a lot of potential friends in the Middle East. We shouldn’t forget it.