Now Pakistan is clamoring, apparently successfully, for still more billions (and using some of those billions to expand its nuclear arsenal). Now the Administration seems crazily hell-bent not merely on refusing to do what it should, and destroy or set back Iran's nuclear project (Iran, where members of a Shi'a version of the Taliban, in essence, are already in control of the government).
Still more horrifying, it is attempting to prevent Israel from doing so, by denying it the aid and intelligence and weaponry it has every reason to expect would be forthcoming (and that we should be eager, even grateful, to supply), and by publicly warning the Israelis not to do anything "without letting the Americans know first." And now the fiasco of Iraq is being joined by the fiascos of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Muslim threat metastasizes. The only strategy that can be thought of is giving more money to, and relying on assurances from, the slightly less dangerous Muslims in power, instead of coldly welcoming the auto-destruction of Muslim states and peoples, and intervening only to keep them from acquiring, or from delivering, or from keeping, weapons of mass destruction.
The shabby treatment being given to Israel does not surprise. Even the demand that Israel lose the element of surprise by telling the Americans in advance of a strike on Iran is not surprising. That request is absurd and insulting. The Americans would see such a request made on them as such. Also, the Americans have a record of light-headed negligence when it comes to Israeli secrets. How many remember that James Baker inadvertently revealed to Assad of Syria the identities of two Israeli agents, all in order just to show off, to give an example of how much the Americans, through the Israelis, knew?
What Baker said was enough for those spies to be located, arrested, and executed. And given how many people -- it only takes one -- are malevolently inclined toward Israel, it would be madness for Israel to give the Americans prior warning, which would no doubt find its way to Iran. And even if it is argued that Iran surely knows by now that such an attack can come "at any time," there is a great difference, in the ability to protect one's installations, between the awareness that an attack "can come at any time" and the knowledge that the attack "will take place, at a particular time," say, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, on August 2.
The Administration appears impervious to that "new thinking" that Obama called for, a "new thinking" that should be based squarely on a knowledge of Islam, its texts, its tenets, its attitudes, its atmospherics, we are still stuck in the ridiculous rut of that self-proclaimed "Two-State Solution." And we know it is a "solution," you see, because otherwise it would not have been repeatedly called by the Wise Men of Washington a "solution," now would it? Therefore is again time to ask the question asked here many times before. So once again, with feeling:
Does anyone in the Obama Administration know what the Treaty of Hudaibiyya is, or why that matters so much?
Let's start with the central duty incumbent on all Muslims, to engage directly, or sometimes indirectly, using whatever instruments are available and effective, in the "struggle" or "jihad" to remove all obstacles throughout the world to the spread and then the dominance of Islam. Of course, within this larger struggle for the whole world, there is a To-Do List, with some nations higher on it than others. Those with priority on the Muslim To-Do List are those lands where Islam once dominated and Muslims once ruled. These include, for example, Israel, Spain, Sicily, Greece, the Balkan states, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, most of Russia, almost all of India. These remain, as Infidel nation-states, highest on the Muslim To-Do List. Does anyone in the upper reaches of the Obama Administration understand that the principle, enshrined since Roman times in Western jurisprudence, of Pacta Sunt Servanda, that is, the principle that "Treaties Are To Be Observed" -- see Lauterpacht, see Julius Stone, see Philip Jessup -- does not obtain in Muslim jurisprudence? Sometimes Westerners, without a knowledge of the history of the development of their own legal systems, naively assume that the most fundamental principles are not the product of men, developed in history, but simply the obvious result of logic. How could, Westerners may think, there be any treaty-making of any kind if one side not only feels free to violate the treaty, but positively required to do so whenever it feels stronger? For most Westerners, it is impossible for them to grasp the nature of the Muslim worldview, and its consequences in every area of life.
In the Muslim view, treaties with Infidels are NOT to be obeyed. They are to be entered into when Muslims feel that they are at the moment too weak to do otherwise, and where they sense that they can gain, in the end, by entering temporarily into a treaty with Infidels. For Muslims, every treaty with Infidels is merely a "truce" treaty, a "hudna." The very idea that Muslims could recognize the permanence of an Infidel nation-state goes against everything in Islam.
The basis of Muslim treaty-making with Infidels can be found in the Treaty of Hudaibiyya that Muhammad made with the Meccans in 628 A.D. Finding himself and his followers too weak to take the Meccans on directly, Muhammad made an agreement with them. He would not attack them in return for their promise to allow him and his followers to annually enter Mecca for the 'ijra, or lesser pilgrimage. The treaty was to have lasted for ten years -- and ten years, by the way, is the maximum period that a treaty with Infidels can normally last, though some Muslim authorities have said that a treaty can be renewed at the expiration of that ten-year period, if the Muslims need more time to strengthen their forces and would benefit from a continued "hudna." The treaty with the Meccans lasted only 18 months, however, when Muhammad decided to find a pretext to attack, and did. And he has been praised ever since in Muslim lore, for his ability to deceive the unwary Meccans and to use the time of that truce to his advantage. And Muhammad is the Model of Conduct (uswa hasana) and the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil). He is the model in all things. Among those things, he provides the model, that transcends his time and is good for all time, for how to make treaties with Infidels.
On the justification, and the prescribed duration, of treaties made by Muslims with Infidels, here, for example, is the celebrated Averroes (Ibn Rushd) [d. 1198]:
"Among those who profess that the Imam is entitled to conclude a truce when he considers it in the interest [of the Muslims] are Mālik (founder of the Maliki school of Sunni Islamic Law), Shāfiī (founder of the Shafi'ite school of Sunni Islamic Law), and Abū Hanifah (founder of the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic Law). Shāfiī maintains that a truce may not be concluded for a period longer than that of the truce which the Prophet concluded with the unbelievers in the year of Hudaybiyyah... Therefore, says Shāfiī, a truce may never exceed the period for which the Prophet concluded truce in the case of Hudaybiyyah. Still, there is controversy about the duration of this period. According to some it amounts to four years, but according to others three or ten years. Shāfiī opts for the latter."
And here is Antoine Fattal, a Lebanese jurist (and Christian) who wrote the most complete study, published in 1958, of the legal status of non-Muslims under Islam, "Le status legal des non-musulmanes en pays d'Islam" which, remains untranslated from the French. Dr. Fattal describes the Muslim view of what justifies Muslims in sometimes making treaties with Infidels:
"Connected with the notion of jihad is the distinction between dar al-harb (territory or "house" of war) and dar al-islam (house of Islam). The latter includes all territories subject to Moslem authority. It is in a state of perpetual war with the dar al-harb. The inhabitants of the dar al-harb are harbis, who are not answerable to the Islamic authority and whose persons and goods are mubah, that is, at the mercy of Believers. However, when Muslims are in a subordinate state, they can negotiate a truce with the Harbis lasting no more than ten years, which they are obliged to revoke unilaterally as soon as they regain the upper hand, following the example of the Prophet after Hudaibiyya."
And here is the scholar of Islam Bassam Tibi, originally from Syria, writing in 1996. (After years teaching in Germany, Professor Tibi now teaches at Cornell):
"Islamic wars are not hurub (the plural of harb) but rather futuhat, acts of "opening" the world to Islam and expressing Islamic jihad. Relations between dar al-Islam, the home of peace, and dar al-harb, the world of unbelievers, nevertheless take place in a state of war, according to the Qur'an and to the authoritative commentaries of Islamic jurists. Unbelievers who stand in the way, creating obstacles for the da'wa, are blamed for this state of war, for the da'wa can be pursued peacefully if others submit to it. In other words, those who resist Islam cause wars and are responsible for them. Only when Muslim power is weak is "temporary truce" (hudna) allowed."
And another authoritative summing up of how Muslims view treaties made with Infidels, and the model of Hudaibiyya, can be found in "War and Peace in the Law of Islam," by the celebrated Iraqi-American scholar Majid Khadduri. Strange that Fouad Ajami, the loquacious Fouad Ajami, who holds a chair at Johns Hopkins named after Majid Khadduri, has never in all of his writing or speaking referred to this book, and helped to enlighten the Americans about the Muslim view of such treaties as described in Khadduri's book. I don't have the book at hand, and at this point I'm not going to find the relevant passage. If you are a Washington bigshot, you should go out, buy your own copy, and read the book, and find the passage for yourself. I'm not going to do all your work for you. You do a little.
Yet despite all this, we are told, a treaty creating a "Palestinian" state is a "solution" to the war being made on Israel not only since it came into existence, but against the Jews of Mandatory Palestine just as soon as it became clear, after World War I, when they were no longer subject to Ottoman rule, that they would not accept the position of dhimmis under continued Muslim, now Arab, rule. No such "solution" is possible. Indeed, whatever promises may be made, either by the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, or the Slow Jihadists of Fatah, to Israel or to Washington policymakers, will be broken. According to Muslim law, Muslims will be obligated to break such promises made to Infidels as soon as they feel strong enough. Thus any such treaty will merely serve to weaken Israel. And this always been well understood among Arab Muslims. A good example of such an understanding comes from Yasir Arafat, who was quick to signal to his fellow Muslims, just a few weeks after signing the Oslo Accords, in an address to an all-Muslim audience in Johannesburg (save for the person or persons who secretly taped the event), that he had no intention of honoring any commitments made by the Muslim Arab ("Palestinian") side, and did so by alluding to Hudaibiyya and Muhammad's dealings with the Meccans.
Finally, within the week the "Palestinian" Ambassador to Lebanon, one Abbas Zaki, has been recorded explaining that any treaty with Israel, one that Abbas Zaki assumes will include the loss of Israeli control over the Old City of Jerusalem, will so demoralize the Israelis, undermining all that they achieved at such great sacrifice, that any such agreement will spell the beginning of Israel's end. And that, for Abbas Zaki, and for the "Palestinians" of the Slow Jihad, of Fatah and the "Palestinian Authority," is exactly what they intend to further.
They have no interest in a permanent peace with Israel. But they are more realistic -- just -- than the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, with whom they are locked in a struggle over money and power. That is why they differ from Hamas in matters of tactics and timing, but not on the ultimate goal of causing, in whatever way they can, an end to, the destruction of, the Infidel nation-state of Israel that remains, for Arab Muslims, such an intolerable affront that they can hardly stand it. The Slow Jihadists, being worldly men, want the tap of Western aid turned on, and so are prepared to minimally pretend, and to say, tellingly, as Mahmoud Abbas does in his No-One-Here-But-Us-Accountants mode (and just how far a suit and tie and mild manner will get you, in the capitals of the West, where you tend to be confused with technocrat Fayyad, is simply amazing to behold), when he says "we choose peace as a strategic option." Get that? As a strategic option. Words not to live by, but to worry by. If I were the Israeli leader, I'd call off the farce of the peace-processing that can only mean disaster for Israel right then, and right there.
Here's what that "Palestinian" ambassador to Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, said:
"With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made - just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward."
In this he is merely speaking the truth, echoing Mahmoud Abbas, and Yasir Arafat, and all the others. For they, the Slow Jihadists, welcome the "Two-State Solution." They do so because it will force tangible surrenders of territory by Israel, and a seeming admission by the Israelis that they somehow have been in the wrong, even though Israel has a strong legal (see the Mandate for Palestine, and especially paragraphs 4 and 6 of the Preamble), historic, and moral claim. The Israeli claim is far superior to that of those who now claim, with all kinds of absurd arithmetic, made-up data, and deliberately induced historical amnesia, to have been the residents of the ill-considered backwater vilayets (and a separate sanjak for Jerusalem) that were once part of the Ottoman Empire, were under Arab rule for only a few decades, and that, by all accounts (including that of Mark Twain and many other Western visitors of note), were in a state of "ruin" and "desolation" until the land revived with the early Zionists.
The Zionists brought economic activity, and in so doing also attracted a great many Arabs, especially from Egypt and from modern-day Iraq, who were the grandfathers of so many of those who now claim -- and do so with such vehemence, such feigned or even by this time real deep belief -- to have been part of a non-existent "Palestinian people," and not merely the Arab descendants of all of the Arabs who came between the late 19th century and 1940. But what do facts matter, if you can get the BBC and NPR, and The Guardian, and Le Monde, and Canal Cinq, and Radio France International, to keep parroting the telling epithet "occupied," so that everyone will forget Israel's claim, and treat it as Nazi Germany, with its troops goose-stepping right through the Arc de Triomphe, while Rick and Mrs. Victor Laszlo make passionate love in a room with a view of the rooftops of Paris?
There is no hint, anywhere, in all this futile peace-processing, that the Muslim Arabs would ever recognize, permanently, the state of Israel, or would ever -- permanently -- stop trying to make war on Israel, militarily, or where that is not possible, through economic boycotts, diplomatic pressure, and constant attempts to demoralize the people of Israel. The Muslim Arabs may sign a treaty, may even clamor to sign a treaty that will bring about what they will sweetly call, for their American and other Western donors, a "two-state" solution. But they don't mean it. Nothing in Islam would permit any believer in Islam, any Believer, to permanently accept the existence of an Infidel nation-state, no matter how unthreatening, no matter how hopelessly tiny and permanently imperiled it might be. It just cannot be allowed to stand. The only way for Muslim Arabs to accept the reality of Israel is if they are convinced they cannot win, they cannot break Israel, they cannot push it back, or get others to push it back, to what Abba Eban once called "the lines of Auschwitz."
Those are lines that no American general of any sense would, looking at a map and at the balance of forces, ever recommend if he were the Israeli Chief of Staff. It is ignorance of Islam in many, and deep malevolence toward Israel in some, all over the capitals of the Western world, that have allowed this "Two-State Solution" to become an accepted idea, preposterous as it is in the light of Islam, in the light of its texts and tenets and attitudes, and especially in the light of the Treaty of Hudaibiyya. It is preposterous for the Western world to keep refusing to realize that for the Arabs, the Two-State "Solution" means something that may appear to be quite close -- off by a single letter -- but in fact is far, far different.
For the Muslim Arabs, the local shock troops of those carefully renamed after 1967 as the "Palestinian people," share the same goal (the disappearance of Israel and the reincorporation of its land into Dar al-Islam), but differ on matters of tactics and timing. And on those matters of tactics and timing, some of the Hamas people may now be making noises to indicate that they, too, are a bit more realistic and can mouth a few of the right phrases, if the benefits are understood.
The Americans want what is impossible: a "Two-State Solution." Such a "solution" would whet, not sate, Arab Muslim appetites, and feed Muslim triumphalism everywhere, not least in western Europe. And such an outcome would make Israel's struggle to survive even more hellishly difficult than it already is, and by depriving Israel of the perceived power it now enjoys, would undercut any possibility of "Darura" (Necessity) being invoked by an Arab leader who wanted to resist calls for a final military assault on Israel. The "two-state solution" makes peace less, not more, likely.
The Muslim Arabs would be the winners, and it is their interpretation, their understanding, of the "Two-State Solution" that would prevail. They can never reconcile themselves to the existence of Israel unless Israel remains overwhelmingly, and obviously, more powerful in a military sense. That is all that keeps the peace, and that is all that will ever keep the peace. Egypt refrains from attacking Israel not because Egypt has steadfastly agreed to honor the Camp David Accords (it has violated all of its solemn promises to encourage friendly relations with, and an end to inculcated hostility towards, Israel), but for the same reason that Syria, or Iraq under Saddam Hussein, do or did not attack Israel: fear of what the Israelis would do in return. And in the case of Egypt, what the Israelis would do is obvious: they would take the Sinai, and not ever give it back again. Twice, in 1956 and then in 1979-81, in three tranches, is quite enough. And Egypt wants to keep the Sinai.
It is not the Two-State Solution that the boys of Fatah, of the "Palestinian Authority," or the Saudi king, or any other Arab who takes his Islam seriously, have in mind as what's in store for Israel.
No. Their intended version may be off only by a single letter. But there is a world of difference. Would that those who make policy, and are not already compromised by decades of futile peace-processing whose futility they do not dare to acknowledge, for fear of how silly they would look, would see this. Why the hell didn't the aaron-millers, dennis-rossees, martin-indyks, robert-hasses, learn about Islam, and Hudaibiyya, decades ago? What made them think they could spend years and years doing peace-processing without ever studying and thoroughly grasping, the belief-system that animates hundreds of millions of Muslim Arabs? What were they thinking, or rather, why were they not thinking?
Yes, there is a world of difference between the naïve Americans proposing this Two-State Solution, with such colossal ignorance and at the same time such self-assurance, and what the Arab Muslims have in mind.
And that, as you have been tipped off by the candid title already to know, is what can only be called "The Two-Stage Solution." Anyone of sense should be able to figure out what the second stage of that two-stage "solution" would inevitably be (in the sense, for the Arabs, of their kind of "solution" to the horrible affront of Israel's existence).
The Western world must, for the sake of its own moral sanity, do everything that can be done to prevent that from happening.
[re-posted from 2007]