Belmont Club

Small Apples

Perhaps it is only syntactic sugar, but this statement advocating eventual co-existence with Israel from the Saudi Foreign Minister is worth noting.

Speaking on the sidelines of the world assembly of Islamic scholars in Jeddh, Saud bin Faisal Al Saud said that the Middle-East needs peace and co-existence more than ever and Saudi Arabia as a leading Islamic country is ready to make sacrifices in peace negations and encourages President Abbas to follow the same policy.

Referring to the ongoing war in Gaza strip, the Saudi foreign Minster stressed that Hamas authority is the sole responsible for Palestinian calamity and they must brought before the law.

The Saudi official further added that Arab World Increasingly Frustrated With Hamas which is seeking more wars.

Perhaps Israel has won, or is starting to win, though that would be to put it too dramatically. But there is something in this.

The Muslim world has for decades tried to destroy the Jews and in its desperation raised up one tyrant or mad fanatical movement after the other to carry out the program. And now these monsters are starting to turn on them. Syria is ruined; the ‘Arab Spring’ has burned out much of the region. Generations of young men have been brought up with no marketable skills; only a desire for suicide, an aptitude for destruction and an unquenchable hate. Perhaps the Saudis and the Gulf States are wondering if their creations will gobble them up.

There are priorities in life, even when it comes to enemies. The New York Times provides the first concrete evidence that Arab regimes now recognize a danger greater than Israel. The mysterious “air forces” bombing Islamist rebels in Libya turn out to be — Egypt and the UAE.  If the sudden Saudi openness to Israel seemed at first perplexing, the identity of the secret air force makes it a little less mysterious now.

CAIRO — Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts.

The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied to American diplomats that their military played any role in the operation, the officials said, in what appeared a new blow to already strained relations between Washington and Cairo. …

Since the military ouster of the Islamist president in Egypt last year, the new government and its backers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have launched a campaign across the region — in the news media, in politics and diplomacy, and by arming local proxies — to roll back what they see as an existential threat to their authority posed by Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We don’t see this as constructive at all,” said one senior American official quoted by the NYT. Obama has finally achieved his ambition to lead from behind. In this case from so far behind he’s almost out of the loop, if the stories are to be believed.  But the schisms between the funders of the various jihadi movements now bid fair to put the cat among the pigeons.

The reason the regional countries are fighting the Islamists is not hard to see.  The New York Times laments that the wild children of the Jihad are destroying even the ancient artifacts of civilization. The history, even of Islam itself, is being effaced.

Like many archaeologists of the Middle East, Mr. Schwartz, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, is watching the news from the region with deep concern and, he said, a feeling of impotence.

“It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happened in Syria in terms of cultural heritage and more so for the country at large,” he said.

The upheavals and conflicts sweeping the Middle East in recent years have caused untold human suffering, and they have resulted in deep losses to the heritage of the region.

Scholars can do little to stop the fighting and looting, but they have created blogs, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to monitor the destruction and raise awareness about it. By sharing excavation records, scholars outside the Middle East have helped their counterparts in the Arab world to compile online lists of missing or stolen objects.

And yet in Israel the al-Aqsa mosque stands above the Western Wall, and it’s the oddest thing to hear the Muslim call to prayer sounding in early hours in the capital of Israel.


Golda Meir once said there would be peace when the Arab parents loved their children more than they hated the Jew. Or — she forgot to add — the fear of movements like al-Qaeda and ISIS grew greater than the odium for the Jewish state.  The attraction of radical Islam, especially for the rootless Muslims of the west is its promise of a life without restraint. An existence beyond the laws of men or decency and — it may prove — the control of their elders. But that lack of restraint is not real freedom, rather a chain by which they are bound to a life of utter destructiveness.

The unappreciated strength of freedom is that it raises no monsters. It conjures no writhing demons from the vasty deeps. ISIS thinks it is strong in its hate; and perhaps it thinks it is foolish that Israel permits a mosque to surmount its holiest site. But one is reminded of the dialog between King Alfred and Guthrum. (As you remember I was reading Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse last weekend).

Guthrum laughed at the folly of gentleness, but Alfred replied:

Therefore your end is on you,
Is on you and your kings,
Not for a fire in Ely fen,
Not that your gods are nine or ten,
But because it is only Christian men
Guard even heathen things.

The ordinary Muslim might hope to live with the Jew. But there is no hope of ever living with ISIS. The present conflict, will of course go on. But it’s nice to realize that evil, while feared, is never loved.  After all these years of being taught the worthlessness of our civilization we find it is the only thing that we — or even the Saudis — can rely on.  If the ‘custodians of civilization’ take a hike, then what have we left? EM Forster wrote: “if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”. He neglected to add that after you have destroyed your country, you shall also have betrayed your friend. For without a civilization what else will protect him? Not his friend, for by then it will be too late. So here’s to freedom and here’s to civilization.

For our God hath blessed creation,
Calling it good. I know
What spirit with whom you blindly band
Hath blessed destruction with his hand;
Yet by God’s death the stars shall stand
And the small apples grow.

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