Its always been complicated. The Mohammedan calendar is based on twelve lunar months, or 354 days, and in a Christian century there are about 103 Mohammedan years. And with the Children of Israel? Mohammed’s career shows that the animosity between jews and arabs is as old as Islam itself…
Mohammed’s followers started to leave for Medina. The Prophet was the last to go. In September 622, he turned his back on the city he had unsuccessfully tried to convert. His departure is known as the Hegira, or flight. The Hegira marks the dividing line between the failure and success of Islam. It has been made the starting point of the Mohammedan Era; in the Mohammedan calendar, 622 is the Year One.
In Medina Mohammed found a friendly base. It was a spacious oasis that depended on dates and cereals rather than commerce for a livelihood. There were eleven principal tribes, of which three were Jewish, scattered in villages throughout the oasis. The Jews, Semitic cousins of the Arabs, had probably settled in southern Arabia in the first and second centuries after Christ, fleeing Roman repression. When Mohammed arrived in Medina, they formed roughly half the population and owned much of the best land.
The Prophet at first made advances to the Medina Jews, enjoining his followers to celebrate Yom Kippur and to face Jerusalem when saying their prayers. But to the Jews, as to the Meccans, he was a false prophet and a political menace. They saw him taking over the power that they shared with the Arabs; as People of the Book, they could not accept the discrepancies in his accounts of Genesis and other parts of the Old Testament. When they denounced him, Mohammed turned against them. He found himself waging a two pronged battle,against the Jews in Medina and against the Meccans. Mohammed the prophet became Mohammed the general: Islam is the only one of the world’s great religions to have been founded on the Sword as well as the Word.
aMohammed’s career shows that the animosity between Jews and Arabs is as old as Islam itself. The quarrel did not begin with the Balfour Declaration or the creation of a Jewish State. It grew out of Mohammed’s need to affirm his version of monotheism against the older, better established variant of the Jews, and this doctrinal quarrel turned into a struggle for political and economic domination. Against both the jews and the Meccans, Mohammed was a ruthless aggressor. He expelled the three Jewish clans by force. The first clan was allowed to depart from medina with some of its belongings. The second had to leave everything behind.
While laying siege on the second clan, the Nadir, Mohammed chopped down its palm groves, an act as repugnant to Arab morality as Drone civilian deaths appear to us. He was an early practitioner of total war. The members of the jewish clan, the Qurayza, forfeited not only their goods and land, but also their lives. All the men were put to death and the women sold into slavery. A trench was dug in the market and the eight hundred men of the clan were brought to it in batches, beheaded, and thrown in. The execution took the whole day and part of the night. Mohammed included in his share of the spoils a pretty young widow named Raihana and it can be said that Mohammed provided a precedent for the massacre of Jews by Arabs….( to be continued)
Doug Saunders (see link at end):This pattern becomes startlingly clear in Dav
rist’s dense and important new book, The Twilight War. While ostensibly a U.S. government historian’s inside account of relations with Iran in the three decades since the Islamic revolution, the result spans the entire Middle East and the motives behind virtually all the Western policy decisions – most of them disastrous – that have shaped the region.
The black boxes were created in the late years of the Cold War, when the Carter and Reagan administrations used the Middle East and its oil as the ultimate showdown with the Soviets. Westerners were guided by the thinking Mr. Crist attributes to a senior U.S. leader who “cared little about the regional conflicts or their long-term consequences, except in terms of how they affected the balance of power in the East-West rivalry.”
Black-box thinking led Egypt’s dictators to become the largest recipients of U.S. aid (and sometimes of Soviet aid) and the Saudi autocrats to become among the closest U.S. allies – which both allowed them to maintain power and to ignore the material and political needs of their people.
And black-box thinking turned Lebanon’s civil war into a conflagration that virtually created the current Islamic politics of the region. It would not have gone that way, Mr. Crist convincingly shows, if the U.S. and Israel had not turned Beirut into a black box. If they hadn’t, “I don’t know whether something called Hezbollah would have been born,” the terrorist movement’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is quoted as saying. “I doubt it.” …
…Then, in 2003, George W. Bush was offered an important opening to Iran, as a “road map” approved by reformist president Mohammad Khatami and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei requested an end to sanctions and a rapprochement with the West, and in exchange offered to abandon nuclear plans, recognize Israel and stop supporting Hezbollah. The proposal was genuine, but Mr. Bush, viewing Iran entirely as a black box in his counterterrorism schematic, dismissed it. This led to the demise of Iran’s reformist leaders and the rise of the far more bellicose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Despite the new, citizen-led logic of the Middle East, we haven’t rid ourselves of black-box thinking yet. The current horror in Syria bears witness to this: President Bashar al-Assad has been supported at various points by Russia, Iran, the United States and various European countries. In some ways it’s still continuing, as Russian warships and CIA minders flood into Damascus this week. But most capitals are at a loss to respond in any decisive way, because the old logic has partly collapsed: In these new conflicts, the black boxes have become transparent. We can see their contents, and they bleed. It’s time to tear up the wiring diagram. Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/columnists/the-middle-east-is-trapped-in-black-boxes/article4476182/