Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Rationale of Zawahiri Statements
To many, the statements of al-Zawahiri and other radical Islamists on elections and _jihad_ can be interpreted as the rantings of mad mullahs who hate freedom and the West.

But a careful reading of Islamist texts, provided by such authors as Andrew Bostom and Mary Habek (Knowing the Enemy) show that these reponses are entirely rational within the _jihadi_ world view. This theology and ideology were developed centuries before Israel came into being and long before Western liberal democracies gained currency in the world.

The rationale, taken from Wahhab, Qutb, al Banna and others is simple: Only the Quran, as interpreted by these groups, can guide the world, providing a religious, political and legal handbook that cannot be abridged. Anything that is contrary to these interpretations of Allah's law-including the statements in the Quran itself that speak less harshly of Jews and Christians, deemed to have been made under specific historic conditions no longer applicable-are punishable by death.

What could democracy offer, even in Arab states or Palestine? Nothing, because it is not divinely ordained. In fact, in _jihadi_ literature, few things receive more scorn than the ideal of democracy, viewed as the imposition of human will over that of Allah. The other thing scorned is the charging of interest on money that is lent, hence the Muslim Brotherhood's long-standing and expensive efforts to set up a completely different, Islamist banking system that is divinely sanctioned.

What can be gained from powersharing in Somalia between Islamists and a moderate, secular government? Absolutely nothing. There is no room for compromise or negotiation except to gain a temporary advantage that leads to Islamist triumph.

What, then, to be gained from negotiating with the Mullahs in Iran? Again, nothing. They are divinely sanctioned to lie, mislead, obfuscate and do whatever necessary to achieve their goal-the implementation of their interpretation of divine law (different from the Sunni version, but just as absolutist.)

These principles of divine rule and _sharia_ are not negotiable to Islamists. They are a matter of life and death, heaven and hell, rational in their own terms. Liberal democracies like to look for ways to find common ground and negotiate solutions. That formula has served well for several centuries. But it is, in the context of Islamists, and irrational response to what, to them, are rational actions.

There is nothing to negotiate with Islamists. They want what they believe will bring them eternal salvation. Unfortunately, that means our destruction. There is really little to talk about.
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