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January 30, 2010

The great warrior tribe

Al Jazeera senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara sees the Middle East as a blood sacrifice offered up by the contenders to the Cold War following the end of hostilities.

Because this is what makes sense from an Arab point of view.

According to tribal Yemeni tradition, if a dispute has been resolved peacefully, any dagger that has been drawn cannot go back into its scabbard unless it tastes blood. Traditionally, an animal is slaughtered to satisfy its thirst and restore its holder's honour.

Since the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact without a single shot, let alone nuclear warheads, being fired, the 'Greater Middle East' region has been turned into a real theatre of war.

Much as I enjoy this formulation for its casting of America as the greatest warrior tribe, it neatly demonstrates how every party to today's troubles completely misreads the intentions of the rest. Untroubled by decades of atrocities in the name of Allah, the Left insists on perceiving jihadi grievance as Arab nationalism and proletarian revolution. It isn't. The Right thinks the Left can be brought round by the use of reason, evidence and cogent argument. It can't. And the jihadis think there are still Christians in Europe left to fight. There aren't.

But as Bishari's analysis suggests, there has been an even greater misapprehension at work in the Middle East, the notion the Middle East is sufficiently important to either the Russians or the Americans to be deemed worthy as a sacrificial offering; the classic delusion of relevance.

In light of such a cultural pathology, suicide bombings might be best understood as a plea for attention ("Look at me! Boom!"), the closest the jihadis can manage to an encounter group.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 30, 2010 07:28 AM


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