May 18, 2011, - 4:11 pm
Over the decades, my late father would always insist I read the writings of Fouad Ajami, the secular Shi’ite Muslim Middle East expert based at Johns Hopkins. And for most of that time, Ajami was spot on. Recently, though, he’s either lost it entirely, or is mesmerized by the rotten “Arab Spring,” which can only be the West’s Winter. Plus, he’s shown a strong new sympathy for the growing Shi’ite revolution, reminding us all that he is a Shi’ite beneath it all, despite his secular leanings. Ajami’s fantasy-laden op-ed piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal says it all. Ajami, romanticizing the late (or merely missing, depending on which rumor you believe) Shi’ite cleric, Imam Moussa Sadr, is the work not of an intellectual secularist but of someone in denial about Shi’ite Islam’s wholly consuming obsession with Hezbollah and Iran. Ajami’s secularism seems to have given way, at least somewhat, to Shi’ite nationalism. Problem is that the Shi’ite nation, in the eyes of Shi’ites, is the world.
Fouad Ajami’s Shi’ite Revenge Fantasy Over Musa Sadr is Not an American Interest
Unless you know a lot about the Middle East and Islam as I do, you probably never heard of Iranian-born Moussa Sadr. Most of the dummies and phonies you see on TV parading as “terrorism experts” don’t know about him because they are frauds. Al-Sadr was the spiritual leader of Harakat Amal, the Amal Shi’ite Militia, which at the time meant he was the top Shia cleric in Lebanon, but, now, Amal is essentially an arm of Hezbollah. Sadr went missing in 1978, and is probably dead. My late father said he believed Sadr was murdered either by the Ayatollahs in Iran who might have seen him as competition or by the P.L.O., to whom he was a threat as the Sunni PLO occupied Lebanon and gang-raped, tortured, and murdered Shi’ite Muslims and Christians. When he disappeared, though, he was on his way to Iran and many believe he was going there to help Ayatollah Khomeini retake power from the Shah. Al-Sadr was last seen in Libya, where he went to gush all over Muammar Qaddafi. Ajami believes that Al-Sadr was murdered by Qaddafi in Libya or is perhaps in a jail there. The Sunni Qaddafi was tight with Yasser Arafat.
But regardless of what happened to Imam Sadr, some things are certain and yet never mentioned in Ajami’s gushing exaltation of Al-Sadr. Sadr was vehemently anti-Israel and supported Lebanese attacks on Israel. He made overtures to the Syrian Assad family by making some of the Alawites (the Assads are Alawi Muslims) part of his Supreme Islamic Shi’ite Council and saying they are real Muslims (Sunnis said Alawis are not Muslims, perhaps because they celebrate some of the Christian holidays). Sadr’s supporters today are all strong supporters of Hezbollah and Iran, and it’s doubtful he would have been any different. In fact, he would be leading Hezbollah today, or his Amal, which turned on Israel after welcoming the Israelis as liberators from the P.L.O., would be the Hezbollah today, instead of a merged weaker sister of the group.
Sadr-connected charities run by his children and other relatives are apparent conduits of terrorist money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised for “educating orphans” (of martyrs) and sent to Lebanon, despite only a P.O. Box, and the FBI and other law enforcement agencies look the other way. All of the money goes to the Hezbollah-controlled South Lebanon. Ideologically, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the Amal and Hezbollah factions, which is why they are no longer separate factions and haven’t been for decades. Whether or not Sadr was kidnapped and killed doesn’t change that.
Despite Shi’ite Muslim Ajami’s romance of this man, that he is missing or dead makes no difference in the Iran- and Syria-dominated ideological topography of Lebanon, dominated by the same Hezbollah hate that Sadr’s Amal developed and which was eventually taken up by the successor Hezbollah. Dr. Ajami thinks that this absurd war we are having with Qaddafi is grounds to gain something in addition to $4.00-plus gallons of gas. He wants blood from Qaddafi over the missing Sadr. This is his Arab Spring.
And America should have no part of it. We should never have gotten involved in the internecine warfare of Libya, which has now exceeded billions in costs to Americans, in addition to the billions in higher gas prices, with no Libyan oil production. If we were going to be involved, it should have been to back Qaddafi and shut this thing down.
But Fouad Ajami is, as I noted, beneath it all loyal most to his Shi’ite Arab Muslim heritage. And that heritage is neither American, nor should its goals be American.
Imam Sadr’s presence today in Lebanon wouldn’t help the West or make a difference in Western interests. In fact, it would probably be a strengthening force for the frightening Shi’ite revolution. Whatever happened to Moussa Sadr, his disappearance is a distinction without a difference.
That Ajami doesn’t get this makes it disturbing that he is now a senior fellow at Hoover Institution and co-chair of the Hoover Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.
Satisfying the vendetta yearnings of Shi’ite Muslims based on their unproven conspiracy theories is not an American interest. How it contributes to stopping the Islamic threat (no, there’s no such thing as “Islamism”) and stabilizing the International Order is beyond anyone who does a reality check.
Tags: Alawi, Alawis, Alawite, Alawites, Ayatollah Khomeini, Fouad Ajami, Hezbollah, Hoover Institution, Imam Moussa Al-Sadr, Imam Moussa Sadr, Imam Musa Al-Sadr, Imam Musa Sadr, Imam Sadr, Iran, Islam, Israel, Johns Hopkins, Lebanon, Libya, Middle East, Moussa Al-Sadr, Moussa Sadr, Muammar Qaddafi, Musa Al-Sadr, Musa Sadr, Qaddafi, Shi'ite, Shi'ite Muslim, Shia Islam, Syria, Wall Street Journal