So Just What Is It That Al Qaeda Wants, Exactly?

When I was your age, things were better. Back then, before somebody blew something up, they would always issue a threat that included some kind of demand (like the release of some of their friends from jail or something like that), and offer not to blow up the target if the demand was met. In those golden days, when somebody hijacked an airplane, they usually did it for money. If they murdered a general on his way to work with an anti-tank rocket, it was because… well… because he was a general, and the Mercedes he was riding in was a symbol of capitalist oppression. Yep, those were the days. But these young whippersnapper terrorists today, seem to blow things up just so they can watch the explosion on TV, like a bunch of snot-nosed kids playing with firecrackers. Oh, I know I’m just a crazy old man, and I don’t pretend to understand these young hoodlums of today, but I sure do miss the good old days when honest, hard working conspirators wreaked their destruction on innocent people in honor of some kind of principle.

Then there’s something else that really confuses me. When I was young, the bombers never died in their own explosions. The idea back then was to get away from the area before the bomb went off, destroying the lives of a bunch of innocent people, but not killing the bomber. There wasn’t any of this suicide bombing back then, no sir. But then somewhere along the line while I wasn’t looking, some so-called Muslim “scholars” looked up in that “holy” book they study – the Quran – that their so-called “god” – Allah – wants folks to die in a “holy” war that they gave the fancy-pants name “Jihad.” According to these “scholars,” if some poor schmuck dies as a so-called “martyr” taking part in this Jihad, he’ll go right to some “Paradise” where he’ll instantly receive 40 virgins and a mule or some such nonsense. So now, every Friday during “prayers,” these “scholars” pump up a bunch of ignorant, illiterate bozos with all this Jihad garbage, tell ’em all about the 40 virgins and mule, promise to take care of the families they’ll be leaving behind for the rest of their lives, and before you know it you’ve got a bunch of these destitute patsies with nothing left to lose, lining themselves up to be “martyrs” in the Jihad. So by Saturday morning innocent folks are blowing up everywhere for no apparent reason.

Everything changed way back in nineteen and ninety. In those days, a punk gangster by the name of Saddam Hussein from Iraq decided that he wasn’t satisfied with having only the third largest reserve of oil in the world, and took over the country of Kuwait with a bunch of his trained goons. Oh, he claimed he did it to protect brother Sunni Muslims from the evil, Iran-backed Shia Muslims in Kuwait, and that Kuwait had always historically been part of Iraq anyway. Heck! Saddam Hussein was no more a Muslim than I am. Everybody knew it was really ’cause he just wanted Kuwait’s oil.

Of course, Americans don’t ordinarily care what Arab they buy their oil from as long as it’s cheap, but it had been so easy for Iraq to take over Kuwait, that all the other countries got scared he would just go on and take over Saudi Arabia, too. That would have left Iraq, Iran, and Russia in control of practically all the oil in the world. In those days, America wouldn’t buy oil from Russia, ’cause back then they were communists, not red-blooded capitalists like us. Besides, it was so hard to get the oil out of the frozen tundra in Siberia that Russian oil was a lot more expensive. Down in Saudi Arabia, the stuff comes out of the ground practically on its own, so it’s dirt cheap – or at least it used to be.

We couldn’t buy our oil from Iran, either, ’cause about ten years before that they’d had a revolution in Iran that established what they called an “Islamic Republic.” They took over the American embassy, and took all the Americans there as hostages. They also overthrew America’s good friend, the Shah of Iran. He was a great friend of America, ’cause he let America put nuclear missiles in his country, and point ’em at the vacation houses of all the Russian high government officials on the other side of the Caspian Sea. It didn’t really matter to us that the Shah was a dictator who had a really vicious  secret police that would kidnap, torture, and kill folks. Besides, the Shah was selling us oil real cheap back then, too.

But then, after they had their “Islamic Revolution,” we couldn’t buy oil from Iran anymore, so when Saddam took over Kuwait, and we thought he might take over Saudi Arabia too, we knew we’d have to buy practically all our oil from him. We were worried that once he got a corner on the market he’d crank the price sky high. Now if there’s anything that gets Americans excited into action, it’s the idea that they might have to pay more for the gas they put in their cars. So we sent a whole bunch of soldiers and weapons into Saudi Arabia to keep Saddam from taking it over.

That all seemed like a really good idea back then, and it worked, too. The soldiers not only kept Saddam and his thugs from taking over Saudi Arabia, but they kicked him out of Kuwait, too. The Kuwaitis were really grateful to America and its allies for doing that for weeks and weeks afterward. We even let Saddam keep control of his own country – Iraq. After all, he kept the place under control. So what if he had his own secret police that was even more ruthless than the Shah’s? As long as the oil stayed cheap, what Saddam did in his own country was none of America’s business, right? Just to make sure Saddam could never try anything bad against his neighbors again, though, we made a very tough rule that whenever we bought oil from him, he could only use the money for food… and stuff.

So after Gulf War I (GW-I), everything seemed to go back to normal. We left a bunch of soldiers and weapons in Saudi Arabia just to make sure Saddam didn’t try anything funny again, and went back to driving our big SUV trucks back and forth to the mailbox on the corner, and taking weekend flights to Las Vegas that cost less than our monthly TV cable. Life was good again, thanks to the sacrifices of our brave boys and girls in America’s military, and we were proud of ’em for making sure all the supertankers kept moving back and forth through the Straits of Hormuz filled with all that cheap oil.

But we forgot something really important. To Muslims, Saudi Arabia is “holy ground.” Now, for anybody who’s ever been there like me, that might seem crazy. After all, almost the whole country is one gigantic desert with dust blowing everywhere and practically nothing growing. The desert there makes our American desert look like the garden of Eden. The place has no value at all, except the fishing along the coast, and of course the oil that comes out of the ground. I can’t see why anybody would want to even live there, much less call it “holy.”

Thing is, though, Saudi Arabia is where the Muslims’ so-called “prophet” – Muhammad lived. It was him that started the whole religion of Islam in the first place. Way back in the 7th century AD, Muhammad conquered two big cities in Arabia – Mecca and Medina. He set up his government there and created a new religion called Islam, that was based on conquest by the sword and complete devotion to the so-called “prophet.” After Muhammad died, a lot of the stuff he said while he was alive was written up in a book called the Quran, that now all the Muslims in the world call a “holy” book. They also have to bow toward Mecca when they pray every day, ’cause they consider Mecca to be a “holy” place along with all the rest of Saudi Arabia. All Muslims are also supposed to make a “holy” pilgrimage – called a Hajj in Arabic – to Mecca (where only Muslims are allowed to go) at least once in in their lives. Once they get there, they circle around and bow down and pray toward this “holy” rock – called the Kaaba – they keep in a big mosque (that’s what Muslims call their prayer buildings). It’s all part of the stuff Muslims are supposed to do during their lives so when they die they can go to “paradise.”

But anyway, that’s why modern Muslims consider Saudi Arabia to be a “holy” country. To many of them, having non-Muslim (they call us infidels) soldiers permanently stationed in that country after GW-I was the highest form of blasphemy against their so-called “god” – Allah. I guess they forgot about all the “infidels” they brought in for years before that to build their roads, sink all those oil wells, and build their office buildings, schools, houses, and hospitals, to say nothing about all the “infidels” they hired to help them run all that stuff once they got it built. They also didn’t care that the King of Saudi Arabia had invited the American soldiers in to protect the kingdom from Saddam Hussein, and asked them to stay after he’d been kicked out of Kuwait. Muslims around the world got angry as hornets about the whole thing, especially the poor and illiterate ones that the “scholars” had been whipping into a frenzy every Friday preaching about the Jihad, and the 40 virgins and a mule, and all.

But the real reason that Muslims hate Americans goes back way further than that. It all comes from a blood feud that’s almost 4000 years old. Way back then, God spoke to an Iraqi called Abram (later called Abraham) who ended up becoming the world’s very first Hebrew or Jew. He lived in a place called Ur of the Chaldeans which is near the modern city of Basra in Iraq. God told Abraham to leave Ur and travel to a place God would show him. Abraham ended up in the area of the modern nation of Israel. Once he got there, God promised Abraham and his descendants that whole land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River in Iraq, and from the mountains of Turkey to the Brook of Egypt which is near the northern end of the modern Suez Canal.

The problem was that Abraham and his wife Sarai (later called Sarah) didn’t have any children, and they were really old. But God promised Abraham that Sarah would give him a son. Now right then, Abraham made the biggest mistake anyone in human history has ever made since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There’s been nothing but trouble and strife in the world ever since because of it. Sarah got impatient waiting for the son that God had promised them, and convinced Abraham to take her Egyptian servant – Hagar – and have a child with her. So Abraham did that, and sure enough Hagar had a son that God told her to name Ishmael. All the Arabs in the world today trace back their lineage to this very same Ishmael.

But then a few years after Ishmael was born, Sarah also had a son called Isaac. It was Isaac that fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham, and it was to Isaac and his descendants – the Jews – that God promised the land that He had shown to Abraham. Naturally, there was a lot of trouble in Abraham’s household between Hagar and Sarah and their sons, even though Ishmael had been Sarah’s idea in the first place. Sarah asked Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away, so he sent them both out into the desert with nothing but a jug of water. Just when they were both about to die in the desert, God caused a spring of water to come forth out of the ground to save them, and promised Hagar that Ishmael would become the father of a great nation – the Arabs. Modern Muslims believe that the spring that God created to save Hagar and Ishmael is in Mecca at the very same site of the mosque where Muslims now pray and bow down to the “holy” rock – the Kaaba – during the Hajj.

So I guess it’s not any wonder that the Arabs (and the rest of the Muslims) hate the Jews after all that went on in Abraham’s family, and with him finally turning Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert to die. It’s also no surprise that the Arabs and the Muslims also deny Israel’s right to all the land that God promised to Isaac, but not to Ishmael. But what does all that have to do with America? Why do the Muslims hate us? Well that’s all because of another promise that God made to Abraham.

God told Abraham that those who bless Abraham’s descendants will be blessed, and those who curse them will be cursed. Now America’s founders and leaders all along our history have known all about that promise, but folks were confused ’cause by the time America became a country, there hadn’t been any country called Israel for over 1700 years, and all of those descendants of Isaac had been scattered all over the world when the Romans destroyed their country back in the year 70AD. So it was pretty hard to figure how God could ever bless Isaac’s descendants – the Jews – ever again, much less the folks that blessed them.

Then, after almost 1900 years, Adolph Hitler and his Nazis tried his very best to kill all the Jews that were left in the world. He almost succeeded, too. He ended up killing over 6 million of ’em during World War II. After the war ended, most of the Jews from Europe who managed to survive the war ended up freed from the concentration camps where the Nazis had held them prisoner, but almost all of them had nowhere to go. The Nazis had stolen or destroyed all of their possessions and documents, and broken up almost all of the families. There was no way for these Jewish refugees from all over Europe to prove who they were, or claim their pre-war homes and other possessions.

So after the war, there was a big world-wide movement to find all the surviving Jews a place to live that they could call their own. The natural place for them to go was the same land that God had promised to Abraham’s descendants all those thousands of years back. So in 1947, the country of Israel was created by the United Nations to be a new homeland for all the homeless Jews, and for any of the other Jews from around the world who wanted to go there, too.

Now America has been right behind the country of Israel ever since then. We have supported Israel right down the line in the United Nations ever since the country was born in 1947. Not only that, rich Americans have given lots of money to help Israel and its people. Our government, too, has given Israel lots of money and weapons to help them survive. Like I said before, America’s leaders and people know all about God’s promise to bless the folks who bless Abraham’s descendants, and who in the world would ever turn down God’s blessing? That would be silly.

Problem is, though, that all those descendants of Ishmael were mighty put out about America helping out Israel. They tried a bunch of times to destroy the new country, but they couldn’t do it, because Israel had the blessing from God, and the support of America and a lot of other countries that understand about the old blessing promise that God made to Abraham. So right on up until GW-I and even after that, America stood solidly right behind Israel, and all the Arabs and other Muslims really hated us for doing it.

Nowadays, of course, our government is trying to backpedal on Israel, because they want to try to make up with all the Arabs and keep all that cheap oil coming from them. Even the American people are starting to wonder why we should support Israel. They’ve forgotten about God’s promise to bless us if we bless Israel, and curse us if we don’t. But, it’s already too late. Most of the Muslims just plain hate us for supporting Israel all those years, and they’ll never forgive us for it. They even call us “The Great Satan” for it, and they call Israel “The Little Satan.”

Now that sounds pretty bad, especially if you think back on God’s promise to curse us if we curse Israel, but the lucky thing was that all these different groups of anti-America and anti-Israel Muslims weren’t organized at all. Heck! They spent most of their time and money fighting each other instead of us, so we could afford to just sit back and watch the whole thing. Well, that all changed when a tall, skinny Saudi called Osama bin Laden came along.

He bought into all that trash about the Jihad, and the 40 virgins and a mule, and all that the “scholars” were preaching. Not only that, he was really rich and well educated. He decided to focus all his energy into promoting the Jihad. In 1988 just a couple of years before GW-I, he put together a list – Al Qaeda in Arabic – of all the Muslim organizations that were trying to fight the Jihad against infidels – especially America and Israel. After he got kicked out of Saudi Arabia, he set up first in Sudan, but when things got too hot for him there, he moved on to Afghanistan where he’d fought years before in the Afghan’s war against the Russians.

Now Osama was smart enough to realize that he and Al Qaeda couldn’t take on Israel and America directly in a war, so they set up a whole network of terrorists all around the world. They got trained in Afghanistan, Yemen, and a lot of other places to set bombs, attack small outposts, and do kidnappings, and murders, and the like. It was easy to find terrorists to do all the dirty work, because they could always fall back on the old story about the 40 virgins and a mule.

They had plenty of money, too, because all the rich Muslims in the world give lots of money to Islamic charities. Giving money to poor people is another one of those things that all Muslims are supposed to do if they want to get into “paradise.” There’s a lot of this charity money available, too, because many of the Arabs have a lot to give away from selling us all that cheap oil for all those years.

Now most of the folks who give money to Islamic charities don’t have a really good idea of what the money ends up getting used for, just like most Americans don’t really know very much about what the money they send to feed hungry children gets used for. We all think we’re doing the right thing, but in the case of the Islamic charities, a lot of that money ends up being used in the Jihad for stuff like weapons, terrorist training camps, explosives, and Islamic schools called madrassas where they indoctrinate the poor Muslim kids into the whole story about the Jihad, the 40 virgins and a mule, paradise, and all. That way, there will always be a steady supply of young folks willing to blow themselves up as “martyrs” in the Jihad.

So why does Al Qaeda do all this stuff? Sure they want vengeance in the whole blood feud between Isaac and Ishmael. Sure they hate America as a supporter of the Israel that they all hate so much. But even more than that, their “holy” book – the Quran – tells them that it’s their duty to their “god” – Allah – to go out and make everybody in the world become Muslims. If the “infidels” won’t do that voluntarily, then they’re supposed to make ’em become Muslims by threatening to kill ’em. If the infidels still refuse, then they’re supposed to just kill ’em.

Now you might ask how somebody who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when an Al Qaeda terrorist sets off a bomb could possible have become a Muslim when they never got the chance to say yes or no before the bomb went off and killed ’em. Or you might wonder how an Al Qaeda bomb in a crowded night club in Bali could ever convince a bunch of Americans half a world away to become Muslims. Now those are really good questions, but the Al Qaeda folks, and the Islamic “scholars” have an answer ready. They say that when folks die in their attacks, then it’s just Allah’s will, and there’s nothing anybody could have done about it anyway because Allah is “all powerful” and controls everything.

That might sound like a good argument to them, but I just don’t buy it. I still think they’re all just a bunch of snot-nosed kids playing with firecrackers.

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