Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Muslim Empires, Caliphates, ISIS Against the West

Nadene Goldfoot                                                               

                                          Dr. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS

The Muslim prophet was Muhammad.  He was a trader and was familiar with the problems that merchants were having among themselves with the Bedouin tribes.  He started the principle of economic egalitarianism in Medina, a Jewish city.  He forbid the exploitation of the poor and the weak by the rich  and the strong.  He preached a more equitable distribution of wealth.  Sounds familiar?  The tribes he was hurting were the Jews who would not convert to Islam and thus several tribes were slaughtered because of that.

The Bedouins gave their allegiance to their particular tribe.  He tried to change that so that they would give their allegiance to Islam.  He preached the brotherhood of Muslims and established the community, or ummah, of Islam.  It does not mean the brotherhood of humanity, only with Muslims.  The Arabs had to pay a tax to belong to Islam called the Zakah tax.  They didn't like this.  Abu Bakr used force to keep them as Muslims.  The Arabs in Mecca had control of Medina and waged war on the rest of Arabia.  Abu Bakr died in 634 but the army of Khalid had followed some of the tribes that didn't want any part of Islam into Syria and there they defeated a detachment of the Byzantine army.  Abu Bakr had named Umar as his successor.  Umar banished all non-Muslims; Christians and Jews from Arabia so it was just Muslim land.  That's as it remains today.

Islam expanded rapidly when Muhammad died in 632.  It continued to take over land until 661 .  Then the government went to the Umayyads from 661 to 750   From 750 to 800  the governing power went to the Abbasids.

The bedouin tribes of Arabia were brought under Mohammad when he was alive, but when he died had to be reconquered by Abu Bakr  of the Quraysh tribe.  He was a close friend and the father-in-law of Muhammad.  He had 2 years of reunifying Arabia under Islam.

What is a Caliph?  A successor of Mohammad as a temporal and spiritual head of Islam; used as a title
What is a Caliphate?  The office or dominion of a caliph.

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is led by a man boasting of such a connection and intends to form an Empire, a Caliphate. He is 42 year old Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a ruthless killer who is highly educated, and holds a PhD in education from the Islamic University in Baghdad.  Brains and the killer instinct.   I believe this spells out the requirements to be a sociopath. With all the killing his men are doing, none seem to have a conscience.

The USA has  had a bounty of $10 million dollars on his head since October 4, 2011.  He is so extreme and violent that al-Qaeda excommunicated him from their group.  He has not hurt from the cut as he has robbed a bank in Iraq of all its money and controls a nation-size piece of land from the border of Syria into Iraq.  He has taken the city of Mosul, an oil hub that lies at the intersection of Iraq, Turkey and Syria.  He's a 2nd Osama bin Laden but worse.  He's more violent, virulent, and more anti-American.  

From 2005 to 2009 the United States held him in Camp Bucca in Iraq.  He had a reputation then for brutality.

Let's go back in history and look at the 2nd Caliphate.  It was under the Umayyad Dynasty, which came out of Mecca.  " Umayyad regime was founded by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661."   The leader , Mu'awiya,  was established in the caliphate then and a new era came into being in the world of Islam.  Mu'awiya organized the dynasty after the manner of the Byzantine Empire and the Iranians.  He took his son, Yazid, around to different tribes in Arabia and let them acknowledge him as his successor.  Something changed that idea and his successor went to the oldest son of whoever was the strongest in the family.  The many that followed usually reigned for about 6 years only.  They all turned out to be pleasure-loving and hard-drinkers.  These Umayyad caliphs were burdened with a huge empire with frontiers with many religions, giving them problems in administration.
In 732, the Muslim Army of the Umayyads  moving on Paris was defeated and turned back at Tours, France by Charles Martell.

By 1571 the Ottoman Empire was in power and the Muslim Army/Navy was defeated by the Italians and Austrians as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to attack southern Europe in the Battle Lepanto.  This empire of Turkey lasted for 400 years, only to be ended in WWI in 1917.  They had sided with the axis of Germany.

The Ottomans in 1683 did it again.  They attacked Eastern Europe and were defeated in the Battle of Vienna by German and Polish Christian armies.
Along came WWII with Hitler who was an admirerer of Islam.  The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler's guest in Berlin  in November 1941 and raised Bosnian Muslim SS Division;  the 13th and 21st Waffen SS Division who killed Jews, Russians, Gypsies, and any other people they considered as subhumans.  Sort of reminds me of Iran and them calling Jews apes and pigs.

The latest news to date is that Baghdad and its population of 7.5 million  is next on the list for ISIS.  It's a battle between Sunni and Shi'as.  They plan to use many suicide bombers and cut off electricity and water.  ISIS is planning on taking an important dam.  They have taken 3 cities already besides Mosul and have surrounded Haditha already.  The ultimatum has been given; surrender or be killed.

Resource: Victor Sharpe; author
Textbook: Middle East, Pat & Present by Yahya Armajani and Thomas M. Ricks

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