The Middle East and Islam

June 26, 2003

We must not deceive ourselves or the Iraqis or the Palestinians about the joint Arab capabilities to support them or to defend them. 66
Sheik Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, king of Bahrain, speaking to his people of defending Iraq, while providing a home port for the U.S. Fifth Fleet (October 7, 2002) 

11th Air Defense Brigade, Bahrain 

Many leaders are politically weak at home, and count on American strategic and financial help to maintain power. Egypt receives about $2 billion in annual assistance from the United States. It is second only to Israel as a recipient of American foreign aid. 66
Jane Perlez, New York Times (October 7, 2002) 

The $2 billion the United States sends Egypt every year should be changed from military aid to civilian aid. Islamic fundamentalists are perceived as the allies of ordinary Egyptians, while America is seen as propping up a corrupt regime. 68
Uri Kaufman (October 3, 2002) 

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about the attack. Only then did we see America suffer for a few seconds what Muslims have been suffering for a long time. 75
Muhammad al-Mulaifi, head of the information department of Kuwait’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, describing parties he attended to celebrate September 11 (October 11, 2002). Mulaifi said he was close to the two Kuwaiti’s who killed a U.S. marine this week. 

As a Kuwaiti, I am happy with America’s presence here, but as a Muslim, I don’t like it. 75
Talal al-Amer (October 11, 2002) 

They were better than us, because they stood up against the infidels bent on usurping our rights. 75
Jaber al-Jalahma, a fundamentalist cleric speaking at the funeral of the marine’s attackers (October 11, 2002). 


What is clear is that huge destruction can be wrought by an anonymous few. It makes old-style war seem a little irrelevant. So why is the administration girding up to bomb Iraq and kill thousands of people? How will that prevent another Bali? It seems more likely to encourage others. 77
Sally Carp (October 15, 2002). 

One of the greatest accomplishments in the history of the world was the rebuilding of Europe and Japan by the U.S. after World War II. The resulting democracies have outlasted the government of Stalin and the cultural revolution of Mao. America’s safety lies more in our political and economic systems than in a military first strike. 66 
(October 7, 2002) 

We have to find a way of defending ourselves from others’ weapons of mass destruction without losing our own weapon of mass attraction. 98
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times (November 6, 2002) 

A pre-emptive first strike was not justified at Pearl Harbor, and it’s not justified against Iraq now. 66
(October 7, 2002) 

One Man, One Vote. Since Israel has de facto annexed the territories, and there is now just one political entity between Jordan and the Mediterranean, we want majority rule. 78
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times (October 16, 2002). By 2010 there will be more Palestinians than Jews living in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza combined. Friedman called for a renewal of a two-state solution, in spite of Palestinian intransigence. 

There will not be a democracy in Iraq, not a real democracy. That would mean allowing a Shiite state. America and the gulf countries cannot afford that. 79
Mohammed Al-Jassem, editor of the newspaper Al-Watan in Kuwait (October 18, 2002). 

Shi’a and Sunni Muslim Distribution 
Country Muslim Shi’a Sunni Ruling Sect 
Afghanistan 9199% 15% 85% – 
Bahrain 9285% 70% 30% Sunni 
Egypt 9290% 0% 100% – 
Iran 9199% 90% 10% Shi’a 
Iraq 9197% 62-67% 33-38% Sunni 
Jordan 9194% <2% 98% Sunni 
Kuwait 9185% 30% 70% Sunni 
Lebanon 91,9270% 60% 40% Muslim & Christian 
Oman 9282% 75% 25% Shi’a (Ibadi) 
Pakistan 9197% 21% 79% – 
Qatar 91,9295% 17% 83% Sunni (Wahhabi) 
Saudi Arabia 92100% 5% 95% Sunni (Wahhabi) 
Syria 9190% <18% 82% – 
United Arab Emirates 9196% 16% 84% – 
Yemen 9490% 52% 48% – 
Distribution of Muslim Sects in Selected Countries (Shi’a majorities are in bold)

The check writers who give the money to al-Qaida, not just the facilitators and those who move the money around. 80
Unnamed U.S. intelligence official, identifying most of the al-Qaida financiers as Saudi bankers and businessmen (October 18, 2002) 

Bush administration officials say that in the late 1990’s Pakistan bartered technology used to create bomb-grade uranium for North Korean ballistic missiles. The officials refuse to criticize Pakistan publicly because it is an ally in the war on terrorism. 90
James Dao, The New York Times (October 20 – 26, 2002) 

Do not have mercy or compassion toward the Jews. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. 101
Sheik Saad al-Buraik, a Saudi and Wahhabi Islamic cleric, preaching in a mosque in the Saudi capital of Riyadh (April 2002). Sheik al-Buraik was a member of the official Saudi delegation visiting President Bush in Crawford, Texas that month. 

Sami Mohammed Marzouq Obeid al-Mutairi acknowledged that he was a believer in the ideas of the Qaeda organization. 130
Kuwait’s official news agency (January 23, 2003). Mutairi, a 25-year old Kuwaiti and employee of Kuwait’s Department of Social Affairs, confessed to killing Michael Rene Pouliot and wounding David John Caraway, American civilian defense contractors. 

Saudis Plan End to U.S. Presence. Talk of Future Troop Expulsion, Then Democratic Reforms. 139
New York Times headline (February 8, 2003) 

They’re fascinated to know how we’re being treated. I just say it’s a wonderful country, and we’re lucky to be part of it. 143
Mona Negm of Baltimore, on questions from Muslims about discrimination in the United States (February 16, 2003). Mrs. Negm completed the Hajj to Mecca with 1.9 million other Muslims in honor of her mother, who was unable to go. 

Whatever the real merits of the case against Iraq, again and again the [Bush] administration has cited evidence that turns out to be misleading or worthless. 145
Paul Krugman, The New York Times (February 25, 2003) 

Despite Saddam Hussein’s other serious crimes, American efforts to tie Iraq to the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been unconvincing. 153
Jimmy Carter (March 9, 2003) 

42 percent believe Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. 154
New York Times/CBS News poll (March 6, 2003) 

The administration concedes there is no evidence tying Iraq to the 9/11 plot. 155
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times (March 9, 2003) 

Saddam Hussein has supported Al Qaeda types or a terrorist network like Al Qaeda. 155
George W. Bush (March 6, 2003) 

55 percent believe Saddam Hussein gives direct support to Al Qaeda. 154
ABC News poll (March 6, 2003) 

Doonesbury, ©2003 G.B. Trudeau (March 26, 2003)

When it comes to our security, we really don’t need anybody’s permission. 156
George W. Bush (March 9, 2003) 

The invasion of Iraq today is not vital to American security. Saddam Hussein has neither the intention nor the capability to threaten America. This is not a war of necessity. That was Afghanistan. For a war of no choice against the 9/11 terrorists in Kabul, we didn’t need anyone’s permission. But for a war of choice in Iraq, we need the world’s permission. 156
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times (March 9, 2003) 


66 “Arab Leaders Glumly Brace for Inevitable War, With an Eye to Anger in the Streets,” Jane Perlez, The New York Times, October 8, 2002, pg. A13.

68 “Aid to Egypt,” Uri Kaufman, The New York Times, October 8, 2002, pg. A30.

75 “Saved By U.S., Kuwait Now Shows Mixed Feelings,” Craig S. Smith, The New York Times, October 12, 2002, pg. A9.

77 “Messages From the Bali Bombing,” Sally Carp, The New York Times, October 16, 2002, pg. A26.

78 “Campus Hypocrisy,” Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, October 16, 2002, pg. A27.

79 “Bait and Switch,” Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 18, 2002, pg. A31.

80 “U.S. Finds More Al-Qaida Financiers,” Douglas Farah, The Washington Post, October 18, 2002.

90 “With Friends Like These,” James Dao, The New York Times, October 27, 2002, Section 4, pg. 2.

98 “The American Idol,” Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, November 6, 2002, pg. A23.

101 “The Saudis’ Brand of Islam and Its Place in History, a review of The Two Faces of Islam
by Stephen Schwartz,” Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, November 8, 2002, pg. B41.

130 “Kuwaiti Said to Admit Shooting Americans,” Patrick E. Tyler, The New York Times, January 24, 2003, pg. A8.

139 “Saudis Plan End to U.S. Presence,” Patrick E. Tyler, The New York Times, February 9, 2003, pg. 1.

143 “Pilgrims Find Changes on Both Ends of Journey,” The New York Times, February 16, 2003, pg. 13.

145 “Threats, Promises and Lies,” Paul Krugman, The New York Times, February 25, 2003, pg. A29.

153 “Just War – or a Just War?,” Jimmy Carter, The New York Times, March 9, 2003, Section 4, pg. 13.

154 “Washington Post Warriors,” William Greider, The Nation, March 6, 2003.

155 “The Xanax Cowboy,” Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, March 9, 2003, Section 4, pg. 13.

156 “Fire, Ready, Aim,” Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, March 9, 2003, Section 4, pg. 13.