Catfish and Cod
Monday, July 28, 2003
(Link path: USS Clueless, MSNBC)
Den Beste points out that the Saudis have been paying off the Wahabbis and thus contributing heavily to the Islamist movement:
The Sauds have been using some of that river of money to pay for what in 1925 in Chicago was known as "protection".
Another time this phenomenon occurred was 925, a thousand years before Al Capone. It was called "Danegeld".
The Vikings were a force to be reckoned with in Europe in the tenth century. Armed and fanatical, they plundered and attacked without fear of provocation anywhere along the coasts of Christendom. Their attacks were fiercest in England, an island easily accessible from the Viking homelands. (In Saudi Arabia, the Wahabbis began their purges with areas the House of Saud conquered, back in the 1920's.)
To prevent the Vikings from burning and looting everything, the English tried bribing them. The bribes, Danegeld (Danish gold), were dutifully sent from Anglia and Wessex and Northumberland year after year. They didn't work; and they kept rising as well, to the point at which the economy of England could not support it. Yet the English sent them anyway. (The Wahabbis have been taking ever-increasing donations from the Saudis for seventy years, near-compelling them with the shame-extortion racket of the Muslim tithe requirement. Yet their militants continue to insist on attacking the Saudi government.)
Then another idea occurred: allow the Vikings to use England as a base, and perhaps they will see us as a homeland to protect, and leave us alone. This was tried; the King of Northumberland, after a brief fight, submitted to the Vikings, and the Danelaw was established over northern England. That didn't work either. The Vikings treated the people poorly and continued to raid, both within and without the Danelaw. Eventually, the people revolted, and Anglo-Saxon kings regained the Danelaw. (Saudis may have allowed camps far away in the Empty Quarter near Yemen, where their hold on power is weak; and they certaintly encouraged the bases in Afghanistan.)
Looked at another way, the Danelaw was part of a five-century fight between peoples of Germanic/Nordic inheritance (Danes, Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Normans, Norwegians, etc.) for control of England, a fight which started with the retreat of the Britons to Wales and Cornwall after the battle of Mount Badon (Arthur's final victory before his decline) and ended at Hastings in 1066 with unquestioned Norman rule. This fight was pricipitated directly by the power vaccuum caused by Roman collapse. (The Ottoman Empire pulled out of Arabia in the late eighteenth, North Africa and the Balkans in the nineteenth, and the Fertile Crescent in the twentieth. In all three cases, the place hasn't been the same since.)
We are in the position of mainland Europe in the tenth century. The Vikings plagued not just England, but France, Spain, and Italy as well. The Islamists bomb and terrorize Arab Muslims, but also Jews, Arab Christians, Europeans, Americans, Indonesians, East Africans (the latter two are Muslims but not Arabs), and others. Unlike Europe in the tenth century, who had no naval power to rival the Vikings' longboats, we have the ability to stop the outpouring of funds and bases and support. The Danelaw must be abolished; the Danegeld must end.
Our ability to stop the Danegeld depends on our ability to pressure the Saudi government. Den Beste thinks that's now a piece of cake:
I think part of the plan... was to gain control of Iraq's oil fields. Not... to let Bush's oil buddies in Houston get rich, but rather because we could use Iraqi oil output to compensate for declines in Saudi oil shipments... [w]hich means that we no longer have to ignore the Saudis. We have pulled most of our troops out and the rest will follow soon. And now we can, and should, start pressuring them to stop financing terrorism and unrest.
But freedom from Saudi dictates means ready access to Iraqi oil. And with Ba'athists still able to blow up oil pipelines, Iraqi oil supplies are not yet certain. Without the surety of Iraqi oil, the Saudis could still cause oil problems and worsen the Western economic downturn substantially. In a few months, we'll have Iraq safe enough that the spice will flow, but not just now. I think the strategic-economic concerns in Iraq, not the concern over Saudi blowback, are the real reason behind the classification of the twenty-eight pages that everyone agrees implicate the Saudis. It's not concern over embarassing an ally; the leak to the Washington Post did that, and now the Saudi ambassador is publically calling for declassification. It's because we won't start the public campaign against Saudi backroom ties to 9/11 and al-Qaeda until we're sure it won't hurt us more than we hurt al-Qaeda.
I, too, support the release of the twenty-eight pages; but not until the Iraqi pipelines are secure. Then batten down the hatches; there'll be a blow coming in soon.