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The cause of 9/11 -- a clash of Arab civilizations

Guest Blogger

What was really behind the Sept. 11 attacks? All sorts of theories have been mounted to explain why the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit. Lee Smith, the Middle East correspondent for the Weekly Standard, shies away from conventional arguments in “The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations,”which was recently published by Doubleday. By his reckoning, you can’t blame Western meddling in the Middle East or the existence of Israel. Lee shows here that the tensions underlying the attack originated not in a clash between the West and Islam but in an ages-old conflict between Arabs themselves.

By Lee Smith

In my book, I argue that we took 9/11 too personally. The result is that we’ve come to see our multiple engagements in the Middle East – from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to our contentious relationship with Iran -- in the framework of a clash between Western and Islamic civilization.

This conceit has broad appeal across the American political spectrum. The right of center wants to argue that there is a war between Western civilization and the lands of Islam; while the left of center typically contends that Western interference in the region, from colonialism to Zionism to American hegemony in the oil-rich Persian Gulf, is the root cause of all that’s wrong with the Middle East.

I see it differently. I believe that 9/11 was evidence of a clash all right, but the clash that led to it was less the conflict between the West and Islam than those between the Arabs themselves.

Consider just a few of the clashes that we’ve seen erupt over the last few years: Sunni-Shia sectarian strife in Iraq; a Palestinian civil-war between Hamas and Fatah; Hezbollah’s violent coup against the democratically elected government of Lebanon; a Houthi rebellion on the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border.

To be sure, there are genuine points of conflict between the lands of Islam and the West, and a significant part of the Middle East, including Osama Bin Laden, is at war expressly with the United States.

Moreover, Washington’s strategic interests make us party to myriad regional confrontations, but these conflicts are just part of a system of wars that involves the entire Middle East. We are now incontrovertibly a part of these wars, but their causes and sources are to be found in the region itself, and not at the lower end of Manhattan, or even in the halls of the Pentagon.

September 11 is the day we woke up to find ourselves in the middle of a clash of Arab civilizations, a war that used American cities as yet another venue for Arabs to fight each other.

The focus then belongs on the conflicts and divisions within the Middle East, a political culture that has no mechanism for either sharing power or transmitting political authority from one governing body to another except through inheritance, coup or conquest.

Whether the fight for power is waged between the state and insurgents, or Islamists and nationalists, or one tribe against another, the essential pattern is the same. It is the order that the fourteenth-century Arab historian Ibn Khaldun describes in his masterpiece, “Al Muqaddima”: history is a matter of one tribe, nation or civilization dominating the others until it, too, is overthrown by force.

As Osama Bin Laden observed, “when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.” This principle is drawn not from the extremist fringe, but represents the region’s political and social norm.

Hence, it is not Western imperialism, nor Zionism, nor Washington policymakers that have determined the fundamental character of the region, but Middle Easterners themselves who have fought to become, and maintain their place as, the strong horse.

By Steven E. Levingston  |  April 1, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Guest Blogger  | Tags: claash of civilizations  
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Next: April 4, 2010


9/11 was caused by a clash of Arab civilizations? I think rather it was caused by a resurgence of Islam as a world power. It wasn't Arabs per se, but Muslims who declared war on the U.S. for its support of Israel, and used the temporary basing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia as a convenient provocation. Islam started as a totally intolerant world domination ideology that claimed to be backed by the one and only true God Allah, and declared war on the whole world until it submits to Allah and his horrible Sharia Muslim supremacist ideology. After years of victories, it split into warring sects that slowed it down, but those sects are all united in opposing non-Muslims in principle forever. Yes, the Saudi royals sold out to the West in return for wealth and luxury, but the Saudi people haven't, and Osama bin Laden knows it. One little mistake and the royals will be overthrown and he will return in triumph like Khomeini once did to Iran, so where's the Arab clash headed? The West must wake up and recognize the need to destroy the original virulent radical (political Muslim superiority) form of Islam if it wants peace. See my Winslow Plan for Defeating Islam for my ideas for a united Western program:

Posted by: tlwinslow | April 1, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

An international team of scientists has found explosives destroyed the Twin Towers and WTC-7. Larry Silverstein inavertently confessed to the crime on the 2002 PBS documentary "America Rebuilds". Expolosives have been foung in the dust of the Twin Towers and WTC-7 and has been identified as "super-thermite", a military grade weapon employing nano-technology developed a Lawrenece Livermoore Labs.--- The FBI evaluated evidence of controlled demolition and could not debunk it. A letter of reply from FBI's Michael J. Heimbach acknowledged the evidence presented by Architect, Richard Gage was "...backed by thorough research and analysis." The organization "AE911Truth" is preparing to bring legal action against Shyam Sunder and John Gross - lead investigators at NIST who used fraudulent lab data to conclude that fires were responsible for the collapse of three skyscrapers in one day. The fact is that no skyscrapers have ever collapsed due to fire in World history except for the 3 on 9/11/2001. See the 2 hour video evidence " BLUEPRINT FOR TRUTH" that the FBI could not debunk at:

Posted by: Hsaive | April 1, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The reason everyone is speculating as to the reasons for 9/11 reveals that investigation of this holocaust of mass murder has never been allowed and anyone who tries to talk about it in public is slapped down as if they were speaking in anti-semitic terms. The 9/11 Commission admitted thay were set-up to fail and admitted the Pentagon and FAA lied to congress. This is all public record, folks. If 9/11 was an inside job wouldn't you want to know?

Posted by: Hsaive | April 1, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

How is it possible to discuss the causes of 9/11 and NOT mention the ideology of Islam and world jihad? The direct perpetrators of 9/11, as well as their organizers and handlers at al Qaeda make no bones about telling us the reasons, and justifying it with quotations from the Koran and Muhammad. All we need to do is listen to them and verify their references to the Koran and Muhammad. Then we will find out that the act was, indeed, a clash between Islam and the West, and not a clash between Arabs. After all, the Arab hijackers attacked America, not Riyad or Cairo or Teheran.

Posted by: Montedoro | April 1, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

@Hsaive: Zoom zoom physics aside, there are sound historical-based reasons that Muslims did 9/11 not Israel or the U.S. I lay them out on my site

Posted by: tlwinslow | April 1, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

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