Jun 22, 2009

Keep on their ass 

The headline is what grabs the attention. "Al Qaeda says would use Pakistani nuclear weapons." We all know it's true - it's not like it's a secret. But in the west, this is what gets play.
"God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans," Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of al Qaeda's in Afghanistan, said in an interview with Al Jazeera television.
But what gets overlooked here is far more telling, and is a huge indicator for anyone who pays the least bit of attention.
The militant leader said al Qaeda would be willing to accept a truce of about 10 years' duration with the United States if Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from Muslim countries and stopped backing Israel and the pro-Western governments of Muslim nations.
10 years? Why 10 years? Because that's what The Big Mo did back in the day, when he was in danger of getting his ass kicked.
Hudna (هدنة) is an Arabic term meaning a temporary "truce" or "armistice" as well as "calm" or "quiet", coming from a verbal root meaning "calm". It is sometimes translated as "cease-fire". ...

A particularly famous early hudna was the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah between Muhammad and the Quraysh tribe.

According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi'i jurisprudence, hudnas with a non-Muslim enemy should be limited to 10 years: "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet made a truce with the Quraysh for that long ...
Of course, what is a hudna really, but a time to rearm, recruit, and gain strength. And those 10 years? Don't count on it...
Islam spread widely and quickly during the two years that the treaty was in effect. While Muhammad had 1,400 followers when he signed the treaty in Hudaybiyya, he had well over 10,000 for his conquest of Mecca two years later.
The openness to a "10 year truce" is - literally - the oldest trick in the book when it comes to Islamic warfare. What they count on is that their enemies haven't read the book. This is the time to press the bastards as hard as possible in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sadly, the forthcoming orders from Gen McChrystal would seem to take a different tack. Not dropping bombs in order to ensure the safety of Afghan civilians will only increase the likelihood of the Taliban literally taking up residence in their homes. Of course, the Taliban was already doing that to a certain extent.

The fact of the matter is that we can only advance in Afghanistan the same way we advanced in Iraq - more troops in the cities interacting with the populace and squeezing the enemy out a few hundred meters at a time. That brings with it a whole host of difficulties all it's own, but if done right, it works. Any way you slice it, it will get worse before it gets better.

More here on the history of hudna.

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