posed by Dan Karlini
answer by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Q. The multiple bombings in Jordan leave me
confused. Assuming you're right, and the battle is between moderate and
extremist Muslims, does this event represent an escalation driven by
strength or increasing influence, or was it an act of desperation
suggestive of decreasing influence?
A. There is no doubt that this is between moderate
and extremist Muslims. Credit for the attack has been taken by Zarqawi
while the victims are mostly neither "Jews nor Crusaders" (of Zarqawi's
bigotted sloganeering), but moderate Muslims. (Among the fatalities was
moviemaker Moustapha Akkad, most famous for the Halloween movie series,
which made him rich, but whose real love was his historical religious
movies like "The Message" and "The Lion of the Desert." I recommend
both of those movies for an insight into the minds of moderate
As for what this event signifies, I believe it signifies an escalation due to the strategic advantage handed to the extremists by the American occupation of Iraq. Zarqawi had targeted such hotels in the past but there were strategic problems in the limitations on his ability to train people and to convince people of the justice of his cause. Iraq has provided him with an ideal base of operations (terrorists have distance from Jordanian police while retaining easy access to Jordan from Iraq) as well as a propaganda opportunity for recruitment. The alternative explanation that it represents the last desperate throes of a force in defeat is as far-fetched as similar claims regarding the resistance in Iraq. On the one hand every month in delay of withdrawal from Iraq pumps more blood into the arteries of the terrorist monster. On the other hand, a precipitous withdrawal will make an Iraqi civil war more likely. This unhappy dilemma was the inevitable consequence of an ill-advised invasion not in the interests of America or the moderates of any nationality or religion.