Obama is more Dangerous than Bush

Posted: 29th June 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Afghanistan, Obama, Saudi Arabia, Strategy, USA

This is the title of the main story in the July issue of al-Sumud, the Arabic-language magazine of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The 56-page magazine has several articles devoted to Obama and the Cairo speech, and the front page features a particularly unflattering picture of the US president. But it is the lead article which I find the most interesting, because it confirms that jihadis feel threatened by Obama in their fight for Muslim hearts and minds.

The two-page article (pp-18-19) is written by the Saudi sheikh Abd al-Aziz al-Julayyil and is actually taken from the latter’s website, which says the text was written on 17 May 2009.

Al-Julayyil starts off by saying he was motivated to write this article after observing a lot of optimism among Muslims over the arrival of the new US administration. He says he realises  many will react to the headline, for how can the Satanic Bush, who invaded Muslim countries and whose planes and tanks killed Muslim children, be less dangerous than Obama, who has declared he is not at war with Islam?

The first reason, he writes, is that Bush’s follies actually benefited Muslims by inflicting significant damage to America. The most important fruit of Bush’s policies was the wake-up call it produced among Muslims in terms of realising the true nature of their enemy, reviving the creed of loyalty toward Muslims and dissociation from infidels, and raising the flag of jihad in several battlefields. Another benefit of the Bush era was the infamy suffered by America on the world stage and the demise of its false discourse on human rights; in the world’s eyes America itself became a proponent of oppression and a threat to human rights. Add to this the American economic and military decline.

All this happened because God duped Bush and made him act in the interest of Muslims. When the Americans realised what was going on, they tried to address their mistakes and improve their image. So they brought Obama, with his sly policies and his attempts to deceive the world, especially the Muslim world, with his professed love for peace and criticism of the policies of his predecessor. And many Muslims were duped by his sweet-talk and pinned their hopes on this man to lift the oppression from them. This is extremely dangerous, al-Julayyil argues, because it is weakening their enmity toward America and makes them more positively inclined toward her future policies. It is numbing them, reducing their hatred toward infidels, and making them stop fighting. There is great danger here for the creed of loyalty and dissociation (al-wala’ wa’l-bara’). The improvement of America’s image is not in the interest of Muslims; rather it is in their interest that the decline continue and that the drivers of [America’s] destruction and fragmentation multiply.

Second, American policies will not change. It is a mistake to believe that a single individual can change US policy, because it is institutionalised, with its own targets, centres and planners. Bush and Obama are two faces of the same coin.

Third, the only thing that has changed in America are the methods employed to getting to the same old ends. The American-Crusader aggression against Muslim countries and the support for the Jewish state has not changed since Obama took office. Meanwhile, Obama has been in the media cajoling the Muslim world. He has denounced the use of banned weapons against civilians in Gaza massacre, yet he originally gave them these weapons; he has declared before AIPAC that Jerusalem is the eternal and united capital of Israel; he has stepped up the missile campaign against civilians in Pakistan; and increased troop levels in Afghanistan. So what compassion does this infidel criminal declare with these acts and intentions?

Al-Julayyil concludes: So beware of this cunning Satan, for he is more dangerous than the foolish Satan.

The author of this article is not a pro-Obama campaigner, but a hardline Saudi sheikh who has spent time in prison for his anti-American views and association with people like Nasir al-Fahd. At the same time, the view expressed in the article is not a completely marginal one, as evidenced by the responses on al-Julayyil’s website.

There are some interesting things to say about al-Julayyil and his recent activities, but I will save that for my next post.