Why no more 9/11s: Part Two

In part two of his series on why the US hasn’t been attacked since 9/11,  Timothy Noah puts forth the Near_Enemy theory:

I place the Near-Enemy Theory one stop further on the worry spectrum from the Terrorists-Are-Dumb Theory because even if al-Qaida is right now preoccupied with opportunities in its backyard, that doesn’t necessarily keep it from devoting some resources to attacking the United States.

Basically he’s saying that Al-Qaeda has not attacked the US since 9/11 because it is more preoccupied with abundant opportunities  in its backyard. 

This is true.  But here’s how I would interpret this:  Al-Qaeda was overwhelmingly condemned for the attacks of 9/11 and there isn’t a single Islamic scholar of note who says those attacks were legitimate.   Who are the people in Al-Qaeda?  They are very religious Muslims, the kind who take note when they face such strong internal condemnation from literally every Islamist on the planet, especially when they are trying to portray themselves as the defenders of Islam.

So they focus on things that are seen as more legitimate, like  fighting against US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There are Muslim scholars who say “don’t go because you’ll only make things worse for Muslims everywhere.”  But you will never here a Muslim scholar say its illegitimate Islamically to go and fight the American, non-Muslim occupation of Islamic countries.  

Thus, the US presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is a major reason for the lack of attacks on the US homeland since 9/11.

Blog Endorsement

Most organizations — unis, think tanks  or media — claim that they cover “the Middle East and North Africa” but it’s all a big lie.  Its not even accurate to say they cover the Middle East.  In practice, they cover Cairo, Beirut, and Iraq, and ignore the other 90% of the region.  When’s the last time you read an article in the Times or Post from Libya?  Or from Algeria that doesn’t involve stuff getting blown up?  

By contrast, sometimes I get the sense that everybody and their brother in Cairo has been the subject of a feature piece.  Seriously.  If you can do a good job cleaning  S*** in Cairo people will write about it.  Like me.  I almost succeeded in convincing an editor to let me write an article on the guy in charge of sewage disposal in Egypt.  Readers are probably wondering why this is important. Try this:  Imagine life in Cairo if all the nasty stuff didn’t go where its supposed to.  That’s something to keep in mind for those who criticize the Egyptian government.  20 million people taking S**** every day and it all goes to the right spot.  That’s no small logistical and engineering feat and I shudder to think what would happen it they got that one wrong… life in Egypt would really stink.

Anyway, back to my original point.  I’ve got good news for people who want more coverage of North Africa.  Help is on the way.   Two esteemed MediaShack readers and North Africa gurus,  Kal and   Alle,  have started up a group blog called   Maghreb_Politics_Review.   All those looking for more analysis of the Maghreb, or, perhaps more accurately, any, should read this blog.  These guys clearly know what they’re talking about.