Xxxxxx Xxxxxxxx replies to Jim Devine on pen-l

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 7 12:12:25 MST 2001

>Pen-l old-timers may be interested in knowing that pen-l alumnus Wojtek
>Solokowski (sp?) had a letter in the current issue of the NATION [New York],
>criticizing Chalmers Johnson's "blow-back" hypothesis. Though the critique
>was somewhat off-target, I think that Wojtek had a valid point: it's
>important not to simply think of what's happening in the world outside the
>US as only a result of US policies (so that ObL is simply a creation of the
>US war against the USSR in Afghanistan), because that world has its own
>class structures and struggles (so that ObL also reflects an ensemble of
>social relations that promotes clerical fascism).

jim, you seem not to get the point. osama bin laden has not railed
the House of Sa'ud for not enforcing 'clerical fascism'; that is, he
has not complained about the application of the sharia or the
treatment of women in general or Friday head counts, As Said Abirush
has said, al Qaeda would not bring harsher theocratic rule within
Saudi Arabia. In fact the House of Sa'ud *is* already the Taleban in
the specific conditions of the Arabian Peninsula; the former after
all is the sponsor of the latter. The differences between the two
(house of sa'ud and the taleban) are a function of the greater level
of eduction of Sa'udi citizens and the relatively greater complexity
of the Sa'udi economy. I understand that this is difficult for the
liberal left to understand:  this is not a war against clerical
fascism; it is simply a war to prop up a very horrific (compradorial
)regime, a regime that has allowed Anglo American capital indirect
control of oil rent, against a very horrific resistance which after
all has exactly the same reactionary political markings of its

we have all read the transcript of osama bin laden's video: he does
not in fact complain that the House of Sa'ud is too soft on women or
too unwilling to behead criminals. He is doubtles gracious enough to
recognize that from his perspective the record of the House of Sa'ud
is quite good here!

He spoke against the US occupation of Sa'udi Arabia, the sanctions on
Iraq, and Israeli expansionism. We have no evidence that the
terrorists engaged in horrific and nihilistic violence because the
House of Sa'ud is too soft on the population, i.e., not sufficiently
'clerically fascist'; there is a lot of evidence that people oppose
the US occupation of Sa'udi Arabia on religious (proximity of US
troops to Medina and Mecca) and economic grounds (tens of thousands
of US advisors getting the best jobs just as in Iran 25 years ago ,
US downstream companies getting the oil cheap through netback deals,
US defense companies receiving enormous sums for unneeded and way
overpriced weapons, etc.). And it seems obvious that many people on
the Arabian peninsula don't believe the US is there (or needed) to
repel foreign aggression. That is, many seem to believe that the US
occupation is meant to protect the House of Sa'ud from any kind of
accountability in regards to how it disburses  oil rent.

But Jim if the illusion that the US is fighting 'clerical fascism'
helps you get through the day, what can I say? Just know that this
view is just meant to do that--make getting through the days of war
for a liberal leftist professor easier.

>If someone knows Wojtek's e-address, please forward this to him.

Does Wojtek himself saying anything specific about Sa'udi Arabia,
e.g, the politics and economics of the disbursal of Sa'udi oil rent
and the considerable role of the US within Sa'udi Arabia from
security relations to upstream operations (in which US companies have
been allowed after a 20 year hiatus)? I doubt it, and I doubt that he
knows much.

By the way, I still believe that the best way for the US to defang al
Qaeda is to put pressure on its Sa'udi allies to allow for
democraticization, to end the occupation, to subject Sa'udi purchases
of US arms and security to greater scrutiny (there is a lot of
evidence that royal ministers are massively overypaying and then
receiving some kind of reward from the company which is usually
American or British).

Until recently, discontented Arab youth had been shipped off to
Afghanistan in order to spend their lives as soliders of fortune
there or in chechyna or kashmir or palestine. Now they're coming home
to a country that the US occupies; they'll now be unemployed and
even more volatile, especially after they are imprisoned for one
offense or another. Unless there is internal reform of the gulf
states, we may find that the destruction of the al qaeda camps in
Afghanistan had the consequence of strengthening terrorism.

I do agree with our President that al Qaeda must be destroyed; I just
don't think its possible as long as the US props up its agent The
House of Sa'ud.


Louis Proyect
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