A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, February 26, 2010

Watch Out for those Swiss Army Knives

I haven't said anything about Brother Leader Qadhafi's call for a jihad against Switzerland, issued to mark the Prophet's birthday, mostly because he's been waging a propaganda campaign against the Swiss since the arrest of his son Hannibal and his wife in 2008 for beating up two servants. Of course the Swiss vote against minarets gave him an additional talking point, one that goes beyond the personal vendetta element and actually is a genuine grievance in its own right, that can win support from other Muslim countries.

The apparent use of the loaded word "jihad" is of course getting attention, and the United Nations has said they're against it (heck, their second major headquarters is Geneva), and we are generally used to what The Moor Next Door famously referred to as Qadhafi's "stream of consciousness foreign policy." The latter has argued that the West is acting as enablers for Qadhafi, being so interested in Libyan oil and gas as to look the other way when he goes completely gonzo. I think there's some validity to that point: if he were just another African despot in a country of a few million people, he wouldn't get the same press. It would be treated as a Mouse that Roared scenario.

Have a good weekend.

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