From Mecca to Baghdad, the war never stops
Guerilla tactics directed against Coalition forces in Iraq are killing and wounding our soldiers almost every day. Fortunately, the attacks come from Saddam Hussein loyalists and al Qaeda operatives using, for the most part, Palestinian and other non-Iraqi nationals and not the ordinary people of Iraq. But, in the wake of the Coalition’s rapid and splendid military victory, our losses are disappointingly hard to take.
While no people like foreign occupation, the vast majority of the Iraqi people are warming to our troops and to the great humanitarian works they are doing. Even so, this comes as a pleasant surprise because if you examine the long history of Muslim attacks against Christendom, it is somewhat surprising more Iraqis have not made our troops the targets of religious hatred.
This militant Muslim hostility against Western Civilization was made possible when , in 630 A.D., Muhammad triumphed in his long guerilla war against the merchants of Mecca and conquered the Arabian Peninsula in the name of Islam. If Muhammad had been defeated at the Battle of Mecca, the tragic events of September 11, 2001 could not have taken place.
From Arabia, the forces of Islam pushed westward across Egypt and North Africa crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and conquered all of Spain. Islamic armies also conquered present-day Israel, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran to the northeast. In 718, the Muslims tried to annihilate the Christians in Constantinople but were temporarily turned back.
Next, the Muslims invaded France, where, in 732, they were defeated at the Battle of Tours. According to Colonel Michael Lee Lanning, “The victory of the Franks at the Battle of Tours stopped the Muslim advance into Europe and ensured that Christianity would remain the dominant religion of the region."
Stymied at Tours, the Muslim forces turned, once again, to Asia Minor where , in 1071, they defeated the Byzantine-Christians at the Battle of Manzikert, Turkey. This defeat provoked the Christian leaders of Europe, Rome and Constantinople to conduct the Crusades to recapture the Christian Holy Land from the Muslims.
But, in 1187, the Muslim armies under Saladin defeated the Christian Crusaders at Hattin. That ended the Christian occupation of the Holy Land.
In 1453, the Muslim-Turks defeated the Christians at Constantinople and made possible the Muslim conquest of Eastern Europe.
By 1529, the Muslim armies were ready to roll out of Hungary to attack Vienna. France struck a secret deal with the Muslims that France would not come to the aid of Christian Viennese. So, it should come as any surprise that history repeated itself when the French would not support the defeat of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Despite the duplicity of the French, the people of Vienna waged a brilliant defense against the Muslim onslaught. They handed Suleiman II his first major defeat and stopped the advance of Islam into Central and Western Europe.
Yet, by the 16th Century, the forces of Islam still dominated the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The advance of Islam was finally ended in 1571 when, in the last naval battle between oar-driven ships, the Christian Holy League defeated the Muslims in the waters off of Lepanto, Greece.
From the Battle of Mecca in 630 A.D. to September 11, 2001, history is telling us that radical Islam is not going to rest until it either triumphs over the Judeo-Christian world or its militant elements are destroyed.
So, given this long history of Muslim attacks against Christendom, why are our soldiers (if not our occupation) so well received by the majority of Iraqis? Because Saddam and his sons were seen by most Iraqis as a disgrace to their faith. Therefore, most Iraqis do not see us as waging a war against Islam.
But, until the Saudis bring their Wahabi zealots under control and until there is a Palestinian-Israeli peace, the overall religious war that got its start in 630 A.D. will go on and on.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is a former professor of history and political science at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
©2003. William Hamilton.