Al-Queda’s Your New Landlord; or, Pass Me the Purell Strawberry Scented Hand Sanitizer

In Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Election 2006, Housing, Immigration, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Iraq War, Laws & Regulation, Misc., New York City, Terrorism, US Politics on August 22, 2006 at 11:38 am

Conservative commentator Douglas Farah blogged yesterday about extremist groups growing investment in international real estate.




Europe has become the focal point for recruitment and expansion for several strands of Islamist thought and activity, from the Muslim Brotherhood to salafists fighting in Iraq and recruiting for Afghanistan… Perhaps the most interesting move, and one with long-term implications, is the (largely successful) efforts by these groups to buy large amounts of real estate, territory that effectively becomes “Muslim” land once it is in the hands of Islamist groups. Some groups are signing agreements to guarantee that they will only sell the land to other Muslims…

Most of the money for the Ikwan and other groups comes from the usual sources-Saudi Arabia, and increasingly, Kuwait. The main financial houses of the Gulf region are channeling tens of millions of dollars to Brotherhood institutions and companies as part of their legitimate business activities. The purchase of property is a strategy the Ikwan are replicating in the United States, where Brotherhood-affiliated groups have recently bought up tens of millions of dollars of U.S. real estate, often with offshore companies acting as fronts and creating layers of holding groups and shell entities that filter the money through multiple layers that make it almost impossible to trace.

These groups have strategies looking at 10 year to 50 year horizons… We do not have a plan. They do. History shows that those that plan, anticipate and have a coherent strategy usually win. We are not winning.

Wait one second, I said, when I first read this. We do have a plan. Our short-term plan is to incompetantly rely on ineffective technology, and our long term plan is to alienate those very people that would be most valuable in the GWOT.

To speak only of airport screening efforts, Israel has been at war, essentially, since its inception in the late 1940s and they have developed strict procedures over 60 years, which the general population has agreed are a necssary evil. We need to remember though, that people in the US don’t see get-tough security screening as a necessary evil for more than 48 hours after a large-scale “thwarting” by US/UK/White Western intelligence forces. Just think about the crying at airports when they had to throw away their Purell Strawberry scented Hand Sanitizer.

Not the focal point, but there is a question of scale that is critical to this airport security debate: The CIA says that Israel has 51 airports within its boundaries, while the US has 14,857. Ethics and morals aside, would we realistically be able to train and pay enough qualified people to do the newest 15-minutes-of-fame anti-terror tactic (racial profiling) in a semi-professional manner? Could we even train enough professional racial profilers to have even one at each of those 15,000 airports? How about one for each terminal? How about an average of three professional racial profilers working at a time, for three shifts a day?

One can argue the merits of profiling, but a realistic look puts it back where it belongs: in the 1940s. Really. And in the name of your Lord (and mine), Jesus Christ, please don’t discuss profiling simply to fear-monger votes! That’s just bad karma, dude.


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