International wars sometimes start in strange ways.
World War I started with the murder of a member of the Austrian nobility by a Serbian nationalist, which was followed by a declaration of war amongst the major European powers of the day. Nobody really saw that one coming.
Franklin Roosevelt tried to interfere with Japan’s takeover of Manchuria and pretty much guaranteed that Japan would eventually attack the United States, end its neutrality and ensure its entry into World War II. It is arguable that most Americans didn’t really see that one coming either.
Nineteen Muslim airline hijackers sent the American military into Afghanistan and Iraq. Saddam Hussein was as surprised as anybody when the U.S. tanks and aircraft rolled into his country.
There is a new conflict brewing and it receives almost no attention in North America. It also started with an innocuous beginning.
In 2008, Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was arrested in Geneva, Switzerland for allegedly assaulting two of his servants. The old man erupted, arresting two Swiss businessmen in Libya for violating “residency” rules.
According to the February 26, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal:
Then, last November, Swiss voters approved a referendum to ban the construction of minarets on mosques. Some analysts in Switzerland said they believed the strong vote in favor of the ban—58% of voters supported the referendum—stemmed in part from resentment in Switzerland over the issue of the businessmen in Libya. Soon after the election, Libya's government-controlled news agency Jana branded the vote "racist."
But while the vote raised the ire of political and religious leaders in the Muslim world, it hasn't generated violence or a backlash against Swiss interests abroad, as the Swiss government had originally feared.
After the vote, Swiss efforts to convince Tripoli to release the men failed, and political observers said Libya's continued refusal to release them was in reaction to the minaret vote. Earlier this week, Libya freed one of the men after a court overturned his conviction on appeal, and he has returned to Switzerland. The other man, Max Göldi, the country head in Libya for Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd., has begun a four-month prison sentence in Libya.
Bern has restricted the granting of Swiss visas to Libyan citizens. That, in turn, has prompted Tripoli to block the entry of some European citizens into Libya. Tripoli has stopped issuing visas to citizens of the Schengen passport-free zone, which includes most of the European Union as well as Switzerland.
On Thursday, Italy said Libya may renege on a deal to help control the flow of undocumented immigrants into the EU because of the visa spat with Switzerland. Libya is often used as a departure point by such immigrants for southern Europe, particularly Italy.
Italy, which has close business links with Libya, has accused Switzerland of misusing the Schengen agreement and taking its members "hostage" by instituting the ban, which had forced other Schengen nations to bar travel by Libyans as well.
Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the quarrel put the Schengen zone at risk and could further strain relations with Libya. Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf met with EU ministers on Thursday to discuss possible solutions to the travel situation.
But the issue has escalated beyond mere visa and passport fiddling.
In February, 2010 Gaddafi called for “jihad” (holy war) against Switzerland:
We will not give up Jihad, because it is a religious duty. Jihad constitutes a religious duty and self-defense. It is the defense of the religion, fighting for the sake of Allah, defense of the Prophet Muhammad, of the Koran, of the mosques. … Whoever destroys the mosques of Allah before the eyes of the Muslims is worthy of having Jihad launched against him. If Switzerland were situated on our border, we would fight it, for destroying the mosques of Allah. Jihad against those who destroy the mosques of Allah and their minarets is [true] Jihad, and not terrorism. … Switzerland is an infidel and sinful country which destroys mosques. Jihad, with all possible means, should be declared against it.
Any Muslim who buys Swiss products is an infidel. Let Muslims all over the world know this. There are people here from all over the Islamic world. Any Muslim anywhere in the world who deals with Switzerland is an infidel against Islam, Muhammad, Allah, and the Koran. If you continue to have dealings with Switzerland, and the people who portrayed the Prophet Muhammad in the most abominable way in their newspapers. … If you continue to have dealings with them, to buy their products, to support them, to accept their tourists, to accept their planes, to accept their ships, and to host their embassies — you are not Muslims. Any Muslim must boycott them.
Boycott Switzerland, its products, its planes, its ships, and its embassies. Boycott this sinful infidel community, which attacks the mosques of Allah. The Muslim masses must head towards all the airports in the Islamic world, and prevent any Swiss plane from landing. They should head to the ports, and prevent any Swiss ship from coming in. They should comb the shops and markets and remove the Swiss products. Allah said: “Let them find harshness in you.”
This might pass for the normal, fatuous, ravings of a megalomaniac dictator except:
Qaddafi’s government has cut its oil supplies to Switzerland, withdrawn Libyan capital from Swiss banks, and moved to close all Swiss companies active in Libya — Swiss Air having already been shut down. And within a week, by Thursday, March 4, Qaddafi’s call for jihad against Switzerland — manifested as economic jihad, for now — was endorsed by Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo. Ministers from Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Djibouti, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE , Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Tunisia each signed a document in support of Libya’s actions, which also denounced Switzerland as “racist.”
Qaddafi’s jihad-sanctioning diatribe and its endorsement by the Arab League ignore the Swiss electorate’s legitimate concerns expressed through their political leadership, notably the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). These actions towards the Swiss and Western Europe in general by Qaddafi, his Arab League supporters, and other Muslim political and religious leaders illustrate simultaneous denial and imperialistic threat — archetypal Islamic behaviors toward infidel civilizations.
The Swiss plebiscite did not disenfranchise any Muslims from worshipping or building centers of worship, it was only aimed at the architectural adornment of a minaret, and did not deal with those that have already been built.
It is possible that Gaddafi’s call to jihad may do more to unite Europe against the world of Islam than a 100 Geert Wilders ever could.
If your knowledge of Gaddafi is somewhat scant, go to this website for a more intimate look.